Thursday 8 November 2012

Anime REVIEW: Dog Days

From anime studio Seven Arcs (responsible for Lyrical Girl Nanoha and erm...Night Shift Nurses) comes Dog Days, a cute and colourful story about a bunch of anthropomorphic animals warring against each other. Or so you might think. Originally a 13 episode series released in 2011, a second 13 episode season (titled Dog Days') was released  earlier this year.

Shinku, our seemingly flawless hero

Athletically-gifted boy Shinku Izumi is summoned to the alternate world of Flonyard, where the humans of various countries have the ears and tails of different animals. There he meets the dog-like Princess Millhiore Firianno Biscotti (of the Biscotti Republic), who summoned him to be their hero and help them win their war against the Galette Lion Dominion and their fierce leader Leonmichelli Galette des Rois (or Leo for short). Shinku finds that rather than it being a war in the Earth-sense, wars on Flonyard are more like mass sporting events which raise funds for the kingdoms involved. As Shinku accepts Millhiore's offer and becomes the hero of Biscotti, the Princess' subjects also frantically search for a way to return the boy home in the next 16 days.

Season two sees Shinku return to Flonyard during his summer vacation, bringing his childhood friend Rebecca and older cousin/rival Nanami along with him. Nanami is chosen to become the hero of Galette, while Rebecca is chosen by the squirrel principality of Pastillage and their leader Couvert to become their hero as the war turns into a three-way Union Festival.

Millhiore, princess of Biscotti

The world of Dog Days has plenty to offer in terms of characters, but few are particularly memorable and none of them really have any real character growth. Shinku is a Mary Sue character through and through, showing no any flaws and demonstrated as vastly superior to everyone else from episode one. The only way the second season tries to balance this out is to bring in another two human characters, who are just as awful in terms of characterisation.

Leo riding her trust Chocobo Cercle.

Everything is beautifully designed, from the floating islands and historically-flavoured cities of Flonyard to the lead cast and Millhiore's randomly placed musical numbers. But despite the effort that clearly went in the landscape and character design, the animation itself often comes off as cheap. The "wars" lack any sort of real scale, along with repeated footage and cgi that sticks out like a sore thumb.

With all these flaws, season two already had a lot to work upon. While the animation has received somewhat of a boost, an extended cast means development is even more thinly spread. On the plus side, it means more screen time for the some of the more interesting characters, such as Biscotti knight commander Éclair and Imperial Guard Unit Génois member Noir. It's just a shame the season also tends to go down a much heavier fanservice route, and features possibly the most discomforting magical girl transformation I've seen in any anime that wasn't hentai. But hey, at least this time they didn't try to cram some sort of "serious" plot into the last few episodes.


Dog Days is a happy-go-lucky series that plays everything as cheery and safe as it can, yet this proves to ultimately be its downfall. With sub-par animation, a paper-thin plot and even thinner characters, this series lacks any ambition or interesting story developments. What could have been an interesting play on the age-old 'rivalry' between cats and dogs is instead an extremely generic series that eventually becomes weighed down by unnecessary fanservice. This dog is going to have to learn some new tricks if it plans to live to see a third season.

1 comment:

Tom Badguy said...

Good review. This doesn't really look that interesting to me. And I don't really like the look of the animation.