There's an incredibly large amount of fluff to this romantic comedy about a little girl and her suspiciously ikemen guardian. Too much, some would say. And they would be right: all the way up to the very final climax there is a truck load of fluff. The 12th and final episode opened with Ririchiyo voicing over a montage of recapped cuts and telling us the basic premise of Inu x Boku SS that we've been told repeatedly over the course of the past 11 episodes.
But why do I think this anime is actually really neat? Click on and find out.
Yes, we know the formula--boy meets girl in a dramatic fashion, boy and girl slowly fall in love over the course of the series, boy and girl make a big step or confession towards the end of the series. To that end, Inu x Boku SS does not deviate. What it did was subverting all these well-loved and expectant developments in a way where K-ON may subvert stories about rock and roll--with a lot of food and gags.
Unfortunately, I think that is ultimately the dividing point to how well people receive Inu x Boku SS. I admit at times I find the fluff tiresome, even if it's well-played fluff. Some of the jokes and the way characters interact are appropriately over-the-top, as called for. There's even a bit of wit behind the writing. However it's also not exactly what I was looking for at times. Sometimes you just want Ririchiyo and Soushi to get on with it; especially after knowing what her problems are, it became really tiresome to wait for 3 weeks before seeing what happens next, at that supposed coffee party.
The setting and concept of Inu x Boku SS also seemed underutilized. I guess it works well as an excuse to give proper education to kids they're going to neglect, ultimately setting up the character development we see in the show. I just think there's a more to the potential in all the setup and setting. Even the Ayakashikan itself seems to be a good plot device, as long as they can do more with it than to randomly put the various One True Pairs in compromising situations. It just felt a little too light.
Thankfully, this fluffy romance does have a great trick to it. Throughout the show, Inu x Boku SS sets up interesting threads of plot that ties neatly with the internal struggles Ririchiyo (or one of her friends) is facing, and paints sort of an externalized parallel to show us what's going on. The last two episodes do it with Ririchiyo herself, to shed some light to Soushi's personality and his inner problems. By slowly unraveling Ririchiyo's growth and affection for him, I think it creates a credible picture of Soushi's issues. It's certainly a little bit of a stretch to understand him outright, I think, so it was neat when you get to see it come together in episode 11.
Episode 12 puts a nice cherry on top, so to speak--through a chain of events that started out entirely unrelated to what's happening, each of the characters at the Ayashikan contributes to Soushi and Ririchiyo taking that big step at confessing their feelings for each other. There's the usual fluff, a couple good laughs, and it ends with a lot of "d'awwww."
It's been a long and drawn-out affair and I'm glad it's over, even if it was at times interesting and clever. At least we see Soushi and Ririchiyo get together. And in the end, maybe that's all that matters.
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