The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Inu x Boku Secret Service

Title: Inu x Boku Secret Service aka Inu x Boku SS
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: David Production
Format: 12 episodes
Date: 12 Jan 2012 – 29 Mar 2012

Synopsis: In search of independence and peace, a girl named Ririchiyo Shirakiin moves into The Maison de Ayakashi. Otherwise known as the Ayakashikan, this is a high security apartment building where humans with demon ancestry can live protected by their own Secret Service bodyguards. Unfortunately for Ririchiyo, she ends up finding herself in the care of one of these Secret Service agents, Soshi Miketsukami.

The Highlights
Intended Audience: Broad and tries to appeal to many different fandoms, both male and female.
Storytelling: Perversely unconventional narrative structure which is a bit of a double edge sword.
Ending: Very satisfying and makes up for most of the story’s faults.

Trying to pin down the intended audience for Inu Boku x SS would be an exercise in futility. Like a patchwork monstrosity, Inu Boku x SS features a whole variety of various anime trappings and fetishes: lolicon fetish, bishounens, big breasted lesbian girls, yaoi undertones, magical transformations, and maids are but a few examples of this. The sheer variety makes it impossible to attach any sort of identity to it. Moreover, many of these elements have no real right coexisting with each other as their appeals are completely different. This is all to say that Inu Boku x SS is most certainly a queer experience, and this is just the tip of the ice berg.

Something that makes Inu Boku x SS very peculiar is its lack of conventional narrative structure. It constantly defies common sense for regular storytelling by going against the expected formulas. Probably the most apparent example of this is that the cast consists of a bunch of people who have magical powers suitable for combat, but there is no real action plot to go with it. The majority of the story is instead spent around the main character Ririchiyo’s tsun shun tendencies – she initially treats people badly as a social defense mechanism only to feel bad about it later.

In a sense this is a story about someone trying to get over themselves by learning to open up to other people. There is no active guiding force to the story beyond the simple interactions of Ririchiyo with the other people around her. A substantial amount of the of the story is fairly light hearted and comedic, but Inu Boku x SS fully takes itself seriously in trying to portray a girl who is trying to overcome her social awkwardness. Usually the show manages to maintain a pretty good balance in mood so as to not become too overwrought or silly, but sometimes the brooding nature of the story could be a bit tenuous. Of course the pleasant character designs and aesthetics always make empathizing just that little bit easier.

Nevertheless, a story that revolves around the restructuring of a character’s inner thought processes in a social situation is a bit unorthodox to say the very least. And while this lack of conventional narrative structure certainly gives Inu Boku x SS a unique flavor that one can appreciate, it also does little to ease the viewers into the show. It just becomes increasingly difficult to give the show the benefit of the doubt because it just never gives the impression that it is ever going anywhere. Inu Boku x SS just simply does not care about making the experience easier for its audience even though a little more reassurance would go a long way.

The crux of the problem here lies in the main relationship of the show between Ririchiyo and Soshi. Much of their relation is defined by a played out scene of Soshi proclaiming himself as Ririchiyo’s dog where Ririchiyo subsequently becomes very embarrassed and perturbed. Without knowing how the anime is going to end these antics not only seem extremely repetitive and dreary, but also entirely pointless. However, eventually these interactions become critical and essential to understanding and feeling the emotional impact of the major resolutions of the entire show.

The ending of the show in no way justifies the amount of time it spends meandering on such trivialities, but it does make up a lot for it. Inu Boku x SS would have no sense of progress without the ending. This is not to take away from the rest of the show as there are many funny and cute moments throughout to enjoy, but the real meaty characterization is saved for last. The only problem is getting over the hurdle of some repetitious and stagnant character interactions because there is just enough in Inu Boku x SS  to make it an enjoyable experience.

The Rating: 7
7/10

Reviewed by: Reckoner

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