It’s like a Splatoon match in our mouth, and everyone’s invited to this taste test!

Japan is a pretty great place to be if you love ice cream. Not only do we get tons of matcha and sakura-flavored frozen treats, right now there’s squid-themed ice cream too!

OK, so maybe the idea of a cephalopod-inspired dessert doesn’t exactly have your mouth watering so much as your eyes glazing over in disgusted bewilderment. But hold on! This isn’t just any squid-themed ice cream. It’s Nintendo squid-themed ice cream!

Yes, Baskin-Robbins Japan, or just “31,” as it’s called by locals, has created a special flavor to celebrate the upcoming release of Splatoon 3, the newest entry in Nintendo’s popular third-person team shooter series that features a race of squid-like humanoid creatures. Much like the goal of Splatoon is to cover as much of the arena as you can in paint, our life goal is to fill as much of our stomach as we can with ice cream, so we made our way to our local Baskin-Robbins branch right away on September 1, launch date for the Ikasu Soda and Grape ice cream flavor.

There’s actually a lot to unpack here, so let’s do it quickly before the ice cream melts. First, the “Ikasu” part of the name is a pun, playing off of ika, the Japanese word for “squid,” and ikasu, which can mean both “to make skillful use of” and “to look cool and stylish.”

Moving on to the visuals, many sweets fans in Japan are quick to dismiss things like American-style birthday cakes as unappetizingly artificial-looking because of their liberal use of bright colors. Baskin-Robbins Japan, though, apparently trusts that anyone who’s a fan of the hyper-vivid visuals of the Splatoon series won’t be put off by the eye-catching looks of the Ikasu Soda and Grape.

Splatoon isn’t a series known for its understated visual design.

As for what tastes like what, the green part of the Ikasu Soda and Grape is the “soda” part, which in Japan refers to a light citrus/apple-like flavor, popularized by the carbonated cider called Ramune. The blue part is grape ice cream, the little green dots are chocolate cookie crumbles, and there’s even a ribbon of pineapple flavor mixed in as well as a little extra accent.

Put it all together, and it makes for a very refreshing flavor, perfect for this time of year when there’s still enough of the summer heat left for us to be craving something that’ll cool us off and satisfy our sweet tooth at the same time. We opted for the 520 yen (US$3.85) two-small-scoop size, since a two-scoop order gets you a special Splatoon cup, and while supplies last you also get a cookie shaped like the squids or octopuses from the game.

And as proof that we weren’t kidding when we said our life goal is to fill ourselves with ice cream, we also tried out Baskin-Robbins’ Splatoon-themed Nice! Gelatin Soda.

This starts off as a “soda” cider with grape gelatin floating in it. The 680-yen price includes a small scoop of ice cream of your choice (we went with another scoop of Ikasu Soda and Grape) which goes into the special Splatoon artwork cup. At this point, the drink itself has a mild grape flavor, but this isn’t its final form.

For that, you’ll need to add the grape and lemon syrups, which come in a separate packet. While some might say this extra step is inconvenient, adding the finising touch yourself gives you the opportunity to shout “Nice!” as you do so, just like you’re hitting the button to give your Splatoon teammates some audio encouragement in the game.

In addition to enhancing the drink’s flavor, the paired syrups change the way it looks, turning it from clear…

…to green as you stir the additions in.

The grape syrup ends up having the bigger effect on the taste, as the drink is pleasantly, but not overly, sweet, and not nearly as tart as we’d braced ourselves for it to be from the lemon syrup. Like the Ikasu Soda and Grape, the Nice! Gelatin Soda is a great choice for a hot September day (which Japan has plenty of), and since the Baskin-Robbins Splatoon treats will be available until September 29, that means you can enjoy them while splaying Splatoon 3 once the game comes out next week.

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