「チェンジ・マイ・ハート」 (Chenji Mai Hato)
“Change My Heart”
Yep, really should get out of the whole speculating thing. Neither action nor drama was present here, and we’re instead treated to what was probably the most laid-back episode of Dog Days’ yet. The whole hooray about Hero Mask Adelaide last episode is swept under the carpet within the first minute of the episode, letting the characters soak up the sun on the beach with their fun and games, before declaring the whole war over a quarter in. The whole episode then shifts the dynamic to give us a Yukikaze centric-episode that features, whaddaya know, body swapping. I’ve brought this up before in passing as a small joke before, so you can imagine how amused I was upon seeing this particular gimmick actually being played out.
Now, the thing about a relatively laid back episode is that I always seem to find myself standing at one of two opposing extremes: Its either going to be the best thing ever since custard fish fingers – such as with my favorite example, the [Someday in the Rain] episode from Haruhi Suzumiya – or its going be incredibly painful and boring to sit through. Obviously, I’m setting this all up to emphasize just how boring this episode was for me. Dog Days’, without its characteristic flamboyance and over-the-top pre-dispositions, just isn’t as much fun as it could be. For all the wild, crazy potential body swapping had for the hijinks of our cast, it is played surprisingly simple here, with a few comical moments consisting of only blushes from Cinque’s “distractions” when in Yuki’s body. The small bit of action here isn’t quite the spectacle it was last episode as well, being closer in animation quality and execution to the rather dismal Eclair episode (EP09).
I’d probably wouldn’t be as hard on the episode as I am being had there been some kind of hook, be it in the gimmick, the action or the characters, but however I look there’s none to be found. The characters themselves feel largely insignificant here when everything got neatly resolved without much intervention. Even for what is supposedly a Yuki-centric episode, she hardly had a presence here aside from Cinque jumping around in her body, and she’s instead delegated to the sidelines in Millhi’s body. The anime tries to flesh her out with some backstory, but again, this is done clumsily so, the content being far too little and insignificant to define anything about the foxy ninja.
What else is left for the series? We’ve gone past the wars, and judging from the last few episodes, we probably won’t be seeing any kind of the screwball comedy and action that defined much of Dog Days’. We’re reaching the end of summer and the heroes’ eventual return to earth, and this episode starts to bring their departure into the spotlight. All signs point to a mellow, maybe slighty sentimental end, but if you ask me, I’d rather see this show go out with a bang.