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DOG DAYS’ – 09

「ユニオン・フェスタ)」 (Yunion Fesuta)
“Union Festival”

Remember last episode when I wondered why they didn’t make a bigger deal out of the virginal kiss between Cinque and Eclair? Well, I didn’t think I would be getting an answer here: immediate gratification was eschewed in favor of an entire episode that puts the focus on the aftermath of this particular event, a decision that should no doubt please the many Sinclair shipping commenters I saw last week. Man, Dog Days’ sure does seems to be pushing the Sinclair ship hard, doesn’t it? Between their intimacies in the training episode, last week’s kiss, and now an entire episode dedicated to Eclair, the relationship between these two has seen the most flags raised in the entire season. It’s almost disheartening to know deep down that there won’t be anything coming out of it, even when I’m not a shipper myself. After all, it’s more than likely this is going to end in the same way almost all light fantasy romantic comedies do: Inconclusively.

Well, enough about spoiling your fun. Enjoy the sweet shipping fodder first. This episode marks quite the departure from what we’ve been seeing in Dog Days’, which has largely fulfilled the niche of a light-hearted screwball comedy up until this point. Eclair’s episode is the first time we’re seeing a strong singular focus on a character and on the dramatic angle, something that has largely been missing from the show since its first season.

I feel the need to point out here is that Eclair’s introspection and character development won’t break any new grounds. What we have is the overused setup of a tsundere that is in denial about her own feelings and starts distancing herself due to insecurity, leading to an episode that largely deals with how she comes to terms with these emotions through the help of her friends. Like I said, nothing amazingly ground-breaking; characters developments like this are commonplace in the animeverse. What it ultimately boils down to is the execution, and it’s something I’m feeling pretty conflicted about. A character study like this seems to be up the alley of director Nishimura Junji, who brings along his experience in drama from True Tears, and I suspect that this entire development as well as the introspective talks interspersed throughout the series have been largely his doing. The great thing about having him on board is that, much like his previous works, there’s a certain shine of honesty to the characters here. I liked that the characters could call Eclair out on her feelings for Cinque with such straightforwardness, and their showering of concern over her comes across with good deal of sincerity. Then there are the small touches, such as Yuki giving a knowing smile at Eclair’s deliberately ambiguous declaration about her feelings for her friends and Cinque, which helps to accentuate these points. Props should also be given stellar cast here, who succeed in carrying across the emotions highs of the characters pretty convincingly.

The problem here is that the entire episode is rife with unnecessary exaggerations and clichés that feel out of place in this dramatic context. Take Rico for instance, who after an intense argument with Eclair, promptly break all immersion when, cue dashing out of the tent, pulls the facepalm-worthy glistening tears cliché. More than once, I might add. Ugh. There’s also the whole Dragonball-worthy fight between Eclair and Leo (pulling her best Mentor/Aneki impression, I might add.) that has Eclair completely pummelled at the beginning, and subsequently rising back up to turn the tables on the Leo by channelling the powers of friendship in a shounen-esque display. Ughhhhhh. It served to make what could’ve been an emotionally charged moment about Eclair coming to terms with herself into a crude and contrived attempt at some drama that cheapens this character development arc. Made worse by the fact that the fight here appears to be a couple of steps down in quality from some of the stuff we’ve seen in previous episodes, such as with some very obvious still-frames in the animations.

This wasn’t the most stellar episode to have come out of Dog Days’; much like the first season’s demon storyline, the show still seems to suffer from a crisis of identity in its attempt to meld its light-hearted tone with dramatic elements, and it makes both parts feel worse off for it. Unfortunately, this trend that seemed to have started with last episode’s talk is likely continue on for a while, what with a clash of feelings between Becky and Millhi imminent in the coming episode. Going forward, I really hope that Nishimura can bring together this dichotomy of Dog Days’ under a more cohesive vision and succeed where the first season failed for me.

Full-length images: 05, 08, 09, 17, 21, 25, 26, 29.

End Card

September 5, 2012 at 10:18 am
17 comments »
  • September 5, 2012 at 10:35 amDa5id

    Poor Eclair. Given a love interest simply to have him be inaccessible.

    That’s pretty low, Dog Days.

