Friday, June 16, 2006

Inukami: Urusei Yatsura Lives

I'll admit when I saw the screencaps of the first couple episodes and saw men in briefs with hairy chests, even the knowledge that Horie Yui was in this wasn't enough to convince me to watch it. And with plenty of other series to watch this season, I didn't really have the time to pick up another. But every season around this time, I've dropped a few series and am looking for what in US TV network terms would be a "mid-season replacement"--and this season, that's Inukami. Based on what I saw in episodes 3 and 4, Inukami's an entertaining show--it's not going to get an award for best of the season or anything, but it's definitely funny enough for me to keep watching it.

The basic premise of Inukami reminds me a lot of Urusei Yatsura--you have a guy who's living with a cute girl who likes him, but he prefers to ignore her advances and chase after other girls instead. Said bishoujo living with him has kick-ass powers, and frequently uses them on him when he goes after other girls. It's a simple formula, but it works if you have the right characters, and Inukami does. Keita, the male lead, runs a kind of fix-it agency that deals with supernatural problems, and he entered into a contract with Youko, the bishoujo inukami, because she has mad skillz and can take on just about anything. Inukami generally serve their masters and even do things like cooking and cleaning, but while Youko's a badass in combat she's a little weak on the domestic front, which means her version of "cooking" is store-bought bento and their apartment looks like a category 5 hurricane just ripped through it.
Yui Horie does an awesome job as Youko--picture Eri from School Rumble, but with magic powers, even more attitude, and a tail and that's Youko. She does Mahoro one better and doesn't just confiscate Keita's ecchi magazines--she incinerates them in front of him for maximum psychological effect. If he's hitting on other girls too much, she'll teleport him outside into the alley minus all his clothes so he can be molested by stray dogs. And when Youko faces off against nine other inukami, she's so arrogant that before the fight even starts, you just know that in spite of the advantage in numbers, the nine she's fighting are going down hard. In battle, Youko shows her darker side, and for a moment I thought she was going to go all Higurashi--but Keita's influence has evidently calmed her down a little.

A lot of the humor comes from quarrels between Keita and Youko--again like Urusei Yatsura they manage to subtly show that although on the surface Keita doesn't seem to care about Youko, deep down he really does. The scene in ep 4 where he keeps reading the same newspaper headline over and over while she's off fighting is a good example--it reminded me of all the times in UY Ataru tries to act like he doesn't care what Lum's doing, but there are little signs it's still getting to him.

It's probably blasphemous to even compare Inukami to a classic like UY--Inukami's not on the same level, but it's a fun series to watch so far, and I'm looking forward to more of Youko and Keita. Since I'm a sucker for tsundere characters, it's easy for me to keep watching this. And if you fear the retina-searing images of hairy half-naked men, just start with episode 3 like I did.


tj han said...

Inukami is an excellent show and I look forward to every episode. Can't say the same for most of the other shows in this season.

Silkenhut said...

Inukami is a great show.. for those who don't like watching nude and macho males should skip episode 1 and 2. ^_^