Posted on 29 March 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

And so, I’ll end this Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope the same way I started it: with Inu X Boku SS. This really was a series that got on my nerves a lot. Not because it was bad or anything, but because it’s David Production. These are the guys who always try to do something extra. They take their series, and add stuff, try to do something new and really put thought into how to make their series work best. Inu X Boku did not have that. There were flashes in which it was really good. That’s the reason I originally picked it up to blog. And yet it got side-tracked so often. It’s not like it was full of filler, but instead all of the episodes didn’t even seem to be trying to be engaging, and the underdeveloped cast of side-characters also didn’t help either. It really was just this series that was fun and watchable, but really not much more.

And then the final two episodes aired. And what do you know? They were actually quite brilliant. In fact, save from perhaps Natsume and Chihayafuru, they were the best final two episodes out of the entire season. I did not expect that. At all.

I’m not sure what happened. Suddenly the writing got like 10 times better. In two episodes this series actually succeeded in breathing a tiny bit of life into the bishie genre, which has been so overly polluted during the past few years by the likes of Studio Deen, A-1, Production IG, etc. For the first time since… Kuroshitsuji II I think we’ve gotten another romance involving bishies that is actually really good. The main couple totally redeemed themselves for me here. Like it’s nothing, this series suddenly took all of the build-up of the first 10 episodes, and brought it together, and did it creatively. In fact, this creativity is what set this series above Ano Natsu de Matteru for me. They both are flawed, but where Ano Natsu depended on well executed cliches, this series actually delivered some creative twists that I absolutely loved.

The previous episode was already wonderful in outlining Miketsukami’s background and how everything fits together, I expected this episode to be a boring aftermath again, and it sure started out this way, save for some well written very last minute character development on random side-characters that suddenly made them a lot better. The bartender and his kid in particular. The time capsule was fairly standard for an inconclusive ending… and then Ririchou from out of nowhere realized that she got two letters mixed up. This is a common trope, but I can’t think of another anime in a long time that did this as well as this episode.

It came out of nowhere that this happened, since everyone was treating this as a very sentimental moment, and afterwards the creators went really deep into the characters’ minds. Both Ririchou and Miketsukami were forced to deal with their own insecurities, after the entire series has built them up as being so distant and afraid to show their own feelings. It was an amazing conclusion.

So yeah, reviewing this series will be a bit of a problem: I loved these past two episodes. The majority of the rest of the series though… not so much. I need to get my thoughts sorted out on this a bit.

Overall though: I’ll be keeping my eye out on this new director, because he has shown to be able to get good stuff across in his adaptations. He has flashes of brilliance, but at the same time you can see that he lacks experience, due to all of the wasted potential of this series. If I had to give him one advice, it’s this: keep a leash on your side characters. There are a few who really ruined the fun a bit. The worst offender is the fangirl: she only did one thing over and over. Balance that character out more. You also had this great and colourful cast of characters in the staff of the hotel everyone is staying in, but you hardly ever used them. Such a waste of potential! I know this is an adaptation, but it’s still the job of the anime staff to choose what to focus on, what to cut, and what to spend extra attention on. You may have excellent source material, but if that results in an adaptation like Persona 4′s, then it doesn’t really matter.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

4 Responses

  1. Scruffy says:

    Agree 100% about the last 2 episodes of this show. Last week we finally got to understand why Miketsukami was such a passive character and why he kept on saying that Ririchiyo ‘saved’ him. And this week we finally see them confront each other and their feelings .. and god they made such a cute couple at the end lying on the couch together.

    I find it interesting that we had two characters that really hate themselves, yet somehow it never seemed to be an emofest. I’m not sure how they managed it. As to the annoying side characters, I’d say the prize would go to the SM guy, although he did play an important role in the whole letter saga.

  2. joojoobees says:

    I’m really happy with the way this turned out. It was clear to me where this was going from the beginning, so the weak bits in between were things I tolerated, because I was pretty confident that there was a core story worth telling. If they had trimmed out some of the side characters, they obviously would have ended up with a shorter series, so the convention of the 12 episode series might have been partially to blame.

  3. David A. Young says:

    This show spent a lot of time doing not very much. A lot of it was utterly preposterous, and the internal logic didn’t even make much sense. I should’ve hated this show. But almost every week, something about it made me smile. And the ending really worked, for all the reasons you’ve stated. Sometime I’ll sit down and rewatch the whole thing again. I might even buy it when it comes out on disk. That is not something I thought I’d be saying about this show. I’m not exactly sure why…but I ended up liking it a lot. Win.

  4. fuddle says:

    The slowness of eps 1-10 are indicative of the manga format the anime is based off of. Surprisingly, the anime stayed very true to the manga without much adaptation for the different format (I saw the anime first), although the order of certain events were slightly different. I think the director/producers did a great job of implementing the manga into anime.

    However, while the manga is ongoing, it seems to me like they’re not going for a next season. That mishmash after the closing credits was actually a condensed montage of several manga chapters. There was a certain finality by skipping that much material that would have been the subject matter for any potential second season. It’s like they took the payoff of the last two episodes and cashed in their chips instead of continuing to play.

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