Inu x Boku SS – 01 Review

The relationship between the bodyguard-butler-thingy and the tsundere-character wasn’t anything I would call dynamic. Basically it was just the same exchange happening again and again and again… Didn’t anybody from the anime-staff notice how the main-focus of this episode was a repetitive boring dialogue?

Inu x Boku SS 01 – The Bad Habits Of A Tsundere

I had a nightmarish realisation in the Tram today: My last hope of seeing a first episode in this season which will truly amaze me will be – Black Rock Shooter, the pinnacle of Otaku-pandering. Seriously at this point I’m praying that I’m dead-wrong about all the stuff that makes Black Rock Shooter as sure a failure as Guilty Crown was supposed to be a success. But that’s brainfood for later, now I wanna talk about Inu x Boku SS. Tsundere, magical sort-of boyfriend, a boring battle, flashy special powers and a lot of new friends for the self-pitying tsundere. Well, you might say the only thing this first episode lacked was a story because right now it’s just a lot of generic ideas thrown together.

Synopsis:
The main-character is a little girl with special powers who’s rich of all things but don’t think that a rich girl with special powers has an easy life. Because normal people are such jealous lowly creatures and that’s why they harass her every day. Traumatized but still rich and very special she arrives at a new dorm where special people live with special powers. And to make them feel even more special everyone gets a personal bodyguard but not any bodyguard, I talk about other special teenagers with special powers (who cares about the specifics of the setting anyway, it’s just special powers…). The main-character has adapted to her childhood-trauma by becoming a tsundere and calling it a “bad habit”. But she’s flabbergasted to find out that her personal bodyguard ends up being a strong mix of cheese and soap. She tries to verbally abuse him like she does with everything else but he plays the straight-nice-guy-routine all the way through which irritates her even more and she has a few chances to show off how vulnerable she really is.
Now to the battle-part: Two dudes appear and get beaten up because they aren’t even one bit special.
End of the first episode.

Actually how this “sing of loyalty” usually plays out is that the servant kisses the feet of the master while grovelling on the floor before him. The scene seen in the anime is more a kind of mockery of what this should really look like.

Review:
At this point I just have to sigh when reviewing once again another new anime series of this season because I know that once again I have to talk about its generic set-up. Right now I really don’t have any clear favourite in this season which I would recommend. This season sure wasn’t very keen on leaving good impressions for those who want to have something different.
Inu x Boku SS takes it very slow for the first episode but don’t worry, this isn’t the story that will surprise you with its start. And considering that we’re talking here about an adaptation of an ongoing Manga-series it’s clear that even if it would get better the anime-original finale will probably be underwhelming as usual in these cases. So the first thing which nagged me was the slow pace with which the setting got introduced despite the fact that it’s nothing special. A special house for special people protected by less special people – and everyone has special powers. Obviously the shounen-aspect will be another one of those endless battles verging between melodrama and flashy action.
But the shounen-aspects of this show are only secondary, what this thing is really about is love. Of course it’s not a romance-series or anything, no, this is the idealistic retarded version of love. One just has to look at the two characters in the centre of the story and the whole thing gets so obvious and cheesy that any drama based on this will make me roll my eyes and sigh in disappointment. This tsundere-character may have gotten some nice introduction with the bad-habit-explanation but in the end she’s just saying “Yes, I’m a tsundere-character.”. Obviously you need something more and Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari isn’t a good character just because she spouts obvious information about some of her stereotypical attributes. There’s a lot you can make out of a stereotype with good style and a deep dialogue. This series tried to do that with the main-character and just for trying to do this, I think she’s better than the tsundere-characters you usually get to see. But what this episode does is giving the main-character an inferiority-complex. This girl is supposed to be traumatized by what other kids did to her (and probably also other stuff) and how she ended up being a pariah in her school. I guess it was good enough portrayed with the nightmares and her monologue but when it comes to interaction with her “boyfriend” then this whole thing gets reduced to the simple formula of her acting tough but being actually just a vulnerable little girl. She’s supposed to be a dysfunctional character with a serious psychological issue but for the sake of drama she gets reduced to become a self-pitying moe-blob. And that leads to my impression that any good characterization in this episode had a very shallow ring to it because this episode had no complexity whatsoever.

