If you could change Dog Days from a carefree, light-hearted anime to a serious, violent one, would you? The elements are there for it to be a bloody fighting anime but other aspects repress them with the show’s well-known light-heartedness. But let’s say you could change a few things, like modify the fighting and story… would you change Dog Days into something entirely different?
While being light-hearted is Dog Day’s top characteristic, it makes it difficult to appreciate some of the other aspects of the anime, mainly the awesome powers each fighter has and the urgency of each battle. The fighters for each kingdom manipulate these overwhelming powers that could (and pretty much do) demolish any building or army, yet they only use them to play with each other and have a fun time. God-forbid anyone get hurt from the physically mighty powers they wield. But assume instead of turning into fluffy animal-balls, that the soldiers would sustain lacerations, contusions and other battlefield wounds. The violence was even mocked in the fifth episode when Gaul was commenting on how those from outside the realm could get hurt and not to fight so recklessly. But that’s just the kinda thing you’d expect from Dog Days. The situations they’re put in and the results that follow only seem to downplay what otherwise would be strong material for a fantastic fighting anime.
Even if the brawls and conflicts resulted in injuries or blood there would be no supporting story to justify the bloodshed. The story is just too cheerful for any actual violence. Whereas in other stories that employ the classical and tired themes of captured princesses and rescuing heroes, Dog Days provides zero tension to each situation, unless you care about the featureless idolaters of the Dog Kingdom being disappointed their Princess would be late for her concert. And it doesn’t help that Millhiore and Leonmichelle (and Gaul for that matter) are actually childhood friends. Instead of locking Millhiore in an intimidating dungeon, her stay in the fortress consists of visiting with old friends in an elegant room with maids ready to serve her upon any request. Having violence with this lack of tension and aggression wouldn’t mix well at all. So in order to take Dog Days more seriously, there’d been to be a change in the story as well.
With those two aspects changed, Dog Days would be a fairly different anime. And getting back to the original question: if you could change Dog Days from a carefree, light-hearted anime to a serious, violent one, would you? For me, it’s easy.
I wouldn’t. Violence and bloodshed are not what Dog Days is supposed to be about. It’s meant to be optimistic and fun. While the fights and story are somewhat underwhelming, the series makes up for it in being a cute and happy anime with no room for ill-thoughts or complex interpretations. It’s nice to relax with an anime like this, one that is simple and entertaining. And changing the style of fighting and the story would defeat the purpose of what Dog Days wants to be. There’s a part of me that wants a little more seriousness involving the battles and the overall wars. I mean, not only do their ‘wars’ consist of athletic events with minimal combat and no casualties but they also have sweet potato harvesting ‘battles’ and parties on the beach? Wow. I’ve never really taken Dog Days as a serious show before but come on… this is almost getting too light-hearted. But for now, I’m fine with the nature of this anime and wouldn’t change it for something more serious or violent.
I love the trio that is Génoise, Prince Gaul’s private unit. They’re the kinda irresponsible and selfish group this anime needs to add some spice. Through their actions alone, they not only capture Princess Millhiore during their celebratory period and start a war, but they’re respectable fighters, not taking any damage (but certainly dealing some) when going against an elite Biscotti warrior in Eclair. It’s too bad their battle was cut short with most of the episode spent with the other characters but they seemed to have some rather awesome weapons and techniques when compared to the other warriors in this anime. And they’re the only ones who have rather unique ears and tails when compared to the rest of the cast, especially Vert who isn’t either a dog or cat. They’re rather an amusing bunch of characters and I hope to see more of them in the future but being minor characters on the opposing side, I have a sinking feeling they’ll only get one more battle (in the second-to-last episode where they’ll be defeated by Eclair or whatever) and be reduced to solely comedy/fanservice characters in the meantime. Hopefully not but whatever gets them some more screentime is fine for me.