The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Dog Days

Title: Dog Days
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Seven Arcs/Aniplex
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 2 Apr 2011 – 25 Jun 2011

Synopsis: Athletic middle schooler Shiku Izumi is a one day summoned to another world to become a hero. His task: to defend the Biscotti Republic against the invading Kingdom of Galette through battles. However, the battles are not the terrible bloody clashes that Shinku expects, but instead war games without any true loss of life. As Shinku goes through trial after trial, he finds himself more and more deeply involved with the inhabitants of this new world.

The Highlights
Cute Girls Galore: Not a harem, but come on, you know it’s implied.
Animation: Crisp and clean.
Voice acting: Absolutely superb.
Setting: Surprisingly unique.

At first the cute drawings for Dog Days and the initial premise sounded quite interesting. After all, it seemed like a very satisfying drama could be born from the show. But the second episode revealed the anime’s true colors: it’s really a light-hearted and playful attempt at marketing toward fans of the voice actresses. And despite knowing it was a wolf in sheep’s clothing I fell for it nonetheless.

The story doesn’t actually try to explore anything in depth. It’s simply a vapid shell of the fantasy genre, fulfilling all the instructions in a “How to do Fantasy for Dummies” book and being left at that. Characters are just tropes, with Shinku playing the young protagonist with a kind heart, summoned to a mystical land in which he becomes involved with the beautiful damsel-in-distress Princess Millhiore, as well as a whole cast of uninspired and silly personalities. There’s also no element of surprise, because of the plot-device inspired happy ending can be guessed from a mile away. To top it all of, Shinku has a bunch of cute girls who are friendly and think an awful lot about him.

In terms of animation, the show is crisp. Though never realistic, battles flow smoothly and contain beautifully rendered CG magic while featuring characters visually designed well to fit the show personality-wise and visually. Furthermore, the characters are designed to be slightly comedic: Biscotti’s inhabitants are dogs while the Galletian invaders are lions, and their names are all food inspired. Not surprising, considering the main staff worked on Nanoha.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the show was the spectacular performances brought on by a strong cast, including fan favorites Mizuki Nana, Horie Yui, and Koshimizui Ami. Not the mention Wakamoto Norio himself makes a few minor appearances. Instead of the characters being absolutely intolerable, excellent acting instilled in trite scenes a sense of realism; one notable scene involves Mizuki Nana’s character crying her heart out for long stretches of screen time that felt convincing despite the terrible plot.

Overall, it’s very easy to look back on Dog Days and say, “That anime wasn’t very good.” At the same time I must admit that I had a lot of fun with the show, and it seems like the animators were aiming for such a goal; after all, there’s a lot of references throughout the series to silly things (food and Sasuke aka Ninja Warrior being just two of them). Unfortunately, I can’t say that that the series deserves a higher rating because of the disproportionate amount of fun I had. In the end, it remains an anime that can be watched while focusing on other things, and embodies what I would call an average anime: nothing serious yet fun all the while.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: Kylaran

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