Saturday, January 11, 2014

Inu x Boku Secret Service, Complete Collection (anime TV series), via DVDs

I originally watched Inu x Boku Secret Service via Crunchyroll. I liked it enough to buy the DVD release when I spotted it in a Rightstuf sale. Since I've already written a post about this series, I'll be focusing more on the re-watch experience and how I felt about the DVD release. There will be no watch-alikes or read-alikes listed at the end of this post.

Story-wise, the criticisms in my first post still stand. I could have done without the fanservice featuring 15-year-old Ririchiyo. Also, there are a lot of problematic elements in this series. The romance between Ririchiyo and Soushi is something that only works on a fantasy level – in real life, the depth of Soushi's devotion would be disturbing. The guy has absolutely no emotional balance, even by the end – his entire life and being is focused on Ririchiyo.

Despite the series' problematic elements, I enjoyed it. In fact, I think I may have enjoyed it even more than I did during my first viewing. Rather than spending the whole time wondering if Soushi was a liar who was going to betray Ririchiyo at some point, I knew what sort of person he was right from the start. He really was that devoted to Ririchiyo, and he really did see himself as someone who was dirty and beneath her. Out of the whole cast, Soushi was probably the most interesting character, followed by Ririchiyo, but you can't understand quite how interesting he is until you've seen episode 11.

During my re-watch, I found myself wishing that some of the other characters besides Soushi and Ririchiyo had gotten a closer look. Kagerou, for instance, was revealed to be a much more sensitive and complex person near the end of the series, but viewers are only given the tiniest peek at this other side of him. I also wanted to know more details about what the other characters' childhoods were like.

One thing I had forgotten I hated: the half-gloves used in the Secret Service character designs. Full gloves would have been less distracting.

For my DVD re-watch, I had the English dub turned on. I intended to switch over to Japanese with English subtitles if the English dub proved to be too annoying, but it was actually pretty good. My favorites were Shelley Calene-Black as Nobara and David Matranga as Kagerou – both characters were over-the-top perverted, and both voice actors absolutely nailed those roles. In fact, I might actually prefer David Matranga to Tomokazu Sugita as Kagerou.

I only had a few complaints about the dub. First, some of the lines seemed off, like the emphasis was in the wrong place. Second, there were several instances of bad mouth flap matching. I'm not a stickler for this, but it was a little distracting when the character's mouth had stopped moving a couple seconds earlier and the voice actor was still finishing up their line. Third, in episode 6, either Chris Patton was having some fun and someone decided it would be a good idea to include it in the final dub, or they recorded another voice actor instead of Chris Patton. In the bit after the closing credits, Soushi had one line...which he said in a deep, rough voice that was completely different from his usual voice. Soushi's Japanese voice actor didn't speak any differently than usual during this part, so, like I said, either Chris Patton was having some fun, or it was a different voice actor. If this was done on purpose, I'm not amused – this kind of thing is fine for blooper reels, not for final dubs.

One thing the DVD boxed set included that Crunchyroll did not was a 13th episode, the OVA. It takes place some unknown time after the 12th episode and features crazy fanservice. In one part, Soushi was trying to encourage Ririchiyo to be more comfortable with him touching her by transforming first into a child and then into a woman. In another, the characters played “house” together. Soushi's actions with “Mama” Ririchiyo prompted the older brother of the little girl who inspired everyone to start playing in the first place to say “Um. Please refrain from making it [playing house] weirdly graphic.” It's not at all vital to see the episode, and, actually, it left me wondering if Soushi would be able to handle having a “normal” relationship with Ririchiyo.

All in all, this turned out to be very re-watchable, although now I kind of want to read the manga just to see if it answers some of the questions I'm left with.


The selection of extras is extremely skimpy, limited to “clean” opening and closing videos. In this case, there are quite a few closing videos to show, since nearly every character had their own closing sequence, featuring music sung by the character's Japanese voice actor. I would have preferred it if each closing had been listed separately, but I'm still glad that they were all included.

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