Yeah, that really sounds like a good plan to deal with childhood-trauma, doesn’t it?

The main-character actually is the only redeeming thing about this episode but she also gets simplified in the end to this surface-only character like the rest of the cast. Her “boyfriend” is just ashallow cheesy wish-fullfilment-crap because of how loyal, trustworthy, protective and whatnot he is. This romance is the kind of thing you might see in Twilight but vampires sparkle the shit out of you. And the most important character-dynamic of this episode ended up being sparkling crap. And since the episode actually had nothing else to do besides showing off how shallow this character-dynamic is, I don’t really want to know what will happen when this series gets really serious with the drama.
Since the rest of the cast is forgettable and the story ends up being as paperthin as it’s boring, I don’t really know whether the shounen-staff of battles will make this any better. I bet there’s a school-setting, too, also with normal people because of how the main-character has to redeem herself through love, riding unicorns and counting rainbows. And the “boyfriend” has to protect her during all this redemption-crap. And love, they have to have a lot of romantic moments that lead nowhere. That’s the kind of series I see in the first episode and it’s definitely not one for me.

The episode makes some attempts to present the main-character in a more interesting way but it’s simply drowned by the rest of the episode. Inu x Boku SS may have the ability to tell a good story but that doesn’t help much when nearly everything else about the story is so dull and uninteresting. Forgettable in nearly every way this episode failed to spark my interest for this show. Besides, there’s always the fact to consider that this is the adaptation of an ongoing manga-series and everybody should know how these usually end.

Episode-Rating: 4,5/10

Wikipedia: O RLY? was an Internet phenomenon, typically presented as an image macro featuring a Snowy Owl.

About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on January 13, 2012, in Anime, Inu x Boku SS, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I share the same sentiments as you M0rg0th, this one was incredibly dull. So much that after repeated viewings, I still couldn’t find anything else to say about it. It’s probably decent at best, but seriously– being mediocre is probably worse than being terribad.

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    • It certainly lacked the individuality to tell me the story it wants to tell. It’s clear that this is about the tsundere’s quest for becoming a decent person, finding true love and making good jelly but since the setting seems to be vaguely generic there’s no real understanding what makes her quest part of a world. Are supernatural kids generally shunned by society? Is the tsundere just one hell of a klutz to become a bully-victim at school? Since the setting wasn’t properly set up by this episode one has no idea where her private story ends and where the story of the supernatural world begins. It all ends up being this vague wish-fulfilling “Oh, I guess, some would like to read this…”-writing of a mediocre series.

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  2. It’s very rare that our opinions don’t match, but in this case, I think I gotta say I disagree with you. When I saw the first episode of this, I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed it. Probably more than anything else about it, I appreciated the fact that it was willing to spend the first 3/5ths (15 minutes) of the episode on just establishing the characters and setting. I agree that the characters were not the greatest, but I didn’t think they were outright “terrible”. I personally thought that the bodyguard character was not so much stereotypical, as just…utterly bland (for some, those are one and the same, but I consider them separate). However, I did quite like the main character’s set up (if not the character herself). She felt less like a strict “tsundere” character, and more of a lonely girl with a poor way of coping with it. Certainly the most interesting (or perhaps “intriguing” would be a better word) tsundere character I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll admit that I also kinda liked the character dynamics between the two. Overall, though, my favorite things about the episode involved the little, subtle, behind the scenes things that usually only your subconscious notices. The little things like the cooks arguing in the background, or how they sort of explained Riricho’s back story piece by piece, rather than all at once, where nice touches.
    My favorite thing though, as I said, was the amount of time they took to develop the characters. I feel like if this show was directed by someone else, then the setting, characters, the overarching plot, and maybe the main villains would all have been introduced right away. I feel like such an episode would be disjointed and all over the place, and we’d be forced to sit through a bunch of story and action sequences without even being sure whether or not we liked the characters yet. With this version, whether we liked them or not, at least we knew it. I admit that the action sequence at the end was obligatory and basically just served to set up that everyone was supernatural. But I feel like the stuff before it was solid. I don’t know, I just really appreciated the directorial decisions made during the episode. I can understand where all your points are coming from, and I don’t disagree with them in and of themselves, but I disagree as to the severity of the negatives. A nice, analytical review, but a little harsh.

