When Ririchiyo starts her life in a special apartment complex, the truth of large parts of her past is revealed.
What They Say:
Ayakashi Kan: a mysterious condominium, widely believed to be haunted, where every resident is required to have a personal bodyguard, or Secret Service agent. When the socially inept Ririchiyo moves in, all she’s looking for is a little peace and quiet and some practice at inter-personal communications. However, she quickly discovers that her bodyguard Soushi might not just be foxy; he might actually BE a fox – a fox spirit that is.
In fact, all of Ayakashi Kan’s residents and their agents are more than they seem at first glance. Each and every one of them has both human and non-human ancestors, but that’s okay, because Ririchiyo does too!
Contains episodes 1-13.
The audio presentation for this series is straightforward and solid as we get the original Japanese language in stereo and the new English language adaptation in stereo as well, both of which are encoded with the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is one that is largely dialogue driven with only a few minor moments of action throughout it, so there’s a solid forward soundstage presentation here that does the job well. The characters generally speak one at a time so there isn’t an overly dynamic mix here but the show works it well with dialogue well placed when needed and it comes across cleanly and clearly with no dropouts or distortions during regular playback. The music is the warmest area of the mix and it’s well used throughout and definitely complements the show well.
Originally airing in 2012, the transfer for this TV series and OVA is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second. Animated by David Production, the series has a good look to it with some bold and strong colors and a good bit of detail that comes across well here. The show doesn’t have a lot of high motion animation, even in the action scenes overall, but it has a strong look to it that’s carried through well with the transfer here. Colors are solid and appealing with some good vibrancy throughout and the dark areas holding up well. There’s little to quibble with when it comes to the visual presentation here as it captures the look of the show right and is appealing across the board.
The packaging for this release is presented in a standard sized Blu-ray case with the two discs held against the interior walls. The front cover has a nice ornate border to it that gives it a bit of an extra prestige to it, especially with the black and gray against the darker blues of the main background. The character artwork is pretty decent but almost a touch creepy as we get Soushi and Ririchiyo together where she’s sitting on his lap. There’s a lot of dark colors here which gives it a moody feeling and it has that sense of wealth and superiority about it that works well. The back cover carries the darker colors of the framework of it that gives it that touch of elegance and it fills a lot of it with the white space where the series premise is kept. The cover provides a few shots from the show and a good trio of the girls together looking cute. The production credits are listed clearly and the technical grid along the bottom provides all the information in a straightforward and solid approach.
The menu design for the release uses a lot of the same elements as the front cover with the main piece of it being a gray background with the same framing while the interior has a simple image of Soushi and Ririchiyo together that has them in a kind of awkward position. The left side contains the navigation strip itself, which doubles as the pop-up menu, as we get the purples and blues with some black as well that gives it a distinctive and almost moody feeling to it. The layout is quick and easy to navigate and the set defaults to English with the sign/song subtitles.
The extras for this release are kept to the second disc as we get the single clean opening that exists and the multiple clean closings that runs just under eleven minutes overall.
Based on the manga of the same name by Cocoa Fujiwara which began in 2009 and has a few volumes under its belt so far, Inu x Boku SS is a series from David Production which has been behind series like Ben-To and Ristorante Paradiso. The series is an interesting one right from the start as it revolves around a young woman named Ririchiyo who has convinced her parents that she should be living on her own. Where she ends up though is a place called Maison de Ayakashi in which tenants are assigned their own bodyguard as it’s a very exclusive place. It’s not an overly elaborate or elegant place, but it speaks of some money and design to it that keeps it from feeling like your run of the mill apartment complex.
With the series focusing on Ririchiyo moving into this complex and meeting so many people, it’s easy to connect with her in a basic way as she allows us to see events through her eyes as she gets a feel for the place and the connections she has with some of them as it unfolds. Ririchiyo’s arrival is one that clues us in quickly to her personality as she has a kind of superior attitude to things with how she deals with others, but also the vulnerabilities to her that are just below the surface. She’s casually dismissive of people, but there are those internal moments where you can see her struggle with it as well, giving us a character that may be familiar but has a bit more going on from the get go without it being all over the top from the get go.
Ririchiyo’s arrival at the complex is not an isolated event as those who reside there do get a secret service bodyguard to protect them since they have that supernatural connection and all of those families are connected to wealth. Ririchiyo ends up with a young man named Soushi who himself comes from one of these families as he has a supernatural side to him as well. He’s a complete servant to her and make sit clear that his life is utterly in service to her in a way that she’s not exactly looking for..We see a lot of interesting things about Soushi with how he wants to do everything he can for her and just how much detail he pays to everything she does, making it pretty clear just how far he’ll go to make sure all of her needs are met. Soushi’s pretty subservient throughout the series, but as it progresses and their relationship changes, we get more nuggets of who he really is and why he is like he is.
And that sussing out of who he is, and who Ririchiyo is, is what largely defines the series. Ririchiyo’s situation is what gets most of the attention as we see how she was treated in her family because of her lineage and ability, which made it hard for her to connect with others since she was treated in such a certain way. We can sympathize with her well as it goes along and you see how hard she had it, but also the way she struggled to get past it through creative ways that she plays down or just outright denies. The more time she spends with Soushi has her questioning more of herself as well, especially since she finds herself with an irregular heartbeat over the way she thinks of Soushi, not realizing that she’s developing feelings for him. It’s a very slow progress over the series for these two to get to the point of admitting things, but they both have to be freed from themselves in certain ways first which allows it to work well.
Naturally, the complex is populated with a few other characters, those of the supernatural descent and those that guard them, as well as some appearances by Ririchiyo’s arranged fiancee who is a comical sexualized drama king that definitely goes over the top. The residents and their guards are fun, especially Watanuki, a young man who is a small tanuki who has some real problems with how he’s perceived. There’s also the kind of otherworldly Karuta, an attractive young woman who just loves to eat and note unusual things about how the world works. Watanuki’s interest in Karuta is simply but comical with how it unfolds since he’s just wearing his emotions on the sleeve. With the residents and bodyguards, there’s a fair number of characters and they all play their part in helping Ririchiyo to realize that she can have friends, and a different sort of family, so their roles may be small but it’s all connected in the end.
The twelve episodes of the series tell a pretty good tale overall about a young woman who finally makes it out on her own – in a way – and works to discover who she is and what she can mean to others. When I watched this in simulcast form, it took several episode before I got into the groove of it, but seeing it in marathon form here makes things clearer earlier on and the ties that bind it work a lot better. When viewing the relationship between the two leads and seeing that it is much more than just a goofy master/servant motif that it initially bills itself as, there’s definitely a lot to like as it goes for a simple approach and lets the characters and their quirks take center stage. The more I got to know Ririchiyo, especially in this form rather than weekly, the more I liked her and the way it went for the silly without overemphasizing it. This is a fun little show with a good heart and a very amusing OVA that provides a touch of epilogue that makes you smile after all the emotional outpouring.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD Ma 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closings
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 9th, 2013
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.