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« DOG DAYS’ – 13 (END)

DOG DAYS” – Optimistic Adventures of Friends and Dreams


More friends all the time.

Some personal background: Dog Days is a series that Moomba has been telling me to for years (along with Strike Witches … I’ll get to the second season soon, Mooms!), and it took doing this season’s preview to get me to finally start it. I thought, probably like most people, that it was “High Fantasy with a kemonomimi fetish”, and while a show like that would be fun, it wouldn’t be high on my priority list.

Boy, was I wrong. Fast forward to now, and while I’m behind on most of the good winter shows, I watched three seasons of Dog Days. I feel like that was a good use of my time.

What I love most about Dog Days is its uplifting attitude, and the sports-style combat where anybody can win. It reminds me of the tournament arcs I loved so much while reading Negima, where you’re never sure who will win because, in a non-life threatening struggle, the protagonists are allowed to lose. (This is something all sports anime share, and one of the many reasons they can be so good.) That, combined with some solid fanservice and plenty of enjoyable, fuwa-fuwa slice-of-life episodes, and it becomes a reliably enjoyable show.

This third season ranks as either the second best or the best season. The first was easily top tier, with some actual plot tied into all the fluffy sports-war shenanigans. The second wasn’t as good, as, while the addition of new characters (especially Nanami and Rebecca becoming heroes, + Adel-sama!) was great, I can’t for the life of me remember any real plot … and I watched it only a few weeks ago. This season was a return to form, with three solid plot-filled arcs and new characters that enhance an already stellar cast.

The Sharu (Uesaka Sumire) arc was a surprise when the series started—actual action with serious consequences? Gasp! Surprising and appreciated, since I was worried we’d be back to season two’s all-slice-of-life-all-the-time shenanigans. Not that the middle didn’t have some of that, nor are they bad—they’re actually one of Dog Days’s strengths. They’re just best when cut with some plot. Perhaps my favorite episode was Leo-sama’s marriage battle and the introduction of Leaf (Orikasa Fumiko), if only because I’m a shipping junkie. Leaf x Leo-sama 4 ever! I didn’t think the Hero Party flashback was as strong—too much tell instead of show, even though I like the characters—but the Aria (Ogura Yui) arc was a strong (and very Dog Days) finisher, complete with happy optimistic feelings and a welcome focus on Gaul. And more shipping … Gaul x Aria, woo!

Maybe this season would have been better if there was an overarching plot, like there was during season one. Yet the first season’s conflict was all predicated on Leo-sama getting in her own way rather than just talking to Millhi like she should have, and I tend to frown on plots that require a normally competent character to hold the idiot ball (trope!). This season didn’t have as strong of a thread running through it (other than “demons are bad”), but the characters and friendships were all stronger than ever, and each of the arcs was a lot of fun. For my taste, season three was probably the best, but I wouldn’t argue too much if you disagree.

The three new characters were all good additions as well: Sharu, who starts out overly serious but learns to ask for help; Leaf, who’s determined and honorable, while remaining youthfully naive in ways he absolutely should; and Aria, the fragile maiden who, while the weakest character of the three, was never someone I begrudged of her screen time.

If you’ve been watching all three seasons of Dog Days as they aired, me coming here now and going “Wow, this is good!” is a bit of a “No shit, Sherlock” moment. For everyone else, three seasons is a pretty big time commitment when there are so many good shows coming up in spring, but I encourage taking the plunge. Just watch one episode—the first episode of the first season is a good example of what comes after. Dog Days is light and optimistic, a show that’s uplifting in a world of too many grimdark dramas that forget the reason most of us watch anime at all—to have fun. Fun can come in many stripes—even those grimdark dramas can be fun—but a story that leaves you feeling like the world is a better place and people are essentially awesome is a welcome treat.

tl;dr Moomba was right. I totally loved Dog Days. It’s a great series. Dog days are great days, and I hope we get more of them soon.

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Sheet music, Wage Slave Rebellion is officially in print, From LEGO to author, and RIP Sir Terry.

March 30, 2015 at 12:25 am
30 comments »
  • March 30, 2015 at 12:41 amKaze

    @STILTS As someone who’s marathoned DD, who’s your pick for best girl?

