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. Plainly put, this is a bad anime.
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 - 1/10. 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 - 4/10. 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.
It's frustrating when something gets a lot of support, especially financial support, and builds up everyone's expectations just to end up being a huge and shallow disappointment. I get that. But to me, it's a lot more frustrating to see what seems to be the majority of people miss the point and hate something that frankly doesn't deserve that level of hate. This is the case with Under the Dog.
First, let me briefly address the backstory of this OVA's development. To oversimplify things, Under the Dog was an idea from the 90's for a 26 episode anime that was never made. Certain people were
very passionate about the project though, and believed that they would have more success if it was funded by the masses, rather than by other companies that might want to affect the creative direction that the anime takes in order to fit their own agenda. They made a kickstarter campaign with a beautiful and exciting trailer advertising Under the Dog, and they managed to raise nearly $900k to make it. Fast forward roughly 2 years, and after various development issues and changes to the team working on it, this OVA is the result.
So, the question that many are asking is, "was this worth the wait/money?" And here's where I want to make my point, because a lot of people are saying that it wasn't. Think about what we got, and think about what they wanted to make. This is a story that needs 26 episodes to make - their options were essentially to cram the entire plot into one short OVA, cheapening the entire story and ruining the entire idea of having more creative freedom on a project that they're passionate about, or to essentially make a teaser for the full story that makes us wonder but doesn't answer our questions right away. Personally, I'm very happy that I contributed $75 towards the latter rather than the former.
This OVA is actually pretty spectacular as a pilot/teaser if you ask me. For one, it shows that there is indeed talent behind this project - yes, the visuals don't look as crisp as the trailer, but it still looks quite good and the animation during the action scenes was on point. Beyond that, there is a surprising amount of detail that builds a narrative on top of what is actually being said by the characters. A lot of people like to preach "show, don't tell" when it comes to storytelling, and a lot of anime does a lot of telling rather than showing, which to me isn't that terrible of a thing. Take JoJo's Bizarre Adventure for example, if they didn't explain everything that was going on all the time it would be impossible to follow, and a huge part of the style of JoJo's is the presentation of their long-winded explanations. In the case of Under the Dog though, I'd say that there's a lot more being shown than told, and I appreciate that as well.
I'll probably start spoiling the episode a bit from here out, so this is your warning if you haven't seen it yet and are interested in avoiding spoilers. You can already tell that I liked this quite a bit though, so if all you're looking for is a recommendation, consider this it.
What I liked about Under the Dog was the little things that it tells you about its world as you go along. Thinking of this as an episode 0 or even an episode 1, I have a pretty solid idea of what I'd be getting into with this story based on this one episode. It seems that something that was meant to give people hope is now some kind of military threat, so much so that even seemingly normal, unassuming schools are equipped to be completely locked down with barricades at a moment's notice. Whatever this issue is results in people turning into terrifying monsters that are immune to normal bullets, and there are at least 2 factions that take interest in this - the US military, and an organization that creates "flowers," which are girls that are trained to be assassins under the threat that if they fail, their families will be killed. These girls carry out dangerous missions of assassination as well as protection of certain individuals that are for some reason labeled "white," and I can only assume that their assassination targets are all labeled "black." The girls seem to be convinced that if they can finally find a person that is truly "white" that they can all be saved from this situation, implying that this so-called "white" person can bring an end to this military struggle that the world is dealing with. Whether this person can act as a cure to whatever makes people monsters or as some way to shift the power over this force to one side or another remains to be seen, but what is clear is that people who are "white" can change to being "black," which seems to mean that they will start turning into a monster and need to be killed.
Naturally, this brings up a lot of questions, and thankfully, almost no answers. Let's assume that they'll eventually be able to make a full series out of this - I am deeply interested in what is happening and how things will happen from now on, which is a great way to feel at the beginning of any story. Here are some of the questions that I'd like answers to based on this episode (keep in mind, I didn't read the plot synopsis before watching so I only know the context that was shown to me in the actual episode): Why is the US military involved and not the Japanese military, given that this seems to be based in Japan? (This implies that whatever issue that is going on is being dealt with on a global level, or is considered important enough to apply the largest force possible to take care of.) Why is this military force at ends with the flowers and whoever controls them? What is causing people to turn into monsters? What does either side stand to gain by capturing someone labeled "white"? What is it that Hana injected into herself? Why do the flowers' eyes glow green? Do they have the power to disrupt people's guns or are they just observant of the correct opportunities to rush in for an attack? How much of society is aware of this issue? What powers do the monsters really have? Are they mostly biological or are they partially machine, based on the apparent force field that can deflect bullets? What was up with that badass gun Anthea used to actually damage that monster? Did Anthea's yelling at the end actually stop the monster, or was it just distracted by something else? If it did, seriously, what powers do the flowers have? And for that matter, why is it necessary to essentially hold their families hostage? What determines who will become a flower or not?
