Though I have been singing the praises of Dog Days’ since about the start of this second season, it’s time to mention some of the negatives of this series seeing as they’re often ignored or overlooked in recent posts. And while the anime has been a step up of the first season in many key components, there are still some aspects of the original series that outclassed this sequel in additional to other questionable differences. Here, we’ll look at some of the areas where Dog Days’ is inferior or subpar to first season or general subjects where there’s room for improvement and growth.
Though I have a favorable impression of Dog Days’ and am delighted by its charming and inspiring adventures, there are still some faults with this anime despite enjoying it more than the first season. Starting off, this season appears to be a haphazard slew of loosely connected escapades that lacks structure and direction. Where the first season had a story that endured through its entire run, with each episode interlocked with the next, Dog Days’ has taken a lenient approach to its plot, highlighting various adventures across the kingdoms that typically result in fighting and fanservice. But there’s no consistency or development going on within these episodes, no evident progress being made by each adventure to the characters in their relationship or any central plot that’s driving this season. Sure, each episode accomplishes a task, such as introducing new characters, explaining new battle mechanics (the Noir episode), or presenting these new hero stones (the ones Shinku and Gaul obtained) that will likely find some way to reappear later on. But it’s unlike the first season where Shinku had to test himself in battle, forge friendships among his hopeless nation, all while aiming to protect Millhiore and uncover the true intentions of Leonmichelle’s aggression. This, there’s no such thing, even with the ambitions of three heroes among three separate nations. Though I believe a storyline will appear sometime down the road, the series thus far has been substandard in terms of its central story. Not to say that the episodes haven’t been fun or interesting, but the story for the first season has greatly outperformed that of this second season.
Another weakness of Dog Days’ has been the complete reliance on deus ex machina mechanics that are derived from either poor explanation or poor execution (which are both derivatives of poor writing, so go figure it’s a pretty prominent part of the prior paragraph’s point). For one, the BraveConnect system, the communication system used by Adélaïde to immediately reach Shinku, Nanami, and Rebecca, was never hinted at, not its capabilities made aware at any previous point but just suddenly appeared. Not only that but it is exactly what the trapped warriors needed to deal with the demonic mice that were draining their life energy. And not only that but the warp system, too, was just too convenient for this situation without any prior knowledge or hint to such fantastic and broken powers. Or what about Couvre being able to bring everyone’s clothes and armor after all the girls lost their clothes and were left naked… again… (happened in every episode this season). It’s like the anime was intending for there to be some brief nudity again to make this anime pretty much an ecchi one but didn’t have the guts to see it through and threw some clothes as its cast to make it more of a lighthearted comedy scene than anything uncomfortably sexual. Either way, the anime has trouble with its constant reliance on deus ex machine for its plot holes and other unsolvable details with its stories and characters. Things are able to happen because they need to happen and, without any prior hints or knowledge, it almost seems like the characters are cheating by bending the rules to fit their needs whenever they’re faced with even the slightest bit of a challenge. Ultimately, this is a weakness in the writing because these situations are avoidable and would actually enhance the setting, the story, and the characters by mentioning these details prior to needing them. An example would be to see Adélaïde setting up the system with Shinku, Nanami, and Becky, perhaps joking around that they should call her if they’re even in a pinch (simple dramatic irony, too), so that we know such a system exists before it was used in this episode. Or Couvre bringing a spare set of clothes just because she knows every girl get stripped to their panties or less in every episode. Something like that; just any freedom from these woeful deus ex machine mechanics and that would be a substantial improvement for the Dog Days’.