    • March 30, 2015 at 12:46 amStilts

      Best girl is everybody, including the boys.

      I can’t answer that question! This isn’t Infinite Stratos, where you pick your favorite and prepare for war. This is a show where the best end is where everybody is happy, but you never want it to end because it’s all about the adventure. There is no best girl; without everybody, it wouldn’t be nearly so good.

    • March 30, 2015 at 4:41 pmSteven Den Beste

      Eclair, of course! There’s no contest!

  • March 30, 2015 at 3:08 amSolaris

    Why all of the series I loved had commentaries by Stilts? :/
    Anyway no complaints here, I agree pretty much with what stated above. Light Heart-warming series with not much pretence, good show case of moe girls and nice action. This is really a good example of moe anime to follow. Second season was the weakest in terms of cast management. Too many girls and too little episode to flesh them out all properly. Anyway whatsoever issue they had with the cast, they did magnificently good in this third serie.

    My top three pick up girl all came from Biscotti Kindom. Millefiori at the absolute top, followed by Eclair and Ricotta.

    • March 30, 2015 at 3:14 amStilts

      Is it bad for me to blog shows you like? :(

      • March 30, 2015 at 3:22 amSolaris

        Not at all. I think it’s more a problem to YOU. I am a bothersome individual that like to discuss too much of pointless stuff. If you’re online sometime I’d like to meet you in the irc chat. After all our tastes seems to match a lot.

  • March 30, 2015 at 7:38 amAtalla Wanderer

    Glad you got hooked. Dog Days is infectious. Here’s to hoping for a fourth season!

    Instead of asking who your favorite girl is, instead I’ll ask this: Who would you ship Shinku with? :p

    • March 30, 2015 at 8:34 amzztop

      Cinque x Everyone else.

      • March 30, 2015 at 11:45 amJ-Luke

        Cinque: The Love Boat of Dog Days.

    • March 30, 2015 at 12:18 pmStilts

      I mostly ship Cinque x Millhi, I suppose, but it’d feel wrong to leave Becky & Eclair out. Then again, the harem route doesn’t seem right for Dog Days, so I don’t knooooow! Orz

  • March 30, 2015 at 7:40 amGoukaRyuu

    Did you notice that the VA for Aria also voiced Kokona-chan from Yama no Susume?

    • March 30, 2015 at 11:18 amStilts

      Ogura Yui is one of the most distinctive seiyuu around. I assure you I recognized her instantly, though Kokona was pretty far down the list of roles that instantly come to mind. Ro-Kyu-Bu, HenNeko, Kamisama no Memochou, Saki: Achiga-hen, Aquarion EVOL, Sakurasou … and yeah, Yama no Susume as well.

      I’m a bit of a seiyuu aficionado these days. I blame Divine!

  • March 30, 2015 at 8:32 amzztop

    Season 4 when?
    Maybe then they can answer who keeps seeding those Cursed Weapons around Flonyard.

  • March 30, 2015 at 9:50 amJ-Luke

    I’m soon going to watch season 3 (I have seen the previous seasons already) and looking forward to it.
    Maybe it would a nice twist in a possible fourth season that some of the Flonyard resident were to visit earth. It would surely make for some interesting and hilarious encounters…

    • March 30, 2015 at 11:20 amStilts

      Seconded. That’d be fun to watch, if it’s (in-universe) possible.

  • March 30, 2015 at 12:15 pmErimaki

    Enjoyed the hell out of this show, although I’m a bit salty about lack of Eclair… Then again, she received a lot of time for herself in the previous season, so I guess it balances out? At least her face in that final photo was great =D

    Leo-sama’s arranged marriage was my favorite episode, because if one way must be chosen (luckily we don’t have to, because that would be one hard choice) Leocentrism is the way to go for me. Still hoping for Couvert-centric episode though. Or just more episodes in general, actually.
    Somehow the biggest surprise was the fact that there are more than three countries in Flonyard though (or four once you count Leaf’s).
    Overall, the world-building this season did was very welcome.

    One thing that must be said in Dog Days’ (particularly the second season’s) favor is that all the ground shattering, explosive magical combat with mountain-sized swords and so on still counts as slice-of-life. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it, and I doubt many other shows can boast with that.

