Despite being in a medieval-type setting, Dog Days doesn’t feel like a fantasy anime. When you compare the setting of Dog Days to other anime, who also have married the concepts of kemonomimi girls and a medieval setting like Spice and Wolf or Utawarerumono, you begin to draw some similar results. All shows have castles, villages, soldiers, and other stereotypical fantasy elements which provide a solid base for their stories. But there are some evident elements that separates Dog Days from the others.
The first is the use of technology in Dog Days. I’m sure everyone who watched the first episode would’ve guessed there’d be commentators and film crews covering every battle like it was a popular sporting event. This type of broadcasting is something you’d see out of an anime set in the current timeline or at least since televisions were invented. These technologies really spoil the otherwise competent fantasy setting. It completely shifted the mood of the battle from something somewhat serious into a non-threatening event.
In the fifth episode, we were treated with a free pass to Princess Millhiore’s concert. Again, there’s another use of technology that shouldn’t be around given the medieval setting of the series. It would be completely unthinkable in shows that strictly adhere to their fantasy settings but it works rather nicely for something like Dog Days, providing a unique element to the series. But again, it does take away from the fantasy genre as a whole.
Another element that seems contradictory to the fantasy genre is the personalities of the characters. They seem like fairly progressive and liberal, again like a more modern society is. No one seems to be bothered by Eclair, a young girl who is a top the ranks of their national military. Despite her skill, you’d never expect a girl like that to be admitted to the military in a typical fantasy setting, let alone be respected among her male peers. Furthermore, the citizens seem fairly content with their lives. They is no oppression, poverty, pestilence, or discrimination for the masses in Dog Days. They literally face no problems in their daily lives aside from being a little sad when they lose a loosely-competitive contest to their friendly neighboring nation. Again, it’s not like classical fantasy settings where there’s a clear difference between the nobles and the commoners, who often face a multitude of problems due to the unfair social system in place. But I guess Millhiore and Leonmichelle are doing a fine job as leaders, keeping the masses calm with a steady dose of war between each other.
Lastly, another element that seems to distract from the fantasy environment are the repeated cuts back to Becky in present-day Japan. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy those scenes where you see the effects of Shinku’s disappearance, especially on the girl who loves him. Seeing people react and respond to that usually are neglected in shows where the main character is transported to another world. It’s something I feel will be necessary for when Shinku returns to Japan, so it’s not like I’m against having these scenes in Dog Days. But it’s hard to ignore what it does to the fantasy setting. Taking a break to see urban Japan changes the atmosphere of the setting, from warriors riding birds and using almighty powers to blast armies away to a schoolgirl being scolded by her mother and then trying to send messages through her cell phone. It’s just uncommon. Most fantasy animes are strictly set in one timeline but many do go back-and-forth, so it’s not unorthodox to see elements like these in Dog Days. But I just can’t help but comment on how those scenes weaken the otherwise reasonable fantasy setting.
But even with those untypical characteristics for a fantasy anime, Dog Days still has a rather sturdy and enjoyable setting. These elements which seem to contradict the standard fantasy setting add distinctiveness to the series. When the story involves nations of citizens with kemonomimi and casualty-less wars among other things, you’re going to need a setting that can match that desired atmosphere. And the setting of Dog Days certainly does that with its story. So while the setting of Dog Days doesn’t match the typical fantasy anime setting, it does what it needs for its own anime and that’s what a setting should do.
I thought nothing of the scene in the kitchen of the sixth episode, until I paused (for whatever reason) and saw something that still makes me laugh to this moment. In the screen cap below, take a look at the two women in the bottom left corner. Just look at them. I don’t know but every time I look at that picture, I just crack up and start laughing. I’m not laughing at the poor nature of the drawing but just trying to imagine why they’d be doing that.
Clearly the focus of the attention is offscreen toward Shinku and Ricotta, which explains why everyone is looking that way. But no, the blue shirt is looking at her friend with some unexplained euphoric smile on her face. And the yellow shirt one, not only is she off balance, but she’s looking up toward the ceiling with a startling grin on her face. And look at their proportions compared to the others in the room and the background. Where exactly where are they standing in this room and how large are these people? I could keep going on those two but I think I’ll stop. I’m too busy laughing at that picture.