Ayakashikan appears to be a high security apartment building for the rich and gifted but in fact it’s the home of demon descendants: normal-looking humans with supernatural abilities. They live together to help protect each other as they’re targeted by pureblood demons. Ririchiyo is a new resident, wanting some peace and quiet whilst secretly hoping to improve her people skills. But she’s surprised to discover that a Secret Service Agent has been assigned to her by the name of Miketsukami, and makes the unusual request of wanting to be her faithful dog from now on.
Inu x Boku is sadly a series where the sum of its parts sounds far more interesting than the actual show they create. Starting with Ririchiyo and Miketsukami, it’s made very clear from the start that these two will eventually end up together and they’re largely the main focus of the show, but there’s little to no development of their relationship until the final few episodes. Until then all we get is Miketsukami’s constant rambling about his devotion to Ririchiyo, and her ceaseless inner monologue of sorting out her feelings and personal struggles. The latter problem could have been interesting if handled better. Ririchiyo reveals her problems to the audience clearly; we learn of her inability to talk to people properly and how it’s attributed to her lack of emotional development during childhood. It’s refreshing to see her aware of her own problems and wanting to change for herself from the start rather than taking up a whole series of bitching at others before using a love interest as a signal to change. It’s easy to build sympathy for her and realize that being a descendant of a powerful demon isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We see her trying to improve herself as the series goes on but it’s all very slow going, and eventually becomes boring rather than the intriguing, mellow- paced show it’s trying to achieve. Every episode has her voice actress in monotone mode, repeating the same dull revelations and problems repeatedly, coinciding with Miketsukami’s relentless aiming to please her. A few episodes in and you just want to clonk her and Miketsukami’s heads together, begging them to just get on with it already. I will join the other anime reviewers that have pointed out that the last two episodes are by far the strongest in the series and conclude the relationship very nicely – but is it worth slogging through ten sluggish episodes to get to? That’ll depend on the viewer’s patience.
In contrast to the unfortunate protagonists, the side characters are quite varied and eccentric and provide most of the more effective comedy routines. Nobara’s obsession with cute girls provokes a chuckle every now and then, and Kagerō easily steals every scene with his S & M obsession plus his fantastically hysterical ending theme is the best song on the soundtrack. There’s also the sweet relationship between Karuta and Watanuki which often outshines that of the leads for most episodes.
In the background is the supernatural element; the premise of human/demon hybrids living together to protect each other with bodyguards trained to help them makes a decent set-up. Also the characters being reincarnations of formerly powerful demons and living in fear of other purebloods taking their lives is intriguing. I wish there was a bigger focus on and development of these elements because they’re wasted here. We have cool transformation sequences from the cast, interesting mythology, and a handful of demons attacks; but they’re either underused or left completely unexplored. What is the Secret Service Agency anyway? How do they recruit and train demons to fight? How long has this battle between the human ancestors of demons and purebloods been going on? Do the purebloods attack them for their power or some other reason? None of it is answered or cared about. The biggest problem that destroys the potential is that most of the characters wander around school, the apartment complex and other places with seemingly few worries about their existence or what could kill them. There are three episodes out of twelve where they face an enemy, only to sort it out within the same episode, with the foe tossed aside like a bad joke rather than a real threat. So there are barely any opportunities for the characters to use their powers even though they look like the most creative aspect of the series. It’s such a shame as this could have been very interesting in another show.
DVD extras include an extra OVA taking place after the series, various MVM trailers, and clean opening/closings.
I must mention one fault I experienced whilst watching the review copy of the series; whenever the camera pans across or pulls inwards/outwards, the picture jitters slightly and often multiple times across the whole moving scene. There are also moments when the picture suddenly becomes pixelated. These errors occurred multiple times across the two discs with the former problem happening in every episode. I noticed it right from the pilot and it was very distracting and headache- inducting. When I tried to show my husband the same jittering, he didn’t take notice until I rewound a scene to point it out. So maybe it’s just me being pedantic but I’d rather point it out to forewarn just in case, than leave it out, have others noticing it and wondering why it wasn’t mentioned.
Inu x Boku SS is slow, and sadly not the good kind of slow that allows complex character development or adding depth to stories. With this type of show it should have been a lot faster in pace to help with the comedy and romance, and a greater focus (or at least some closure) on the supernatural side would have helped it feel less pointless. It’s not a show to hate outright or be angry at; it’s just disappointing and forgettable. I wanted to like it but even with my level of patience, I couldn’t recommend a purchase. It’s a rent if you’re mildly interested in it, a pass if not.