I have other questions but if I get into too many details it'll just drag on too long. My point is, I have a lot of questions, and having questions means that I find the anime interesting. If it wasn't interesting, I wouldn't care and therefore I wouldn't have questions. But it was interesting, because it deliberately gave me a lot to think about and wonder about. More than anything, this OVA made me crave the full story, which is a perfect way to introduce a story. Yet, I see a lot of people complaining. Unfortunately, the majority of people that I've seen complain about this OVA have offered very little explanation of what makes them not like it (saying "it's shit" doesn't mean anything to anyone, unless you think that your opinion is so important that no one will need any explanation in order to agree with you). The main complaint that I've seen boils down to 2 things, the animation quality and the "lack of story." As for animation, if you were expecting it to look exactly the same as the kickstarter trailer, maybe you'll be disappointed. But it does look quite good to me, definitely still above average.
And as for "lack of story," I think what people should be saying is "lack of conclusion" or "lack of answers," which is honestly the entire point of this OVA's existence. This OVA introduced a lot of concepts, it primarily follows 2 characters, a "white" person and a "flower," and both of them die by the end of the episode. Their stories got a conclusion, but the world did not, because the overarching story has not yet concluded. Anthea, the main character, doesn't even show up until near the end, and from what I noticed, she doesn't have a single speaking line of dialogue, just a couple grunts and a really great yell at the end. The OVA baits you into thinking that Hana and the one guy were going to be the main characters, only to reveal that they only existed in order to give us insight into all of the primary conflicts of the world that this story takes place in. I really disagree with the idea that no story is being told here, because in the span of these side characters' short stories, by the time they each died I had learned enough to be interested in this world and the many, many questions that I would now love to have answered someday.
So, TL;DR: This is a fantastic pilot episode that raises a lot of questions in a really great way that makes me want more. I'm giving it an 8/10 because if there was a full series based on this, I'd probably give it at least an 8/10 based on the potential I see here. If this ends up being all that we ever see out of Under the Dog, I guess I'd probably lower it to a 6/10 or maybe lower. If you expect this to be a full story contained in a single episode like Little Witch Academia, you will be disappointed by this because it's written to only work as a 26 episode series. It's simply not a full story, but it's a promising start, and I think it deserves a bit more praise for how good it is at being what it is.
Oh, but the English voice acting sucked 90% of the time. I was laughing at it for the wrong reasons, I kind of wish that it was Japanese people speaking "Engrish" instead so that I could laugh at it in a better way. There's a difference between "bad pronunciation" and "bad voice acting," and I'd take the former any day.
*Sigh* All that hype behind edgy, pretentious garbage. I mean, many people put money into this Kickstarter project with high hopes for a badass 30 minute OVA, and I'm sure many of you out there are disappointed. It's the Mighty No.9 of anime, minus the delays and stuff. The point is, we spent money on a passion project that somehow felt unpolished in every way; enough passion to make a mini-action flick, but not enough passion to tighten and polish it, meaning that now, it's loose and rigid. You may be asking: "What the hell do you mean?" Well, let's find
out, shall we?
