Cinque returns to the land of Flonyard in Dog Days' to resume his duties as the hero of the Biscotti Republic and it's as though he never left!
The difference this time is that he's brought two friends with him who become heroes in their own right: childhood best friend Rebecca Anderson, who becomes the hero for the Principality of Pastillage at the urging of their leader Princess Couvert Eschenbach Pastillage, and his cousin Nanami Takatsuki, who becomes the hero for the Galette Lion Dominion.
As with the first season though, with so many secrets to be uncovered and mysteries to be solved, will there even be time for the athletic events that these three hyper and athletic teenagers love to participate in so much?
This review is going to be based from the point of view of someone who has already seen season one. I have already written a review for season one that you should read if you are new to Dog Days. If you are just going to be getting into Dog Days for the first time, please make sure to watch season one first. You may think this is obvious, but because of the weird naming scheme of the show and it's current streaming conditions in the west, it can really be confusing to newcomers. Season one is called "Dog Days" and season two is "Dog
Days'" or "Dog Days Dash". As of this writing, there is no legal way to watch season one streaming, as Crunchyroll is only streaming season two. I feel as if many reviewers are going to watch season two thinking that it is a fresh new anime series and are going to be confused by who these characters are and what is going on.
Please, if you want to get into the franchise and don't want to download fansubs or import the blurays (they do come with English subtitles), don't just get impatient and skip season one. Make sure to let Crunchyroll know how bad you want season one streaming, and let Aniplex, Funimation, or whoever know you want it in a domestic boxset. It's a fantastic franchise and the lack of a legal season one stream is very disappointing and is only hurting the revenue and chances for future seasons.
Season two starts off where season one left off. Shinku gets summoned back to Flonyard but this time thinks it's a great idea to take his friend Becky along, and Nanami gets summoned by Galette and taken to Flonyard.
Right off the bat the first arc is all one giant battle. Shinku fights for the Biscotti Republic, Nanami fights for Galette as their new hero, and then Becky is abducted by the new country of squirrel people called "Pastillage" to be their hero. The battles are just like last season with countries receiving points for knockouts and clothes-ripping hits, but this time with three countries instead of two, and three heroes instead of one. The season is filled with random adventures and lots of magic as well as new characters and mahou shounen/shoujo super moves.
In the Dog Days fandom, there seems to be two types of people: those who liked season one because it had over-arcing conflict (Shinku not knowing if he can get back to Earth, as well as the giant monster at the end), and those who feel that the first season was slightly ruined by the forced drama of the tacked-on monster and just wanted to have wacky Flonyard hi-jinx. People who just want wacky hi-jinx and battles are really in for a treat with season two. When there aren't battle episodes, the series is filled with self-contained episodes that have a small conflict and is usually resolved quickly. There is no real conflict, and the only drama in the season is one episode featuring Eclair questioning her and Shinku's relationship and whether she should confess or not. There is still no fear of death. People following the show initially thought that they would be introducing a big bad character mid-season due to the character's portrait being shadowed in the opening, but that character turned out to not be so bad after all. If you are watching Dog Days Dash hoping for edgy drama or conflict, you will be disappointed.
Season two is all about world-building, new characters, and battles. Masaki Tsuzuki more than likely knew when he was writing up season two that he was approved for a season three already and decided to use season two to be light-hearted and build into a more serious third season.
Everyone in Flonyard is still nice, the monsters are mischievous, the giant birds still look like chocobos, and the story is still about fun and excitement and not about being dark.
ART AND ANIMATION:
SevenArcs did a pretty decent job. Action sequences are really fast-paced and exciting and the art is good when it needs to be. Season one had an absolutely amazing concert scene late in the season that I was hoping we would see more of in this season, but sadly even though we got two concerts both were lackluster.