    One weird thing I observed; This is a shounen show, but it felt like you were supposed to watch parts of it like a shoujo show. Just felt a little weird.
    (…I’ve got to stop responding with these giant posts. I feel like such a nerd.)

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    • Hmm, yeah, “stereotypical” alone doesn’t quite explain the problems I had with this episode. I mean, you are right, there are these little things that actually hint at good storytelling but they failed to give me a a sense of place and atmosphere that was sorely needed. And I think the reason why I’m more harsh with these little things not doing more is because this episode was a slow start for the series.Now it still would have had the time to really create an atmosphere for the series. Nothing much happened in this episode but it concentrated on the relationship between the tsundere and her bodyguard which is actually quick to summarize at this point since the series obviously doesn’t want to delve too deeply into their connected pasts (childhood-friend-trope is another thing that nags me when used in connection with the I-kinda-forgot-about-it-excuse to make it a flashback-revelation at some later point). So instead of focusing that much on these two characters, they should’ve concentrated more on exploring the setting of this series through other characters. They kinda did that during this episode but it was too brief to have any kind of impact or depth. And they had the time actually to do this properly – but didn’t. Because of that it all seems rather dull and bland as far as first impressions go.

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      • True. I think the best option would have been to spend maybe…8 minutes (1/3 of the ep) on what they did, and spent the rest on developing the other characters and the story to come. I’m still not liking the action that was just there to set up the supernatural edge to the show. I’ve always felt that action without some kind of foundation that makes us care about it is kind of…un-entertaining. And going back to what you said, ignoring my tangent about action, I do agree that they could have developed more characters in the amount of time that was spent. Here’s hoping that the 2nd episode will blow us away with unique and interesting plotlines and story-telling. No no, I’m sure it’ll happen. 🙂

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      • And that’s why I said it’s stereotypical: This introduction is one you’d use for a long-running shounen-series that wants to be popular. The setting is kept vague because you would wanna introduce new stuff even in the 300th chapter and the focus is kept on those parts of the series which are supposed to charm the reader (wish-fulfillment, bland characters so that you can imagine yourself to be that person, flashy battles… stuff like that). Obviously this is the anime and a weekly manga-series that could possible continue for years isn’t the same thing as having 12 episodes to tell a story. *shrug* Well, just wanna add that so that nobody thinks I consider the writer of such a series to be a complete moron only because the beginning seems dull and generic to me in the anime.

        Here’s hoping that the 2nd episode will blow us away with unique and interesting plotlines and story-telling.

        Yeah, it just has to be the kind of series which follows a plot rivalling even Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in terms of complexity, right 😀 ?

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  3. I agree with you! I won’t contune watching this one.

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  4. same as Ano_Natsu_de_Matteru!! really boring and th eplot and character, everything
    is the same as previous anime u have been watching.

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    • Hmm, I actually liked Ano Natsu more than this show since it actually cares about telling a story in its 12 (or so) episodes even if it’s not a great one. This first episode meanwhile seemed like it’s settling for an eternity of short-lived-fun.

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  5. Well, regardless of the enjoyability of this show, M0rg0th…I honestly hope that everything else in your life has been going great, because if not you’ve had about a week and a half of watching animes you mostly don’t like and then dealing with people who disagree with your reviews . I just wanted to say keep up the good work, I really appreciate your high standards and analytical style!

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    • Thanks 😀 . Well, obviously my style isn’t for everyone and I guess there will be always people who have some bones to pick with me over my opinion and how “wrong” it is.

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  6. I actually kind of liked the anime. I think it was Zange Natsume that made me like it. I thought he was funny. I didn’t particularly like Kagerou Shoukiin in the beginning but he grew on me. His ending theme did amuse me. I thought the use of flashbacks was good in it compared to other animes such as Naruto. I have to admit I did watch the whole anime.

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  7. Ehe I’m a really big Inu x Boku SS fan and from reading the manga it is…well a bit blander than the manga but to tell the truth the whole first season is actually a prologue. The whole season is establishing the characters so you get to know them more and learn about their character and how close they all get to one another. and then after that…your heart shatters.
    After more chapters come out and there’s another season i really do recommend you watch it because the beginning of season 2 will be a big shocker.
    That will be…a long time though

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