Dog Days’ (S2) – 6

The central theme of Dog Days is that of friendship.  Through every episode, the characters enjoy their magnetic relationships, comprised of delightful conversations, enticing groomings and pettings, and satisfying, light-hearted combat that leaves every character feeling safe and with a smile on their face.  In the off chance something “bad” is happening, it’s usually a simple conflict between friends that quickly resolves itself with each side realizing their errors, understanding each other, and strengthening their bond to an even greater level than before.  It’s how Dog Days’ remains so cheerful, charming, and peaceful all the time.  So consider myself overjoyed for the appearance of the Demon King, a selfish, perverted renegade who does not care about friendship or anyone’s feelings and came to disrespect everything about friendship and those considerate, compassionate impressions in Dog Days’.  Finally, someone brave enough to challenge this theme and provide that spark of conflict which can allow for Dog Days’ to change or progress.

Valerio, or as he would like to be called, the Demon King Calvados, is just the type of antihero this series needs.  His predominant design is to be an affront to the whole theme of friendship and sympathy in Dog Days’.  While everyone is being pleasant and thoughtful of others, Valerio exists to fulfill his gluttonous cravings without considering the effects of his actions on others.  His obscene, brash, and unfriendly personality conflicts with everyone else in the cast of Dog Days’.  He also seems to be the only character with a real sex drive, too, actively pursuing girls in their underwear or less.  If left unchecked, he’d simply wreak havoc in the world, draining the life-forces of everyone around him and sexually harassing underdressed women.  And when confronted, he simply used his brute strength to knock out his competition or forcibly strip them of whatever clothes remained.  In essence, he’s the anti-essence of Dog Days’.

What makes Valerio an amusing and enjoyable character is not simply just because he is the opposite of everyone else thus far in Dog Days’ but because of what he brings to the anime, changing things up and shifting the series dynamic around.  Whereas before, everyone was having fun playing war-games with each other and grooming their nation’s leaders, now we see a character who derives his pleasure from stealing the energy of people and generally being an asshole about it, too.  Whereas before the fanservice was innocent, with character being striped to their panties, covering up in embarrassment, and moving on from there, we now have a character who actively seeks out girls in their underwear and asking them directly to show him their naked bodies.  If not, he’ll produce a gust of wind for some instant pantyshots.  And instead of having that insert of comedy or lightheartedness that keeps Dog Days’ relatively harmless, Valerio produces scorn and anger among its vulnerable and naked characters, having them fight back with an intent to destroy which is harsher than how they feeling in battles.  And throughout all this, he’s never thinking about everyone who he’s taking advantage of and feeling remorse.  Actually, he’s usually laughing about it and having a fantastic time.

Why these changes are beneficial to the anime is that it breaks the monotony of the series and provides something new.  Though brutish, perverted characters are nothing new to the anime community, someone like this is unheard of within the Dog Days’ universe, a realm which everyone is friends with everyone else and their thoughts and feelings are given considerable care.  Now that there is a character who’s against these morals, it puts the characters and their ideals to the test, a challenge to see the resilience in their friendship.  Not only that, but this one of the few opportunities where the heroes get to display their chivalry and protect their princesses and their people from a legitimate threat.  Not only that but there’s finally a character who’s willing to take risks for his own personal benefit, not for that of their friends or the community.  And though the episode ended with his personality changing slightly, having more self-control now with the presence of his personal ass-kicker, Adel, we can still expect Valerio to go against the grain and cause more chaos and conflict whenever he’s around in Dog Days’.

Everything about the integration of Pastillage, its people, its nation, and its stories, has been a huge success for Dog Days’.  Besides adding another landmass, culture, and army to the series, the characters of Pastillage have been a fundamental addition to the anime, especially with the relationship dynamic that has been created.  Not only is there a place for Becky to stay and be a hero of a nation, but it also has allowed for Millhiore and Leonmichelle’s relationship to open up and become a triangle with Couvre.  It’s taken a bit of the intimacy out of the relationships but created a more social and less serious dynamic for the characters to be a part of.  Not only that but having three nations participate in war games will reduce the dreariness that would follow from two nations fighting each other without end.  Beyond that, there’s also the fact that we can get a break from certain characters now, switching back and forth between parties rather than relying on the same supporting cast over and over, episode after episode.  It has been a boon for the series, essentially allowing the series to expand without being too little or too much.  It’s just right for what the anime needed.

