Name: Dog Days
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Summary: In the land of Fronaldo, the Republic of Biscotti has been aggressively attacked by the Lion Kingdom of Galette. Facing potential defeat, Princess Millhiore summons a hero who can save the country. What she gets is Izumi Shinku, a middle-school boy from Japan. Awaiting him in Fronaldo is the task of becoming hero enough to defeat his enemies while learning the peculiar rules of battle in this strange new world.
Review: I felt that I should get some of the bad anime out of the way first before getting into the good stuff. I’m a man who likes to end on high notes. Truth be told though, Dog Days was probably one of the better of the worst if that makes sense. There were a couple things they did right and a few things they did wrong. Many of the anime I give a poor review for are usually because they anger me or disgust me in some way. Dog Days is one of those anime that didn’t necessarily do something that made me hate it, but I wasn’t entertained to the fullest. It basically gave me highs and lows of “Oh this is lame…” to “Hey not bad let’s see how this goes”. Sorry if I stumble here and there because this anime was so mediocre that I will find it hard to push one way or the other.
The art style was great and definitely met today’s standards. It had bold lines and solid coloring. One of the biggest points were during the battles. They not only wow’ed me with great flashy fights, they also did some beautiful lighting effects. I would say that not many people tend to take notice of things like flicking fires on a character’s face, or dark shadows due to the sun being at a certain angle. I remember a specific battle scene that I absolutely fell in love with. Not only did it help move the story along, it also really shined the anime’s artistic value. It had everything ranging from magic rune circles to old fashioned weaponry. Some of the concept designs for the weapons made it seem somewhat believable. They didn’t move too far off from the classic look yet made it seem like something brand new. My personal favorite being the axe with a flail attachment. Sure I’ve seen it before in video games and possibly other anime, but I really liked the way Dog Days drew it out. A small knit-picking that probably most people wouldn’t care so much about. Of all the art I would say the best came out when you first see the special moves from the higher level fighters. As a fan of action anime I tend to get tired of the overly flashy because I feel that it takes away from the basic, raw attacks I grew to know and love. Often times these super-magic-cool-pew-pew moves are incoherent and don’t really make much sense. Dog Days made the special moves look quite different from the regular hack-and-slash, but didn’t go overboard with it. Quite pleasing to the eye and mind.
The story is where Dog Days dropped in standing. It wasn’t that the story was absolutely atrocious, it had some good parts to it; it just didn’t have the hook I was looking for. I felt that the initial setup created a downward slope for the rest of the series. My biggest issue was this new world our hero was dropped into. In this magical world there is apparently an all-loving aura that prevents anyone from dying or suffering permanent damage. It made things seem rather pointless and kind of gave me the feeling that this was going to be a kiddy anime. I was proven wrong later in the series (roughly eight episodes in) when things really started coming together. The original thing that started to turn me away from the anime came back to actually create a decent plot. However, the anime still had kiddy aspects that followed through until the end. The battles fought between nations were done for sport. That brought down the suspense when big name bruisers had a go at it. The nations that lost wouldn’t suffer any great losses, and the fact that no one died brought the excitement down to dismal levels. That being said I still enjoyed the action scenes because of the art. They made them look good at least. Unfortunately they had absolutely no meaning to me which made me think that the series had no real point considering the entirety of Dog Days centers around these battles. The anime did do a good job taking a step in the right direction. Toward the later half the series I found myself excited for the next episode. Curiosity got the better of me only leave me disappointed in the end. It did have a great ride for the main story plot though. They filled in moderately heavy action, decent background stories, and some heartwarming moments between the two queens. The biggest problem was that I felt everything they did had already been done a thousand times before. Nothing new was brought to the table and to be brutally honest I thought multiple times to myself, “Cheesy…”. That’s never a good sign and brings me to my next point: characters. The characters of the series were far from enjoyable. I wouldn’t say that any stood out in particular as disliked, but they none were liked either. To sum it up in two words, I was feeling net neutral. The characters didn’t have anything to offer because the story was so overplayed. If you have read any of my other reviews where I talk about characters you would know that relatable characters are a big thing for me. Dog Days just couldn’t do that for me.The final little jab I want to take at this anime is the ending. it was doing great by having a seemingly bittersweet ending. Even as the final minutes were ticking down in episode twelve it seemed like it was going to wrap up the way it should. Alas, it ended in the very predictable and happily-ever-after situation like many other anime of this genre. It was these final moments that finally did in the anime for me and made me turn away in disappointment.
WARNING! A quick little rant that may or may not ruin the ending
Final statements: The series did a good job with the art and battle sequences. Sad to say that is as far as it goes. The story started off poorly and started to pick up toward the end. However, Dog Days didn’t quite pull it off and leaves me considering it an avoid watch. I’m expecting a couple OVA releases which I might check out. I hope they don’t bring out another season for their sake.