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DOG DAYS’ – 01

OP Sequence

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OP: 「FEARLESS HERO」 by 水樹奈々 (Mizuki Nana)
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼

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「勇者見参!」 (Yuusha Kenzan!)
“The Hero has Arrived”

Here we are again, in this land of nekomimis and inumimis….

It probably shouldn’t even need to be stated, but I’m boring that way: Dogs Days‘ is a sequel to the 2011 series Dog Days. (What is it with Japan and inane habit of differentiating their sequels with obscure punctuations?) The original Dog Days was a show initially hyped up to be the second coming of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, and with all the right names attached too. We had Seven Arcs onboard along with scriptwriter Tsuzuki Masaki, who was credited with the conception of both shows and has been on nearly every single Nanoha project. Furthermore, taking charge of the show was director Kusakawa Keizou, who helmed many of the later Nanoha projects. Undoubtedly, expectations were had.

What we ended up with was a show that averted these expectations and instead gave us a uniquely lighthearted take on the harem fantasy genre. It’s hard to argue that its “war as an athletic game” premise was lacking in wacky creativity, but outside of that Dog Days was as derivative as they come, a show without any kind of consequence or direction, not just in its whimsical gameshow-styled premise but also in its unambitious plot that never seemed to provoke any kind of audience engagement. The bulk of my enjoyment can be attributed to the characters, but while bizarrely cute to watch in their respective stereotypes they never could seem to break past their two-dimensional characterizations. Asides from their unique animalistic features, most characters ended up being about as memorable as a brick. By its midpoint, it became clear that Dog Days was the quintessential summer throwaway: A unpretentious fluff piece that was enjoyable enough during its run to keep me spending that 20 minutes week after week, but ultimately forgettable once I was over and done with it.

So I’m not going to try and avoid the likely fact: If you’re watching this show, you’ve probably already enjoyed the first season of Dog Days and you’re not expecting the sequel to do anything groundbreaking but to keep delivering that very same guilty pleasure. I say so, because that’s exactly what this first episode of Dog Days’ served up. It’s hard to call this opening anything but a fanservice-fueled retread of season 1’s introduction, as we kick off yet again with another war between the countries of Biscotte and Galette to commemorate the return of the hero. (This is probably the only show I can think of with wars as celebratory events.) But a retread also means that one of the best selling points of the original Dog Days, the amazing all-star cast from the first season, make its return here in glorious form, with Miyano Mamoru (Star Driver, Steins;Gate) once again doing his best plucky shounen voice as leading hero Izumi Cinque, alongside notable industry names like Horie Yui (Firianno Biscotti Millhiore), Koshimizu Ami (Galette des Rois Leonmitchelli), Asumi Kana (Panettone Yukikaze) and Hana Kanazawa (Vinocacao Noir). Mizuki Nana of Nanoha fame is also pulling double duty this season and voicing Cinque’s childhood friend Takatsuki Nanami in addition to her standing role as Elmar Ricotta.

The downside is that there is very little to differentiate this sequel from what we’ve seen before, and what’s new is few in number. We have both of Cinque’s childhood friends Nanami and Anderson “Becky” Rebecca (Takahashi Mikako) joining him proper in the land of Flonyard this time, and also as the prospective Nanoha-esque heroes of Galette and new country Pastillage respectively. Headlining this new third faction is squirrel girl Princess Couver E. Pastillage (Yuki Aoi), who also seems to have close ties with Milhiore and Leo.

It speaks volumes about Dog Days’ when the only new thing about the show that caught my interest was a singular staff member change: Director Kusakawa Keizou bows out for Nishimura Junji to take charge of the sequel. Nishimura’s record is a mixed bag, but he has been credited with two series that stood out in particular to me, True Tears and Ranma ½. True Tears was a seemingly derivative take on the romance genre that flipped my expectations upside down when it showed it could deeply explore the subtleties of its characters, and ended up featuring one of the most brilliantly developed characters I’ve seen in Noe. Of the two, Ranma ½ is the show with a greater parallel to Dog Days in that it’s also a rom-com fluff piece, but interspersed between its standard comedic fare were some brilliantly introspective episodes. Nishimura has shown before that he can explore the nuances of seemingly two-dimensional characters, and I’m curious if he can somehow bring this same edge out in Dog Days’.

Otherwise, this introductory episode to Dog Days’ is as predictable as they come. But hey, if you’re looking for more head-patting, tail-wagging and war-lympics, come on and step right into the world of Flonyard once again. (Trust the Nanoha team to also hint at some yuri tensions! …No, don’t judge me.)

Full-length images: 02, 07, 14, 17, 30, 34.

 

ED Sequence

DOG DAYS 2   ED   01 DOG DAYS 2   ED   02 DOG DAYS 2   ED   03

ED: 「夏の約束」 (Natsu no Yakusoku) by 堀江由衣 (Horie Yui)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼

End Card

DOG DAYS 2   01   End Card
July 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm
33 comments »
  • July 11, 2012 at 1:14 pmP Ko

    I love how adorable everybody looks in this series.

