by Yukiya Sakuragi; adapted by Ian Reid
published by Viz; $9.99 US
The competitors introduced in Book 10 have stepped up their tactics in this volume, but friend-of-the-store (and bar hostess) Chizuru isn’t going to let them get away with anything.
I was pleased to see store owner Teppei get a chance to demonstrate his knowledge and maturity when dealing with a difficult customer, one who owns a dog to play into his fierce self-reputation and his bullying ways. It’s the male version of pet as accessory to bolster one’s ego; in this case, he’s also using it as a way to pretend to be more macho than he is. While Teppei believes in excellent service to their customers, he also knows that it protects their dogs to choose their customers. Some aren’t worth the effort, because they aren’t or won’t be good dog owners.
The “spy in the shop” story (a worker sent by the competition) is wrapped up in a surprising fashion with potential for the book’s future. (Well, surprising to me, anyway, since I didn’t expect it to be shuffled quite so far offstage so quickly.)
The second half of the book introduces a new competition for Sugari (similar to the agility trials of Book 5). The shop boss wants her and Lupin to compete in K-9 Freestyle dog dancing as promotion for the store. The competitors are participating in the contest as well, although they’ve enlisted a ringer.
The plotline may seem reminiscent of an earlier story, but a competition is a great way to bring drama into the storyline, both for Sugari and the store. Plus, the athletic elements allow for showing sexy-cute girls’ bodies. It’s key, sometimes, if you’re reading for the dogs, to remember that this is considered a young men’s manga in its home country.