Final Review: Inu x Boku SS

Ririchiyo is HNNNNNG

Inu x Boku SS aired in Winter 2012 and is based off a manga that began serialization in 2009. The story begins with Ririchiyo Shirakiin moving to the Maison de Ayakashi to acquire some alone time. The Maison de Ayakashi is a place where Atavists or half-demons protect each other from both the human world and the full demons. Ririchiyo is plagued by her sharp tongue, and thus tsundere-like attitude, which often prevents her from properly expressing what she really wants to say. By moving to the Maison de Ayakashi, she hopes to cure herself of her sharp tongue. Furthermore, each resident is also accompanied by a Secret Service (SS) agent. Ririchiyo’s SS agent is Soushi Miketsukami, a mysterious fox demon who is seemingly familiar with Ririchiyo and her past yet Ririchiyo herself does not recall ever meeting him.

The “story” aspect was mainly all setup for the final 2 episodes. Each episode remained episodic with little to no plot continuity as we see Ririchiyo attempt to overcome her sharp tongue. Episodes primarily focused on character development of the residents of Maison de Ayakashi. At the end of the day, we actually see Ririchiyo develop as a more social character rather than getting over her sharp tongue, which is a nice twist that makes it more believable. Had she suddenly get over her sharpness, it would have made the series a little too boring. Character wise is probably the show’s strongest selling point. Great development about basically everyone despite the seemingly large cast. Each resident was also unique in their own way almost as if I was watching Kuragehime again.

Art was good with the few exceptions of lighting. Human character designs are pretty generic but the demon forms were certainly a nice twist and to some extent matched each character’s personality. Naming scheme of the characters were funny and it’s nice to see the designs match their names quite well. Animation was solid coming from David Production. I was a bit hesitant given that I didn’t enjoy Ben-To’s animation all too much but was glad to see this show’s animation done just right. It’s still a bit of a step down from Level E last year, but keep in mind that David Production is nothing but a baby company at this point, having only been around for 5 years.

OP theme was decent by MUCC. ED themes were character songs. Some memorable, some not. Background music and sound effects were okay. Nothing that was really unbearable. Seiyuu lineup was incredibly strong here. I never though too much about Rina Hidaka as she was often overshadowed by her colleague Yui Ogura. However, I was very impressed with her role as Ririchiyo. The role fit incredibly well and I look forward to seeing her do more similar roles if possible. Putting Ririchiyo aside, the rest of the cast remained just as strong with Yuuichi Nakamura as Soushi, Kana Hanazawa as Karuta, Miyano Mamoru as Zange, etc… All great talent from high quality seiyuus picking up each of their respective roles nicely.

Enjoyment? Pretty high if you ask me. Getting a weekly Ririchiyo fix was definitely worth it throughout the season. So why did it take me so long to finish it? I had put the series on hold mostly due to lack of time and that I had prioritized other shows like Aquarion EVOL, Bakuman 2, Shakugan no Shana III, and Nisemonogatari over this one. I regret doing so, especially over Shana III and Nisemonogatari, but I guess it was nice to also blow through the remaining few episodes I had all in one go. It’s got a fair amount of rewatch value but not something that I would easily recommend to someone.

Overall, I can’t stress this enough, but if you didn’t like Ririchiyo’s or Soushi’s character from episode 1, you are better off stopping right there. This show is similar to Mouretsu Pirates (or at least so far) in that if you dislike the lead, you may as well drop the show from the get go as it’s not going to change. The show is a niche show for a niche audience, hence a black and white type title. You’re either going to dislike it entirely or enjoy it to the end. It’s a gem that was overlooked by many last season due to its slow beginning, but it is quite rewarding considering not many 12 episode series actually result in a solid happy confession at the end.