  • July 11, 2012 at 1:15 pmShiden

    I came in expecting more of the fluff that I enjoyed during the first season, and that’s exactly what I got. I’m satisfied with this.

    • July 11, 2012 at 7:37 pmMasterDragonKnight

      There is no other way to describe this series than as fluff. But oh so enjoyable and sweet fluff. ^^

      Also, the music continues to be amazing, courtesy of Nana Mizuki and Yui Horie.

      • July 13, 2012 at 2:35 amJVision5

        Oops, I meant to press “like” but ended up pressing “dislike” instead by mistake.

  • July 11, 2012 at 1:18 pmJean

    During the first season I couldn’t get Star Driver out of my head every time Cinque opened his mouth. >.> Other than that, file under “cute, guilty pleasure” if you like it and move along, nothing to see here.

  • July 11, 2012 at 2:20 pmTitanAnteus

    Did animation skill really improve that much in just one year. Campione! and Sword Art Online I could understand but holy crap. Everyone’s stepping up their game graphically.

    • July 14, 2012 at 12:20 pmrasone0104

      fate/zero set the animation standards really high

  • July 11, 2012 at 3:24 pmThe Green One

    This series is very much, “What you see is what you get.” A light hearted dose of fun. If you’re looking for something more serious or more dramatic, you won’t find it. I like it because it’s unapologetic about what it is, it’s just a series where you can just relax and have fun with it.

  • July 11, 2012 at 3:44 pmmac65

    I agree with everything you’ve said about Dog Days’. It’s definitely all formula.
    Honestly, I was surprised to see a 2nd season and I think the Animators were just as
    surprised, too. I think the last 2 episode of Dog Days were -

    Quick! How do we validate him being able to come back and not forgetting everything
    here like we said in the early episodes?

    Thus was born the gimmick that he had to do very specific things before he left, if
    you’ve seen season 1.

    The thing about Dog Days for me was that each episode build pretty well on the last.
    There wasn’t anything very deep of political (that I got). It was consistent, but not
    terribly predictable so you weren’t bored silly waiting for what you expect to happen, happen.

    Still, it was fun to watch – didn’t require too many brain cells to enjoy. And for that,
    I’m looking forward to see if they level-up this series and in which ways they’ll choose,
    more than any story or plot forth coming in its second season. (BTW, yuri is always good.)

  • July 11, 2012 at 4:02 pmstarss

    Ugh. Moe character designs, power up, animal ears, some fanservice… can I get at least SOMEthing to hook me into this sub–HOLY CRAP IS THAT A CHIPMUNK GIRL?!?!?!?!?! DOG DAYS RULES!!!!

  • July 11, 2012 at 5:16 pmWatt

    Lol looks like Nanami is gonna have her own harem as well.

  • July 11, 2012 at 5:57 pmx

    All I have to say is: This is the biggest guilty pleasure of the season for me XD.

    • July 11, 2012 at 7:55 pmBROOKLYN otaku

      I’m with you on that X! this has really grown on me..and that HERO entrance….i got chills. NICE

  • July 11, 2012 at 6:21 pmMutare

    Wasn’t really expecting a second season so soon but I took guilty pleasure in watching first season and I sure as heck am gonna take guilty pleasure in watching this season. The cast is well rounded and — OMG I FORGOT HOW ADORABLE THEY ALL LOOK <3

  • July 11, 2012 at 6:50 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    This is also a nice counter-balance to the darkness of Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse.

  • July 11, 2012 at 7:32 pmMasterDragonKnight

    I would have to disagree with classifying this series as a harem.

    At most, there are only three girls with romantic interest in Cinque: Millhi, Eclair, and Becky. Eclair and Becky are both unsure with their feelings for Cinque, being stuck as a sparing partner and childhood friend, respectively. Furthermore, Cinque has already declared his love for Millhi last season.

    The other girls all view Cinque more as a close friend and respected colleague. Yuki treats him like a little brother and enjoys teasing him. Rico acts like his confidant, and clings to him like a little sister. Brioche thinks of him as a promising youth, and wants to pass her demon-slaying techniques to him. Leo considers him a worthy opponent and strong hero. The Genoise trio treat him like an important guest and friend.

    So I would not say that this series is a harem, just that it has a predominantly female cast.

    • July 11, 2012 at 8:44 pmAnte

      Actually, three is the least number of girl for the show to be called harem because two is typical romance situation…

      • July 12, 2012 at 11:12 amHalfDemonInuyasha

        It takes more than just the sheer number of females to 1 male to make it a real harem-type anime.

        As mentioned, we only have 1 definitive romantic relationship going on with Cinque and Millhi, 2 are unsure of their own feelings, and the rest not showing any real romantic interest.

