Inu x Boku SS: Romance, Youkai, Peking Duck

inu x boku ss miketsukami soushi shirakiin ririchiyo suzushiro

I still remember my friends‘ misplaced enthusiasm for Inu x Boku SS during the early season, but who can blame them? The first three episodes showcase a beautiful anime with all the things I love—cute girls, adorable fashion, traditional folklore, and, perhaps most importantly, even a dash of yuri. My friends know my tastes and fetishes well. Unfortunately, what they did not know was that the fun would not last. Within a few episodes, Inu x Boku SS would quickly degenerate into messy narratives and thematic inconsistencies.

The main story follows the budding romance between a pair of master-servants: Ririchiyo and Miketsukami. While I can appreciate a genuine, fun look at power dynamics, BDSM, and especially the submissive partner, Inu x Boku SS is anything but that. Instead, it treats us to sloppy drama mired in trivial teenage angst of a tsundere—albeit a fascinating one—and an exceedingly boring pretty boy.

Inu x Boku Secret Service Miketsukami letter

Ririchiyo has her noteworthy moments, but those are largely dragged down by Miketsukami, who has very little personality to offer. True, this grotesquely nice, ridiculously subservient personality is part of his development. However, that development, despite being heartfelt and somewhat inspired, comes too late and lasts too briefly. For over ten episodes of this short series, we have one huge, annoying blank of the male-half of this drama. Inu x Boku SS has him repeat one single thing: throw his dignity to please Ririchiyo to show the audience just what a hopeless, self-sacrificing romantic he is. I hated Miketsukami and all nine of his tales and one-dimension of his character.

inu x boku ss miketsukami soushi shirakiin ririchiyo suzuneko-rin

Oh, by the way, the characters in Inu x Boku SS are youkais from traditional Japanese mythology. I must have forgotten to mention it in detail earlier because it has little bearing to anything else that goes on. Ririchiyo is an oni, Miketsukami is a fox spirit, and their friends are an assortment of Yuki-Onna, Gashadokuro, and others. The characters are all paired in a master-servant relationship with each other because of some youkai familial tradition.

inu x boku ss roromiya karuta ayatoki-1 skeleton

Or something like that. This supernatural thread is so convoluted and irrelevant to the core story surrounding Ririchiyo and Miketsukami; that they are youkai seems more as a trivia or a gimmick than something with weight. This is especially frustrating because the first few episodes led the audience to believe that this is a story about youkai: their powers and their issues (perhaps against tradition, responsibilities, and limitations). However, this theme is soon abandoned, and we are given a bland romance. The folklore aspect of Inu x Boku SS is then shoehorned in rather awkwardly. The lazy premise—that their love life is dictated and limited by their youkai lineage—could easily do without the youkai part.

I do not claim that genres cannot blend. However, when a work blends genres, those genres should work harmoniously, and the tone of the series consistent with each element. I found the romance and the youkai themes in Inu x Boku SS to work against each other. One is a sluggish, dull drama filled with somewhat immature monologues. The other is the awesome, flamboyant display of action and prowess. The juxtaposition of these is jarring, and the anime does little to integrate both.

inu x boku ss kimono poker face 008 shirakiin ririichiyo thighhighs

Inu x Boku SS Ririchiyo Shirakiin NEAN

It almost seems as though the whole youkai element is a mere fashion statement. To that end, Inu x Boku SS succeeds beautifully. I loved the various costumes and outfits—youkai or casual. Ririchyo is simply gorgeous. Her youkai form is full of delightful little details: those horns, the little oni mask, her kimono. And in her human form, she really rouses my fetish for leggings, garter belts, and most particularly, that seam in the back of a stocking. The combination of uptight semi-formal attire and the hidden sexual allure of black lingerie… “May I slip a finger into your knee sock?”

fuyouchu inumimi inu x boku ss roromiya karuta collar

While Ririchiyo has the best looks, her friend Karuta has the best personality. Indeed, Karuta steals the show as the most easily lovable character. Besides simply being super adorable, she has this quiet strength behind her seeming obliviousness. Karuta leads the cast of supporting characters—the yuri maniac, the bondage king, and many others—as the saving grace of Inu x Boku SS.

