September 19, 2009
Yukiya Sakuragi – Viz – 2009 – 19+ volumes
Well, I learned about Karelian Bear Dogs in this volume, which is something. Apparently men went around on patrol with bear dogs in order to scare gigantic bears away from camp sites. If true, that’s pretty amazing, because I have a hard time imagining a bear backing down from a dog.
Other than that… I guess it’s more of the characters playing with dogs in an adorable way. The first half of the volume has the characters on a… Dog Retreat or something (I felt like I had skipped a volume, because the last volume ended on a cliffhanger and this starts in the middle of something, but that might have just been an opportunity for transition that the author took since the cliffhanger was depressing and mostly resolved). There was an older man there with Suguri and her friends who kept four gigantic dogs, which he referred to as his daughters. More emphasis was placed on his Newfoundland than any of the other dogs, which is unfortunate since I associate a particular… odor with that type of dog (I’ve known three people with them, and they seemed to be impossible to keep clean for any length of time). The story goes into detail about the water rescue capabilities of the Newfoundland. There’s also an amusing detail when it is shown that the four gigantic dogs’ snoring drowns out that of their owner.
The second half of the volume takes a look at Noa finally being able to have puppies. Teppei is a very proud parent, but this spurs Suguri on to find a proper girlfriend for her dog Lupin. Teppei discourages her since Lupin is a mixed breed and he says nobody will want the puppies, but Suguri and the friend she finds with a female dog seem very admant to make it happen. Teppei’s condition is that Suguri find a home for a dog similar to Lupin from an animal shelter.
The first half of the book seems like the usual light fare from this series, just people hanging out with their dogs and teaching each other about them. The second half is a more serious look at dog breeding and the problems of finding homes for dogs, what happens to unwanted dogs, and the problems with breeding large dogs in the city. It’s interesting, though still full of awkward and sometimes downright creepy moments where Suguri breaks out down in tears because she wants to find a “girlfriend” for Lupin and see his puppies… and, er, other things.
Again, a series strictly for dog people, though I am slowly becoming rather fond of its light tone myself, and I’ve never had a dog. It’s somehow the right balance of cute and completely inoffensive that makes it a good light read. I wasn’t nearly as amused by this volume as the others I’ve read (Wan Kaw is almost absent this time), but… you know, I may just like the story and characters and cute dogs at this point.
Also, there’s a photo of a dog named BuBu-kun in the back that made reading the entire volume worthwhile.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.