Season two gets a mahou shoujo transformation scene with animation by Kou Yoshinari and Studio Silver. The scene blew me away the first time I saw it as it felt so out of place with the rest of the episode. Sadly, while much of the sequence was amazing, it was also filled with quite apparent CG, and some fans including myself felt that the scene was too overly sexual to put in a show like Dog Days. Still, that sequence, coupled with a short sequence of fighting between Eclair and Leo later in the season, were my favorite sequences.
There are many frames where if you stop and pay attention to the background characters, they are drawn so terribly, you can't help but laugh. Also, season one's generic-faced soldiers return, and you can see copy-pasted people in several panning shots. I watched most of the high-action sequences at 25% speed so I could catch frames both good and bad. There are many really interesting and truly gorgeous key frames in many of the sequences, but just as many hilariously bad inbetweens. They have some work to do for the bluray release.
As far as character design and costumes go, Dog Days is absolutely stunning. All the characters are really unique and well thought out. We get a new race of squirrel people, and they all have big bushy squirrel tails as they should. Nanami and Becky's hero outfits/barrier jackets are stunningly designed with really cool colors, and even the generic soldiers even have neat looking uniforms. The characters even get turned into their younger/older selves in an episode and they are all given new clothes and look appropriate. Whoever did the costume design for this series is a genius. As someone who has watched Nanoha, you can really tell the Nanoha-esque resemblance in the designs. I cannot think of a single costume or humanoid character design from the second season that I dislike...except the catgirl-god from episode eight. She was just ugly on all fronts.
As far as the monsters and animals in Flonyard go, they are just passable. Season two sees the return of Brioche and Yukikaze's group of ninja-dogs, but many times when they are on screen they are drawn poorly. We get a new giant dragon that is honestly rather underwhelming as he's a boring grey color and looks like one of the Weapon-type monsters from Final Fantasy. We get new giant birds that this time fly and they just look like giant canaries and make cute squeaky bird noises. We even get a race of monster rabbits that just look like really chubby stuffed rabbits.
Season two kept up the unique art direction season one had, and the bright shiny colors kept me smiling and feeling that the brightness was very appropriate for an anime where everything is happy. Overall, the art was very good.
The opening is done by Nana Mizuki who voices one of the new heroes and Ricotta. The ending is done by Yui Horie who voices Millhiore. Millhiore also has two concert songs this season. They really aren't trying to hide the fact that Dog Days is a show to help promote album sales. Still, Fearless Hero is an amazing track that compliments that opening animation and let's you know this is a show with plenty of action and adventure. Yui Horie's song is simply played as the ED over a scrolling cast of chibi characters.
The rest of the soundtrack is just there. Most of the music I remember hearing in season one is back, which isn't particularly a bad thing because the music they play when the action gets going is very hot-blooded and fun.
There are absolutely no complaints about the voice cast. The all-star cast from season one returns, and on top of that we get Aoi Yuki as the new squirrel princess, as well as Eri Kitamura, Kousuke Toriumi, and others. Aoi does an amazing job being the high-pitched annoying excitable squirrel, as you would expect from a small rodent. Nana Mizuki returns as Ricotta and continues to make me smile every time she says "de arimasu~" after a sentence. Eri voices a new older character that says "nanodesu~" quite often. The voices are an absolute pleasure to listen to and I'm curious as to what talent they will get for season three.
If you loved season one's characters, you will love them all over again. Shinku is still a hotblooded athletic hero that just wants to have fun, Millhiore is still the cute princess, Leo is still a warrior-queen, Brioche is still a refined older lady, Yukki is still cheery and has giant breasts, Ricotta is still a wacky genius, etc.
The new characters are hit or miss. Becky and Nanami I initially thought were going to be terrible characters. I thought Backy was going to be the jealous third-wheel, and Nanami was going to be Miss Perfect. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed both of them. Nanami in her hero form fights with ice/water skates and a staff and has an absolutely amazing costume. She really reminds me of Subaru from Nanoha StrikerS. Becky becomes sort of a witch and rides around on a magical broom and shoots magical spellcards like in Touhou. Becky's costume is also really neatly designed (I'm a sucker for orange).
