Inu x Boku SS
The Maison de Ayakashi, better known as the Ayakashikan, is a high security apartment building where humans with demon ancestors, or youkai, reside, each guarded by their own Secret Service bodyguard. A youkai girl named Ririchiyo Shirakiin moves into the Ayakashikan hoping for some peace and quiet. Instead, she finds herself with the service of Secret Service agent Soushi Miketsukami.
I don't think animé has produced a romantic comedy more straightforward than this in a very long time. Forget harems, reverse harems, credible love rivals or any form of ornamentation - any doubts that cross your mind about where this show will end up are completely self-imposed because this show will give you no reason to expect anything resembling a plot twist or a surprise over the course of its runtime. Is that a bad thing though? Romantic comedies have never really been about surprise, rather more about reaching their inevitable resolution in the funniest, sweetest and most interesting way possible. In that sense, Inu x Boku SS is actually fairly credible. Ririchiyo and Soushi make a cute and funny couple and their budding romance is affecting and enjoyable. There are problems however that hold the series back, some far too big to ignore.
To start with what's positive, I will begin straight from the top: Inu x Boku SS has some of the prettiest character art that you are likely to see. I know that is a very subjective comment, even for a review, but I have to admit that only that pesky third dimension was stopping me from reaching straight into my screen and hugging Ririchiyo with all my might, she is just that adorable. She is not the only one though, Karuta (one of the secret service agents) is just as cute despite the fact she wears a man's suit most of the time and that is before she opens her mouth and lets her seiyuu, Kana Hanazawa, seals the deal with that delightfully dry voice. Heck, even the guys compete! Soushi is handsome in a way that is almost impossible to hate and in full youkai form is simply awesome. Even more impressive is that, with some of the characters, their personalities are almost as charming as how they look. The fact Ririchiyo is a tsundere and Soushi her strangely devoted slave should make their relationship unbearably irritating but Ririchiyo's complete uselessness at being bitchy and the way Soushi takes his self-deprecation to ironic and comic levels makes them very fun to watch. The majority of the supporting cast are charmingly oddball too; Karuta is as adorable as she looks, Wakanuki is charmingly earnest in affections for Karuta and Renshou is cool for a lazy bum.
Those are strong positives but the negatives match. Problem one is that the show feels like it takes far too long to develop the main couple's relationship. As I said before, the result is inevitable but both characters are annoyingly passive about furthering their relationship that even the sweetness of their relationship begins to feel dragged. Is it realistic? Possibly but this is a romantic comedy and no-one is here for realism, we are here to be entertained and the angst doesn't mesh with the laughs as well as it needs to pull off the effect. There is a reason why straight romantic comedies tend to be movies. It is hard to stretch out interest in a romance over a full series length - particularly one that is the main focus of the series and especially one as complication free as this one (there are two complications and the show spends too much time with the first one). Another problem is that, as charming as some of the cast are, some of the cast are unbearable. Rirchiyo's fiancé, Kagerou, is practically insufferable - an S&M obsessed freak that screams out to be smacked every second he is on scream. The devious Zange is a little better but his bullying of some of the nicer characters makes his presence on screen quite unwelcome for the most part and, sadly, he is around far more often than Kagerou is. Lastly, the plotting often feels aimless and stagnant, a few episodes coming across as filler, which is unforgivable in a show that is only twelve episodes long.
In the end, this show could have been an awful lot worse and an awful lot better. It got some very hard things right, the characters had chemistry and often managed to be very funny, but leaden pacing and some sour note cast members stop this from being a solid recommendation. Inu x Boku SS is in no way bad and I feel no strong urge to dissuade anybody interested in it but in the same breath, I feel no urge to encourage many of you either.
A solid three stars. It's gorgeous, sweet, has periodically effective romance, and has some seriously loveable characters. But too many problems cost it that fourth star. Add a star if you can live on great character designs alone, but take one away if they don't appeal to you. — Aiden Foote
Recommended Audience: This series has some fine looking characters and has no qualms showing them off a bit. There is no explicit nudity but bathing scenes, bouncy chests and numerous shots of Ririchiyo in varying degrees of undress abound. Once you throw in the predatory lesbian Nobara, a fair amount of innuendo-laden speech (principally from Zange) and the S&M maniac Kagerou it becomes apparent that the show isn't for kids.
Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll.com stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Inu x Boku SS © 2012 Cocoa Fujiwara / SQUARE ENIX
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