Quick, pop quiz time! What do you get when you cross a masturbatory self-insert fantasy with supernatural elements, and throw in a Mary Sue-type character whose only flaw is she doesn’t know how to be a decent human being? That’s right, Twilight! Also, the latest Shoujo adaptation in Shounen clothing: Inu x Boku SS! How this fell under the latter category when the main character is an aloof, otherwise perfect teenage girl who has a handsome bishounen guardian (who sparkles!) at her beck and call, I will never know. What’s sad is judging from the first episode, I can begrudgingly admit that it has several key elements to pulling it off without being unbearably fanservice-y or preachy in the process.
But let’s take a step back and explain what this whole shebang is really about. Ririchiyo is the snippy daughter of a rich family who was bullied by all the mean schoolyard kids because her family was rich. I don’t know how “Haha, you’re rich!” translates to “Haha, sucks to be you!” but those are the cards we’ve been dealt. Because of this, she developed a bit of a complex where she greets anybody regardless of how nice they are to her with cold hostility. However, at the beginning of this series, she moves to a high-security apartment complex where she lives among a group of similar people who all have special bodyguards. I’m not going to give away the reason (yet) in order to prove my point that this could have been a great series if not for one glaring cliché that topples the whole thing.
I first went into this series expecting it to start with total clichéd garbage. Sure, my suspicions weren’t completely disproven (The bishie bodyguard with dichromatic eyes, Ririchiyo’s affluent background, the other apartment tenants being quirky with a capital “Oh fuck this”), but for the most part the first half was pleasantly surprising. Even Ririchiyo’s vaguely creepy bodyguard, Soushi, isn’t entirely detestable. The issue with Ririchiyo’s background is explored with sympathy without dwelling on it and it just generally takes a surprising turn for the pleasant as she warms up to Soushi. Of course I wasn’t expecting to call this my show of the year, but if it would continue like this I wouldn’t entirely mind watching it week to week. Unfortunately, this happened:
the second half confirmed my suspicions by revealing the supernatural twist in this tale: All the tenants of the high security apartment complex are part monster, Ririchiyo included. Zoinks! Of course it didn’t exactly come out of nowhere; there were plenty of hints dropped early on that this apartment complex wasn’t as normal as it would initially seem. However, the damage had been done. Suddenly, all my slightly good impressions vanished, leaving me feeling dejected and gently spooning gobs of cookie dough into my mouth. It was all I could do to stifle my disappointment.
If Inu x Boku decided to stick with the slice of life idea by just having Ririchiyo slowly adjust to her new life without any supernatural bullshit, I’d be a little more inclined to enjoy this. However, it’s unfortunate that it’s taken this route, shuffling in the well-trodden footsteps of similar series. As long as some overarching Shounen-esque plot isn’t introduced out of nowhere and it retains a sense of being about Ririchiyo slowly opening up, I won’t entirely discard the possibility of joy. As it stands though, it’s simply stale and not worth much of a look. Who knows if this will change later, I sure don’t have any idea, but no matter how you look at it this show doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.