        A harem tends to have most, if not all of the primary girls (and even some minor ones sometimes) having strong romantic affections for the male lead and involve situations with them trying to grab his attention in a constant free-for-all for his feelings throughout the series (and usually the male lead is a dense, dumb, clueless idiot).

        Some like Girls Bravo!, Maburaho, Princess Lover, Kampfer, KissxSis, Omamori Himari, To-Love-Ru, Infinite Stratos, Rosario + Vampire, Sekirei, etc to list a bunch.

  • July 11, 2012 at 9:00 pmFiShar

    Shinku is gonna become the King of Furry. His clothes breaking power surpass that of the guy from DxD.

    • July 11, 2012 at 9:01 pmFiShar

      or was it the smoke bombs?

  • July 11, 2012 at 9:48 pmcutemi2

    The BEST Anime EVER.

  • July 11, 2012 at 11:18 pmchiaki_chan

    is little yuri

  • July 11, 2012 at 11:42 pmwebkid94

    I really hope this show doesn’t turn serious like it did in the last half of season 1. That was unnecessary and really felt shoe-horned in and it shouldn’t have introduced that..dragon thing or whatever it was, my memory’s hazy.

    As long as Dog Days’ gives us episodes like these, I’ll be thoroughly satisfied. Definitely a guilty pleasure for me, and minus season 1′s last half it doesn’t take itself seriously and its just pure…fun.

  • July 12, 2012 at 4:38 amThe Moondoggie

    AND we ARE BACK IN FLONYARD! Animal girls and boys be bound. Athletic heroes, capture the flag games and cursed monsters ahoy!

    And Mamoru Miyano….(squee, handsome hunk dad he is, yessir!)

  • July 12, 2012 at 9:50 amGhostalker

    Hays…one of my worst fear this season – that Dog Days’ will again be neglected by the blogging community is averted :)

    I love the first season and the 1st episode of this show is no different. Being an original series, this is one of the very few shows I actually want reading the blogs.

  • July 12, 2012 at 1:54 pmBenz

    I still don’t get why some of the normal soldier get beaten they turn into a cute little fur ball but the named character stay the same, just feels weird to me.

    • July 12, 2012 at 4:48 pmMasterDragonKnight

      In the first season, Gaul has implied that even the named characters can get turned into animal balls if they take enough damage. But so far none of them have suffered that level of damage yet, probably due to better equipment and training.

      Also, fan-service. XD

  • July 13, 2012 at 6:59 amDaisy

    these series looks way more interesting than nanoha to me I just felt nanoha was mushed together for three seasons plotholes galore like they never for three seasons bother to explain raising heart’s origin or continue the jewel seed storyline or have any episodes fleshing out nanoha’s friends and family relationships and why do none of the females in season 3 show any interest in boys? it’s like the creator made them all gay just for the sake of being different. also nanoha never felt like the main character in any of the three seasons it’s like she was just there to set up the storyline and that’s it.

    • July 13, 2012 at 12:58 pmZannafar

      While I do agree that Dog Days is a great show, I have to defend Nanoha here.

      Regarding the plot holes you pointed out:
      - Raising Heart’s origins are probably never explained because there isn’t much to explain. Creating a Magical Device doesn’t seem to be too difficult in Nanoha’s universe, so most likely it was created by Yuuno himself or a member of his tribe.
      - The Jewel Seed Storyline is done with the end of the first season as they all got sealed by either Nanoha or Fate and were either destroyed at the Garden of Time or recovered by the Time-Space Administration Bureau
      - Nanoha’s friends and family were left out because their story was already told in the Visual Novel Triangle Heart 3, where Nanoha’s older brother was the main character. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha was originally created as a spin-off of that Visual Novel.
      - Why none of the girls seems to show interest in boys, I have no idea. As far as I know however, at least Nanoha and Hayate are generally uninterested in romance, Caro has Erio and the rest of the girls just don’t have any potential romantic interest.
      - As for why Nanoha never felt like the main character, they always seemed to have aimed at a main cast, rather than one central main character.

  • July 13, 2012 at 1:16 pmZannafar

    Season 2 of Dog Days started just as I hoped. Lot’s of cuteness and bright colors, the old characters get to show their skills and a few new characters are introduced. For some reason, despite the rather week storyline, Dog Days never got me bored, with all characters doing their best showing off what they can do and simply having fun all the time.

    Also, I’d really love to see a Dog Days game. The whole premise seems to be perfect for a conquering-strategy/hack’n slash mix.

  • July 13, 2012 at 3:42 pmMelissa

    I understand but look at cardcaptor Sakura that show spent time developing not only sakur’s relationship with friends and family but also with her guardians and her cards which added a sense of realness that you don’t get in many magical girl shows now except madoka and smile precure

  • July 13, 2012 at 9:07 pmYuuko

    i wanna watch this anime ><

  • July 15, 2012 at 7:40 amGreg

    Almost get seiyuu overload watching/hearing this series. ;)