Inu X Boku SS ~ final thoughts
March 31, 2012
Inu X Boku SS (The Dog and Me — Secret Service) is an oddity. The core story is great. It has some funny and cute moments scattered throughout. It suffers a bit from genre derangement syndrome (I’ll get back to that in a bit), but I do want to stress that I enjoyed watching it, and I think there are many people who would find that it is surprisingly effective as a love story.
While the post that follows really isn’t spoilery, I focus on my reaction to the series as a whole. Those looking for more of a description of what the series is about would be better served by the taste test I wrote based upon watching the first three episodes.
First, I mentioned Genre Derangement Syndrome. Some shows are very good at mashing up different genres; I wrote a piece earlier describing this as the Genre Mash-up Genre. My example there was a show that asked, what if the male lead of a harem romantic comedy was a zombie who was accidentally turned into a mahou shoujo while trying to solve the mystery of his own murder? The result, of course, is something initially delightful that eventually has no idea where it is going. In that case I recommended watching the first few episodes, but the latter part of the series was trash. Inu X Boku is a whole different thing.
Inu X Boku doesn’t really mash up the various genres, it just seems a bit over ambitious. The most obvious aspect of that is the Supernatural Battle aspect that has its purpose, in terms of setting up the back-story that shapes the two main characters, but really is inconsequential with respect to the story being told. Another genre that Inu X Boku incorporates that really does nothing to further the story is Ecchi Fan-Service. It also seems to devolve into a Gag Comedy series at times, where no visible progress in the main story line is apparent. The School Life elements are more successful, and seem better integrated into the core story. Despite these additions, the actual genre here is Romance, or Romantic-Comedy.
While the incorporation of these other genre elements might seem like the creators were merely checking off boxes, and the show does seem to move slow at times, as it introduces characters that are unimportant to the plot, Inu X Boku doesn’t lose sight of it’s core story. As I have said in my previous posts, this is a story of two broken people coming together and healing each other with the power of love.
I don’t want to say too much about the Romance story itself, because that is the part that makes Inu X Boku worth watching. I think this part was handled quite well. First we have a good internal perspective on Ririchiyo, we understand from the moment that we meet her that she is broken, that she knows it, and that she wants to change. Soushi is inscrutable at first. We don’t get to listen in on his thoughts, and breaking down the walls that he has built around himself is an important part of the second half of the series. Ultimately these two characters find themselves changed by their relationship, and the series doesn’t cop out with its ending.
The series includes multiple EDs that each feature different characters. The songs are performed by the voice actors and I think this was a good way to reveal aspects of them that don’t always come across through their interactions with other characters. The embedded video above is, I think, the best song musically. Unfortunately versions with the video have been taken down. If you want to see what all the EDs are like, take a look at this youtube video, which has them all.
As I said, I personally thought watching this series was worthwhile. To me the core story was apparent from the beginning, so I never considered the additional genre elements or the extraneous characters as more than a temporary nuisance. It is tempting to say that the show could have been improved by cutting out some of the extra parts, perhaps reducing the episode count. In practice it might not have been possible to do. I am glad that the core story is intact, and that it is completely told. The series has a strong ending.