I can't explain much to you on what the story is about. Wanna know why? Because it doesn't even fill us in on what the hell its going on about. All we know is get there's an organization meant to kill hope, stop these things called "Pandoras", and that they are at odds with the US Military. We don't know anything about Pandoras. We don't know what's up with those special eyes these agents have. Hell, we barely know anything that's going on. We're just thrusted in without any real info as to what were plunging into. Apparently, if an agent of "Flowers" mucks up, that agent's family dies, which happens to our "protagonist". I'll expand on the "protagonist" part later. First off, this is edgier than a buzzsaw. Second, why exposition on the families of characters that die off anyways and'll have nothing to do with anything in the long run? Why not focus on explaining some of the things worth explaining, like why the US Military is handling an issue in Japan? It has interesting ideas, but hardly explains or capitalizes on any of them. I get that in a first episode, you shouldn't reveal everything right out the bat, but this was a stand alone project without any immediate plans on continuation. It was just one episode without promise for an upcoming show. Maybe it this was advertised as a promo for a full-fledged anime series, some of these faults would be a bit more forgivable, but the Kickstarter was for this one episode, not a whole series. An OVA should never do that. Even still, the way it goes about everything comes off as pretentious as all hell, as meaningless as that buzzword tends to be since it acts edgy and mature when it knows and is absolutely nothing, which just so happens to be the crux of why I can't understand what it going on in the end; the ending is just a bunch of pretentious and edgy phrases and buzzwords meant to make this sound cool. Then again, considering this OVA's art quality, a full series under this Kickstarter budget would look like ass, so I'm not sure if I'm glad this failed or sad that it didn't succeed.
Meet Hana, a secret agent high schooler with little time to develop due to being a Decoy Protagonist. A decoy protagonist is an advertised protagonist that gets side-lined or killed off for the sake of introducing a hidden main protagonist. Given that this was a 1 episode project, this is very upsetting. This could also be said about our male decoy "chosen one" protagonist, Shunichi. Technically, MAL lists him as supporting, but he was an integral decoy who was supposed to be the chosen one, but due to an encounter with a Pandora, ends up beginning the process of turning into one before getting time to develop as anything other that your typical high school kid thrusted into crazy combat, and is promptly killed off. Lastly, Athena, our TRUE protagonist. Given the amount of time she's on screen (only for the last 6-ish minutes), we don't really get anything other than a stone cold secret agent with a sympathetic side, meaning she isn't riveting in the slightest, just like everyone else. All other relevant characters are presented without much to them (including those other "secret organization" people at the end that just piss me off with their pretentiousness), and anyone else is a red-shirt, so good luck connecting with anyone, partially since they're rather bland. This proves that this should've just been marketed as a prologue given how uninteresting these characters are as of now.
Given that this is 2016, art that looks rigid, barely detailed, and awkward, is basically inexcusable. Animation that isn't much better is just as hard to swallow,especially for an action OVA production. Sure, the acion looks cool, except for that one scene where the Pandora is running (that looks as bad as anime cutscenes for games in the 2000's luke Persona 3 and the first Blazblue game (though those have an excuse), and the explosion and wired multi-colored effects look cool, but the animation in everything else, including a lot of those action scenes, looks barely passible at best. Little moments of cool action effects don't excuse such low-tier animation and art with mediocre blood-effects and awkward 3D CGI, especially when you considered how stellar the art and animation were in the very first trailer, but I'll get back to that...
The OST isn't anything special or really memorable, but nothing bad. That one blaring song with the violins is actually pretty cool and amps up the tension, or what ever tension there was in this bitch. Aside from that, nothing memorable but nothing bad. Just, inoffensive background music that simply goes along with the action. The ED is also just ok. The song for the backers of this project is ruined by the vocals that rub me the wrong way, which sucks because the instrumentals for most part are pretty nice. At least the voice acting for the American characters was nice, and that makes me feel that most of the budget went towards hiring people who speak good English. I'll give this anime a compliment when it deserves one, since it rarely does.
The action gave me mild entertainment, but other than that, for the duration of the OVA, I was bored and aggravated, especially thanks to that atrocious and full of itself ending. It honestly wasn't nearly as cool as the original trailer from over a year ago. Speaking of the original trailer from over a year ago, NONE OF THE FOOTAGE FROM THAT KICKASS TRAILER OF AWESOME WAS EVEN IN THIS SHIT!!! WHY?! I would've much preferred that slice of well-animated, far more interesting action to...well, whatever the hell this was! It wasn't very fun. Not that it wasn't enjoyable in any aspect, or that it was boring to the point of agonizing, but it didn't give me nearly enough to get exited about, and for an explosive animated action flick, that's disconcerting, and actually infuriating, especially given the amazing first trailer that was much cooler than anything presented here.
OVERALL: 3/10 RAW SCORE: 3.26/10
Despite me lowering my expectations just in case, I was disappointed by this project. I was looking forward to viewing it, and it failed to deliver on what I came to see; a fun action flick. It was uninteresting, hard to follow, needlessly cruel and edgy, not to mention pretentious, and a complete disappointment, not to mention that it was an abject failure. At least Sin City, another dark action-based story with a brutally unsatisfying ending about a protagonist dying, had wit and good writing. Sad to say that it was all for nothing, partially since they didn't even give us anything we promised, including footage from what we were promised. Needless to say, this kickstarter project was a failure. Well, with all that said, I bid you adieu.