Inu x Boku SS Karuta Roromiya Peking duck

I suppose Karuta, leggings, garterbelts, seams, kimonos, and Peking duck are the few genuinely enjoyable things about this anime. With only these, the series falls just slightly shy of being great.

… Or maybe, they are the only things that matters to today’s audience, including me. Admittedly, Inu x Boku SS tickled my fascinations in both the adorable and the sexual.

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43 Responses to Inu x Boku SS: Romance, Youkai, Peking Duck

  1. While I won’t say it was one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever seen, I found the relationships truly touching and really made the show for me. Miketsukami reminds me somewhat of myself in that He’s willing to sacrifice everything to please others and there’s something Noble in that.

    • Yi says:

      We see very differently on the series then. I was not at all impressed by the relationship. And I found Miketsukami’s overly devoted personality to be poorly executed, written, and almost a bit of a cliché for the most part. i.e. the hopeless romantic with a tragic past, who devotes his soul to the one that taught him to love. Boring.

      But, of course, needless to say, this is only my take.

      Thanks for the visit and the comment, William. ^ ^

      • bioselement says:

        I can totally understand that view. ^_^ I suppose if you boil it down it isn’t exactly an original take. If I didn’t identify with many of the characters it probably wouldn’t be all that great either. I think the real brilliance was making him human in a way. Maybe not unique, or special or amazing, but believably human enough to establish a connection.

        • Yi says:

          Haha, we disagree again, unfortunately. ^ ^ I found Miketsukami’s behavior not nearly human or believable enough. But that’s probably because I just couldn’t relate to the whole thing well. Cheers!

  2. I checked the official summary for the series. The emphasis wasn’t on the youkai, so I guess it’s not like they cheated. That doesn’t change the bad management of the elements.

    The fashion indeed is so chic and smexy. Although I haven’t watched it, I have seen images around the net and some youtube videos, and to the lovely stockings I’ll add the lace veil of Yuki Onna and her human form’s androgynous style (hm… although Karuta might do a better job on the latter).

    I hope we see a post of yours about leggins, stockings and legs soon 😉

    • Yi says:

      True. It’s not as if the producer cheated, whatever that means. It’s still a very poorly change in direction though, and an incongruity between the first few episodes and the later arc. This is an especially serious issue since the series is so short. Three episodes is a quarter of the series.

      The secret service suits are very nice indeed. I really like all the outfits here.

      “I hope we see a post of yours about leggins, stockings and legs soon “

      Hehe, I hope so too! ^ ^ No idea or plan when that’d happen yet though.

  3. TPAB~ says:

    the ending was ok though, made me forget about the lackluster episodes. XD

    • Yi says:

      There was one episode near the end that I thought was interesting: the one about Miketsukami’s letter exploits. Besides that (and those first three), the series is pretty lackluster indeed.

      Thanks for visiting, TPAB! I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before. Cheers~

  4. Smithy says:

    True, some very valid painful truths about “Inu x Boku SS” and elements where the show kind of fell apart. But I still adore “Inu x Boku SS” simply because Nobara is ♥
    Wouldn’t I dream of being Nobara and slip my finger in Ririchiyo’s knee sock~ *drools*

  5. IM Sirius says:

    The show had a great setup with mysterious characters and circumstances. And nothing much was done with any of it. Instead, the show indulged in a sort of shallow emo-fest. Why bother with much of a plot when Ririchiyo can be neurotic for the dozenth time? Or Miketsukami can do his obsequious toadie routine — yet again. Bah.

    • Yi says:

      Yes! Eloquently and harshly put. This is the perfect description for the series. An emo-fest that wasted such a great premise. I was supremely bored. Cheers!

  6. wieselhead says:

    Everybody hated Miketsukami XD I thought he was ok, his dog like behaviour was funny. Maybe the flashback scenes came a bit late for him. Haha there wasn’t much plot, but the eccentric characters and their interactions made up for that very well, Ririchiyo, Karuta, Nobara etc (*lol* at this S and M guy) Overall I pretty much liked and enjoyed this anime, I wasn’t dissapointed.

