As some may remember, I spent the entirety of my first impressions post declaring Inu x Boku’s story a masturbatory fantasy for the mangaka, one where the bland self-insert character remains stoic in the face of a fawning admirer who she’s forced to be around for most of the day, before eventually falling for his “charm” and devotion bordering on obsessive. After all, pretty much everything pointed toward it being that kind of series, one that would inevitably disappoint with its lack of originality. Well, Inu x Boku seemed determined to prove me wrong, which it did for most of its run, until it gave up and spent the last two episodes spiting me for my raised optimism. However, the joke’s on it since I can’t say it worked all that terribly.
The primary relationship between Ririchiyo and Soushi remains the series’ weakest element, no matter how competently it’s pulled off. When you have characters as amusing together as Watanuki and Karuta, whose burgeoning romance is much more enjoyable to watch as the latter slyly lets her feelings be known to the former in her own special way, having two characters as straightforward as Ririchiyo and Soushi engage in a relationship is a comparatively lackluster prospect. And unfortunately, where most episodes only paid it attention in passing, the final two felt it necessary to make their relationship the focus. This wouldn’t be a bad thing in any other show if it were implemented this decently, but it has the Persona 4 problem of making the filler episodes more engaging than the ones centered on the plot, so the return of the focus to our two main characters wasn’t all that welcome.
Of course there are things that I can reasonably complain about, as I always tend to do. This wouldn’t be a fun post to write if I didn’t have at least one bad thing to say about a show, even if it’s that the comedy fell flat in parts, or one of the characters may have been off model but maybe the lighting on my screen just played tricks on my eyes. Thankfully I do have more tangible things to say than both of those, though the comedy is overly reliant on chibification to get the point across that it’s trying to be funny.
For me, the big problem with the episode is that Ririchiyo’s confession to Soushi was all too rushed, spurred on by a mix-up. Granted, it did lead to one of the few genuinely amusing moments when Ririchiyo lost her shit, but the resolution was all too swift to feel organic or well thought out. Coupled with the last episode, there was also a concentrated effort to attempt making Soushi out to be a character to be pitied, something that I feel didn’t jell very well with what the series had presented before. It’s another case of perfectly serviceable dynamics being in a series that doesn’t know how to use them alongside those that it does superbly with, such as Karuta and Watanuki’s relationship.
Long story short, it was a finale that ended the series on a decent enough note. It was far from perfect, but what in the series really was? Inu x Boku’s a show that felt slightly experimental, throwing a group of well-worn archetypes in one building, playing their personalities to their logical extremes, and seeing how they fare with each other. A lot of things worked, some didn’t, and the abrupt but expected change in focus from lighthearted comedy with occasional drama was more jolting than it should’ve been. Still, it surpassed my extremely low expectations, coming to be something that I looked forward to week to week, my anticipation growing with each episode. Now if it only changed focus to Karuta and Watanuki, then I would rate this one of the best shows of the season, but on the other hand that wouldn’t give Ririchiyo much to do. Since that unfortunately wasn’t the case, I’m just going to say that it gets a hesitant recommendation based off the extensive, zany cast of side characters that balance out the comparative dullness of our main duo.