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0.5/1): Not fully enticing. Ririchiyo’s sharp tongue was a selling point but the youkai/human world setup has been done before.
  • Character Personalities (1/1): Loved the character personalities. If you watched this show for anything but Ririchiyo or Soushi, you were better off dropping it at episode 1. Though I could see some people liking Kagerou or Karuta. All the characters and their youkai form were interesting in their own right.
  • Character Development (2/2): Pretty solid here, especially with the revelation of Soushi’s back story in episode 11 and thus the bridge between Ririchiyo and Soushi as well. Each episode was also effectively character development of the various residences.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Cast is mostly memorable mostly due to the comedy in this series despite being relatively large. On the other hand, most were not really useful in moving the “story” along despite all the funny moments from say Zange, Karuta, Kagerou, and Banri.
  • Pacing: (0.5/1): I see problems here. Some people didn’t like the Atavists idea and others disliked how the “story” of Ririchiyo was not moving along fast enough. I agree with both but don’t think that affected the overall setup of the show. It definitely could have been paced better but it didn’t kill the show.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1.5/2): The whole half-demon/half-human aspect seemed like a waste at the end of the day as the show didn’t get far enough for it to play a big enough role. We literally had a few of the beginning episodes use this aspect and then it effectively became dumped towards the end of the series. Outside of that part, the show was perfectly reasonable with nothing really out of the ordinary.
  • Conclusion (1/1): At first, I thought there was a major problem with the finale given how it started, but it was basically a setup for the rest of the episode, which was fantastic. It’s not very common that you see a nice (and happy) resolution at the end of a 12 episode series nowadays, especially coming from a manga adaptation. Nicely done and ends on the same high note that began the series.
  • Total: 7.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1/2): Nicely drawn but often too much stillness resulted in feeling cheap. The very light color shades is an interesting choice.
  • Character Designs (2/2): Ririchiyo’s human form is very generic (see Yamada from Working!!, Kuroneko from OreImo, etc…). Demon form is a nice touch up. This applies to many of the other characters as well. However, they were very nicely drawn with a nice mix of bishoujo and bishounen. It’s not often that you see both mixed in the same title.
  • Fluidity (2/2): SDs and chibis were actually used properly in a show! Nice fluid animation. I don’t recall seeing any major flaws in movements or facial expressions.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (2/2): Very nicely done overall. My only problem though was the poor lighting in the show, but that may be a result of poor video quality instead. The lighting mostly affected the sakura petals throughout the show and didn’t affect the overall watchability of the show.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1.5/2): Good and unique artistic style for David Production. Similar art feeling as Tatakau Shisho -The Book of Bantorra- and Ristorante Paradiso but a step up in both regards. Animation wise, Level E had better quality but it was at least significantly better than Ben-To, which was David’s last work prior to Inu x Boku SS.
  • Total: 8.5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2/3): A single OP but lots of ED themes. This made the ED themes difficult to remember. OP was good overall by MUCC. As for ED themes, I recall Karuta’s, Ririchiyo’s, Soushi’s and Kagerou’s the most, the latter of which was just plain entertaining.
  • Background Music (1.5/2): Fair music but not particularly memorable except maybe a couple tracks.
  • Sound Effects (1.5/2): No problems here. It’s funny when I remember the bartender’s shaking or Karuta’s stomach sounds the most in this show in terms of sound effects.
  • Seiyuu (3/3): A strong seiyuu cast and well done in terms of voice acting quality. I never thought much of Rina Hidaka having seen most of her past roles, but this one easily sold me; very solid work with Ririchiyo’s voice. Kana Hanazawa as Karuta was just plain hilarious. It reminded me a lot of Nadeko from Bakemonogatari.
  • Total: 8/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (2/2): Some episodes felt slower than others but as long as I got my Ririchiyo fix each week, I was generally satisfied. Characters like Zange, Banri, Karuta, and Kagerou added a lot of fun to the show.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1.5/2): There was one point in the series that really felt out of place and I can’t recall where it is anymore. It’s not the reason why I had put off the show though for so long. I was definitely enjoying this on a weekly basis.
  • Presentation: (1/2): First episode or two is mandatory to set up the show’s characters. The rest all the way until episode 11 (not included) are basically character development episodes. Some of the other episodes in between setup for the events of episode 11 and 12, but otherwise, there is little plot continuity between episodes.
  • Re-watchable (1/1): Yes. As said before, if you didn’t like Ririchiyo, this is probably not going to be rewatchable for you. Otherwise, it’s great just hearing her sharp tongue over and over again. It never got old!
  • Recommendation (1/2): Not to the general public as the show has a specific niche. Obviously good for bishounen lovers due to the art style. In terms of other genres though, it’s a nice slice-of-life title if you could get over the whole atavist subject as it hardly plays a role in these 12 episodes. Relatively solid romance show with strong character development. Slow pacing may turn off a few but if you can hold on to the show thanks to the dialogue in this show, it will be worth the watch.
  • Value (0.5/1): Not a gem but could be claimed to be underrated for Winter 2012. It’s a hit or miss type show. Do not let the bishounen character designs fool you!
  • Total: 7/10

Preliminary Score: 8/10

Final Score: 8/10

1 Comment

  1. julezia Said,

    May 25, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    Hmm I recently finished this one off as well, though I ended up giving it a 7/10 (though if it were possible on MAL, I would have given it 7.5). I just found that it was lacking *something* that would make it truly memorable in the long run… perhaps what bothered me is none of the other characters received as much background info (especially the ever mysterious Zange), but that may be partly due to the ongoing nature of the manga .

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