by Yukiya Sakuragi; adapted by John Werry
published by Viz; $9.99 US
It’s a good thing that I’ve had years of practice reading “boy comics”, material that, regardless of whether it’s appropriate and in spite of what’s going on in the story, position their female characters as eye candy for the male reader. If I didn’t, I’d have given up on this series long before now.
This particular volume was a real challenge in that area. I’ve mentioned the fan service before — the pinup shots of Suguri in bathing suits, or panels framed to show her panties — but never has it been more prominent than in this installment.
In the previous volume, we met Serina, young wife of a successful baseball player. She wants to have kids, but her friends know that she’s too immature and selfish to be a good mother, so they suggest she practice by getting a dog first. Taking care of an animal will show her how to think about something other than herself. As this book opens, Serina has decided to return her puppy, Milk (a white Maltese), because she’s jealous that Milk pays more attention to her husband than to her. In order to encourage her to put in the hard work needed, instead of giving up as soon as things get difficult, pet shop worker Suguri decides to translate dog behavior for Serina.
This consists of her putting on a dog outfit and spending the night at Serina’s apartment. OK, that’s a bit wacky, but part of Suguri’s charm is her dedication, her heart, and her empathy with pets. However, if I were to decide to wear a dog costume for the better part of the day, I’d make sure it had pants. You know, for crawling around on hands and knees and such? Suguri’s outfit isn’t so practical. It’s mostly a shift/minidress that barely covers her butt, all the better to show off her frilly panties frequently. It’s also got knee-sock-high paw leggings, elbow-length paw gloves, a hood with ears, and a huge tail. She spends half the book in this outfit or a similar bunny suit. This volume is definitely one for the furries.
So why do I keep reading? Because I like the stories about dogs and their owners overcoming challenges to bond and form satisfying relationships. And the dogs are just drawn so darn cute! Even though Suguri’s being put on display visually, it’s not particularly sexual, more adorable.
The messages aren’t bad, either. I’ve known people like Serina, those who think that things will suddenly be great if only they get married/settle down/have a kid. They don’t realize that they are responsible for shaping their own lives and their own behavior. Seeing her grow up a little bit was heart-warming. I also really enjoyed Suguri’s lessons on how a dog thinks. It was a fun look at a different mindset, how pets interpret our behavior in unexpected ways.
The second storyline involves the store workers trying to come up with creative new products with which owners can play with their dogs. They develop a virtual walking machine, a chase game, and other ideas using Suguri’s insight into pet psychology. Lupin’s also a help, since he’s quite smart and often solves problems in unexpected ways. (The publisher provided a review copy.)