Let me tell you a quick story of a man who was bored one lovely, chilly evening. He sat in front of the shining monitor as the dark of the night surrounded him, and thought to himself ‘What should I watch now?’. To the dismay of his heart and mind, he hath stumbled upon the wonder of a simple name: Dog Days. And now, two days later, he whimpers in despair and cursing his past self for ever being bored.
TL;DR – pros/cons
+ Some great action scenes
+ Good sound effects
+ Not the worst thing ever
– Plotholes galore
Dog Days opened up as a chill, action-packed light adventure with colorful cast of characters and endless possibilities within its world, only to end up as an over-bloated mess that’s so full of itself it makes most of the things you’ve seen seem coherent. Maddeningly, the idea of such descent is taken to the high ground here, and pummeled through like a wench in a brothel, day in and night out. Let’s dive right into it.
Story of Dog Days is not only an incoherent mess, but it dares take itself seriously with the premise of wars where literally no one dies, and people are fighting just for fun. The moment you set up your story and world in such a way, you have lost any possibility of tension so, please, just take the idea and run with it. Half of the anime is about bubbly fun and laughter, while the other half tries to get you pumped with random events that someone’s ass shot straight out, pretty much destroying itself in the process. Not only is the story full of plotholes and deus-ex-machina (for anyone still wondering what those two terms mean, watch this show and then try to put all pieces together), but it also makes unnecessary tonal shifts in the process that demean its entire purpose. It turns from a light-hearted adventure into a painful mess, and it does so with pride. Unfortunately so, because this could have been so much better if it had simply stuck to its premise, and showed us some cool stuff instead of trying to evoke “the feels”.
Dialogue is another thing in this anime that is absolute garbage. Times like this I wish MAL would implement a separate category for dialogue alone, because here it’s by far the worst thing. “Even though I may not be able to hold onto my memories, I’ll never forget you.” – in which seamless hell does this sentence make any sense, I do not know, but Dog Days is full of them. And it’s not like they can just slip your eyes – they’re usually those climax moments, and they stick with you, damaging your brain beyond repair. If any two humans talk in the ways characters within this anime do, I fear for humanity.
When I first said that the anime should have stuck with its premise, I meant it – because in the terms of art and sound, it really is above average. It has some great, and I actually mean great, action scenes here and there, and it looks visually pleasing despite the designs of the characters. While it may be stiff at times, and certain things (like first concert) obviously lack any detail, I was positively surprised at how well the action scenes played out – from special effects, choreography, angles and even rhythm of battles. Definitely a high point of the anime and, if you’re someone who enjoys good action and doesn’t mind everything else being shit, you’ll love Dog Days.
Sound, on the other hand, is more of a hit-and-miss; I never managed to get used to the voice of the main character, and a few others, and yet some gave superb performance. There are very few memorable songs, but one will stick with you. In addition, sound effects were another surprise, because for the most part they fit near perfectly; it’s obvious studio put a lot of effort into production, and it shows, so it’s a shame the source material had to be dog shit.
From high to low, we come to the characters – while not as bad as the story, there are about 2 characters that I even barely enjoyed through. Our main character, Hero-kun, is your every shounen lead ever, spouting one liners about “protecting”, “saving”, and god-knows what not. Although he does have a few cool moments (most during the fighting sequences though), he’s about as interesting as me – meaning not at all.
Anime boasts a huge, HUGE, cast of supporting characters, none of which are really that impressive. The main drive for the entire story was a supposed smart leader, Leo-sama, trusting the “foretold future” while it’s established within the universe of the anime that it’s far from reliable. Other than that, you can find just about any stereotype you can think of here – cute, innocent princess, hotheaded mini-tsundere, cute super-hyper loli, etc. etc. While the characters weren’t horrible, they’re things you’ve seen many-a-times before, and unfortunately, because of the size of the cast, we learn jack-shit about any of them. We learn more about a character that appeared halfway through the anime than the MC’s 2nd love interest. Talk about priorities.
All in all, Dog Days is pretty much dog shit, neatly packed with cool animation. But, soak shit into gold, at the end of the day it’s still shit. I’ll probably pummel through the rest of the seasons, if for nothing but those cool action scenes and some decent humor here and there, but unless you’re really dried out, you have no reason to pick up Dog Days. If you’re hoping for romance, there isn’t any; at least there isn’t anything I consider to be romance. There’s a confession at the end, but like the rest, it’s shit, poorly executed and it makes no sense.
Hmm … that describes it perfectly actually: Dog Days makes no bloody sense.