Inubaka Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Ben Leary
Review Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Release Date: Monday, April 30, 2007



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yukiya Sakuragi
Translated by:Hidemi Hacitori
Adapted by:Ian Reid and John Werry

What They Say
The pressure is on for Suguri to make at least one sale during her training at the pet shop. She's been all over town with Noa, the store manager's black Labrador, advertising the store, and new customers are finally showing up. Among them is an otaku who realizes that dogs won't judge him as harshly as humans. Will Suguri have her first sale?!

The Review
Inubaka is the kind of manga that's easy to get into, easy to read...and easy to forget about afterwards. It's cute, but not overly cute, fun but not overly fun. In fact, it isn't really overly anything. Inubaka is not a work of extremes of any sort. It tells moderately entertaining stories that punch the clock on time, do their jobs and go home at 5 o'clock sharp.

That being the case, there's not a lot that stands out here. I do like the way the dogs are drawn in a naturalistic style without excessive cuteness. It shows Sakuragi has enough sense to know that anybody who reads something called "Crazy for Dogs" already likes dogs, so there's no point in trying to make them extra-appealing and messing everything up. Too bad the plots don't display the same common sense. If they did, the book could have been a letter grade better.

For instance, one entire story that spans three chapters turns on a dog's ear suddenly flopping down. This is not treated as a purposefully silly plot device, as it would be in, say, a P.G. Wodehouse novel. It's taken dead seriously. That kind of triviality, somtimes spread over dozens of pages, keep the stories from being what they could be. And speaking of a lack of common sense, why is this book rated for older teens and up? There's no nudity or violence at all, and even less profanity than Land of the Blindfolded. The worst thing you'll see in here is dog poop, and that hardly puts the book in Chobits territory. Although I can do without dogs messing on people every few pages--especially when you have to look at the results every time. But that's really the only weakness (and objectionable content) of any significance. I like the characters I'm supposed to like; silly romantic entanglements are being avoided (so far), though there is an unrequited crush developing at the end of this volume. Let's hope this doesn't go too far.

Is Inubaka something I recommend? Well, it depends. It's a little fun, a little cute, and a little silly. It might do all right as something to pass the time between volumes of whatever has you really excited right now, or as a kind of upbeat reliever after a dark, downer series. But all in all I'd say wait for the library to pick it up.



Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.95
Pages: 208
ISBN: 1-42151150-9
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Inubaka