The final volume of Inu x Boku SS is here! How does the series wrap up? Read on to find out!
Title: Inu x Boku SS
Genre: Drama, romance
Publisher: Square Enix (JP), Yen Press (US)
Creator: Cocoa Fujiwara
Translation: Sheldon Drzka
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Review copy provided by Yen Press
This is the final volume of Inu x Boku SS, and there’s a lot to wrap up. The news of Kagerou’s defeat has shaken everyone, and the residents of Ayakashi Hall are forced to split up due to the return of the Night Parade. With their trusted advisor under suspicion, can Ririchiyo and the others fulfill their alternate selves’ wishes?
The first thing you’ll notice about this volume is that it is incredibly thick. Inu x Boku SS Volume 11 clocks in at around 275 pages and is still offered at Yen Press’ usual MSRP. (As a comparison, the previous volume was around 175 pages.) The length alone makes it feel like you’re getting rewarded for sticking around until the end.
The extra pages are also well-appreciated from a story perspective. The lives of several generations (and universes) of throwbacks are on the line. While Kagerou had seemed to learn about Mikoto’s motivations, the rest of the group (and readers) are still in the dark. Author Fujiwara takes advantage of the extra chapters to delve into Mikoto’s past and explain the history of the Night Parade. The actual confrontation takes up a good portion of the volume, but it may not be the epic action showdown many hope for. Inu x Boku SS has always been more about the emotional struggles rather than the physical, and this continues right up until the end. I actually think this is where Inu x Boku SS excels, so I am glad Fujiwara didn’t try to turn the series into something it’s not right at the very end. The previous volumes had enough mood and genre swings.
The final chapter acts as an epilogue and brings with it a satisfying conclusion. We as readers get a glimpse into the futures of Ririchiyo and her friends, and everyone else gets at least a quick “I’m okay!” check-in. Several couples are confirmed along with hints at some additional, surprising ones. The finale also raises more questions on how timelines and the rebirths work in the manga’s world. Time travel manga tend to be confusing, and Inu x Boku SS doesn’t really work hard to smooth out the logistics. Oh, well. At least the group’s other selves are not forgotten.
Fujiwara’s art is in top form in the series send-off. Rather than stuffing as much text into the manga, the expanded page count lets the art carry much of the story. Two-page spreads with no dialogue will have you on the edge of your seat wondering if Inu x Boku SS will end up dripping with tragedy. The characters smile broadly at their reunions and cry at their separations. I couldn’t help but get misty eyed in a couple of places. (Although that may be because I’ll never see anymore of Fujiwara’s art unless one of her older works is licensed.) This is the kind of manga I would love to see get the full-color treatment.
Volume 11 continues with the change in translator, who took over in the previous volume. While the translator keeps most of the conventions and choices of the previous translator, the text still feels a little off. It’s probably something most people won’t notice if they haven’t read the first nine volumes in a while, but I could tell. One particular character’s speech seems quite different, and while I know this volume is serious in tone, I think I had just grown accustomed to the original adaptation. It’s probably the most disappointing thing about this volume, but that’s no reflection on Fujiwara’s work.
If you’ve followed Inu x Boku SS since the beginning, there’s little reason to be unsatisfied with this final outing. With a good story, a couple of twists, and excellent art, Fujiwara saved the best volume for last.