Kawahira Keita isn’t your average high school student- he also happens to be an inukami tsukai, skilled in offensive spells and contracted with the inukami Youko, a supernatural dog-girl with more than few special abilities of her own. And unsurprisingly, the life of an inukami tsukai is anything but peaceful- for when Keita isn’t dealing with job requests, family members and their various inukami, he can’t even relax and enjoy the healthy pursuits of a red blooded male without invoking Youko’s wrath…
Back when it was first airing, I made a vow to stay away from Inukami- reports of scantily clad machos and a preponderance of “Mr Elephant” shots all seemed to indicate that I would be massively traumatised should I ever so much as take a glance at it. Nonetheless, the power of time to alter “I must never watch that” to “I might as well give it a try” must never be underestimated, and so it was that in due course I steeled myself for the worst and embarked upon Inukami’s twenty-six episode journey.
Having kept expectations distinctly low, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that, in actual fact, Inukami wasn’t as bad as it had been made out to be. Yes, the machos and ‘elephants’ were present, but fortunately they weren’t as omnipresent as I had feared, and when they did appear, it was all so ridiculous and overblown that it was more amusing than terrifying. And beyond that, the series actually offered a solid mix of action and comedy- it might never be more than light entertainment, but like Magipoka and Himawari before it, it succeeded very well in that department. Admittedly, the ending leaves a number of loose ends, but presumably these are tied up or at least addressed in the movie follow-up.
Alongside leads Keita and Youko, Inukami is packed with other recurring characters, most of them attractive female inukami themselves. Unsurprisingly, their personalities run towards the stereotypical rather than the complex, with every personality type from loli and meido to tsundere and tomboy catered for. That being said, the cast ranges from inoffensive to likable, with the biggest surprise being that Keita is actually a worthy male lead; for while he is a bit of a pervert and a player, he has a very human personality- a refreshing change from the ‘nice yet unremarkable’ class of generic harem leads.
As often happens with these light entertainment series, one of the greatest weapons in Inukami’s arsenal is the quality of its visuals. Although the sight of machos in loincloths is something to avoid rather than welcome, the majority of characters are very attractively designed, although furry lovers should notice that the dog girls don’t have ears and usually hide their tails as well. The animation is generally technically clean and worthy of the original designs, whilst background music is solid if not particularly memorable.
Inukami isn’t a good enough series to recommend to everyone, but in spite of the more perverted elements, at its core it is actually a rather enjoyable series. If you’re in need of some light entertainment to unwind with after a long day, put any easily offended sensibilities aside for a moment and give Inukami a try.