    • April 2, 2015 at 5:54 ams_w

      Yeah, when this season was over, I realized, “Oh crap, no Eclair episode? Nooooooo!” (Insert Darth Vader jpg here.)

  • March 30, 2015 at 2:59 pmDorian

    I think it was interesting that DD keeps introducing some darker elements that you wouldn’t think would be in this show. Like Couvert’s ancestor who died the way she did. I wasn’t expecting that and was sadden because of it. Probably expect something similar next season. And there will be a fourth.

    Also, I would find it interesting if there was a hero from another world. Remember, that is still a possibility and likely will happen at some point, I would think. It would also be a neat change of pace. Or even a hero who has not been home in a few years, because unlike Cinque and company they haven’t been. Could you imagine having left your previous life as you wouldn’t be able to get home, then settle in and have a life built there, then hear about this? Either scenario would be good.

    Concerning best girl, or the girl for Cinque, I believe Becky said it best. Right now, they all just want to enjoy being with everyone else. Soon enough, things will need to change. There is no need to rush it right now. Just enjoy the time with friends and when the time comes, then move on.

    As for who will end up with Cinque, while most would think Milhi, she actually is disqualified at the moment thanks to Leo. With her arranged marriage, this would suggest that most ruling families are probably in the same boat. So Cinque, while being the Hero, is still a commoner, therefore he can’t. And since his heroics is part of being a hero, he can’t become a noble that way.

    Though considering Leo made a compromise like whoever can beat her in battle, perhaps Milhi will do something similar like “whoever can do the best duet with me”. And considering how many fans she has in Flonyard, that would be not only hard to do, but hard to achieve.

    Then again, I’m over thinking things for such a slice of life show.

    • March 30, 2015 at 9:43 pmStilts

      Or even a hero who has not been home in a few years, because unlike Cinque and company they haven’t been. Could you imagine having left your previous life as you wouldn’t be able to get home, then settle in and have a life built there, then hear about this?

      You just described Adel. She’s from Earth too, and that’s exactly what happened to her.

      As for Cinque marrying Millhi, I’m 1000% positive it’s possible. Not only was Leo-sama open to marrying a commoner, but there was no “Ohhh, if only Cinque was a noble,” nonsense when Millhi and Becky were discussing the issue.

      He’s a hero! Adel became the Hero King, taking over for the princess when she died, because she was Pastillage’s hero! They’re special, and if that extends to ruling a country in the ruler’s stead, I think they can marry one as well.

  • March 30, 2015 at 4:29 pmShiden

    It’s almost all fluff, but it’s damned good fluff. Looking forward to another season of this, at some point.

    In the meantime, there’s Vivid coming up next season. :)

  • March 30, 2015 at 9:01 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    Dog Days” (and Ansatsu Kyoushitsu) has also been a great uplifting balance for all the darker and/or doom-and-gloom and/or more serious series’ of this season (Death Parade, Parasyte, Shigatsu, etc.).

    I only wish there was more Hina/Brioche, but plenty of Yuki is good too, lol.

  • March 30, 2015 at 9:52 pmG-rios

    Question who is Farine and Verde Seiyuu?

  • April 1, 2015 at 7:29 amThundershock81

    Going to miss my weekly dose of Yukikaze once more until we get season 4. Sad face, Yukikaze will always be best girl!

    Ive been a big fan of Dog Days for a long time now and its good to see people enjoy this guilty little pleasure as much as I do. Its the perfect example of a series where you can say “screw the rules, screw all the tropes, to hell with the haters im having too much fun!”

    • April 1, 2015 at 9:22 pmStilts

      No pleasure should be a guilty pleasure. If you like something, fuck the haters, that’s what you like! Especially not with a delightful series like this one.

  • April 1, 2015 at 11:26 pmstardf29

    Dog Days is one of the best representations of the part of fantasy that transports us to another world and makes us dream of greater things in life. It’s escapist fantasy at its best, and I am perfectly fine with that. The sheer wonder of the world this show can bring (especially in the last season), as well as how much fun it would be to be in that world, gives that sense of “man, I wish I could go there” that I think more fantasy series need to aspire to.

    Such a wonderful show. I really hope we can get a Season 4.