    The different ending songs were always a nice additional detail I really liked about Inu x Boku SS.

    • Yi says:

      Yea, I think the other major issue with Miketsukami is that his dog-like behavior, while cute and charming at first, gets old really fast. After which, it just becomes kind of annoying. If the nice reveal came earlier (perhaps take out some of the filler-ish episodes—something a one-cour series really doesn’t need), the series would seem much more coherent and better paced. As is, Miketsukami just gets on nerves in the middle episodes.

      The eccentric cast of side characters are definitely super lovely, and they do make up for the flaws in Miketsukami’s characterization a bit. I love Karuta, Nobara, the paper guy, and the SM guy (he’s sooooo awesome)! I guess overall, I didn’t hate this. I think it had great potential, and it turned out relatively decent. Just not stellar or up to my hopes.

      The ending songs were nice too! I think my favorite one is the one for Karuta.

      Hanazawa Kana ♥

    • Gutierrez Sugey says:

      pues en lo personal si me gusto, pero Miketsukami esta recibiendo muchas criticas u.u

  7. erobotan says:

    I agree with your post, though I will add Ririchiyo’s oni-chan who can turn into garment into the saving grace cast along with Ririchiyo herself and Karuta 😀

    • Yi says:

      Agreed. Ririchiyo’s oni mode, and her fiancee’s SM addictio, and maniac, and many of the characters—especially the side characters—are truly lovely.

      • erobotan says:

        no, I mean ririchiyo’s oni-chan. The guy with dark skin and messy hari, he can turn into a piece of clothing. sorry for the bad english lol .. and also sorry in case he’s not really ririchiyo’s oni-chan .. been years since i watch inu boku and i have terrible memory ^^;

        • Yi says:

          Ahh icic. Sorry I misunderstood. I didn’t realize that guy is Ririchiyo’s brother. I like him too. He’s pretty sexy. ^ ^

  8. Kai says:

    It is kinda true that I honestly didn’t care much for Miketsukami halfway through the series, though I actually like his development at the end despite a bit too late I agree. But still, I’m mostly watching it for Karuta, she is so adorable 😀 I would love a Ririchiyo X Karuta semi-yuri OVA or something soon.

    • Yi says:

      Yea, it’s a bit unfortunate, but there is a lot of potential in Miketsukami’s character. If only they didn’t have so many “filler” episodes and dragged out his one-dimensional personality for that long…

      Karuta is the number one reason to watch Inu X Boku SS! She is super adorbs.

      And Ririchiyo x Karua. ♥

  9. ajthefourth says:

    My perspective may be a bit off, as I did not actually finish this series (not out of any sort of anger, but a mild disinterest); however, Miketsukami always felt like a wasted character to me. In the first few episodes, the way they frame his behavior is not favorable. The series makes it obvious that Ririchiyo has issues with her personality and they hint that Miketsukami’s behavior is also unacceptable for forming relationships. He is too self-sacrificing and uses this part of his personality to push others away, just as Ririchiyo uses her standoffishness to keep others from connecting with her emotionally. Unfortunately, from your review, it doesn’t seem like the series ever addressed this.

    • Yi says:

      Your perspective is not off at all, and for the majority of the series (10 episodes or so), I agree completely. This is why I love your writings and your thoughts. You’re really good with breaking down characters. (e.g. Reminds me of your earlier guest posts and such.)

      Anyways, Miketsukami has never been lovable, and for the most part, never been interesting, precisely because of what you mentioned. I have to note though, in episode 11, the series does address why Miketsukami is the way he is. (I wrote something on that earlier if you’re interested: But, even then, the series does not show any change after the big reveal. Miketsukami is still the same frustrating, self-imposing “romantic” stock pretty boy. It’s… unfortunate.

      So yes, he might no longer be pushing other characters away, but he still pushes the audience away. I hate him!

  10. Cell says:

    Honestly, I tried to make myself like Miketsukami. I really did. I did it for the sake of wanting to see more of Ririchiyo’s (hot body) character growth. However, after hitting the fifth or sixth episode, I couldn’t stand the seemingly masochistic pretty boy embarrass himself any further, and I stopped watching Inu x Boku ss. That however didn’t prevent me from going onto pixiv and searching up pictures of Ririchiyo.

