One day Fumiki meets a strange dog at the factory. A dog who can understand human speech and push blades out from its forehead. The mysterious number "23" is carved onto its ear. Although there are many unsolved mysteries about the beast, the two begin to communicate and build trust. "23" arrived at the town following the voice of a higher power which said, "Observe mankind." Meanwhile a giant organization is moving behind the scenes to capture "23." The leader Kiryu wants "23" so that he can control "Tokoyonokuni, the land across the ocean of the dead, ancestors and human spirits. A paradise of eternal life and decadence."
If a series that starts with a wolf with spikes coming out of its head (and occasionally rats, cats, or dogs) that turns into an apocalyptic story with lots of over the top pseudoscience sounds appealing, then you should probably read this!
There is a lot more action than characterization going on, but the characters are average at worst, although pretty much the weakest part of the story. The weepy sidekick female in particular is bad.
Art is old school decent. Sometimes the action breaks down a little, and there are quite a few unnecessary panels, but the style as a whole is pretty enjoyable. Especially when
things like a wolf with spikes out of its head is jumping 15 stories and landing on a car, for instance.
In the time that has passed since Inugami has been published, I haven’t ever come across a story quite like it. Elements of the story (genetic take-over) have been used in a variety of other series—manga, books, movies—but they’ve never been quite so impacting.
Inugami never dawdles over its own arcs, it never introduces any elements that aren’t resolved and it never contradicts itself. Each element is explained and there’s no way you can be confused about what’s happening.
Inugami is a perfect example of the horror genre, with a mix of action and thriller thrown in.
Being published mostly in the 90’s, Inugami’s art
style is exactly what you expect—realistic, proportionate, even familiar. Masaya Hokazono, the artist, is exceptional in his attention to detail in the two-page spreads, and even in some single-panel shots. Characters covered in fur, trees, even the high-rise buildings are drawn with every single crease or line added in.
The normal human characters aren’t anything special, but I found I even recoiled in horror (teehee) when they were in pain. The blood and gore scenes are especially…entertaining…with body parts flying everywhere and blood splattered on each surface nearby.
Inugami’s characters are nice, but they aren’t great when you come to think of it. They just fulfil the roles they were given, but don’t do much else. We are told to feel something for even minor characters, but I had to flick back a few pages to try and remember whom they were.
The main characters, Fumiki, 23 and the bad dude, are all that really matter in Inugami. Fumiki changes and evolves as the series progresses, seeming mature in some parts, but quite childish in others. In the final few volumes, characters became quite repetitive and I skimmed over some dialogue.
I wanted to find horror and I found what I wanted in Inugami. This series took me down a path that I had only been down once before (The Fury by John Farris) and sated my need for violence and horror. I waited with baited breath, watching how everyone would react to one thing and how they would deal with crisis.
When the ending came, I felt gratified to have read something so fulfilling.
Overall it’s an 8.25 (8), since that’s the average of the scores. :3