  • April 2, 2015 at 12:43 amBROOKLYN otaku

    as my guilty pleasure i feel this season was hollow compared to first two….But looking forward to more.

  • April 2, 2015 at 6:13 ams_w

    Dog Days isn’t “Serious Anime,” and I’m totally cool with that. I’ve loved this series since the first season. So I’ve been waiting for this season for a few years now.

    I’d say overall it was pretty good. My only gripe (and it’s not much of a gripe, more of a grumble) is that I wish they’d ease up on adding new characters and focus on the central cast some more. They have an excellent central cast, and there’s nothing wrong with more Milhi and Leo. (And Eclair and Noire!)

    Not that the new characters were bad, or that the new arcs were bad, it’s just… when I look at the ep 12 end card, it’s just mind-boggling how many “main characters” they have on that thing now. The new characters are all well-crafted, but it had been a few years since the last season aired, so I wanted more time with the main cast.

    It’s natural to compare it to seasons 1 and 2, but it’s not exactly fair to do so, because each season came about from different circumstances. Season 1 was an experiment. A very successful experiment, but an experiment nonetheless. You can watch season 1, and be done with the series, and be happy with the ending. It’s very self-contained, so the pace is tighter.

    Season two was kind of like, “Oh, we get another season? Cool!” So season two indulged a lot of fan wishes, and went deeper into the Cinque/Nanami/Becky backstory, which was only hinted at in season one. Was it short on Plot? Yeah, but instead of plot it answered a crapton of questions with a lot of background info. And it added Couvert, who is one of my faves. (Wait 5-10 years! She’ll shatter hearts!) It also established Becky and Nanami as main cast, and went MUCH deeper into their backstory.

    Season three took a long time to come together, and after season two finished, a lot of fans complained that they wanted more Plot and more Action again. Hence the plottier season three.

    At any rate, I’m all ready for season four, whatever that is.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the three young heroes decide to move ahead with their futures: are they going to stay in Flognarde? Who’s going to marry whom? (I’m still shipping Milhi X Cinque, with Eclair as official mistress.)

    Oh, and Stilts! You forgot the giant Miko! She was awesome!

    • April 2, 2015 at 8:26 amStilts

      I disagree; it’s entirely fair to compare the three seasons. What’s not fair is comparing apples to oranges—or slice-of-life to grimdark dramas—even though we do that every year.

      Granted, you’re correct that they seemed to be trying different things, but we can certainly discuss whether those things worked, or whether they worked for us.

      I do somewhat agree with your point on adding characters. I really liked Sharu and Leaf, and felt they were good additions, but Aria didn’t do as much … she was mainly a secondary character to Gaul, whereas Sharu and Leaf (and most of the others) are all characters in their own right.

      The tricky part is that the Aria arc was still good worldbuilding and a good climax. Not sure what I woulda done.

      And I didn’t forget Farine! I just didn’t mention her. And you were complaining about too many characters… *gently ribs* :D

      • April 3, 2015 at 10:32 ams_w

        Viva SoL. I can get grimdark every time I turn on the news or pick up the phone. I suppose getting older makes me more prone to watch SoL and less interested in how grimdark you can make something.

        WRT comparing, I think it depends on how you’re looking at the shows. If you’re looking at them on the video store shelves (do they still have those?), then I suppose basic comparisons are inevitable. But my inner fanboy (and lit grad) says that you’ll understand the series better if you examine it from the perspective of when each series came out, and under what circumstances. It’s the influence of too many literary criticism classes as an undergrad, I guess.

        It’s one thing to say, “This show is good/bad,” another to say what about it is good/bad, but yet another to explore *why* the show is the way it is. Yeah, I know, too meta, too boring, most people don’t care. But part of my wants to know WHY “Glasslip” and MKNR sucked so badly. (And why some adaptations are so terrible, I want to gouge out my eyes.)

        About too many characters: I know, I know. I complain about too many characters, then gush about how good the ones they added are. It speaks to the skill of the staff behind this series, that they can create weapons-grade-level cute characters that still have a certain amount of depth behind them.

        But all of those new charas steal focus from the really good central cast. (Like Hina-sama, Hina-sama, and Hina-sama! Oh, and Eclaire, too!)

        I have the perfect solution: another season or two.