In Hana’s first face-to-face encounter with US military she is forced to shoot and kill a soldier. As the soldiers body slumps to the floor we are presented with a brief shot of her hands, still griping the gun, trembling violently. The orchestration quiets briefly. The heavy breathing and the poignant earnest in Hana’s voice as she yells at Shunichi to stay close to her communicates her distress. All of this happens over the course of a few seconds as she only has a moment to lament before pursuers force the pair to keep moving. This is what great storytelling looks like. This is character
development through visual narrative. Scenes like this (and there are quite a few in this short OVA) speak volumes about the directing talents behind this anime.
The art and sound in Under the Dog is beyond reproach. The choreography for the action sequences is absolutely amazing and the music is emotive and made to fit each scene.
I shed a tear of joy when I realized the bane of anime - the plague of long, contrived verbal exposition to communicate every single happening - hadn’t spread here. Few lines of dialogue are wasted and bits of dialogue that were a bit unclear came full circle in ways that were satisfying. There’s even a [i]Lost in Translation[/i] moment for good measure. It is true however, that while half the English voice acting is passable the other half is absolute garbage.
The pacing is great and amidst chaos, the sense of urgency and scale grows right up until the credits roll.
Let’s also remember this was a Kickstarter project and that chief among the intentions of the team that produced this OVA was to create a pilot episode to generate enough interest to advance future Under the Dog projects. That being said, prepare to be blue-balled. There is a conclusion to a parallel narrative that is the main focus of this OVA but as intended, you will be left with quite a few questions about the overarching story and the characters; maybe too many questions.
The atypical way in which this OVA concludes leaves viewers with the realization that this was just another day in dystopia. The Under the Dog pilot is an example of what Jiro Ishii, Masahiro Ando, and the Under the Dog team at Kinema Studios can do with a tight budget, small staff, and an unstable working environment.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Under the Dog pilot. Apparent in this anime is the power of creative freedom Kickstarter provided but also the burden of autonomous project management. The team behind Under the Dog showcased their talent and the potential of the concept amidst a symphony of blood and explosions. 9/10
Remember, if you want more spread the hype.
Just remember, that when watching this, make sure not to make use of any higher brain functions otherwise you may be permanently effected.
Absolutely nothing in this entire movie makes any sense, even within the context of its own phlebotinum, which is barely existent in the first place.
The only things that I can even praise this movie on would be the explosions and use of English voice actors.
Although hilarious, the English lines were few and far between; and I can find explosions anywhere, anyway.
There is utterly nothing I got from this anime besides negative 33 minutes of my time that I will never get back. As
another warning, if you are someone who appreciates a good story, or a story at all, don't watch this. Even if you are someone who loves Michael Bay action flicks, this is not the film for you. This is the film for no one.
Alright I'm not going to waste time: I'm a backer of the original kick starter and I know this production was always a long shot to begin with. We paid our $20, $40, $60 in hopes of being able to say: "Look animation in Japan is fantastic, you just need a great set of minds behind it!" Did we get that? Nope. Not close.
Story: 2/10 I'm just going to say that there's too much jam packed into 20 minutes of nonsensical best guessing. This production was supposed to be a 1:30.00 length film, at minimum. However the kick starter did not make it
that far and we were left with a 26 minute sad shadow of "what might have been." There's great ideas, and extensive world that should have been imagined on a greater scale than it was. A story that starts with secret agents and ends with aliens; but at no point was I ever fully aware of what exactly THE HELL WAS GOING ON. Under the Dog is a classic example of a great idea forced into a space that cannot accommodate it, and the result is a confusing and rushed pseudo-story that only the developers would be able to decipher. If that.
Art: 1/10. THIS IS WHERE I DRAW THE LINE. UtD was advertised as a high fps animation production reminiscent of classic shows such a Ghost in the Shell. The developers implied that we would see impressive "Sakuga" (high fps fluid motion style) animation with good art design, original character modeling, and unique story. I was not treated to any of this, instead I was treated to a production that would not normally even make it to the regular fall anime TV season. The character work was awful, appearing blocky and undetailed, and action scenes were nearly nonexistent. It was disheartening and depressing. And I don't wanna talk about it anymore.
