With the plot of the first season of Dog Days, that of an uncharacteristically aggressive and polarizing series of wars waged by Galette against Biscotti, the character relationships were merely established and remained static. That is, we were introduced to citizens of Biscotti and Galette throughout the anime yet they rarely intermingled with each other and chose to remain with their association rather than socialize with the perceived enemy. With that story thankfully concluded and the world returning to a familiar amiable one, the various warriors can rekindle their friendships with one another allowing for new character relationships to develop before our eyes. Not only are we seeing the other humans (Becky and Nanami) interact with the various inhabitants of Flonyard but we’re able to see members of Biscotti and Galette rekindle relationships that would otherwise be unknown to the audience. And this gratifying trend asserted itself in this episode with a substantial focus on the relationship between Eclair and Noir.
The second season of Dog Days has quickly surpassed the original in terms of its character relationships. Not only has the cast expanded to include Becky, Nanami, and the entire nation of Pastillage, thus allowing last friendships to be revealed and new friendships to develop, but it has integrated its familiar cast, too, as we saw with the training session in this video. Whereas before, Eclair was limited to only interacting with other residents of Biscotti and Noir was always shown with Jaune and Vert as a member of Génoise from Galette, this season revealed that there a strong bond exists between these two warriors and that they see each other as rivals. Not only that but their friendship is among the strongest in the series and that they enjoy spending time with Ricotta as well. The first season gave no hint at anything like that and resorted to basic relationships and limited contact between nations. Now, we realize, how durable the friendships are in Dog Days and how integrated these societies are.
Dog Days goes beyond exposition as a means of storytelling, too, and used the content of the episode to explore the relationship between Eclair and Noir further. Talking about a friendship or rivalship between two characters can only get to far as it is a weak method of developing characters, so we experienced the intimacy of their relationship through lengthy, skillful battles and unnecessary breast groping. Maybe a little too intimate with Noir keeping tabs on the size of Eclair’s breasts, but it does show how close the two are in terms of their friendship. The battles, both their experience fighting each other and their tenacity toward each other, show the rivalry between the two warriors which, at times, can outweigh their friendship as we saw when Noir was teasing Eclair. What is amazing to consider is that this relationship existed within the story of the first season of Dog Days yet it was never hinted at or even assumed. By combining a narrative with various actions scenes (as well as an undressing scene), we’re able to visualize the extent of the relationships in Dog Days and understand their nature better. It also helps break down the idea that the citizens of these nations act separately or independently of each other considering that Eclair is probably closer to Noir than just about everyone else from Biscotti given what we learned in this episode.
As with the presence of unexpected characters together to show a new character dynamic, the opposite is also true and was presented in this episode as a way to show individuality on Noir’s part. Being the leader of Génoise, we would always assume that everything Noir does is in conjunction with Jaune and Vert. That, however, was not the case in this episode as Noir was enjoying her earned vacation with her dear friend Eclair and studying under Yukikaze on how to establish a demon hunting unit for the nation of Galette. Not only are these actions free from the whole Génoise business, but Noir wanting to begin a demon unit further emphasizes her distinctiveness and show that she has some complexity to her design. By removing her from her familiar spot between Jaune and Vert, we’re able to enhance her character’s uniqueness more effectively which strengthens her character and helps create new opportunities for character relationships to form and grow. In fact, we were able to see her progress her relationship with Shinku more than ever before given the amount of time she was able to spend with him. This fact plays a major role in determining how character relationships begin and advance because otherwise, characters would remain in their old friendships and hardly ever interact outside their groups. Separating Noir from her posse and centering the episode around her not only enriched her character but it expanded her relationships as well, revitalizing it with Eclair and maturing it with Shinku.
Character relationships, especially those that seem bizarre or unexpected, are among my favorite character traits in anime. It’s always delightful to see characters from different backgrounds and opposing personalities or behaviors to join together for things like friendship and understanding each other. I always find it a strength for a character and an author to break the character out of their comfort zone and show them forming and advancing a friendship with someone else. Seeing a villain, not like a misunderstood goodie, reaching out and helping a good-guy and spending time together outside of their usual roles is something I will always appreciate, celebrate, and support in anime. Though Noir is technically a misunderstood goodie given the context of the first season, I still deeply and thoroughly enjoyed seeing these relationships blossom on our screen in the fourth episode of Dog Days’. I can only hope this trend continues with other character as well, especially with the support or minor characters, because it quickly became a favorite of mine for this season.
Considering that one of the specialties or assets of Dog Days’ is its adorable-earred cast of catgirls, doggirls, and whatnot, you’d figure the series would pay special attention to it. Without it, the setting becomes populated with boring humans who aren’t nearly as cute or pet-able and the anime loses one of its most distinctive aspects and its characteristic charm. So that’s why it’s surprising to see some of the characters be animated without their tails as saw shown a couple times in this episode. You’d figure the series would keep a sharp eye on this aspect as these animal-traits are what give the characters their personal touches. Seeing characters with their tails missing for a shot really doesn’t wreck the anime by any means, but it’s still an animation mistake that made it into the final product. I’d imagine it might be more disastrous if it were a character’s ears or something, but it seems like they pay plenty of attention to those already as they are harder to miss (being next to the face). Still, it’s a concerning oversight by the anime and hopefully not a reflection of the animation studio displaying an unfortunate lack of awareness or experience. Hopefully the trend won’t continue, as it probably won’t, but it’s still something worth mentioning since it does alter the characters quite significantly.