Inukami! (いぬかみっ!?, lit. Dog Gods!) is a Japanese light novel series written by Mamizu Arisawa, with illustrations by Kanna Wakatsuki. The series originally started serialization in volume seventeen of ASCII Media Works' now-defunct light novel magazine Dengeki hp on April 18, 2002. Four more chapters were published until the first bound novel of the series was released, though more chapters were later serialized in the magazine. Fourteen main novels, plus two additional bonus novels with illustrations by Mari Matsuzawa, were published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko label between January 10, 2003 and December 10, 2008. The series revolves around a dog goddess named Yōko and her master Keita Kawahira as they fight against various troublesome spirits. Several more inukami besides Yōko also play an important role, most notably the inukami of Kaoru Kawahira.
A manga adaptation by Mari Matsuzawa was serialized in MediaWorks' now-defunct shōnen manga magazine Dengeki Comic Gao! between October 2005 and February 2008. The manga has been licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment for distribution in North America; the first volume was released in November 2008. A twenty-six episode anime adaptation of the series produced by Seven Arcs aired between April and September 2006 on TV Tokyo in Japan. An Internet radio show was also produced, along with a visual novel released by ASCII Media Works, and a twenty-five minute long film released in Japanese theaters in April 2007. Another light novel entitled Inukami Special Edition was only released as a promotional gift for the animated film.
The word inukami (いぬかみ?) appears to be a corruption of the word inugami (いぬがみ?), a type of Japanese spirit that literally means "dog god". The only difference between the two words is the lack of a dakuten in "inukami". A possible reason is that traditional inugami are considered dangerous spirits, more likely to cause harm than help, and are sometimes used to invoke deadly curses.
Inukami! revolves around Keita Kawahira, a descendant of a Inukami-tamer clan and considered a failure by the clan due to his attitude towards his duty. Inukami, literally "dog god", are benevolent creatures that possess spiritual powers. They are a type of demon with the appearance of a dog who can transform into human form. Along with a partner from the historic Inukami-tamer clan, they act to obliterate evil and proliferate righteousness. Keita is initially unable to find an Inukami to bond with, but eventually a beautiful Inukami named Yoko decides to become his Inukami, causing Keita to become overjoyed. However, his joy is short-lived when he discovers that she is a very problematic and uncontrollable Inukami. From then on, Keita's life becomes filled with never-ending embarrassment.
- Yoko (ようこ Yōko?)
- Voiced by: Yui Horie
- Yoko is the female lead of the series. She has two main abilities. The first is jaen (邪炎?, "evil flame"), where she shoots a coiling strand of fire out of her fingertips. There is also dai-jaen (大邪炎?, "great evil flame"), which is just a larger, more powerful variation. The second ability is shukuchi, an ability which allows her to teleport objects. Although she is generally fearless in the face of evil spirits, she is terrified of normal dogs. Later on in the series, it is revealed that Yoko is not an inukami at all, but rather a kitsune (which would explain her fear of dogs; foxes and dogs are natural enemies) and the daughter of the legendary Dai Yoko. During an escape from Hake, she met the child Keita, who was with her for three days and shared his chocolate cake with her, which became one of her favorite things. Due to this incident, she wanted to become Keita's inukami to make a contract with him. Yoko has feelings for Keita and she gets angry whenever he flirts with other girls. The manga version of Yoko is very child-like, much more mischievous, and has been hinted to be a nine tailed kitsune.
- Keita Kawahira (川平 啓太 Kawahira Keita?)
- Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama
- Keita is the male lead of the series. He was considered a failure by his family due to his attitude towards their ancient duty to vanquish evil, treating it like a part time job, and his initial inability to find an inukami to bond with. Even though Yoko becomes his inukami and is fully interested in him, he has a bad habit of flirting with other girls; it is later revealed that Keita is mortified by the thought that, if he should develop a relationship with Yoko, he might become the father of a litter of puppies, rather than of a human baby. He is frequently punished for his transgressions by Yoko, to whom he had to promise that he would be loyal to her, that he would be hers and that he would be her toy, to do with whatever she wanted, before she would contract with him. He wears a dog's collar as a symbol of this pact — an item he originally intended as his 'vow gift' to Yoko. Yoko has frequently landed him in jail by teleporting him into a public place without his clothes, causing him to be mistaken for a streaker and arrested for indecent exposure. Due to this, he has been named Ra-ō (Naked King) by the city's perverts (male and female alike). When he is naked, his groin is replaced by a child's drawing of an elephant.
- Keita possesses considerable athletic skills, can make frog-shaped talismans up to around the size of his fist from rubber which he can use to make ranged attacks, and is a practitioner of xingyiquan. Despite his flaws, Keita has considerable redeeming qualities; he is determined, usually fearless, and loyal to his friends and to people under his protection. Keita's grandmother is the head of the Kawahira family. She has contracted a male inukami named Hake. In the manga Keita, is a chain smoker and is much more serious than his anime counterpart. He also appears to care for Yoko a great deal, but has problems taking her seriously because of her impulsive and mischievous behavior.
