Normally I would avoid most moe series (whether if they’re using moe as a main or side audience-drawing factor) like a virus but seeing David Productions in charge of Inu X Boku SS and having read the manga prior to my first viewing of the episode made me want to give this series a chance. With the series that I began watching this winter (Aquarion EVOL, AnoNatsu, Daily Lives of High School Boys are the ones I’ve picked up) it surprises me that there are going to be quite a few gems waiting to be dug out and wanting to be grab by someone so that it has a chance to shine.
Without further ado, I welcome you to the Ayakashi Mansion.
P.S.: It would be helpful if no one reveal any spoilers to those who didn’t read the manga. Unless the anime takes a different direction, no spoilers please.
P.S.S.: None of the central female characters wears a bra. Not that I have nothing good to do in my spare time.
As seen in the PVs, one fine day in spring our pretty heroine Ririchiyo Shirakiin has just moved in to the grand and super posh Maison de Ayakashi, which other people commonly called the place the Ayakashi Mansion. (Understandable, it’s not as if the common folk are used to foreign names in Japan, speaking realistically.) Beneath that petite figure hides a nasty habit of hers belittling others whenever she feels like it or puts her on a difficult spot. At first you may think she is a tsundere judging by how she mocks the housewives for being gossipy and ignorant and the delivery man asking ‘stupid’ questions about her. She has reasons why she’s moving to the mansion; she would like to be independent and aims to become more sociable once she’s away from her family.
Okay, fine. This may sound a little silly to some of you visitors reading this. But ignoring that, she meets her old friend, Sorinozuka Renshou, whom she’s made acquaintance with in elementary school. Like Ririchiyo, Sorinozuka is also staying in the Ayakashi Mansion and shows her the way to her room. Now all alone at the corridors, as she pushes her trolley to the room one of the boxes fell. Ririchiyo tried lifting the box, but it was too heavy for her to do anything about it. Before rendering the situation hopeless, she finds the window open and standing right in front of her is a sharp dressed white-haired man with different coloured eyes helping her in her plight.
Ririchiyo shot down the possibility of getting a ‘thank you’ just for helping her to the mysterious man and instead, the man bowed down to her, speaking to her as if he has known her for a long time. He introduces himself as Soushi Miketsukami and is assigned to be Ririchiyo’s special bodyguard (called the Secret Service in the story) for this very moment. Ririchiyo doesn’t remember hiring a Secret Service prior arriving at the mansion and rejects Soushi’s offers to become her bodyguard. Unusual for a bodyguard, Soushi passes his master a katana and asks her to kill him if she doesn’t want a bodyguard around following her and he manages to pull this trick off twice and gets away with it. Okay…is it me or is Soushi’s overacting there?
Soushi using the ‘Turn The Other Cheek‘ technique towards his new master seems very effective and asks Ririchiyo to treat him any way she likes as to compare himself with a lowly dog…and he will still be happy even if Ririchiyo treats him like a slave in the worst ways possible. That night, Ririchiyo experienced a nightmare that must have stemmed from her unpleasant childhood and finding out it’s already morning, she plans to have breakfast at the lounge and once again Soushi decides to pay his master a visit. Yes, even after she blatantly tells Soushi that she doesn’t want a SS. It’s too difficult for Ririchiyo to tell Soushi to stay out of her life and she gives up, so in the end Soushi wins this bizarre psychological battle, not that it’s a proper battle to begin with.
Now we know what sort of person Soushi is, we move on to knowing the other tenants and bodyguards, with Soushi bringing his master on a tour within mansion compounds. Aside from Sorinozuka, Ririchiyo meets quiet redhead SS Karuta Roromiya and is considered weird according to Ririchiyo’s standards, Nobara Yukinokouji, another SS who happens to see our heroine like a doll (and considers her as her type) as she submerges herself into her sexual fantasies. We get to see (and hear) some of the staff (other than the SS) working in the building though we don’t know their names yet (but will be given in due time. The manga did give every servant Ririchiyo meets their names).
As Soushi comments on Nobara’s extrovert personality, Ririchiyo has this envious look on her face and the following night she experienced (probably) the same nightmares again. As usual, Soushi has been waiting outside her room, this time not as early as the last time. Serving his master with lavender tea to soothe her nerves, Soushi can tell straight away that Ririchiyo isn’t feeling too well judging by how late his master switched off the lights at night. She decides to tell her SS about her lonely and isolated life back at the prestigious Shirakiin household. Sick and tired of looking at boring faces, being bullied by (probably) some of her servants or so-called friends and being treated more of an asset than an actual person by her family, this presses Ririchiyo to make a decision to live in the Ayakashi household where she can be away from them and build up her social skills. But as a result she has to put up a haughty front as a psychological barrier to prevent herself from getting hurt further. As expected Soushi cries, hearing how much his master has suffered.
That night, two burglars sneaked into the mansion posing as garbage collectors and tried attacking the tenants. Expecting her to struggle and screaming for help, the burglar attacking Ririchiyo received a nasty surprise as she warns him that he’s messing with the wrong person and before she could reveal herself as a half-demon, Soushi comes to his master’s aid and then transforms into a kitsune spirit (half-kitsune, to be precise). He easily curb stomps the one-sided battle, with Nobara, Karuta and a nonchalant Sorinozuka attacking the other burglar with ease (all it takes is for Karuta to reveal her true form as a skeleton spirit to scare the burglar to his demise. Of course, Nobara’s a pretty yukionna, a lady snow spirit in Japanese folklore for those who have never come across the term and obviously her ice attacks doesn’t look threatening enough.) Ririchiyo looked at Soushi’s bleeding hand as the latter asked the former if she’s okay. Ririchiyo tells the SS to take care of himself too, with Soushi giving her a kiss on the toe as a sign of loyalty in protecting his master through and through. Our heroine finds herself to agree using Soushi’s services and finds his behaviour peculiar judging by knowing her all too well…
Well, I do like the way David Productions did with the Bishie Sparkles. Looks unique and stands out from the ways other studios uses generic sparkles. Another thing that I noticed; even though the background and side characters don’t look important for now, it’s unusual for even background characters to speak, let alone have their actions animated really clearly and tidy. It’s not something you see in your usual anime series so to speak. (See the part when Ririchiyo and Soushi are having breakfast after the former meets Karuta. Yes, I know that the bartender has his animated parts looped, but it still looks clean.) It might be tough trying to remember the names of the central characters (being demons and half-demons and all, all of them have long surnames) on first viewing and hopefully we can shorten it to something else for the ones with long given names (I’m looking at you Sorinozuka.) Let’s not go into a particular interest on Ririchiyo’s yummy slender legs in this episode and yes, I am wowed by the amount of feet/leg fetishes this episode has to offer. (Wipes out excess saliva.)
If you want to do a tsundere (tsunshun’s a more accurate depiction here) type character right, Ririchiyo is a good example of balancing out the ‘tsun’ and her sweeter aspects without overdoing the ‘tsun’. And I bet Soushi’s a very persistent masochist and there has to be some sort of slash fic where…let’s all be civilized people here and let our sick fetishes be stuck in our heads and not anywhere else. Everything that I wrote has to be PG rated in THAT Blog or else I’ll be receiving neverending complains from parents whose child(ren) happens to stumble about this site and witness the nasty stuff I’ve written. To keep me and others interested in watching the next 11 episodes, the execution had better be energetic and maybe introduce some villains for the central characters to deal with. I’m intrigued to see how far this series can go and maybe David Production would announce a second season if the DVD sales are good.
Next week: Ririchiyo, Soushi and Sorinozuka go shopping. I wonder how David Productions are going to pull this off nicely.