DVD Review: Inu X Boku SS – The Complete Collection

inu_x_boku_ss_review_screenshot_2What do you get when you combine demonic heritage, secret service agents and outspoken characters? The answer is Inu X Boku SS, which is being released onto DVD by MVM Entertainment, but what did we think of it? Find out in our DVD Review of Inu x Boku SS – The Complete Collection.

Synopsis:

Ayakashikan: a mysterious condominium, widely believed to be haunted, where every resident is required to have a personal bodyguard, or Secret Service agent. When the socially inept Ririchiyo moves in, all she’s looking for is a little peace and quiet and some practice at inter-personal communications. However, she quickly discovers that her bodyguard Soushi might not just be foxy; he might actually BE a fox – a fox spirit that is.

In fact, all of Ayakashi Kan’s residents and their agents are more than they seem at first glance. Each and every one of them has both human and non-human ancestors, but that’s okay, because Ririchiyo does too!

Our View:

Inu x Boku SS is the anime adaptation of Cocoa Fujiwara’s Manga, which see’s fifteen year old Ririchiyo Shirakiin move into the Maison de Ayakashi (Ayakashikan) apartment complex in order to overcome her distress of not being able to communicate with other people, however while moving into her new apartment she is acquainted with a mysterious Secret Service bodyguard, Soushi Miketsukami. Soushi Miketsukami mysteriously knows everything about Ririchiyo, such as her likes & dislikes, and he insists on being her loyal servant around the complex, whether she wants it or not. It then becomes apparent that everyone at Ayakashikan is appointed a personal bodyguard and this is because it isn’t a typical apartment complex, as each resident in the complex is a descendant of a Yokai Spirit, with Ririchiyo being a descendant of a demon spirit and Soushi being a descendant of the nine-tailed fox spirit. Bodyguards are needed in order protect their masters from any outside attackers, such as rival communities and humans wanting god-like power.

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Throughout the course of the opening episodes all of the characters, and their Yokai counterparts, are introduced with humorous results, such as Renshou Sorinozuka laid back approach to life or his bodyguard, Nobara Yukinokouji, who blurts out random sexual desires and comments to the female members of the complex. Nobara brings plenty of comedic elements into the series, and can usually be seen in the background reading a dirty magazine, however the strangest character of them all has to be the mysterious Kagerou Shoukiin who hides his face with a mask and has a strange obsession of calling everything (and anything) a sadist or masochist.  Each character (and Yokai form) provides a different style of character and entertainment, such as the outspoken and unfriendly Ririchiyo, who turns into a badass demon, to the wannabe delinquent Banri Watanuki, who turns into a tanooki, there is a character that everyone can enjoy and maybe even relate to.

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The animation style used within Inu X Boku SS also plays an important part in the series, even if it’s not meant to, as it adds some rather comical elements to the episodes, for instance regular character animations are swapped with chibi forms and in some places are on the same screen with each other. This style of animation doesn’t occur too often but when it does it doesn’t feel out of place, but instead makes it more entertaining for the viewer, furthermore fans of Black Butler will most likely feel right at home with the animation style used within Inu X Boku SS, as it’s very similar.

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While the characters and animation style provide plenty of laughs from episode-to-episode the story itself can be bit of a mystery with its mixed approach to content that is never explored, such as the Yokai history or Ririchiyo’s lack of social interaction, Instead Inu x Boku SS is a love story that depicts the difficult and developing relationship between Ririchiyo and Soushi. The indications of this series being a love story do not emerge until around the halfway point when Kagerou reveals that Ririchiyo is his fiance through a family arranged wedding, much to the disgust of Ririchyio, in the meantime she tries to invite Soushi for a private coffee, but is ultimately interrupted by Kagerou’s reoccurring appearance in the building. The story of their developing relationship never seems to go anywhere, that is until the truth behind Soushi’s and Kagerou past is revealed to Ririchiyo which leads to an interesting,emotional, but satisfying conclusion to the series.

Extras:

It’s back to basics with Inu X Boku SS as the only extra features are the text less opening and closing videos, with all multiple ending animations being present, as well as a selection of trailers.

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As per usual all of the extra features are located on Disc 2 with all of the trailers being presentable from the extras menu along with the option for the text less opening and ending animations. While there isn’t a lot of extra content included with this release at least of all the text less videos are included, as the ending to the series had multiple versions, all of which are included and in text less format.

Another ‘feature’ worth mentioning is the ‘Disc Credits’ option, this can be accessed from the main menu and it informs viewers (for those interested) who produced and created the disc. Usually these are located at the end of the disc (or hidden away) so it’s interesting to see it in the open.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time:  2:56:06 (Disc 1), 2:30:16 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Speaking  – Yellow, Translated Text – White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Inu X Boku SS is a series that portrays the comical daily activities of Ririchiyo, Soushi and the members of the Ayakashikan apartment complex and over the course of the included 12 episodes previous engagements are revealed, the past is unearthed and love blooms in an entertaining, but comical, fashion.  While the story and its colourful cast of characters are enjoyable to watch the series could have been more interesting if some of the focus had been put onto the unique demonic abilities that each of the Ayakashikan members possess, instead we are treated to a series that swiftly moves from one episode to the next without a clear objective, that is until the final few episodes when Ririchiyo and Soushi discover their true feelings for each other.

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While the series itself can be considered an enjoyable, but complicated, love story the DVD quality provided by MVM Entertainment is undoubtedly questionable as our review sample not only featured pixilation and blurriness on numerous episodes, but it also featured stuttering when the camera pans over a wide area. These errors are not down to an incorrect TV setup (or disc-read error), but instead it’s down to encoding problem and was most likely caused by the people who authored the disc. That being said when the stuttering and pixilation does not occur the visual quality is clear, sharp and detailed and as previously mentioned those familiar with Black Butler’s animation and visual style will enjoy the visuals provided in Inu x Boku SS.

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Picture quality issues aside the Audio is presented in Stereo 2.0, with both English & Japanese Audio languages available for selection.  For those interested the English Dub was produced by Sentai Filmworks but unlike most Sentai Produced Dubs this is one is actually enjoyable to watch with most voice actors preforming their on-screen roles rather perfectly, this being said the Japanese Audio track does provide a more ‘emotional’ and authentic experience.  There is also slight differences between the two audio tracks, most notably is the censorship in the Japanese Audio Track, whereby during Episode 10 two swear words are ‘bleeped’ out in the audio and censored in the subtitles,  while in the English Dub the ‘possible’ swear word is added in.  It’s an odd choice for it to be bleeped/ censored as it makes it seem like that particular episode was edited, when it wasn’t. Another interesting fact is that the Japanese Audio track is louder than the English Audio track, which isn’t something I’ve noticed before in other anime releases.

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Overall Inu X Boku SS provides an interesting, entertaining love story that is sadly let down slightly with the series relatively unenticing episode progression and annoying DVD glitches, this aside though Inu X Boku SS is a series that is worth checking out and will appeal to fans who enjoyed the Black Butler franchise.

Score: review-stars-3

Inu X Boku SS – The Complete Collection will be available on DVD from the 12th August 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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