Inukami! began as a series of light novels written by Mamizu Arisawa, and drawn by Kanna Wakatsuki. The series originally started serialization in MediaWorks' now-defunct light novel magazine Dengeki hp with the release of volume seventeen on April 18, 2002. Inukami continued to be serialized in Dengeki hp for another four initial chapters until the release of volume twenty-one of the magazine on December 18, 2002. The following month on January 10, 2003 the first bound volume of the series was published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko publishing label. Volumes continued to be published until December 10, 2008 with the release of the sixteenth novel. Of the volumes, the first fourteen were of the main series, and the fifteenth and sixteenth books, entitled Inukami! EX Wan! and Inukami! EX Wanwan!! respectively, were bonus novels of collected short stories with illustrations provided by Mari Matsuzawa who also drew the Inukami! manga. Another novel entitled Inukami Special Edition was only released as a promotional gift for the animated film. Additional chapters were also serialized in Dengeki hp volumes twenty-three through thirty, thirty-two through thirty-four, and thirty-eight through forty-two. A ten-part original short story compilation is posted online at the anime's official website.
A manga adaptation illustrated by Mari Matsuzawa was serialized in the now-defunct shōnen manga magazine Dengeki Comic Gao! between October 27, 2005 and February 27, 2008, published by MediaWorks. The manga chapters were collected into six bound volumes released by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Comics publishing label between March 27, 2006 and May 27, 2008. A single-volume anthology titled Inukami! Anthology~ was released by ASCII Media Works on September 27, 2006. The anthology was a collaboration between sixteen artists and manga authors, some of which include: Yukari Higa, Mari Matsuzawa, Suiren Shōfū, Keiichi Sumi, Kanna Wakatsuki, and Yasu. The manga has been licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment for distribution in English in North America; the first volume was released in November 2008 and as of July 2010, five volumes have been released. An omnibus collection is to be released in November 2010.
An anime adaptation produced by Seven Arcs and directed by Keizō Kusakawa aired on TV Tokyo in Japan between April 6 and September 28, 2006, containing twenty-six episodes. The episodes were released on nine DVD compilations released between August 9, 2006 and April 4, 2007 in limited edition versions, and between October 4, 2006 and June 6, 2007 in regular versions; the first volume contained two episodes, while each of the subsequent volumes contained three episodes. The series has been licensed in Malaysia by Hong feng Entertainment with an all-region code DVD and is subtitled in English.
Four pieces of theme music were used for the anime: one opening theme and three ending themes. The opening theme is "Hikari" (ヒカリ?, lit. "Light") by Yui Horie and the maxi single for the song was released on May 24, 2006. The main ending theme is "Yūjō Monogatari" (友情物語?, lit. "Friendship Story") by Aice5, and the single was released in limited and regular editions also on May 24, 2006. Episode twelve's ending theme is "Kei no Uta" (ケイのうた?, lit. "Kei's Song") by Nana Mizuki, and episode eighteen's ending theme is "Yūjō Monogatari: Danshi (?) Version" (友情物語・男子(?)バージョン?, lit. "Friendship Song: Male (?) Version) by Super Zō-sans & Rice5. Seven character song albums were released between January 25 and August 23, 2006, and an additional character vocal album entitled Paradiso was released on December 21, 2006. The anime's first original soundtrack was released on September 21, 2006, and the second followed on November 22, 2006.
Internet radio show
An Internet radio show to promote the Inukami! anime series called Inukami! Web Radio: Koinu no Jikan (いぬかみっ! Webラジオ こいぬのじかん?, lit. Inukami! Web Radio: Puppy Time) was released through Starchild Net Radio between May 12, 2006 and May 25, 2007 every week on Friday. The program had fifty-five episodes and was hosted by Kaori Nazuka who played Nadeshiko in the anime, and Shizuka Hasegawa who played Tomohane in the anime. The show's theme song was called "Puppy's clock", and the show also used three theme songs from the anime: "Hikari", used as an opening theme in the twenty-seventh broadcast, "Yūjō Monogatari: Danshi (?) Version" used as an ending theme in the twentieth and twenty-seventh broadcasts, and "Yūjō Monogatari" used as an ending theme in all the other broadcasts. The show contained six corners, or parts to the show, and had several guests to the show who were related to the anime's production who include: Mamizu Arisawa, Jun Fukuyama, Yui Horie, Rika Morinaga. A CD containing some of the broadcasts was later sold on January 24, 2007.
A sound novel, with card game attributes, based on the series was released in limited and regular editions on December 6, 2007 by ASCII Media Works playable on the Nintendo DS; the limited edition version came bundled with a drama CD. The game is titled Inukami! feat. Animation, and like the title implies, parts of the game are animated. Inukami! is one of the few light novels originally published by ASCII Media Works that has been made into a sound novel under DS Dengeki Bunko, a section of ASCII Media Works which produces sound novels playable on the Nintendo DS based from light novels published under ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Bunko publishing label, and was the third such release.
An animated film entitled Inukami! The Movie: Tokumei Reiteki Sōsakan Karina Shirō! (いぬかみっ! THE MOVIE 特命霊的捜査官・仮名史郎っ!?) was produced by Seven Arcs, and directed by Keizō Kusakawa. The film, which only has a runtime of twenty-five minutes, premiered in Japanese theaters on April 21, 2007 as one of the three films released at Dengeki Bunko's Movie Festival, the others being Shakugan no Shana and Kino's Journey. The DVD was released on September 26, 2007 by King Records.
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- Inukami! at ASCII Media Works (Japanese)
- Anime official website (Japanese)
- Inukami! anime at TV Tokyo (Japanese)
- Film official website (Japanese)
- Inukami! at Seven Seas Entertainment
- Inukami! (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia