by Yukiya Sakuragi; adaptation by Ian Reid and John Werry
published by Viz; $9.99 US
I do love this series. I know it’s predictable and flawed — it’s almost a case study in the way it infantilizes its two-dimensional heroine — but it makes me so happy to read it. How can you not enjoy being reminded of how dogs make people happy?
After getting hired at the pet shop in Book 1 to take care of the dogs, now Suguri has to learn to sell them. Except for the owner, it’s not about making money; it’s matching the right pet with the right person to take care of it. Staying in the shop is better than going home with a bad owner.
Of course, some of the story events are unbelievable. Noa, the owner’s dog, is often smarter than Suguri and behaves a little too much like a person in the opening chapter. Suguri’s dog Lupin, a character in his own right, is darn near psychic this volume, sharing his toy with a store puppy and kicking off a chain of events that ends up saving the puppy’s life.
Other pieces are formulaic. When we first see the shy geek character, we know that he’s going to end up with a dog as a way to start coming out of his shell and relating to another living being. What I didn’t know, though, is that he’d continue to be used as a way to drop background knowledge on breeds and behavior on the reader. That’s clever — it takes the in-character fanboy trait of showing off encyclopedic knowledge and puts it to good story use.
Similarly, when we see the popular actress filming a commercial with the dog in danger from becoming too old to sell … we know how that one’s going to end up, too. But watching it play out is comforting.
The last story is a bit more unusual. Kim is a Korean afraid of dogs, but since he’s got a crush on Suguri, he’s going to fight to overcome his fear. The two compare notes on their different cultures and discuss the Japanese Shiba breed. It looks like we’ll get more Kim next book, which I look forward to, because he’s a nice contrast to all the crazy dog people.
Just as dogs treated with love love their owners no matter what they look like, this book, approached on the level it asks, rewards the reader. And the detailed dog drawings are still darling.