Released Year : April 2, 2011 to June 25, 2011
No of Episodes : 13
Genre : Action,Adventure,Fantasy,Magic,Shounen
Plot : Republic of Biscotti faces a predicament by the invasion of Galette Leo Knights. In order to save the country, Princess Milchore summons a "hero" from the outer world. Cinque, a junior high school boy living in the Earth, is chosen as the hero.
Our Review : On a personal note, I had quite high hopes for this show. With a good amount of successful anime stemming from being original anime series, Dog Days, having that element, combined with having an excellent seiyuu cast and being animated and directed by the staff from the animation studio Seven Arcs, seemed highly promising to deliver a successful show. However for the most part they did not.
Story and Setting
Dog Days is a 13 episode original series which revolves around a boy called Cinque or Shinku who is transported into a medieval fantasy land called Flonyard as a hero of the country Biscotti, to fight against the nation of Gallette. From this premise, it was possible for the show to develop into something complex, but the setting of the show, being light-hearted in a manner suiting children, nullified most prospects of there being any serious conflicts or development from the get-go. As viewers will soon discover in Episode 1, war between nations is almost perfectly safe, with inhabitants either turning into animal fluff-balls or having their clothes blown off, a somewhat hilarious foil to the seriousness of actual warfare. However, this is not to say that Dog Days is a show completely suited to children. Seven Arcs being Seven Arcs, there are traces of fanservice here and there and a darkish twist when the 'villain' emerges.
The story, being set in a medieval war-like setting gives way to the strength of the series, that is the action scenes. Most of the fighting and action scenes were nicely choreographed with bows, swords, staves, shurikens and even magical artillery as weaponry. There was much flashiness, especially from the character's special Seal Cannon moves which are comparable to the much loved beamspam from the Nanoha series. The action was also quite prevalent throughout the series with several episodes being fully devoted to fights between the characters. Despite the action, I have criticisms of how certain fights were completely skipped and looking back now, I felt the series could've been improved if they choose to extend the fights instead of focusing on minor show elements such as fanservice.
The overall plot though is unfortunately very shallow and unimaginative and is something I have to be very critical of. There are perhaps only two major important points in the story, one which is resolved in the time span of one episode and the other is full of glaring plot holes and unlikely coincidences.
This brings me to the pacing of the series. Dog Days can either drag out one conflict or story element for several episodes, or resolve another story element in a single episode. This I found was quite detrimental to the series and marked a serious flaw in the storyboard and directing of the series overall.
My final opinion on the story is that I'm quite disappointed with it. It had potential to become something interesting and complex, but Seven Arcs decided to pull off the same twist too many times. Attempting to garner sympathy for the 'villain'.
Character designers these days are attempting to add more and more different elements to the characters and their outfits and designs and for the most part they are quite successful. Dog Days also follows in this fashion, creating a very large cast of different unique and mostly flavourful characters with their own quirks, features and personality.
Each major character who participates in combat (that is to say the great majority of them) possesses their own unique Seal, which is displayed as an emblem when they perform special attacks. Each character also fights in a unique style which is separate from the other characters using a large variety of weapons from bows, magical artillery, giant axes to even anchors. The characters also all have separate personalities, despite some being archetypical, it was strange yet pleasant that Seven Arcs managed to juggle all the different natures of the characters together.
For example, our male hero, Cinque, fights with his divine staff/sword (and no it's not Raising Heart) Paladion with incredible acrobatic, athletic manoeuvres and with his multiple Seal Cannon techniques such as summoning a divine jetboard or playing with flaming sticks. It's actually quite refreshing to have a male protagonist like Cinque who doesn't get beat upon or is a hesitant sissy when the action comes and for actually making a likeable male protagonist in the sea of boring males protagonists out there, Seven Arcs deserve some credit.
My only criticism is with such a large cast of characters, it's nearly impossible to give all of them the screen time that fans would desire. The character Godwin Dorure, who is voiced by Norio Wakamoto, is one example of a character I would've liked to have witnessed more. I felt other important characters such as Yukikaze and the Countess d’Arquien also needed more screen time.
My final opinion on the characters is that I'm pleased with depth of uniqueness most characters possess in things such as personality, fighting style and appearance. With such a large cast of characters, viewers will probably find a character they'll like to cheer for, although this brings me back to my criticism of the amount of screen time characters get.
Art, Animation and Music
The art and animation for Dog Days isn't a strength but nor is it a weakness. There are a few pluses for the show, notably the fighting and the art for the seal cannons and their emblems. They are very flashy and pretty to look at, and the design for the Emblems have quite a bit of depth to them. One of the more average aspects of art for the show was the rather uninspiring backgrounds. With the potential of the fantasy setting, Seven Arcs could've been considerably more creative then the very average backgrounds of floating islands, blue skies and clouds and lush green battlefields which is used quite a bit throughout the series. A minus for the show in the art and animation department was the crudely drawn faces of the grunt soldiers which features throughout almost all the episodes and in one of the later episodes, a singing scene which the animation really goes downhill.
What I feel is an underrated, or rather unmentioned aspect of Dog Days is the music. The battle music is slightly similar to music I've heard from games, such as Megaman, especially the music from battles which is to say they're of good quality. The music in general feels appropriate for the scenes they're accompanying and adds to the atmosphere.
Overall, there's nothing super flashy to mention about the art of the show aside from the special moves. The animation was average in most parts aside from large dips towards the end of the series. The music is a praiseworthy aspect which accompanies the progression of the scenes well.
In the end, Dog Days shapes itself to be a a bit mediocre at best. There's nothing inspiring or largely original with its story or background and the only real strength it has are the characters (which is the case for a lot of shows nowadays), the action (which it decided to skip out a lot of) and the music. For action fans, Dog Days may intrigue you with a decent amount of action. For fantasy fans, Dog Days is likely nothing new and there's probably better shows to watch out there. Enjoyment-wise, Dog Days proved to be a mildly entertaining light-hearted series with the action and a few comedic scenes here and there and gets an enjoyment score of 7.5. However from a critical perspective, Dog Days fares worse with a score of 7.