Hokazono Masaya Inugami

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0 2720 10/8/2007
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{Please note ~ these are import comics and are not available in English at the time of this review. It can be purchased with the ISBN number below through Japanese bookstores and amazon.co.jp}

vol 1 - 4-06-360439-X (C0179)
vol 2 - 4-06-360440-3 (C0179)
vol 3 - 4-06-360441-1 (C0179)
vol 4 - 4-06-360442-X (C0179)
vol 5 - 4-06-360443-8 (C0179)
vol 6 - 4-06-360444-6 (C0179)
vol 7 - 4-06-360445-4 (C0179)



I love survival horror games, and each and every one seems to have some breed of K-9 ankle biter running around. Zombie dogs are clearly well-loved staples of the genre: so why aren't there any zombie-dog origin stories?!

Well now there is. Sort of...


The end of the world as we know it is at hand, and the inugami (dog gods) guard the gate. Will the world be destroyed and the humans punished? Or will it be renewed and all rewarded?

Shimazaki Fumiki has lost his will to live. Stuck in a school full of "in-the-box" thinkers, he has no interest in academics or getting into the best college he can. Fumiki has the soul of a poet. He often hides himself away in an abandoned building and reads book after book, letting the words transport him.

One day he finds his hideaway invaded by a huge, menacing german shepherd: a german shepherd who apparently likes the sound of Fumiki's voice. Picking up a book in his jaws and handing it Fumiki, he waits intently for the poetry to begin.

After a few book-reading sessions, the dog develops a talent for basic speech and when backed into a corner, sprouts giant razor-sharp spikes from it's forehead. Named "nijyuusan", after the number (23) tattooed inside of his ear, he claims to be in Tokyo to "watch humans".

23 and Fumiki develop an incredible friendship based on their mutual love of poetry, frisbee and tummy-scratching. But all is not well... for there are other "watchers" in Tokyo: dogs who have not had the good fortune to meet kind humans like Fumiki.

My Thoughts

A well-paced action thriller with a ludicrous premise and lovely artwork. It has it's clever moments, a few great jokes and spine-tingling match-ups between the titular "inugami", but what saves it from mediocrity is the chemistry between Fumiki and 23. Their relationship is realistic, convincing and often heartbreaking. The plot, however hard it tries to establish itself, is merely decoration for the series' heart: a simple ode to the love shared between a boy and his dog.

The series begins more strongly than it ends and there's a certain sense that it was "rushed to the finish line". We are introduced to ZERO, 23's arch nemesis straight off the bat, and soon to two other "zombie dogs" who are likely bretheren of the inukami. But after four volumes, the one-on-one match-up format changes quickly to introduce an arc about cloning, tentacles and the end of the world. The end of the world comes a bit too soon.

In spite of the disappointing ending and a few very silly, totally unnecesary plot elements: Inugami is an enjoyable homage to zombie dogs in all their forms. It's also a surprisingly moving friendship story bound to warm the heart of any dog-lover.

Not terribly suitable for minors: gore, death, talk of incest and rape.
Keywords: dog god comic, zombie dogs, manga
Illustrations and Layout Very Good
Entertainment Value Very Good
Replay Value Average
Plot Average
Genre Seinen, Horror, Science Fiction, Pets
Volumes 7


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August 2007

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