So a few months ago, when Borders was going out of business in my town, I had a moment of weakness (well, ok, several moments of weakness) and spent about an hour scouring the manga section of the ransacked store with a fine-toothed comb, hoping to come across something interesting. If memory serves, manga was 30% off because of the closing. So really, I couldn’t help myself.
I ended up picking up a three-volume-in-one manga, Inukami!: Omnibus Collection 1; which retails for $15.99 normally. It looked promising enough, at least. And during this past weekend’s hurricane, which left me without power for two days, I finally found the time to read it.
Right off the bat, it wasn’t the best manga I’ve ever read. It’s a very strange mix of “adult humor” and shojo styling. Published by Seven Seas Entertainment and sporting a very generic sounding “Older Teen 16+” rating, I also found it difficult to determine who, exactly, the creators were trying to target with the plot. Still, it moved pretty quick. And though I found myself taking a more critical stance towards the volume than I usually would with a more quality graphic novel, I still found it a pleasant way to pass the time without power.
And I can’t help feeling like I’ve seen parts of this plot in other animes before…
For generations, the Kawahira family has been undertaking contracts with the Inukami: Mystical dog spirits which just happen to take the shape of beautiful young girls. Together, the Kawahira family member (hereafter referred to as the “Master”) along with their obedient Inukami “Servant” work together to rid the world of demons and evil. And, in their off hours, the Inukami (again, beautiful young obedient girls) are expected to cook, clean, entertain, and “serve” their masters. And, as dogs, they are all too happy to do so.
The story focuses on one such master, Keita, and his newly-acquired Inukami; the sassy and fun-loving Yoko. Keita is your typical high school loner in anime: Lazy and lecherous, yet harboring a strong sense of right (his own right, anyway). Having made a contract with Yoko, he immediately expects that his life is about to get much easier and much more pleasant. But Yoko has her own ideas of what she wants in a master, and for every flippant comment or thoughtless act he serves her, she dishes it right back: Often in the form of her powerful shukuchi spell, which can move anything–more often than not being his clothes to a completely remote location, leaving him running nude through the center of town.
I certainly didn’t find Inukami! to be the most sophisticated manga I’ve read lately. It’s full of slapstick humor, fanservice, unlikely and ridiculous situations, and maybe a few dead-end plot points here and there. Every so often, it makes a stab at coming across as heartfelt, but the moments are usually fleeting and quickly dashed by the plot’s next comedic jab. Despite this, it was worth at least reading once. Once you work past the fanservice fluff, the episodic nature of the plot makes for fast reading which will have you quickly coming back to the book to see what wacky situation Keita and Yoko will get themselves mixed up in next. Again, it’s difficult to judge the intended audience of this manga. But if you like dog girls, fluffy tails, adult humor, school girls, supernatural fighting, moe, or badgers, this might be for you. Maybe.