    • Yi says:

      I really wanted to like him too, because I want to love this series. It has too much potential and too many awesome things going for it. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t. I managed to get to the end though. ^ ^

      By the way, think quite a few people actually dropped this series as well around there because of Miketsukami, including some who recommended me the series in the early season. He’s just not likable.

      Karuta and Ririchiyo pictures are lovely indeed! I had a blast searching for pictures for this post. Thanks for the comment, Cell!

  11. Pingback: Letter Writing: Inu x Boku SS, the Old Fashioned, and the Social Age | Listless Ink

  12. Starss says:

    I have to completely agree with this post. Frankly, I found the show to be pretty boring, especially all that angst over the damn coffee. The characters were cute, the designs were really excellent and that ending was really sweet but I would have to say the entire show felt rather hollow for me.

    • Yi says:

      Yea, I think I just could not relate to their feelings to the level the angst asks for. I understand the frustration with not being able to express oneself, but the series really takes that to a ridiculous extreme. That’s all fine and interesting to watch, until it becomes the center emotional drive for the show. As you aptly put it… “the damn coffee.”

      Thanks for the visit and the comment Starss! I don’t think I’ve seen you around. Always nice to see a new face. ^ ^

      Cheers, darling!

  13. curry says:

    Just finished watching the anime today, it all started with a picture of Watanuki. He is just so adorable! In his raccoon form too! Karuta is super adorable too! I totally want to bring them home! >.<

    Ririchiyo is not exactly my favourite by really love the way she talks. Being able to say the total opposite of what you really wanted every single time is a truly admirable skillset.

    I definitely do not think anyone would truly be fond of Miketsukami. If there is a real person out there like him, I would commit murder. The only reason I could stand watching him is because of Nakamura Yuuichi, if not for his voice acting.

    Oh, the many clothings and stockings in there is definitely a big plus. MANIAC! ^^

    So after watching the anime, I went on to read the manga. And I must say I was totally dumbfounded. The anime definitely did not do the series any justice. The anime was as if made for just moe pleasure and looks totally shallow. It makes me realise that why is this series shounen? The manga definitely shows that. The anime just ended at the most happiest moment of the series, as right after that, it took a really really dark unexpected turn. You would be wondering what the heck have I been reading?

    So if you are really found of the characters and would want to know more, do read the manga! There is so much more Watanuki x Karuta too ^^

    • Yi says:

      Agreed about both Watanuki and Karuta. They are just adorbs! I’d totally take them home too and just give them huge hugs. I have a soft spot for Karuta. These two are really a testament to how the side characters are totally the stars.

      I have some really minor issues with Ririchiyo (e.g. she’s a bit too over-the-top angsty), but overall, I think Inu x Boku SS did a wonderful job with her. Ryan A. wrote a really beautiful guest post on her a while back:

      As for the aesthetics of Inu x Boku SS… It’s hard not to be a maniac! Everyone’s just so cute!

      I think I might give the manga a look. It surprises me to hear you give praise to the manga, since I found the anime so poorly executed. and bland. And after the surprise came disappointment. The story and the characters have such strong potential, and it’s a shame the anime didn’t capture that. So yea, I’ll give the manga a look. And I do want to see more Karuta x Watanuki!

      Thanks for the comment, curry, and the note on the manga!

  14. Nopy says:

    Inu x Boku SS really did fail in the romance department, but I never viewed it as the main purpose of the series in the first place so I was fine with that. At only 12 episodes, I had figured at the beginning that they were just going to mash something together since that’s how short series usually go nowadays. The comedy was great though, I especially loved the episode where someone posted the “don’t talk” sign on the door.

    • Yi says:

      I think my problem was that even though I desperately didn’t want to view it as a romance drama, the story put most of its focus into developing the draggy, poorly done relationship between Miketsukami and Ririchiyo, such that I had no choice but be discontent at the love story.

      “I had figured at the beginning that they were just going to mash something together since that’s how short series usually go nowadays.”

