Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs 11Posted: April 8, 2009
Now, there are any number of reasons I decided not to pick this series up. Chief among them is that I’m not the type of person that would read Marley & Me, or other heartwarming stories about dogs. I’m just not a dog person. So clearly, a manga called “Crazy for Dogs” is not going to be something that will appeal to to me on its premise alone, and it just didn’t strike me as the sort of series that worked extra-hard to reach outside its target audience. So just keep that in mind.
Now, reading through the summary at the beginning, and then the volume itself, I was alternately extremely amused and deeply disturbed by what seem to be the usual goings-on of the series. The store where the main character Suguri works is called “Woofles.” This alone had me laughing, and it was only the first sentence in the introduction. Also amusing was the bonus bit of information that tells us when dogs see Suguri, they get so excited they pee. The premise seems to be that Suguri’s branch of Woofles is battling some sort of corporate pet store called Wan Kaw. There is some serious espionage afoot on Wan Kaw’s part. They’re trying desperately to recruit Suguri since she’s so good at training dogs, and are employing a spy to feed them information on her. The rivalry between these two stores is straight-faced, which is why it struck me as funny… because everyone is so serious about what a good pet store Woofles is. Most of the chapters involve Wan Kaw trying to muscle in on Woofles’ territory, or Woofles doing something and Wan Kaw upstaging them.
Also, a dog learns a trick at the very end of the volume that simulates a DJ record scratch. I actually had to call someone to talk about that, because it struck me as so funny and, again, the series was very serious about it. The aforementioned person got a bigger kick out of the fact that Woofles appears to be written as “Waffles” on the baseball jerseys the girls and dogs are wearing on the splash pages and bonus illustrations, which, admittedly, is just as cute a name as Woofles.
Now, the disturbing part comes with the target audience for this book. With a premise like this, it strikes me as something that would be for a young teen audience. But I’m reading it, and there’s some weird fanservice, like the fact the girls are always dressed in short skirts (which are sometimes commented on) and have slightly larger breasts than they need, though that part of it isn’t really overdone. At one point, Suguri has a dream about the aforementioned spy committing suicide by jumping off the top of the building, a scene which goes on slightly longer than it should. Like, it cuts off just before he hits the pavement to tell you it’s not real. One of the stories is about an elementary school teacher planting a hidden camera in his classroom. Now, the purpose of this camera is never stated, and where he puts it doesn’t make much sense to me, but we can assume he was using it to look up the skirts of his elementary school students. The way this camera is found is that the school puppy eats it, and the scared kids bring it to Suguri, who fishes the little camera out of its poop. See, this is all kinds of disturbing to me.
The suicide scene actually prompted me to flip to the back cover to check the rating, and I was surprised to see it rated T+. But after reading the rest of it, it does seem like an appropriate rating.
I remember reading that several people consider this a guilty pleasure, which sounds about right. It doesn’t go very deep with either its plot or its characters, but sometimes if the premise is something you enjoy, these things aren’t necessary. God knows I enjoy any number of series that aren’t really all that great. And to Inubaka’s credit, this was one of the most surprisingly entertaining manga I’ve read in a long time, though again, I was probably entertained for all the wrong reasons.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.