So one would think, from reading the story synopsis, that Squid Girl would be rather heavy handed with the “protect the oceans” and “green earth” themes. Interestingly enough, it really isn’t. Now while the argument can certainly be made that this occurs because the show is mainly a comedy, there is another possible reason. And, yes, it’s a cultural one.
Japan is a nation that is pretty slow to change. At least when it comes down to deeply rooted traditions, many often leading to habits, it is. Plus Japan doesn’t like confrontation. At all. Ever. Put these things together and you get a recipe for one of the hardest sales for environmentalist pitches (unless it looks really snazzy tech-wise). Although, amazingly enough, Japan still has far more conservation efforts in effect than other nations, though this is primarily out of necessity as their land is too small to afford messing it up. Regardless, unlike American films that often push their agendas bluntly, Japan favors the more roundabout roads.
Squid Girl, for example, only has a handful of words to give viewers about the ocean. On the one hand this means the audience isn’t forced to endure endless lectures on nature. Instead they are trusted to be able to think for themselves on the matter. There are also a few more subtle tie in, such as the fact that so few people seem to understand Squid Girl and her abilities, drawing attention to the fact that those who live next to and depend on the ocean know precious little about it and the life that exists in it. And on the other hand, of course, it’s a comedy and conservation is serious. Or is it? The fact that Squid Girl goes to such extremes for the sake of her home can be a commentary itself. Yes, it’s ridiculous, but aren’t most conservation efforts in the end? Big talk and little action, most of which is fail-boat worthy?
In any case, Don’t expect anything heavy-handed from Japan in the green earth department. At least, no day soon. For Japan, it’s better to sneak such idea into the audience’s head than to attempt pounding them in. And, hey, it might actually work better.