Ruff Love by Tamaki Kirishima: B-

Taketora is a struggling writer of historical fiction who makes his living working at his uncle’s bar. One day, as he’s coming home from work, feeling down in the dumps about his career, he discovers a young man (with requisite ears and tail) in his backyard who claims to be Shiba, his grandfather’s beloved dog, returned to life as a human in order to repay his former owner’s kindness. Shiba initially mistakes Taketora for his grandfather, but after the misunderstanding is sorted out, vows to serve Taketora instead. Taketora soon grows used to Shiba’s cheerful presence, and before too long realizes he’s fallen in love with the erstwhile pooch.

Ruff Love makes with the creepy almost immediately. With a mature rating and an explicit content label on the cover, one knows what will eventually transpire between the two leads. But with what is the table of contents page decorated? Cute widdle paw prints. A photo of Shiba in his original form only reinforces the idea that THIS IS A DOG. During every explicit scene thereafter, the recollection that THIS IS A DOG is inescapable.

However, if one can get past all of that, the story is actually pretty amusing. The focus is more on Taketora’s suddenly busy life than it is on the sex, and there are a few genuinely funny panels, like those in which Akatsuki (another dog-person who moves in with Taketora and Shiba) entertains himself by playing with a frog. There’s a small amount of angst—Shiba becomes convinced that his presence is causing Taketora’s health to decline—but for the most part, it’s light-hearted fun.

Verdict: Definitely creepy, and yet still better than The 9 Lives.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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