DOG DAYS’ – 05, 06, 07
「ガレット剣風録!」 (Garetto Tsurugi Kaze Roku!)
“Galette Sword Style Record!”
I feel that something should be said about the developments in this episode. Something smart, about the clothes stealing ninja bunnies that made me go all eyes wide shut, or the setting shift from a light fantasy to a period Japanese theme, or even of the badass wandering samurai introduced here, Makishima Isuka (Katsu Anri). And yeah, maybe I’ll get to that analysis in a bit, but you know what? Forget about that. First things first. NEKOMIMI NANAMI. WITH LONG HAIR. IN A YUKATA. HNNGGGGGGG-
Ahem. Yea. Okay. So, surprisingly enough, I didn’t think I would’ve enjoyed the episode more so than I initially expected. The opening half of the show that followed the mudane activities of the Galette folks was painfully slow, almost as if the show was trying to force some primer of the “Country of the Week” down on me. There were some bandits mentioned, which meant that I’ll probably get to see a bit of action by the end, but asides from that shaky promise, nothing was really pulling me into the episode. The shift of setting to a period Japan town from the standard fantasy fare was intriguing, but Nanami and her team’s initial investigations proved to be equally unexciting, at least until the appearance of, yep, mysterious swordsman #10030. (To be fair, Isuka isn’t a bad character by any means, but his archtype isn’t particularly original either.)
Next thing you know, ninja demon bunnies. Honest to god ninja demon bunnies. From that point, my mind kept shuffling between “lolwut?” and “holycrapthisisawesome!” as the episode continued to get increasingly wacky. Truthfully though, it was a godsend, the zaniness of the developments breathing life into what was fast becoming a stale episode for me, giving back to the show some of its characteristic exuberance. There was also that over-the-top scene stealing debut of Leo and Millhi with backlights, smoke effects, fanfare and all, so gobsmackingly flamboyant in its execution and presentation it became far more entertaining than it honestly had any right to.
The surprise revelation of the episode was that Isuka turned out to be d’Arquiene Brioche’s (Hikasa Youko) sister, who herself was originally called Hina. (And it’s a name that is a hell lot easier to remember. I might just start calling her that from now on.) It’s interesting to see another demon hunter being thrown into the mix here, and with the existing cast also increasing their demon-combating capabilities, it seems as though Dog Days’ is trying to build up to something major. In any case, it was one heck of a sight to see the normally collected Brioche/Hina getting so easily flustered by Isuka’s teasing, and regardless of their relevance to future plotlines, I sure hope this won’t be the last time we’ll be seeing the duo as something more than mere passing cameos.
And before I forget to mention, don’t you find it pitiable that every single time Vert (Kotobuki Minako) and Juane (Nagata Yoriko) show up, they’re just there to be completely floored and stripped without fail? Not to mention, their short-lived glory was completely stolen from them by the sudden appearance of the rest of the cast. I say, give those girls a break and let them have their singular definitive moment just like with Noir. They deserve that much, at least.
「パスティヤージュ英雄王伝説」 (Pasutiyaju Eiyu o Densetsu)
“Pastillage’s Hero King Legend”
“Become mine, Hero!”
Oh wait, wrong story. Props to you if you got the reference though. You Sir/Madam, deserve a cookie, if I could ever get one to you. (Sure hope you as hyped for the coming anime as me.)
Well this certainly was one heck of an interesting episode, and by interesting in Dog Days’ I really mean “WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY SMOKING”. For the first half of the episode, I honestly believed that we were finally going to get what would be the “serious” plot of Dog Days’ with the bit of exposition on the Hero King and Demon King. Dog Days’ strung me along and I bought it hook, line and sinker. There was even some kind of a connection going on with Pastillage’s royalty descending from the Hero King. With all that setup, Couver then decided it would be the greatest idea ever to try messing with the Hero King’s very obviously lampshaded momument, trying in turns with every single hero. I’ve gotta say here, the part where she and Cinque very conveniently undid the magic circuit seals on the Demon King ended up being pretty contrived, but with Dog Days’ I’ve learned to take most of its developments with a grain of salt. Thus, the Demon King Calvados Valerio (Toriumi Kousuke), is unleashed upon the world once again. With a suitably evil bright power absorption ability. And maniacal laughter. Can’t forget the maniacal laughter. Sigh. Well, it wasn’t a particularly great start to the “serious” part of Dog Days’, but I already expected worse.
By then, I resigned myself to just lay back and watch how it would disastrously unfold, and the next thing you know, telescope-focus on towel-wrapped ladies. I pretty much had my jaw on the floor at this point, and probably for the rest of an episode that couldn’t decide if it wanted to be serious or comedic. At one moment, we’ll see Valerio acting as the comic relief of the show, waltzing around the estate like a bawz and summoning the winds to sexually harass the maids, or fist-landing into the women’s bath and getting floored by the NanamiBecky combo. The next moment, we’ll see him absorbing everyone’s energy and menacing Couver like some proper Demon King. At some points the show even lapsed into sides-splitting unintentional comedy. Dirtying Millhi’s precious ribbon? NO. You Monster. That’s a crime against dogmanity, that be. “IT’S A PUNCCHH!”. Honestly, it’s a mess of disjointed ideas that they have here, but Valerio’s character and the respective developments came so far out of the left field it became amusingly entertaining, especially when seen as some kind of self-aware clowning about by the show. (The part where Couver’s and Cinque’s eyes were hastily covered was a pretty nice touch in this regard as well!)
