Riddle me this; a boy has been summoned to a faraway land full of animal-human hybrids and has become the centerpiece of an on-going war between the kingdom of dogs and the kingdom of cats. This boy is thirteen, small in stature, incredibly gifted athletically, and always believes in the right way, as opposed to the wrong way; the way of evil and immoral purposes. Typically, boys like this are somewhat hard to come by, as thirteen year old boys are usually at the point of transition between childhood and puberty, in which case, their minds begin to wonder, about everything. So, to point out the fact that this boy, who was transported to a world predominantly controlled by colorful-haired, big eyed women, is so pure of heart, it’s safe to say that there shouldn’t be any issues with his likability, as we all enjoy the good guy. Except not everyone does, but that doesn’t stop Dog Days from making it the message to be learned from its content.
It wouldn’t be very rare to find someone who has imagined leaving their current reality and partaking in a world where mundane tasks and the perils of responsibility don’t matter. Whether they choose to escape their current dimension for purposes of necessity or pleasure, worlds such as the one portrayed in Dog Days are typical starting points for those looking for an image of peace and tranquility. This being said, the main character, Cinque, doesn’t ask to be saved from his less than stellar lifestyle, he simply follows through on his curiosity and steps into a portal to another land. Unfortunately for him, he has no way back. That doesn’t stop him from having a good time, however, as he’s introduced to the colorful… colors of the new world and the inhabitants that make it up. Before long, he’s deemed a hero by his summoner, the princess of the dog kingdom, Millhiore, and is rushed into battle with nothing but a ring on his hand. This is certainly not a very subtle introduction.
The world in which Cinque arrives in is a bit of a sight to behold. While two kingdoms are at war, it’s not the kind of war that one would probably imagine. These two kingdoms are actually on good terms. The princesses (because kings and queens aren’t cute enough to hold a position in this world) are childhood friends, and hold each other as dearly as I do with my own pets. These “wars” that their kingdoms’ people partake in are simply a giant game. There is no evil intent, there is no killing, no injuries, no marauding. Every purpose of these wars is to make sure that their kingdoms’ citizens are all entertained equally. I suppose one could infer that if partaking in war was the most enjoyable thing in this world, some might want to partake in an actual war. Just for fun. The issue with this becomes simple: there is no suspense. If the princess is captured, what of it? They won’t do anything to her because this is all just a big game. If your entire army is wiped out, oh well. Those who had fallen in battle are allowed to come back after a certain time limit. It ruins any sense of dread within the plot, and ultimately kills most of the entertainment value for those expecting an enthralling action anime.
The cast of Dog Days is as wide of an array of characters as I’ve ever seen. We have the hero, Cinque, with his pure intentions and heart of a true warrior. We have the princess of the dog kingdom, Millhiore, and the princess of the cat kingdom, Leo, both of whom are very beautifully designed. We also have a captain of the knight faction in the dog kingdom, Eclair, who is fourteen years old. Let me just reiterate; a fourteen year old girl is the captain of the knight faction in the dog kingdom army. We also have Rico, who looks as if she just came out of her mother’s womb and is already smarter than everyone else on the planet. There are many other characters that could be highlighted, but, overall, they don’t hold as much importance to the role of the anime as the characters already listed. And with an anime that spans thirteen episodes, it isn’t hard to imagine that each character gets a healthy dose of negligence. All except for Cinque, because he’s the hero, of course.
Speaking of which, Cinque is as unlikable a character as I’ve ever seen from a (implied) harem. His constant obsession with meeting everyone’s standards and his one for all attitude is enough to cause an uproar among the minds of those waiting for a more original character. He’s optimistic, he’s everything any person would want in a hero, but what hurts him the most is that he simply doesn’t act his age. This boy is thirteen. Why is he so willing to go along with everything that is entrusted to him? Wouldn’t someone as young as him think, maybe, the fact that he cannot return to his own world would be somewhat of a hindrance to his mindset as a person who enjoyed their former life? Not to mention, the minute skin shows (and it shows a lot), he’s the first to turn away with no desire to look back. Thirteen years old.
Other important characters include the two princesses, Millhiore and Leo; Eclair, and Rico. Millhiore is the standard love interest for the main character and a not-really-original-anymore archetype for the not-so damsel in distress. Leo is among the first victims of this series’ desire to show some developed chests, and her personality is the equivalent of a dedicated older sister towards Millhiore, somewhat like the relationship between a dog and its owner, except she’s a cat. Eclair is among Cinque’s (implied) harem and boasts the most adorable tsundere act throughout this entire anime. Rico, as mentioned before, has the body of a baby and has the intelligence of Einstein. She is solely responsible for finding out how to return Cinque back to his own world. That doesn’t stop Dog Days from showing her naked, but that’s unimportant to her character. By the way, every character mentioned in this paragraph gets naked at some point during the anime. You’re welcome.
Where Dog Days shines brightest is in its character design. Every single female character in this entire series is incredibly attractive. All of them. Whether their designs range from sexy to adorable, they all have the same sort of aura about them that makes them pleasurable to the eyes of the audience. And not just that, but the creatures (which, randomly, aren’t human hybrids) that reside within the world of Dog Days are also laced with creativity from beak to claw. Unfortunately, a single drawback from this is that it may come across as completely disgusting. A kingdom full of rainbows and fuzzy animals and colorful characters and big-eyed freaks and chibi balls of what once were normal cat and/or dog-human hybrids; it’s all a little much. Perhaps this kind of animation and character design would be completely lost on the color blind. Regardless, if being dazzling was a profession, Dog Days would be its CEO.
What Dog Days does best, in my eyes, is being committed to its audience. Because of this, I simply couldn’t enjoy it. There are multiple signs of fan service prevalent throughout this entire anime. Characters with colorful hairstyles and big eyes, and the fact that their combined with basic domestic animals. Sexual fan service. A majority of the characters are female and attractive, with impressive figures. The main character, excluding his can-do, pure attitude, has no personality. War within this series is a game, so no one gets hurt and everyone is happy. And when conflict finally does arise, it’s taken care of in a flash, with no explanations of where it came from in the first place. Characters that appear youthful are actually well over a hundred years old. The fact that men don’t hold any importance outside of the main character. Combine these points with a plethora of cliches (if what was listed wasn’t cliche enough) and you have the world Dog Days hopes to embody. Nothing but fun and fantasies, through and through.
While Dog Days isn’t anything extraordinary on the surface, the possibilities that are thrown away along with most of the male characters are a troubling thought, and leaves me with a feeling of regret. The series tries its very best to sugarcoat the series and squeeze every possible cliche it can in order to appease its audience, but underneath it all, it’s basically a rehashed fantasy/adventure story that lets itself get far too out of hand. If only heroes existed in the world of literature, so stories like this could be given a fair chance to flourish with multi-dimensional characters and an effort to create instability within the fun world that Dog Days creates.