June 9, 2009
I continue to be amused by Inubaka’s focus on the competition between Wan Kaw and Woofles. It’s downplayed in this volume, but the rivalry is still in full force during the dog dance competition.
I was mostly fascinated here by the more fanatical aspects of dog ownership. As I said, I’m not a dog person and have never owned one myself, so I guess I don’t often think about the fact that what’s depicted in the series actually exists. I find Inubaka amusing, but some people might enjoy it because it delves fairly deeply into dog subculture.
The dog dance competition was pretty cute and way over-the-top. There were a lot of dogs and owners wearing elaborate costumes, and the competition came down to a three-way tie between Suguri, a blind girl, and Jasmin, the dancer hired by Wan Kaw. I actually liked Jasmin quite a bit since she was such a happy character that genuinely liked dancing. She’s the only person shown that liked dancing more than dogs, and I think she found it just as amusing as I did the amount of tension and rivalry that was going on at the competition when it really should be a fun thing. Apparently she was from an older series by the author of Inubaka, which would explain the odd focus on what is essentially a one-shot character.
The second half of the book was about Kanako and her dog Czerny. Suguri doesn’t like Kanako very much since she makes a point of spoiling her dog in front of other people and talking about how the little dog is better than all other dogs. Kanako’s love for Czerny is fairly touching though, and she sees Czerny as a daughter rather than a pet. Kanako gets quite a shock, then, when Czerny needs to be rushed to the pet hospital when her kidneys fail. The message is a mixed one, but I was still pretty sad when I finished the book.
Again, there isn’t anything substantial to Inubaka, and it doesn’t try to be anything other than a series where the characters talk about dogs all the time. It succeeds at what it sets out to do. I also like how easy it is to pick up and read, since the stories are episodic and don’t rely on past plotlines (though a lot of things are mentioned in passing, for those who are dedicated readers). Reading the character descriptions and plot summary at the front of the volume is all that’s required to enjoy the story in all its guilty pleasure glory.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.