A final disadvantage in this second season of Dog Days is the battles. Though there have been no significant differences in how they’re choreographed, animated, or their importance to the story, they’re seemingly unexciting and tedious when compared to the first season. What made the first season sensational and exhilarating were the battles between these overpowered fighters, these super-soldiers with unimaginable destructive power and the ability to defeat dozens of soldiers with as much as a glance in their general direction. Not only that but the battles meant something back then, too, with each side having their own motivations and concerns, with each fight having ramifications for their nations and their people. It made the fights worthwhile and engaging to watch. Now, the fights carry little weight, are disturbingly predictable, and an area where the first season outdoes this second one. What were the consequences of this episode? Oh, a giant demonic rat just makes everyone younger but can’t leave the cave to destroy the region. Others? Girls lose their clothes (which is something that happens anyway, so why fight it?) and a pervert goes around looking for girls with no clothes on (again, why fight the enviable?). The first season? National treasures were being wagered and these wars were fought due to the prospect of character deaths through shoddy fortune-telling techniques. And while the first season had characters brawling with each other, this second season enjoys pitting its characters against monsters, which unfortunately never seem to end well for these terrorizing demons. And it’s the same for the fighting, too. Dog Days’ has taken a few steps back in terms of its combat and its significance. If it’s able to give us battles we care about, between characters fighting over something noteworthy to their characters or the story, then perhaps the combat wouldn’t feel so tired or mundane.
And while there are indeed other areas where this anime can improve, just those three are the ones that bother me the most and deserve some recognition. While I continue to rant on the persistent fanservice, ultimately turning this show from an innocent, lighthearted adventure into a naïve ecchi comedy/adventure, it hasn’t been detrimental to the anime. Sure, it’s unnecessary and constantly prevalent, but it does add some amusement to the series, never leads to any substandard romantic developments, and is often over in the matter of seconds meaning it’s gone before it really offends anyone. The incorporation of new characters and subsequent loss of old characters, too, is another point that could be raised in this season of Dog Days’ but it matters on opinions, much like the ecchi section prior. The new characters require screen time so that they can be properly established and find their place in the series, even at the expense of older characters who have been reduced to the bare minimum. I can understand some fan frustration over these developments and how the series employees its characters, but the new cast has nee fantastic and quite delightful. There’s no reason to complain on this point unless your favorite character has only appeared in one or two episodes. There are others, too, but progressing any further, it becomes a jungle of people’s opinions and personal preferences which, if anyone is interested in voicing, belongs in a comments section or on a community forum.
Considering these points and any others, it’s clear to see that Dog Days’ has extensive room for improvement. The writing alone receives a bulk of this assignment, particularly in structuring an intriguing and enchanting story for which to be told over the course of the anime. Beyond that, simple changes in using explanations and technologies to provide clarity and understanding before using them would also greatly improve the series. And working in some importance into the fights would be another way the series can improve itself. Of course, I’m sure others would be excited for less fanservice and more older characters, too. Whatever it is, despite Dog Days’ being a fun, relaxing, and always entertaining anime, it is an anime with its faults and some flaws. Addressing and resolving these issues are perhaps the best ways for an anime to significantly improve itself and earn some praise and recognition. If Dog Days’ is up for the challenge, it shouldn’t take long to fix these major flaws, which would then earn the anime a much higher score and rank among its peers. But that’s only if the anime is up to such a challenge…
Considering how extensive the world appears to be, using a jet-powered dragon to fly to the cave with the gargantuan demonic mouse, where are the other countries that inhabit this fantastic fantasy realm? Thus far, we’ve only see three nations which all share roughly the same cultures and societies. Where are the nations with different customs and populated by people with different animal-ears (kemonomimi)? What about a bunny girl nation? And bear ears are popular, too. Same with bird wings and deer horns. And what about nations with differing architectures, technologies, ways of life, and ways of battling with each other? Hopefully the series will change to accommodate this desire of mine, but it seems unlikely given its ever-growing and always-extensive cast of characters. Maybe one of these days we’ll see a side story on the BD/DVD extras but any more geographic exploration and understanding probably won’t happen given what Dog Days’ wants to be. That’s too bad considering how interesting I am in the world, its nations, its people, and its various socities. Oh well.