The kicker, of course, came with the epic summoning of the Hero King. And yes, it’s an amazingly contrived Deus Ex Machina to have Couver act so specifically to the conditions of summoning, but I was already laughing too much from the parodic nature of it all, so much so I couldn’t even bother at this point. Just another bit of wackiness to add to the list, amirite? With that magical girl-esque transformation and getup, her hilarious domination of Valerio, and that morbidly cutesy nature of hers as she smashes down that absurdly huge morning star, Hero King Grand Mariner Adelaide (Kitamura Eri) was a scene stealer from the moment she appeared. (Another big industry name! How in the world do they do it?)
It’s one hell of a heel face turn this episode pulled out. When they started mentioning Demon and Hero Kings, the last thing I would’ve thought of was a couple seemingly pulled out from some kind of romantic comedy. Yet, for all the confusing signals this episode puts out, it somehow works. The parodic personalities of Adelaide and Valerio meshes incredibly well with the fun-loving cast of Dog Days’, and with their cryo-sleep delayed for foreseeable future, I’m looking forward to the craziness they’ll pull out over the course of their stay.
「封印洞窟戦!」 (Fuin Dokutsu Ikusa!)
“Battle at the Cave of Sealing!”
Oh boy, this episode was not for the faint of heart or mind. Masaki Tsuzuki (Scriptwriter of DD’), I tip my hat off to you. This was the single most absurdly entertaining episode of Dog Days’ thus far. To think the episode started off innocuously enough; after piling on the introductions over the last two episodes, we find Adelaide, Valerio, Isuka, Brioche, and the Bahamut-lookalike-Kratos reforming their old monster-hunting raid party to check on some demon seals. Hang on, question first: How old are the siblings to have known the Hero and Demon Kings? Weren’t they suppose to be the stuff of myths and legends? Oh yes, now I see what you did with that potential spin-off idea there, and let me just say that I’m not opposed to seeing some OVA about on their partying hijinks. Preferably with a young and naive Brioche/Hina!
Predictably, things goes south fast, but oh how gloriously wacky it does so. The show had me going again with its semi-serious tone, and after the heel face turn of episode 06 I honestly believed Dog Days’ was actually going to enter its “serious” arc proper this time. Then, cutesy de-aging demon mice. A Horde Of Cutesy De-aging Demon Mice. I’ll put this right up there with the ninja demon bunnies on the “lolwut?” scale, and I honestly had to wonder from what rainbow-dyed corner of the writer’s twisted mind this brilliantly bizarre idea spawned from. Watching Dog Days’ had always demanded a suspension of disbelief on some level, but this just takes the cake on anything the series has put out thus far. But once I got past that, the episode was a riot. Age regression is one of anime’s oldest gimmick in the playbook, but damn if it ain’t some good fun. Watching the characters flail around in their chibi forms just melts the heart, doesn’t it? And even after taking most of the incredibly adorable cast out of commission, it still just ain’t enough for the team behind Dog Days’. What else could they do? What else could possibly top the chibification of the cast?
“That’s right, BISHIES.” No really, this was your plan from the start right? Forget the inexplicably convenient Heroes Skype Group, or the unexplained age regression from life-stealing demons, or even the fact that the mice could mass into a giant furball. This episode was purely about chibis, bishies and giving the cast an excuse to kick some ass. I don’t know if that’s insanity or pure genius, (they often say a thin line is drawn between the two) but damn if it the end result isn’t one of the most hilarious of the summer season. Seeing the adult Gaul and Cinque kick all kinds of mega-furball ass while charming the chibis with the classic princely sparkles was epic, HNNGG-worthy and just incredibly funny all around. I’ve also got to mention, whoever came up with Becky’s jailbait line to bishie Cinque deserves an award.
The only regret coming from this whole debacle? Why, oh why, were Rico and Leo not here!? These two were sorely missed throughout the episode, and would’ve been the perfect characters on which to play this cliché. Come on, who’s with me in seeing an adult Rico? A chibi Leo? It’s not like precedence in plot or setting could stop the creators from doing whatever the hell they wanted with this show at this point.
Honestly though, the last 3 episodes make a good case for this new season of Dog Days. The creators seem to understand the appeal of Dog Days as a fluff piece, and are pulling out all the stops to play this aspect up with their gimmick of the week, all while naturally expanding the fun, even if somewhat clichéd, cast of characters. I sometimes think that it’s because the characters in the show are all so unanimously having super happy mega fun times regardless of what they are doing, that all the fun they have rubs off on the viewer. Really, who needs some badly enacted drama when I’m already having fun watching the characters having the time of their lives? I’ve said it time and again that Dog Day’ ain’t a particularly deep anime in any regards, but damn if it isn’t entertaining the heck out of me week by week. Flonyard might just make the perfect place for a vacation if it actually existed. Now what’s next for the show? Gender bending? Or how about some body swapping hijinks? Tried and tested too!
No, I’m not dead! Triple post bonanza! This last two weeks have been some of the most ridiculously busy of mine as I came up against deadline after deadline, and I really feel like I’ve been slacking in this department. Future episodes should (hopefully) be much more timely as I get past the bulk of my workload.