With the introduction of a new country of squirrels comes a new squirrel princess. She seems to always be constantly bored and looking for other people's business to butt into and drags her soldiers into other people's battles and generally gets in trouble. She has two main soldiers with her, Caraway and Riselle, who while seemed to be really neat characters when they were in the initial battle, were hardly on screen past that.
There's also an ancient human Hero King, Adelaide, that is actually a woman voiced by Eri Kitamura who fights with a magic pistol and sword. She is accompanied by a demon king named Valerie and the two of them are sort of a couple, possibly even going as far as being married. Adele is the typical jealous girl character that hates when her significant other looks at other women, which happens often because Valerie is a pervert. She threatens him with violence, and the schtick gets really old after the second time. Adele has sort of a neat white and yellow color scheme with blonde hair and star-shaped pupils, while Valerie is a big tall super-muscled guy with a dark color scheme and what seems to be a corrupted squirrel tail. They really do not go much into their history, which left a lot of fans hoping season three will give some answers about their relationship.
Season three also introduces Brioche's brother Isuka, a traveling swordsmith/samurai. He's very calm and collected much like Brioche, and lets onto a little bit of back story about Brioche's true name and a bit of her history. I was disappointed he didn't play a more important role.
As far as development goes we do see a bit. As stated earlier we get backstory about Yukikaze and Brioche. We also find out a tad more about their world and summoning and the possibility that there have been Flonyardians that go to Earth. Millhiore and Shinku don't get much development in their relationship, Eclair has roughly half an episode dedicated to her and her feelings for Shinku, and Becky and Shinku's relationship is only slightly developed at the end. Shinku is being a pretty great lead character as he's not giving into any of their obvious advances, and plainly acknowledges that he knows about their feelings, but he has better things to do. I found it pretty impossible to hate Shinku, especially seeing that there are enough other characters getting screen time this season that the story wouldn't always focus on him, which prevented him from turning into a character I just want off the screen.
Dog Days Dash was very character driven, even though many characters could have been fleshed out more. They introduced so many amazing characters, that many times I just wanted them to stop introducing characters so they could expand upon the ones they already have. This is a huge flaw of the franchise as a whole and I think really goes back to how Masaki Tsuzuki creates his worlds. He did the same thing with Nanoha where there was this big cast of really cool characters, but after he introduces them as being really cool characters, he likes to forget about them. It's almost as if he prefers to create characters rather than create stories for his characters, and it hurts Dog Days as a whole.
OVERALL ENJOYMENT AND OTHER CLOSING THOUGHTS:
I really enjoy the Dog Days franchise. I've watched the first season four times, and so far have watched season two's episodes twice each. I'm going to watch them again on bluray to see what they changed, as well as watching it again if it ever got a dub.
To me, Dog Days continues to be a breath of fresh air in the world of stale novel and manga adaptations and edgy shows for teens. Sure, Dog Days has tropes like a slight harem element, it has fanservice, it has animal-eared and tailed characters (which to me only adds to their charm), and at it's heart it's a shounen. Where Dog Days Dash excels is being a show you can sit down, turn on, and be transported to a happy world with fun characters, fun magic battles, innocent character interactions, and (here I go using that "F" word again) fun wish-fulfillment for fans burnt out of typical shows who want to feel like they're are watching something created so that you can feel good and happy watching it, not feel as if you have to root for or against any particular faction, or wonder if your favorite character is going to die.
If you haven't watched season one, do yourself a favor and go do so. If you are on the fence after watching season one as to whether you should watch two, then of course give it a watch. There's less plot this time around and less conflict. With season two, I believe Masaki Tsuzuki knew he was green-lit for a third season so he decided to use season two as the world-building filler in-between two more semi-serious and conflict-filled seasons. The final episode of Dash strongly hinted at another season, and with all of the press and promotional work it has been getting, as well as the solid bluray sales and more merchandise on the way, you can bet you aren't getting involved with a dead franchise. I'm eagerly awaiting a North American release.
