Sorry for the brief hiatus but my computer had difficulties playing games, videos, and even browsing the web, so I went out and recently bought a new computer. Now that I can watch anime again, I plan to catch up with the thousand or shows I seem to be behind on. Anyway, onto Dog Days…
The tenth episode of Dog Days discarded the series’ legendary light-hearted image for a bold, new one. Battling a gargantuan demon that cries rivers of blood and showcasing nothing but animated action sequences and teary-eyed drama scenes, Dog Days has evolved into a well-done action anime. But only for this one episode.
Finally, Dog Days showed meaningful and magnificent action scenes. While most of the series was content with showing the dominant warriors use their massively overpowered attacks against featureless soldiers for “action”, this episode provided us with an opponent who would not be one-and-done in a fight and involved movement, basic tactics, timely-thinking, and best of all, blood. There were several instances of impressive action sequences that had great animation, such as Shinku running up the back of the fox while defending himself from a strong assault. The fight with Shinku and Millhiore at the end, too, was impressive. It certainly helped that the fiend was actually intimidating and not some playmate wielding a spear. Shinku, Millhiore, Eclair, and Leonmichelle all struggled to damage this foe which further illustrated the sheer terror and significance these demons possess. That’s one reason why I favor scenes like this over the duel between Shinku and Gaul from earlier on in the series. And while I’m praising the series for the vast improvement in action, I am disheartened that it likely only lasted this one episode, meaning a return to normal affairs will soon be in order.
Dog Days deserves a round-of-applause because it built up the climax and delivered a satisfying product. Moving away from the action, I particularly enjoyed the development of the demon and providing more insight into Millhiore’s and Leonmichelle’s characters. As this episode was the climax (unless there’s a real big twist coming up), you figured the action would be there but the storytelling backed up the fighting very well. The short history of the demon originally being an infant fox god seemed opposed to the light-hearted nature of the show. This was something serious. Had someone shown me the whole event, from being pierced by the demonic sword to the final transformation, I would never have guessed it was from Dog Days, even if that happened two weeks ago. The whole demon angle they escalated really paid off.
But more importantly was the character development for Millhiore and Leonmichelle. We already knew Millhiore is a benevolent and caring princess but to see her in battle, finally, really showed her versatility as a character. Rather than hiding in the shadows while everyone else fights and struggles, we saw the princess risk her body to protect her misunderstood friend and later, slay the demon with the help of her summoned pet hero, Shinku. Also throwing in the scene where she refused to execute the dying god was rather bold and her saving it in the end was extremely heart-warming. I never really liked Millhiore for most of the series, mainly because she was too apologetic and boring, but this episode showed that she is alright.
The development on Leonmichelle seemed to be the opposite. We knew she still cared for Millhiore, which is why she waged all the wars (I think she even misunderstands herself sometime) but we finally saw some action to back-up her words. Her defense of Millhiore and subsequent shock, outrage, and berserk behavior showed how deep her affection and love for Millhiore is. It showed it better than any previous sequence, despite the facial expressions being less detailed now than then. It was enjoyable to see Leonmichelle’s true emotions rather than the charade she maintains around everyone.
As enjoyable as this episode was, I can help but hold onto this sinking feeling that the final two episodes will simply return to the lighthearted nature the show has come to be known for. There’ll be some resolution between Millhiore and Leonmichelle (further highlighting Leonmichelle’s true feelings), some dialogue between Shinku and everyone, and Shinku’s eventually journey back home (or not, hopefully not). And of course, there’ll be comedy, pointless ecchi scenes (seems even this episode couldn’t escape that) and overall lightheartedness. But that’s expected since nothing will top this episode. It provided enough action to maintain series until the finale. Even if there’s a duel between Shinku and Leonmichelle or something toward the end, I am satisfied with how this episode went. It’s too bad there weren’t more ones like this one.
The only problem I had with this episode was the unnecessary fanservice for Millhiore. The whole episode was solemn and important up until that point. First, you have Millhiore trapped inside that floaty sphere-like thingy on the fox’s back. She’s wearing clothes in that prision. Then, using her willpower, she breaks free from the sphere only to be completely naked and around Shinku, the only male in the series who seems to do anything. Of course, there’s enough time to point out Millhiore’s nakedness and make Shinku blush. And once that’s over, then Millhiore’s sword grants a new set of armor for Millhiore solving the problem so she’s not naked the rest of the series. But all that for one simple ecchi joke and insignificant fanservice? I expect something better from Dog Days, especially during the climax when the whole episode had wonderful action and storytelling. But at least there has been a history of ecchi scenes, so something like this was not completely blind to us. That and it didn’t last for more than a minute with the episode immediately going back to the story after the ‘omg girls have breasts!’ moment that seem to be a mandatory scene in every anime.