A doggone good start to a fun little series.
Writer/Artist: Mamizu Arisawa and Mari Matsuzawa
What They Say
Inukami: a sacred being with a dog-like appearance that forges a contract with a powerful human tamer to help them eliminate evil monsters and demons.
Though Kawahira Keita is the descendent of a long line of Inukami-tamers, he seems to lack the necessary ability and has been forsaken by his family. One day, he meets a cute Inukami named Yoko, who, at first glance, looks graceful, obedient, and beautiful... but upon forging a contract with her, Keita discovers that Yoko is a wild and mischievous Inukami that no one has ever been able to control.
The cover here presents a nice image of Yoko, back turned and tail prominently displayed. The colors here have a washed out, soft feel to them, which is a nice touch. The back cover presents a quick summary along with a cute little image of Keita and Yoko. The paper used here is a bit thin, but not excessively so. A number of bonus images, comics, and notes from people related to the project are included, as well as translation notes. Text reads smoothly, honorifics are maintained, and sound effects are left in their original form and translated.
The art in this book is certainly solid, but hardly anything that stands out. A moderate amount of detail is included, backgrounds appear when needed and look fine, and character designs are easy to tell apart.
Kawahira Keita is young boy whose family has been Inukami trainers for generations. This means that they make a pact with Inukami (dog spirits), and use them to combat evil. Unfortunately, Keita is something of a failure, having been unable to make contact with an Inukami in his childhood. Luckily for him, he is now being given a second chance thanks to the request of a certain Inukami. Excited by this news, Keita rushes off and discovers her: the beautiful Inukami Yoko. He quickly fulfills his part of the contract, giving her a necklace as proof of it. However, it quickly becomes that apparent that Yoko is not exactly obedient, as she rushes into town without completing the contract. This leaves Keita with diminished spiritual powers, making him easy prey to evil spirits. Desperate, Keita rushes into town, having been given Yoko’s weakness by the clan leader’s Inukami, Hake. He finds her and, though she is able to steal his secret weapon with her power Shukuchi, which allows her to transport objects, she accidently unleashes it on herself. As it turns out, she is an Inukami that is afraid of dogs. After a few more twists, Keita finally manages to complete the contract with the wild Inukami, making them partners.
From there, the two start living there day to day lives together, with Yoko teasing Keita plenty, and Keita proving himself to be a bit of a pervert. We also start to learn more about the world of the Inukami, and the pair become particularly involved with the 10 Inukami of Keita’s cousin Kaoru. These Inukami include the timid Nadeshiko, the little prankster Tomohane, and the man hating Igusa. We also meet the paranormal investigator Karina Shiro, and the wandering cat Tomekichi.
As the book comes to a close, Keita and Yoko have become rather close and have begun to trust one another. In the final parts of the book, we are also introduced to what appear to be key plot points: mystical artifacts left behind by a wizard by the name of Sekidosai, which seem to have the power to grant desires. The first is a genie in bottle which only appears to drunks, seemingly granting one’s desire in exchange for liquor, which leads to an amusing chapter in which Keita is left trying to reassemble the events of a drunken night from his patchwork memory. The final chapter of the book is dedicated to another of these relics, a mechanical rooster that reacts to strong desires. A raving mad otaku manages to get a hold of it at Keita’s school and uses it to create his own catgirl paradise. Will Keita and Yoko be able to put a stop to the insanity, or will Keita end up forever trapped in a girl’s swimsuit?
With a main cast that plays well off one another and a solid setup, Inukami makes for quite a fun little read. The series manages to come up with a number of unique little scenarios for its characters, quite a few of which are absolutely hilarious. Unfortunately, the overarching plot of story still seems a bit bare, with key elements only just starting to appear near the end of the book. Hopefully the second half of the story will manage to really pick up in that regard, because other than that, this is quite the charming little book.