Dog Days Dash isn't the perfect sequel so many people were hoping for, but when you go into it expecting character-driven action-adventure cute fun instead of grimdark plot, it's as perfect as a franchise like this is going to get, and that's good enough for me.
Dog Days is one of those series (1st season and 2nd season) where you either love it because of all the fun it has and how light hearted it is, or you hate it because it seemingly goes nowhere (this applies more so to the 2nd season). But whether you love it or hate it, there is no denying that Dog Days is good at what it tries to do.
For the second season of Dog Days, Cinque is summoned back to the world of Flonyard along with his close friend Becky and cousin Nanami. This time, however, each side gets their own hero
to even things out. Throughout each episode the characters experience some humorous ordeals or partake in a “war”.
There are numerous differences between the first and second season. The biggest difference is that the second season does not contain an underlying plot like the first season. However not every series needs a plot to succeed and the second season of Dog Days is an example of that. Each episode has a ton of funny moments and since something different happens every episode, most of the episodes are very entertaining. Another big difference is the addition of another country Pastillage. This addition did a number of things: added more characters, added variety to the “wars” and also helped with the comedy. Despite all these changes, the second season Dog Days is still very similar to the first season. The series doesn’t try for too much, it’s funny, it’s cute and most importantly it’s entertaining.
The art and animations are pretty much the same as the previous season. There are some very appealing visuals especially during battles and the character designs look very cute.
The opening and ending are also very similar to the opening and ending of the first season. The opening is very energetic, which describes the series very well. The ending is a very sweet song which I think is perfect for a conclusion to an episode. The voice actors also do a very good job matching the characters they are playing.
For this season, we don’t just have one hero, we have three. Our original hero Cinque/Sink, is probably the weakest of the three heroes in terms of power level, but he still looking like Nathan Drake (just shows you how powerful these heroes are). Despite being the weakest hero, he is a great character. He never shies away from a challenge, he’s nice and he has great chemistry with all the other characters.
The other two heroes don’t stand out as much as Cinque but they do play a role during each episode. Nanami, who is Cinque’s older cousin, has a personality which is very similar to Cinque. She’s very energetic, doesn’t back down from a challenge but she’s also slightly stronger than Cinque. Becky, Cinque’s best friend and perhaps the most over powered hero of all, is very different from the other heroes. She isn’t very athletic but she does have a lot of experience with video games making her a hero with a different style from Cinque and Nanami (her hero form is like a witch). All 3 of them are very likable and are pretty good characters
For this season, the princess Millhiore doesn’t play as big as a role as she did the first time but she is still the same as the first season, soft-spoken, kind, can hold her own in battle and best of all very cute so I have no complaints. During this season Éclair really sticks out because she undergoes development which a pleasant surprise and also because out of all the characters in the series, she has the best chemistry with Cinque. There are also a bunch of new characters such as Couvert, Valerio and Adelaide just to name a few. Each character adds to the comedy each bringing a different personality to the table. I also like the fact that there is no jealousy war that goes on between the characters that love Cinque instead they are all nice to each other which I like because sometimes in other anime there is a jealousy war between love rivals which can get very annoying.
Dog Days (both seasons) is a very enjoyable series because it likes to have fun, it’s very light, very funny and every episode brings something different. However the series isn’t for everyone, it has no story and doesn’t seem to go anywhere. But if you are just looking for something to watch, Dog Days (both seasons) can be a very fun watch.
Overall, even though the second season of Dog Days is different from the first, it’s still just as good. It’s not spectacular by any means but it’s still the cute and funny series that many would enjoy.
That is really the best way I can describe the second season of Dog Days. While I felt the first season was sub-par and full of potential, this season denied the opportunity for this anime to have any potential.
For those that have seen the first season of Dog Days, you're not missing much with the second season. It is the same-old shtick with the addition of some new characters...completely unnecessary characters I might add. So where did this anime go awry?
