In addition to the Petopeto-san vibe, one thing I definitely enjoy about Inu X Boku is that it’s very unconventional. Though the characters are basically a collection of anime archetypes – actually slightly-skewed and clever variants on those archetypes – the storytelling itself is completely unorthodox. It never seems to go just where I expect it to, and doesn’t seem to concern itself too much with the traditional three-act 22-minute formula. What passes for “plot” is usually a razor-thin premise to gently extract a bit of development out of the characters. There are pluses and minuses to that approach, but it’s nothing if not unusual.
I confess I find Soushi to be unremittingly boring, and his incessant fawning over Ririchiyo by far the least interesting element of the show. And there was certainly too much of it this week for mu taste, as the premise this week portioned off the characters into small groups when the Maison’s security system was triggered by a youkai that had hitched a ride on a potted plant won by the genki maid, Chino. I just don’t see much evolution in this relationship – she frets over the building romantic feelings that make her heart flutter and tries to work up the courage not to be tsuntsun, he dotes on her every hiccup and proclaims his unworthiness to be spit upon. Blah, blah – I’m sure there’s a point to this, but frankly she deserves better as a character, and she’s much more interesting when dealing with the others. Alas, that was impossible given the nature of the episode.
Much better, as always, were Karuta and Watanuki – separated by the security system into separate protected rooms, but still thinking of each other. Meanwhile yuri cougar Nobara was lusting after Chino and the hired help were kibitzing in the servant’s quarters. And the one I find myself really wanting to see more of is the enigmatic and deadpan Renshou, who’s getting a home-run performance from Hosoya Yoshimasa. He’s quite the odd man out, never seeming to be too involved in anything and never showing much emotion, but keenly observing when he can be bothered to stay awake. I’d love to find out more about what makes him tick, and he’d certainly make a better pairing for Ririchiyo (who used to have a huge crush on him) than Soushi, though that’ll never happen in a thousand years.
The punchline to all this was that the terribly dangerous monster Soushi described was just a bunch of obariyon, mostly harmless youkai than jump onto your back and don’t let go. The only horrible thing about them is that Soushi was horrified that such a creature touch Ririchiyo, though that’s exactly what happened after Watanuki inadvertently weakened the force field and let them inside. Sensing that he was in danger Karuta stopped mid-meal and went to save him (who’s protecting who, I ask) even though he’d been “training” all night to try and get stronger to protect her. As usual, the plot was just the excuse, and the fun was mostly in watching the nonsense play out – especially Natsume’s toying with Watanuki and Karuta’s oddly silent-film styled adventures preparing dinner. That doesn’t sound like much to build an episode around, but that’s Inu X Boku – go figure if it wasn’t actually pretty good.