Check-in Station: Dog Days eps1-5 (should I euthanize this beast?)
Like with most any show I watch that isn’t a highly recommended classic, I came into my first viewing of Dog Days with no expectations. And then I watched the first episode and began sharpening the knife. I just knew that this series didn’t have long and once put under my watchful eye towards it. I would don my olive wreath crown (which I wear for all of my home anime viewings), assume a comfortable seat on my thrown (a very comfortable executive leather chair) and give it a thorough thumbs up. Damning it to The Hall of Dropped and Incomplete series. Does Dog Days survive the infamous Five Episode Test?
Dog Days starts off in a very classic (read: cliche) way. A young, wide-eyed human teenager is wisked away to a fantastical world. The show does a pretty thorough job of showing us how athletic this kid is. All through the first episode he’s leaping, flipping and climbing like some sort of cat-human hybrid. He’s even a top class contestant on that world’s version of Ninja Warrior. Once he’s whisked away we see that his skills are tailor made for this sort of world. Instead of mortal combat through war, the differences between nations is settled through a faux war-like athletic competition, complete with announcers. This is where the show started to irk me a bit. Because this was starting to look like a show full of autonomous Pokemon. It felt very trite and bland and silly to watch as the Cat nation attacked the Dog nation and we saw all the flash and showy posing of a fight from the Gundam SEED universe. Through the first two or three episodes I hadn’t really found any characters to latch onto, and I was sure this show was done for.
What changed my mind is that the show started to grow on me. The fights got a little more intense (relatively); the characters started to get to know one another and relationships started to be explained and built. And the few appealing things that were there before are starting to add to the bit of joy I get from watching the show.
What I’ve found that I’m liking about the show is what originally irked me about it. This show is very silly. When opponents are defeated on the battle ground they turn into cute little cat or dog balls with no appendages short of their tails and ears, just hopping around. This adds to the personally appealing character designs. The character designs can be borderline generic, but they’re very clean, cute and you find enough distinction between the various named characters so as not to get anyone too easily confused. The combat that the show seems to revolve around is also decently done. It’s nothing that will impress anyone who has seen enough shounen anime nor will it get the attention of anyone who has seen enough of the more complicated and technical fight scenes like in G.I.T.S. S.A.C., Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo. It’s not impressive, just flashy.
All in all, this show is keeping its head above water by being cute, fun and just a little bit creative. I don’t expect a lot from this series, but as long as I can get a smile or a few laughs from this show and not feel like I’ve wasted 20 minutes, then I think it’s time spent well enough. In the end, I think how much people will enjoy this show will very greatly depending on personal taste and a love for whatever genres it’s straddling. And hopefully once I finish the show I’ll be able to say it was a fun, easy to recommend distraction.