  • September 5, 2012 at 12:24 pmSaturo

    Unfortunately there seems to be no hope for a Cinque x Eclair-ending. :(

    • September 5, 2012 at 1:11 pmAsobi

      Well, I wouldn’t say no hope…just highly unlikely. I’m no shipper, but personally, I do think the two of them share the best chemistry (asides from Valerio and Adelaide) out of the entire cast, and if there’s ever going to be any ending to the relationships, that’s the one I’m voting for.

    • September 5, 2012 at 5:59 pmMasterDragonKnight

      There are only three real possible romantic relationships for Cinque.

      Millhi x Cinque
      Becky x Cinque
      Eclair x Cinque

  • September 5, 2012 at 1:04 pmjrj

    after marathon the season 2 up to this point, I have to say that the plot is even weaker than the first season… it is somewhat entertaining, but maybe I had too much expectation…

    the power of these characters just seem to be become more and more ridiculous…

  • September 5, 2012 at 1:10 pmmike

    Am I the only one who find Cinque character and his lines are extremely corny, it remains me so much of Star Driver, I know they have same VA but their personality is very similar too and the stuff that come out of their mouth makes me wanna puke sometime, is like arrrr corny.

    • September 5, 2012 at 1:13 pmAsobi

      But mike, Dog Days’ thrives on corny! :D

      • September 5, 2012 at 4:52 pmXziled

        true dat

  • September 5, 2012 at 2:49 pmSaturo

    You can totally see the moment when Cinque doesn’t get what Eclair means with her confession:

    http://randomc.net/image/DOG%20DAYS/DOG%20DAYS%202%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2028.jpg

    derp

  • September 5, 2012 at 3:36 pmTrombe

    Leo-sama is just too fabulous.
    Still want a Leo vs Hina (aka Brioche)

    • September 5, 2012 at 10:10 pmSteven Den Beste

      Trombe, if you mean a battle, we got that in the first season. Leo won, but only because Brioche threw the fight.

  • September 5, 2012 at 5:17 pmzorogou

    I’m a massive fan of this series but after this episode I’ve come to dislike this season.
    Even though season 1′s story wasn’t the best it was fun and I enjoyed it (which is all that matters really). This season there hasn’t been anything of the sort. They’ve introduced 3 pretty cool characters, including an ancient Hero King and a Demon Lord, and the awesome ‘Hero Time’ but what have they done with them? Absolutely nothing. The feel of the fights, the ‘school sports meet’ feeling, hasn’t been there aswell which is what they pulled off so well last season.
    Dog Days’ is meant to be fun and light-hearted. Everyone is meant to love everyone else whilst stroking and patting each others heads. There isn’t meant to be any forced drama like this episode. If I want to watch that stuff I’ll watch one of the many other shows trying to pull it off which are doing it well enough for me to care.

    If they do make a season 3 I want season 1′s director back.

  • September 5, 2012 at 5:56 pmMasterDragonKnight

    Everyone just loves to cuddle up to Cinque, don’t they. ^^

    Millhi
    Couver
    Rico
    Yuki

  • September 6, 2012 at 5:22 amUran

    I’ve got some mixed feelings about this new serie as it looks like they pumped up the harmful fanservice and cut down any plot development (if there was any before).
    Moreover the cast is now too big to manage, and it shows. The main char himself had his own screen time and char development hammered while others are just disappearing without nobody notices. This season’s new entries are also suffering from less screen time available, and when they do, the princesses steal the stage. (pointing @ Nanami and the rabbit thieves incident)

  • September 6, 2012 at 8:06 amDCLXVI

    Thoughts echoed.

    I was actually practically screaming in my chair when I saw that Dog Days finally had some real drama when the show has to spoil it by having Eclair go “oh yeah, I love everyone!” which is incredibly orz-inducing after the ride they took me on in the first half of the episode.

    To think I actually believed that the direction of this show might change *sigh*. I was already hooked from the first season, then it had to give me hopes, only to cruelly smash them into the ground.

    Bugger.

  • September 7, 2012 at 5:57 amThe Moondoggie

    I knew it! Wild Card, anything can happen. I called it. That kiss last episode is not a sure fire thing and looked what happened this week. :(

    Grah! And I wanted Eclair X Cinque.

  • September 8, 2012 at 10:59 pmelior1

    @asobi just wait until episode 10 the hero king will make his move near the end