The year is 2025. Five years have passed since the Tokyo Olympic Games were called off after deadly terrorist attacks. An international school run by the United Nations now stands in the former Olympic site on the edge of Tokyo Bay. Seven teenagers with special abilities, known as "Flowers," are among the students.
Their student identities are only a cover for their real identities as members of an intelligence organization run by the UN. Their objective is to assassinate other teenagers who have the same abilities. The Flowers have no choice but to complete their missions without fail. Their organization has taken their family members hostage to ensure this. For the Flowers, failure would mean death not only for themselves but also for their loved ones.
This is the story of their struggle against cruel fate, and of how it is human nature to find hope, however bleak the outlook.
EXPLOSIONS. guns. EXPLOSIONS. tropes. EXPLOSIONS. unexplored characters and themes. EXPLOSIONS. Welcome to Michael Bay, the anime.
*explosions suddenly erupt in the background of this review*
Under the Dog is an aesthetically beautiful circlejerk of explosions and underdeveloped yet overtly heavy handed themes. That said, its not really a bad anime, just an overwhelmingly mediocre one.
Story - 1/10. There is no cohesive story here. There is little to no narrative explanation to the premise, something that works very well in certain anime, but not in a 30 minute amalgam of explosions and blood. Without spoiling too much, Under the Dog tries to show you a heavy, dark
story in the background of its fast paced, action-centric approach. However, nothing is explored beyond face value, and from what I saw, Under the Dog is more about angsty, killing U.S. Army soldiers fantasies, than any deeper thematic purpose(s).
Art - 9.5/10. The visuals are fantasic. Character design is very subjective, but I'm a fan of the approach they took. The cinematography is the strongest individual aspect of Under the Dog, with a plethora of fast moving angular shots there to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. The explosions, albeit mind numbingly gratuitious, were wonderful to look at.
Sound - 8/10. The OST was very nice, possibly even under-utilized in certain sequences. It was very dramatic, sadly the story and characters prevent it from striking the viewer the way it was intended to. The voice acting was decent but not memorable. It certainly wasn't helped by the script. I appreciated the fact that they used native english speakers for the english roles, and this might be a bit nit-picky considering this is ultimately a Japanese anime, but they sounded more like random guys at the office than actors.
*brrrrrrrrr ksekjsetjkskjktttt (explosive noises)*
*more randoms explosions are detected*
Character - 1.5/10. The entire cast was completely underdeveloped and wholly unexplored, barring the female lead, and that was only in incoheret bits and pieces. It was very hard to take them seriously or build any semblance of emotional attachment. The male lead, an unsuspecting, run of the mill high school boy, is suddenly thrust into this world of hyper-violence and fictional destruction, but Under the Dog completely ignores what would be a great chance for character exploration via a shock setting change. I'm not expecting Shinji Ikari or Lelouch here, but some sort of characterization was there for the taking. Not once does he stop and ask the main character, "Why is the U.S. Military trying to destroy our high school, why is a cute high school girl like yourself capable of deadly assassination techniques, or why is there a giant monster in the hallway?" He's just there for the sake of being there, and sadly, so is everyone else.
Enjoyment - 5.5/10. While Under the Dog is exceedingly dumb, and misfires at any serious attempt to make an anime that feels significant in any way, it does succeed at being a moderately thrilling watch, solely thanks to its excellent visual presentation. Its just enjoyable enough to not feel regret about watching it.
Wow Under The Dog was actually good, I'm impressed. I will say they did oversell it in kickstarter but hey thats how you sell a product and I'm not mad it is a solid 7/10.
Its more substance than style because I would say this is basically something a seasonal anime can accomplish with the animation. I guess its harder to sell a story that isn't otaku pandering. But hey who knows maybe they thought they could have done this independently. But seeing as this is with KC and Orange I'm glad they worked with a competent studio. The CG is your standard Orange quality CG.
Some scenes def looked more flashier than others and the backgrounds were simple but it got the job done.
I feel that Hana was a good main character for the amount of screen time she got. Sadly we don't get to see the Anthea till the 22 minute mark. Again, it looks like they were selling a different product at first. Anthea's introduction puts everything in to perceptive to why she comes so late in the anime. It isn't a bad thing because Hana is still a good character. The last act is what the 2 acts before it built up to. And I do say it was worth the build up. The action scenes might not be OMG sakuga nut on my screen, but it was good and interesting.
