Inubaka Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-4215-1149-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Inubaka Vol. #01

By Jarred Pine     February 09, 2007
Release Date: February 20, 2007


Inubaka Vol.#01
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yukiya Sakuragi
Translated by:Hidemi Hachitori, Honyaku Center Inc.
Adapted by:Ian Reid and John Werry, Honyaku Center Inc.

What They Say
On a walk to check out their new neighborhood, Lupin "courts" another dog while her owner Teppei isn't looking, shattering his dream of a litter of purebred puppies. To make up for her mongrel's wayward wooing, Suguri offers to work at the pet store Teppei manages. Her adventures in canine antics have just begun!

The Review
The first volume of InuBaka finds itself smack in the middle of the manga glut.

Packaging:
Very basic and very average print reproduction, with muddied tones and spots of moire as well. If you like cute cover art though, no doubt this one will catch your eye.

Art:
Character artwork is quite derivative, but at least it is clean and the varied panel layouts and nice detail work make for a nice experience on the eyes. The style is a mix of all genres, from cute suggestive shounen to the flowery shoujo tone work.

Text/SFX:
The translation job seems to have been contracted out to another company, and I'll admit I'm quite impressed. The scripts reads very well, with honorifics in place, currency kept in yen, and all the signs are translated in the panels in a very unobtrusive way. SFX are also translated with English overlays and the original SFX removed.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While I admit I rose a jaded eye when Viz announced InuBaka, there was something about the concept that led me to blind optimism about its potential. Quirky dog owners coming to a boutique pet shop to pick out overpriced toys and merchandise for their toy dogs which are a result of twisted breeding fetishes, I mean that alone is enough for an oddball comedy. Throw in a girl who has special dog powers and sense when a dog has to crap or is suffering from a heart problem, and there is some potential for a unique drama as well. Saving the world, one dog at a time!!

Too bad this first volume fails almost completely to hit on that potential. The result is a boring amalgamation of manga cliches and tired story writing. I think I stopped the Cliche Ticker when the slacker roommate stole the naive girl's cash and tried to get her to join a hostess club. The characters are terribly uninteresting, which makes any hope for a slice-of-life or comedy to be dashed. What about the special poo-sniffing powers? Well there is a decent chapter featuring the rescue of a dog with a heart problem, but that's about it.

Comments
The first volume of InuBaka finds itself smack in the middle of the manga glut. Forget shounen, shoujo, or whatever, there is a glut of titles out there that are all carbon copies of each others and really do nothing except suck your wallet dry for something you've already read a million times over. It's a safe pick, nothing more.

Which leads me to a point of frustration with Viz in 2006--the forgotten Signature line. Viz has an entire houseful of manga that they could bring to Western shores along with the capital and resources with which to do it, further maturing a market and pushing the envelope with exciting and original titles. Yet, there have been no new Signature titles announced since NYCC 2006, a whole year, but a bunch of these safe, most likely forgettable titles. C'mon Viz. Bring back the Pulp in 2007!

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