      Hm… That’s a really keen observation. I suppose I should have lowered my expectations a bit. 😦

      Anyways, agreed about the comedy! I enjoyed the filler episodes more, in fact. And I love all the scenes with Karuta.

  15. jreding says:

    Haha, Yi, your hate for Miketsukami must be quite strong! But I agree w/ you and would go even further. “With only these, the series falls just slightly shy of being great.” you write. I’d say Miketsukami spoiled the whole show w/ his obnoxiousness and made it basically unwatchable (at least for me). Which is a shame as the elements you highlight are indeed sweet and just wasted in this context.

    I did like that fashion in Inu x Boku SS, as well, but my taste is a bit different and I liked Ririchyo’s clothes in the very first episode best (I followed the series via blog pictures):

    I’m not that much into lingerie… Btw, what do you think of these shorts/ pseudo skirt (as you can see in ep. 10)? Oh, and I second to Ayame’s post request!

    Ririchyo and Karuta were lovely, too. Like Cell, I dropped the show but searched pixiv for good art, instead. Karuta reminds me somewhat of Kuu-ko from Nyarlko-san (and not only for the similar hair color) whom I liked very much.

    • Yi says:

      Haha yea. I actually lean closer to your feelings on Miketsukami than appears. I think he almost single-handedly ruins the show. He definitely makes too many scenes unwatchable. I really did hate him at several points.

      I really like the fashion in Inu x Boku SS indeed. It has a really charning masculine, formal look, but with a touch of seductive feminism. (The stockings!!!) The shorts/ skirts play wonderfully into this as well. Love that look you posted. ^ ^

      I might’ve dropped it if it were more than one cour. But I toughed out Miketsukami in the end. ^ ^ Agreed about the fan art. Perhaps the manga will also be more to your liking. I have not yet read it myself though, but I’ve had recommendations.

      I have yet to watch Nyarlko, but if Kuu-ko reminds you of her, I can only infer she’s lovely. I love Karuta.

      p.s. Seems I should really write on legs soon. ^ ^

  16. The problem with some of these single cour adaptations is that they turn into a 12 episode taste test of the manga; a hook that aims only to introduce a bit of the verse and to get the audience acquainted with the staff. It leaves the belly of the anime well under cooked buuut there were sweets to be had so I guess this was iight.

    • Yi says:

      Yes, that is true. Single cour adaptations tend to introduce just a hook and the universe. But that’s another issue with Inu x Boku SS that I had. The direction the story takes with this anime seems to deviate from that of the manga, and focuses primarily on the relationship of Miketsukami and Ririchiyo, a relationship which I found incredible frustrating. As a hook, it fails.

      Although difficult, single cour adaptations of long-running manga can be successful. It can also introduce a separate arc but still keep the same feel as the manga. One of my favorite examples of this is Ga-Rei Zero. I found the anime extremely satisfying. By comparison, InuBoku is a bit of a let down. 😦

      Thanks for the comment, Boulder! Love it! ^ ^

  17. Overlord-G says:

    Took me this long to notice I could post stuff with my username rather than using my Zemog Ramo FB account.

    Yup, the Peking Duck line is random, yet awesome at the same time. Anyway, long post short, I liked this one and its romance. The leads weren’t epic but their love was amusing. Of course Karuta and Watanuki are the highlights of the show but I’ll also include the lovely Nobara and the busty little person maid.

    • Yi says:

      That’s wonderful! It’s good to see you again with your familiar face. ^ ^

      Love Karuta and her random cuteness. I enjoyed Nobara as well. Unfortunately, I do not agree about the romance—I didn’t like the leads. 😦

      • Overlord-G says:

        I’ll agree that the leads’ thang ain’t no Chihaya and Taichi from Chihayafuru but I’ve seen worse, which is why this was a breath of fresh air for me. The lead’s character leaves much to be desired but her cuteness cannot be denied…though the same can’t be said for the writers’ excessive desire to show off her skin. I’ll take Karuta, Nobara and the little person thank you very much.

        • Yi says:

          Yea, there are certainly worse shows than this, but that does not excuse the flaws. I have limited time, and I’d rather spend it watching, say, Chihayafuru. Oh well.

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