Sumire UesakaYuka OtsuboHitomi HaradaSayaka Horino
Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2014: I
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2014
Writer/director: Shinpei Nagai
Original creator: Kuzushiro
Actor: Nao Toyama, Sumire Uesaka, Aoi Fujimoto, Erii Yamazaki, Hitomi Harada, Sayaka Horino, Shoko Nagahiro, Yuka Otsubo, Mai Natori
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 three-minute TV episodes + an OVA 13th
Website category: Anime 2014
Review date: 2 April 2015
inugami-san to nekoyama-san
It's amusing, but I wouldn't suggest going out of my way to see it. It's nice. It's based on a 4-panel gag manga about schoolgirl lesbians.
Inugami is a dog-like girl who loves cats, while Nekoyama is a cat-like girl who loves dogs. ("Inu" means "dog" and "neko" means "cat".) More importantly, they live in a World Of Lesbians. This anime contains no men and probably no non-lesbians, although the jury's still out on Inugami's friend Aki Hiiragi. Almost everyone is part of a couple, although that doesn't stop Inugami from flirting. We have:
1. Inugami (dog) + Nekoyama (cat)
2. Nezu Mikine (mouse) + Ushiwaka (cow)
3. Sarutobi (monkey) + Torikai (bird) Nekoyama's older sister, who of course shares her cat-surname and seems to have a different girlfriend every day. Aki's the odd girl out. She doesn't have an animal name and her comedy role is to comment on everyone else's behaviour, so I think the implication is that she's their human owner.
Extra points for noting that the "kai" in Torikai's name suggests specifically a caged bird, Nekoyama's first name means "bell" and Sarutobi's full name suggests "a monkey jumping for the sky".
Anyway, there's nothing particularly important in these episodes. There's innuendo, puns and cheap gags. Emotional depth isn't really a consideration. Girls do girly things and hang out, but with homoeroticism. Inugami is lecherous and shameless, although she's clearly never going to dump Nekoyama and so her characterisation basically boils down to a dirty mind and an active imagination. She's fun. She also tends to be a catalyst for episodes. Nekoyama will have lascivious thoughts too, but she's less open about them.
Do they feel like real people or anime comedy characters? It's somewhere in between, I think, although it fluctuates and there are episodes that are better than others, e.g. the lovers' quarrel in ep.6. That felt believable. I also felt a bit for Sarutobi towards the end, sticking cheerfully with the frail and often bedridden Torikai. That's a human side to a girl who normally comes across as chilly and aggressive. (Monkeys don't like dogs.) Nonetheless this is an amiable and charming show without an ounce of malice, while its animal gimmick works. It's quite an effective trick for injecting instant characterisation, since one's always on the look-out for how any given girl will be living up to her name. Sarutobi didn't strike me as very monkey-like, mind you.
Everyone's confident in their sexuality, by the way. That I appreciated.
I've done a little googling. The lesbian anime fans I found who were talking about this seemed to like it and in some cases found it delightful, although they agree that it's fluff. They preferred it to Sakura Trick, anyway.
It can be funny. It's cute, e.g. Inugami's wagging ponytail in the end credits. You couldn't call it subtle, but at least it's not trying to be coy and pretend-innocent. It also avoids fanservice, for all that it's more than willing to lay on the innuendo with a trowel. It won't change your life and it's basically just a string of light gags, but it's entertaining enough and I don't mind it at all.
"I told you to contact me if you were going to come! Then we could..."
"I did. Over and over, with the voice of my heart."