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Monday, June 15, 2009

Inukami! - review

Inukami! (lit. dog god) is about a guy named Keita Kawahira who's part of a long line of "inukami tsukai" (inukami "users" or "tamers"). The purpose of contracting with such an inukami is to follow the clan's tradition of banishing evil....except Keita is more interested in girls. His Inukami, Youko, isn't too happy about this. As a very jealous, controlling type she tries to make Keita do her bidding instead of the other way around.

Before I begin the review, I'd like to note that it is PURPOSEFULLY spelled InuKAMI instead of InuGAMI which refers to the dog deities in japanese folklore. Inukami are similar to inugami in many ways but there are many characteristics that completely change it around.

Inukami! feels like what Zero no Tsukaima was trying to do from the second season on. It's chock full of perverted jokes and really course humor. Not to mention there are a lot of indirect references to other anime which make you cringe, but in a good way. You know it's a parody and yet there's something wrong about it.

A lot of the inukami who are shown in their human forms are female which brings up the traditional harem style that we're all aware of. It can be potentially said that they're ALL tsundere for their disgust for the main character but it's more obvious that they fill a different cookie cutter role (with two of them being devious twins)

In terms of its humor, what I've got to say is its biggest strong point and downfall is the lack of restraint on perverted, crude humor. By no means is the viewer confused as to whether or not that was a reference to a sexual trope. The show itself leads you on until the last minute when you finally see the full picture. This style of humor is quite common in Japanese humor along with temporarily using two characters as a manzai team.

One problem with this series would be the enormous cast of characters. Keita only has one inukami but his cousin, the other major inukami tsukai in the show, has ten. Then there's the head of the family with her inukami. Finally, there's the representative from the "Spritual division" of the government giving the Inukami Tsukai leads on jobs. In total, that means the show has 13 major inukami and 4 major and secondary characters. The result is that twenty six episodes are too short. The manga and anime director could've approached this harem anime style and made an episode revolve around the development of each character but that would leave too few episodes for a good indepth story. It seems that the director agrees with this and only places development when it seems that there's some room left.

What you get instead of individual focus is how the group does as a whole. The viewer constantly needs to be reminded that the 10 major inukami that haven't contracted with Keita aren't sisters. They just have this undying infatuation with one particular guy, which is weird....and something that the show has no problem mentioning (that it's weird). In addition, while Youko works alone the other ten work together breaking off into different groups when necessary.

What's most memorable is probably the soundtrack. There are some nice battle themes along with some wacky synth that fit well with the blunt humor. Then there's the slow paced relaxed songs that help emphasize perverted humor.

The presentation of the "main" story was fairly weak. You were aware that there was some underlying purpose to the jobs but it doesn't really show up until the end. In addition, the resolution wasn't so great. They ended it with a fairly big plot hole that isn't covered in the OVA. It kinda makes me want to read Inukami.

To be honest, I wouldn't recommend this to a lot of people. It's very clean with the occasional still shot and presentation is actually solid, but with an average story and each episode almost filled to the brim with perverted jokes, it would probably turn some people off. It's not bad, but it's not phenomenal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not a bad review but as for myself, i loved the anime. I remember watching this and this is one of the few animes that actually make me laugh out loud. I certainly suggest this anime to anybody who wants to just kill some time or try something new. =)