Inu X Boku tells the story of Ririchiyo, a girl who knows that she has a problem dealing with other people, moving into an apartment complex for the super rich. Every tenant has a member of the secret service as a bodyguard. Turns out, the tenants are more than just rich, and Ririchiyo’s agent is more than she bargained for given she didn’t want one in the first place.
Yes, it’s another story about an emotionally closed off, super smart girl with a bad attitude being pursued by a very needy and super good looking guy who is absolutely incapable of being discouraged. Okay, that doesn’t sound all that typical and yet the first episode of this series really feels like it isn’t treading any ground we haven’t seen before. That said, as long as you don’t instantly hate Ririchiyo, there’s actually a lot to like about this anime.
Also note that there is a reasonable age difference in the romantic pairing and some genuinely creepy stalker type moments as well as a character who is obsessed with defining the world through the eyes of S&M. If that didn’t put you off keep reading.
I’m actually going to point out the obvious about the story. There isn’t really an overall plot. Ririchiyo moves into the complex and the story follows her daily interactions with the other inhabitants and we watch her slowly learn how to deal with them in some way. There’s also the overall romance between Ririchiyo and Miketsukami which sways back and forth throughout but there’s no overall drive behind anything really. I should also mention that all of the main characters are possessed by a yokai (or are a throwback to one or the like) and can channel them to use their power.
Without a plot, things are definitely slow moving. Individual episodes set up minor challenges (such as Ririchiyo trying to invite Miketsukami to have coffee with her) but these don’t amount to much more than amusing or thought provoking vignettes and while we learn more about the characters through them, they aren’t exactly creating a sense of urgency.
For me to like an anime with so little direct plot is kind of odd but I credit my overall enjoyment to the characters themselves (cliché archetypes though they might be).
Ririchiyo is a character I identify well with. She knows that she says really harsh things to others or that she comes across as harsh but she doesn’t know how to stop herself and so she makes the decision to close herself off. However, that isn’t a way one can get any better at interactions. Throughout the series she takes some major steps toward being able to interact with others, though she still hesitates and dithers. Probably the moment that annoyed me the most about her was when she first started having feelings for Miketsukami and thought that her heart racing was caused by arrhythmia. For someone so smart that was really, really dumb. I do however like her awkward overtures of friendship to the others who live in the complex and her occasionally awkward exclamations when she makes a breakthrough in her quest for self-awareness.
Miketsukami on the other hand is an odd character. I like him as a character because he has a tragic past (which is explored well in the second half of the series), his motivation is always crystal clear and it makes sense, and all of his actions can in some way be linked to that motivation. That said, if he were a person, he would be way too creepy. His overtly clingy nature and stalker like tendencies (did you not see that wall of photos in his room) make the relationship between Ririchiyo and Miketsukami a little less than sweet. His interactions with Ririchiyo are entertaining and at times touching and I particularly like the ending where they finally realise they both suck at communicating and that they pretty much need to start over. He’s also pretty awesome in his yokai form.
Now if you are after a cute relationship, Watanuki and Karuta just might do it for you. Karuta seems like a complete air-head obsessed with food but as Watanuki points out, she just sees the world differently. Time and again we see evidence that Karuta is actually very aware of what is going on and she deals with it in her own unique fashion. Watanuki on the other hand is a self-declared delinquent and initially is really irritating but once he calms down a little he becomes quite the sweet boy in love. These two characters are adorable to watch and their friendship/romance develops in the background as this show progresses.
There are plenty of other characters bouncing around but my least favourite would be Kagerou, Ririchiyo’s supposed fiance. Every scene he is in he is being obnoxious. His presence does lend some needed tension and he does push some emotionally buttons that need to be hit to get any kind of plot progression but he is a really unlikable character and his departures are always greatly appreciated (and not just by the characters in the show).
Other than the characters, the other thing I found quite enjoyable was the closing credits. Each character essentially got their own song throughout the season and these added quite a bit to our knowledge of the characters and consolidated their general view of the world. Karuta’s is especially amusing and even Kagerou’s is very fitting for his character. I also really enjoy the opening theme and feel it kind of captures the feeling of the anime.
So, not a perfect anime but, as I said at the start, if you like the characters and aren’t put off by them, you will probably find this an enjoyable watch. Thinking about it, it’s probably the fact that it’s basically a romance with a vaguely supernatural air that ultimately sold it to me, even if the romance is a little bit creepy.
As a bonus, if you would like to see a Twilight trailer parody featuring the cast of Inu X Boku, I found this shared by Nicole Parker. I found it amusing.