Most of the story is placed in high school where we see a gun fight going on. Don't let high school setting bother you because we only get that higschool feel for 2 or 3 minutes before everything goes ape shit. Whats great about it is that we get enough info in-between these shooting fight scenes but not overbearing to the point where we have exposition coming out the screen. There are plenty of things that the story shows you but doesn't explicitly tell you. For example the monster having green eyes as well as Hana and Anthea. They even spell it out for you in the beginning about how their hope became their nemesis. But you forget about that by the time you get to the second act. Overall there are other things but I don't want to go into detail just watch it for yourself. The entire anime is paced and directed in such a way where it feels like a mini movie.
The best part about the feel of this narrative is that it feels like a 90s OVA. Oh how I miss the OVA boom. Anyways to wrap things up, was it the over the top action/mystery flick we were planning to see? No, but it is a decent to good action anime with great build up and nice characters.
Enjoy the twist because this anime does something most anime wouldn't have. Thats all I gotta say without spoiling your experience.
Under the Dog was very disappointing for how much the creators hyped it up. It's only 28 minutes long with very little substance, so my review will be brief.
Story: What story? We are just thrust into the setting with no clarification on what year it is or how the world became this way. This might work in other anime, but there is almost nothing here that pulls you in enough to even care. There's a bunch of random terms thrown around like "flowers", "the light of humanity", "pandoralization" etc that are never explained.
Art: The art was decent. Definitely nothing to impressed about though,
considering this took 2 years to make for an 28 minute episode. The animation was mediocre everywhere that wasn't a fight scene. The character designs were bland and lacked any flair. Nothing stood out about the art at all, but at least it didn't detract from the experience.
Sound: Music was generic action music. No thought went into whether the music was actually needed for some action scenes, so it was often distracting and detracted from the experience. The VA was nothing special either.
Character: This actually made me laugh a bit. there is absolutely NO decent characterization. Sure, it might be hard in an 28 minute episode, but considering it took 2 years to plan and make I would have assumed they'd make an attempt. Every line the main character spoke felt cliche and trite. She was basically a standard tragic hero, with no other substance to her. The other characters aren't even worth mentioning. I don't even know why they bother to give names to some of them.
Enjoyment: I did not enjoy it that much. The action scene at the very end is what made me bump it up from a 1 to a 2, but other than that I feel like I wasted 28 minutes watching this piece of crap.
Overall: I wouldn't consider it something worth watching. The animation is mediocre and nothing worth mentioning(contrary to the trailer they showed us before). The music is forgettable and annoying. The plot is not explained clearly, and the episode is bogged down by silly melodramatic moments where characters talk and talk and talk and overexplain stuff.
To preface this review, I did not contribute to the crowdfunding behind this OVA, nor have I heard very much about it prior to watching it.
Did it live up to the hype? Nah, probably not, but it was decent for what it was. What was it, you might ask? It was a gritty, action-packed twenty eight minute romp of an OVA. I can say that the voice acting was pretty on point, and I got really excited when characters who didn't hail from Japan actually spoke their native language properly rather than blurting out some half-assed Engrish. Character designs were pretty bland, and the color
palette used was a little too neutral for my tastes, but when they wanted to make something stand out, they definitely made sure it did. Action scenes were pretty well-animated, and fan service, while present, wasn't unnecessarily pointed out, and wasn't excessive. Exposition to the world felt a little shoehorned in, but there's really only so much you can cram into twenty eight minutes and still be subtle. In this case, I can probably forgive the info dump, as even now I still feel that there is much more that needs explaining before I can say I'm satisfied with it.
Overall I liked it. Reminded me of A Kite, and to a lesser extent, Mezzo Forte, and other action OVAs from the late 90s. Kind of glad I wasn't on the hype train for this thing, cause I'm sure it didn't meet people's expectations, however I can actually say I would prefer more crowdfunded projects like this as opposed to consuming the same seasonal otaku bait that comes out every year.
The internet teaches us that if you want to make something happen, odds are a few thousand other people want the same thing you do. The rise of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter has helped us realize countless innovative projects - and the anime industry has been taking notes!