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  1. #1 by Tzaphqiel on August 12, 2012 - 8:15 PM

    I was actually expecting a lot more drama than what happened in this episode with Valerio’s appearance, considering that he is a Demon Lord. The end of the first half and beginning of the second half in particular left me a little disappointed, if only because he threatened to kill Couvre and Shinku and failed for a less dramatic reason (because of the protected region/massive amount of energy instead of them just barely hanging on). But, although his threat was less deadly than I was anticipating, it is still quite real, as you have noted. He’s definitely not a typical character, especially when you consider that his introduction is the first scene in the entire series that depicts a male character being completely naked, and his outfit is surprisingly revealing (or close to it) as well. His abilities to drain bright power and to snatch bullets out of air and throw them back with the same force as a rifle shot makes him a formidable foe. But he still seemed less threatening after his punching-bag treatment throughout the episode, regardless of how satisfying it was to see him get pummeled (I was hoping for Shinku to punch him in the face and was immensely grateful for the outcome of said face-punching). Adel showing up only further reduced how threatening he felt.

    I agree that Pastillage adds that extra bit of depth needed in this series to the relationships and cultures, and it definitely helps to keep the wars from devolving into the standard “Red vs. Blue” competitions that only serve to highlight that these groups are slightly different from one another. But, there was (and still is) a lot of potential to develop relationships and cultures with the original two nations, which was done quite well with the town of Ayase in the last episode. Even the eye-catches between the first and second halves do a surprisingly good job of giving us little details about the lives of the characters (such as the catch detailing Eclair as an adorable little kid with a bow-tie around the little bit of hair that always sticks up, the catch showing Vert being clumsy, and the current episode’s catch showing Amelita’s love of doughnuts, with the last one being a bit worrying considering the veritable mountain of doughnuts that was shown). However, I will admit that even this has its limitations and would eventually get boring with just two nations. And, as you pointed out, it gives Becky something to do besides standing in the background.

    Three other, minor points I’d have to add would be:
    1. The opening has changed to show Isuka’s face now that he has been introduced, and I expect that the same will happen with Adel and Valerio. That being said, the ball with a star inside, which appears to be Adel’s motif, featured a bit during that part of the opening and makes me wonder if there is going to be more drama that follows from Valerio waking up or if something new will happen that requires Adel to act. There may even be a series of events similar to what happened with Adel and her summoner that will occur with one of the current summoned heroes (most likely Shinku), which makes me worry a little bit.
    2. The seal/monument that kept both Adel and Valerio locked up seemed to act a bit like a computer, which makes me wonder how similar seal spells and bright power skills are to computer programs and whether computers exist in Flonyard. This is actually something I had been wondering about ever since “ceremonial calculations” were mentioned, but I originally figured that the connection was minor. The monument has renewed this train of thought and makes me wonder what other information (and other) technologies might be present in Flonyard.
    3. Although I can understand the appeal of having an open-air bath or a bath with a lot of natural lighting, I still have to wonder what idiotic building designer thought that it would be a good idea to put several windows in a changing room, because that’s almost inviting perverts like Valerio to peek.

    • #2 by avvesione on August 14, 2012 - 1:19 AM

      Knowing the nature of Dog Days’, being a lighthearted and fun fantasy/adventure anime, there’s no way that the even the Demon King would be an evil character capable of killing anyone. Only those monstrocities that we saw at the end of last season would be able to do that and I don’t believe anything like that will be even a remote possibility in this anime. Also, given the fact that he appeared naked and there was some instant comedy with Shinku covering Couvre’s eyes, it was clear nothing bad would happen. Plus, I don’t think he had the intent to kill either of them by draining their life force. He probably only took what he needed before he began peeping on girls in their underwear. He certainly is a formidable foe, but I think he’s more interested in satisfying his sex drive than fighting his enemies.

      You do bring up an excellent point about how there’s quite a bit of opportunity and possibility for Biscotti and Galette to be developed further, like with Noir studying under Yukikaze for demon hunting, but then it’s just those two time after time. Having a third nation changes that dynamic around by having it be any of three possibilities now or having all three nations together to make things more variable and diverse. Been very pleased with how Pastillage has been used thus far, especially being used for an episode like this where we learn about their history and their wars with the Demon King.

      I noticed that, too, with the opening and am looking forward to seeing how Adel and Valerio appear in the OP now. They also changed the ED so now their faces are visible, too. Wouldn’t be surprised to see more about Adel considering she seems to be a relative of Shinku, so maybe that’ll be the main story for this season considering the magnitude of her character, her status, and her incredibly high profile voice actress (Eri Kitamura).

      Not sure how similar things are to computers in this anime, but I bet you it was simply a coincidence. I believe that whole animation was a visual presentation of the magic seal being broken (or being interfaced) or as a way to visualize how important this seal was. Not to say this realm isn’t digitized as they have floating video screens, cameras, and other technologies, but I wouldn’t think that seal is very important in the grand scheme of things.

      I can understand the glass ceiling, being pretty inaccessible to people while allowing light in/stars and moon visible and keeping the rain/wind/cold out. The real question is, why did the girls change right in front of an open window? Better yeah, why did they take off their underwear and switch to a simple towel? At worst, when the towel was destroyed by Valerio, Liscia would be back to her bra and panties like before and not completely naked. Oh well, it was fun, so it’s not like I’m complaining or questioning it! =P

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