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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 Keita 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 and being unable to find an Inukami to bond with. 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. At first Yoko is shown to be selfish and just thinks of herself, to help with this problem Keita's cousin Kaoru sends one of his Inukamis, Nadeshiko over to help. Keita becomes attracted to Nadeshiko however and Yoko is thrown into a jealous rage, this is subdued when Keita's grandma's Inukami Hake calms Yoko down stating that Nadeshiko's visit was short and only to help Yoko. After Nadeshiko leaves Yoko grows closer to Keita although she is annoyed by Keita's flirting with the rest of karou's inukamis when they go to visit.
Things later get heated up when Keita fight a shinigami in order to save the last heir of a wealthy family from death, Yoko ends up beating the shinigami, however Keita sees what appears to be a large fox where Yoko was fighting in the end as he blacks out. Towards the end everyone is getting ready to celebrate Keita's grandma's birthday, a special guest who is a giant frog appears looking for Keita, Yoko mistakes him for a perverted frog but learns that the frog's name is Hakusan Meikun. Hakusen, a fallen wizard tells Yoko how he was chosen by Keita and thus became free from a sentence he was serving after making a contract with Keita, in return Hakusan gave him magic abilities. Yoko after hearing the story becomes jealous and worried that she might get replaced something that is noticed by Nadeshiko. Yoko has a secret hidden and feels guilt, to help with this Nadeshiko suggests confessing to her like she would to Keita with her eyes closed, Yoko agrees and as she is confessing Nadeshiko slips away and is replaced by Keita who overheard Yoko talking to her. Stunned by seeing Keita by her side Yoko apologizes to Keita that she did not tell him sooner, something Keita does not care about. Keita states he likes Yoko for Yoko, reminds that he chose her and asks to stay by her side. Overjoyed by what Yoko takes as a confession of love to her, she also confesses that she scared away the other Inukamis who were in fact interested in him when he was looking for one in order to have him all to herself and confesses her love to Keita.