How different would Dog Days be without Shinku? Or even simpler, remove the whole ‘summoning from Earth/return to Earth’ aspect for the hero? What would Dog Days be like if it were solely contained in this fantasy world?
For example, imagine if there were no summoned hero role in the anime but Leonmichelle still foresaw the catastrophic future in which her childhood friend, Princess Millhiore, met an untimely demise. With the central plot remaining unscathed by this theoretical change, how different would our beloved kemonomimi anime be?
For starters, removing the role of the main character would completely alter the perspective of the series. The opportunities to be introduced to new characters, new concepts, and historical background would be reduced but still be manageable. Instead, we’d be following one of the more important characters in the series from Biscotti, likely Millhiore or Eclair. The first logical choice would be to follow Princess Millhiore as she is the lead female. We do see part of the anime through her perspective, so it wouldn’t be impossible to theoretically change the anime to show it through her eyes. Most of the story could be unchanged, except have Eclair play the role of Shinku in the first battles and rescuing Millhiore in the following event. If we were to keep the story closer to what the real anime is, then we could show it through the eyes of our powerful doggy soldier, Eclair. Placing her in Shinku’s role would alter some of the smaller details around but could be done. However, replacing the perspective of the series would be nothing compared to how different the characters would be.
Without Shinku, character purposes and relationships would be wildly different. For one, Ricotta’s role would be virtually pointless as her main purpose is to find a way to send Shinku home. Without needing to do that and without any proficient fighting skills, her role would be greatly reduced to being a tech wizard and friend of the characters. And Rico isn’t the only affected person. Gaul would have no male rival to duel against and be pitted against the exclusively female cast of warriors from Biscotti. You’d also expect the roles to increase, especially for those who surround themselves with whoever the new lead would be (such as Amelita for Millhiore or Rolan for Eclair). Additionally, there would be no romance or relationships with no male for Millhiore and Eclair to develop feelings over. Instead, they’d be showing fewer emotions, which is a shame because their tails wiggle whenever they are happy.
Being isolated in this fantasy world would change our perspective of the series greatly. Had there been no connection to our home, Earth, then the fantasy world of Flonyard would seem more authentic, at least as a fantasy setting. There’d be no point of reference to our current timeline and our imaginations could place it sometime in the past or future or outside of time altogether. Right now, we know that it’s concurrent with present-day Earth, so it’s something we have to accept. Without that connection, our imaginations could also transform the nature of the setting as well. For some, they could think this is all a dream, or some far away planet, or a futuristic Earth where humans spliced DNA with various animals and created new kingdoms who have taken over parts of the globe. There’d be some room for us to use our minds to expand upon the fantasy setting presented to us and without Shinku or the connection to Earth, we would be able to have a more personal interpretation of the setting of Dog Days. However, the setting would likely be unchanged and remain a fantasy one, so there would not be much change in regards to that.
And without Shinku or the whole ‘return-to-Earth’ aspect the series has as a subplot, there could be time to develop the other characters further. With this extra time, we could learn more about the characters, such as the brother-sister/general-soldier relationship between Rolan and Eclair. Personally, I’d love to see their backstory together and I’m sure we’ll see it eventually in the series but likely to a lesser degree than what I’d like to see. We could also learn more about d’Arquien and Yukikaze, the freelance knights, and their relationship with Millhiore and Biscotti as a whole. There could also be time spent with the three idiots Noir, Jaune, and Vert since I feel those characters will be neglected individually and as a group (although I’ll note I was happy to see Jaune do something alone in this episode). And maybe we’d see Ricotta have a new role in the series, perhaps something with weaponry or researching the erratic behavior of Leonmichelle. So with that aspect gone, there would be certainly a lot more time to expand upon the lesser characters.
In summary, Dog Days would be radically altered in certain areas, such as character purpose and relationships and perhaps their supplementary development, and be quite similar in others, such as the perspective of the series and the feel of the setting. There would also be other changes as well, ones I did not mention, that would obviously be different under these circumstances. And going back to the original question, ‘How different would Dog Days be without Shinku?’ I feel that the series would remain fairly similar but be drastically difference in a few key areas.
Having Shinku around brings an aspect of familiarity to the series, something that aids in our perspective, as the audience, to understanding what’s going on. Without him and his behavior, we’d be aliens in this strange land. These new concepts and mechanics are both new to us and to Shinku, so we learn what’s going on together. Our reactions mirror each other, at least somewhat. And that adds something to the series that’d be impossible without him and his Earthyness.
There really hasn’t been anything evil in Dog Days yet. The most ‘evil’ person, at least perceived, is Leonmichelle, and her actions are justified by her doing this to save her friend’s life. Outside of that, no one is ‘evil’ or a traditional ‘bad guy’ in Dog Days. Everyone seems to be fairly decent, playing in these war-games and having an enjoyable time with everyone. It is doubtful it will change but would be fascinating to see, especially with how caring everyone is about everyone else in the anime. I wonder how the characters would react if there were serious threats to their nations, such as an invading army, and their people, like if there were actual casualties and deaths imminent. So far it seems like these two leaders are content with stressing over games, so seeing their reactions to something serious would be an interesting and welcome turn of events.