The story. It is truly dreadful. Actually, that might be doing it a disservice because it is non-existent. This season picks
up where the first one left off, Sinku takes Nanami and Rebecca with him to Flonyard and this time, Nanami becomes the hero for Galette and Rebecca becomes the hero for the newly introduced country of Pastillage. Couverte decides to enter Pastillage into the war games between Biscotti and Galette and it essentially becomes a three-sided war. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound as epic as it should. There is very little action in this "Union Fest" I believe they call it and the fight scenes that fans should be expecting are quite disappointing. It seriously felt like 2/3 of this anime was padding and fan service...and BOY is there fan service! Even more so than the first season which had a mild amount in its own right. One aspect I really didn't like was how it felt like Nanami and Rebecca were pros at the combat right off the bat. There wasn't any sort of struggle or buildup, it seemed like they were ready to go as soon as they got to Flonyard. It really took away any flare for the dramatic.
I also did not find this anime very enjoyable just for the fact that the character interaction is extremely dry. Unlike the first season, there was no sense of drama or tension in this season. Everything was cookie cutter and dry. This felt like one, antagonizingly long episode of Barney the Dinosaur with all the I'm so happy, I love you moments. Throw that on top of the what felt like filler episodes made this a very difficult watch. While watching this anime (and even taking the very liberal stance Japan has with their media), I had several contemplations running through my mind. I kept asking myself, "what's the target audience for this anime?" The dialogue felt like it was for a middle-schooler or perhaps even younger while the content felt as though they were aiming for a HS to college age audience. Whatever it may be, it felt like it didn't work. The dialogue felt too childish for an older anime viewer like myself to enjoy while the fan service was raunchy enough to make me blush (kidding, but it's a statement that I wouldn't let my kids watch this). Unlike the first season, I had to really FORCE myself to finish this season and I really didn't feel the payoff by the time it was all said and done.
So with that being said, was there anything this anime did right? Sort of. I did like the artwork...albeit, there was a scene in Episode 2 where it felt like this anime suddenly jumped into the realm of magical girl hentai...and for those who have watched the anime know what I'm talking about. I thought the music was still pretty good for this season, although I'll admit I liked the music a little better last season. I will say that it is extremely hard to pinpoint the good things about Dog Days' because they were few and far between.
Overall, I felt like Dog Days' was really 6 1/2 wasted hours of my life and probably the worst anime I've seen in 2012. The setup in the first season was actually much more dramatic than I expected and I felt if season two could capture the same sort of dramatic flare the mid-to-late sections of season one captured, it could've been a pretty decent anime. It didn't come close and honestly, it didn't even try. I have no idea what the writers were even trying to do with this season. I'm not sure if they wanted to try and make an epic setup for a third season or what, but season two was not even close to keep me invested in this series if it does continue.
I watched the first season of Dog Days, thinking that it wasn't so good, but had a decent story, cute characters with a cute design, and that it was entertaining enough to watch every week. And that a new season was a good thing.
But the second season is simply awful. The main reason for this is: there is no story. There is only a bunch of random episodic stuff. There is no tension, no danger. Only a bunch of kids playing, singing and giving some mild fanservice. I kept on watching every week thinking that there would be something to grasp upon. Something interesting that
will make a real story.
But it never happened. No drama between the characters. All the girls like Cinque, and there is no problem with it. No political/magical problems that have to be solved with the sporty war, the competition this time is only for fun. Every problem is easily solved. No mean guy, and no big rivality.
If you want to watch something happy without any tension, watch a slice of life. If you want to watch a fantasy adventure, get the hell out of here. If you want to watch a harem show, there are more interesting ones with more fanservice out there.
So there is nothing there. I have the feeling I lost every minute I spent on this anime. Only the art was good, even the insert songs by Milhi were boring. If there is a third season of Dog Days sometime, I hope they will give it a story this time.