Sound: 8/10: The only saving grace of UtD was it's sound track, designed by Kevin Penkin (formally of #muchmoresuccessfulBlizzard) who composed a soundtrack which should have stirred audiences but never could given the garbage they were forced to watch. I can only say your talents were wasted in vain, my good sir.
Characters: 2/10: I'm not sure what to say here. Good characters require plot and emotional development in order to create a feeling of stakes for some of of threat or crisis. UtD simply didn't have it. They were not able to develop a large cast with only 26 minutes. It's not impossible; I've seen it done before(Hotarubi no Mori e has a 40 min run time but still astounds and impacts for instance). But it was not done here. I simply did not feel emotionally attached to anyone. And with that you've lost me.
Enjoyment: 3/10: I'm honestly so sad, because I wanted UtD to do well and shatter the anime community and a ringing bell of triumph that "Anime can tell an amazing story and move hearts in only half and hour". But it doesn't work that way. Production setbacks (the creative director was fired 2 months into the program, anyone remember that?) and the ugly reality of the industry of anime production resulting in another great idea with what I believe had REAL inspiration being compromised and reduced down to something that cannot inherently be enjoyed, simply because it was drowned in its own expectations and production requirements. I was not moved by anything other than the soundtrack, and nothing felt original in watching the final product.
Overall: 2/10: This is the story of what happens when a true inspiration gets dragged down by red tape, rules, and requirements. I dare you to watch it. Then remember to never chain your inspiration to a bunch of backer promises and regulatory red tape. Cuz this is what you'll get.
finally I've got to watch this ova . it was soooo epic
the art were so great . I hope we get to see a sequel
to make it clear am a big fan of shooting and survival stuff this ova have combined between this two and that's what made me like it too much .
I've saw many people complain about the story saying " what story ? it was just explosions , blood and shooting'' come to think of it . there was many OVAs and animes like this at fisrt they don't explain anything but then when the anime gets
close to some sort of the real deal-main event thing , they start to explain most of the important points of the story . I think we'll get a sequel center's around the flash back of the "flowers" and the "pandora" and that will make the story clear . so you need to be patient . just tell me what's the point of explaining every single point of the story from the very start that will make it boring . its just like you're telling someone a secret then he goes and tell the secret to someome else and he says " its a secret don't tell anyone about" come on its not a secret anymore . I hope you got the point .
spoiler alert : don't read the rest if you haven't watch the OVA
the only thing that pissed me off while I'am wathcing the OVA I was thinking that Hana is the heroine but surprise motherfuc**r she's just a side character and she dies . hold on a second the boy shuichi also dies he appears to be "black" . the heroine appears in the last 10 minutes . but be positive that means that we are getting a sequel am 90% sure
I have a military background and flat out enjoyed episode 0 of Under the Dog. It is not a stand alone Masterpiece, but as a Pilot episode, it does a lot per second, take a full length film and divide it by four. I highly recommend rewatching at least once in order to take in what is there.
Story- 8- For a 28 minute pilot episode this had a very good story for what it was trying to achieve. Its not a for a general audience and definitely does a way more niche spin than I thought it would.
In particular the military tactics blew me away on how accurate and detailed they were. There is an actual ANPRC 150 radio animated to perfection, there is a scene where the soldiers actually switch from safety to semi appropriate to the situation. It was impressively original to watch, and the brutal realism is astounding.
Art- 9 - I gave the Art a 9 based on the 3D art being extremely well implemented with the 2d art, as well as the assumption that, while the Art was not balanced entirely it is evident the scenes that had less Art behind them were focused on the characters designed by backers.
Sound-9- While I wish the music had been more present rather than used for reflection, I think that is what the soundtrack is for, and that for the purposes of the pilot episode it was used very well. The sounds of the weapons were impressive to say the least as the environment. Voice acting was well done. The use of English for the enemy soldiers adds to the sense of realism, a definite plus for what the episode was aiming to achieve, although some of it was weaker than it could have been.
Character- 8 - While it might be fair to put the characterization at a Michael Bay level, I feel like efficient storyboarding helped use the time effectively to display a large amount of character through what was shown, rather than what was said. Facial expressions were impressive and effectively used.
Enjoyment-10- We all came into this expecting action: explosions, guns, military, emotional damage, collateral damage. Mission Accomplished :D.
Overall- While weak as a niche standalone episode, as well as the ground covered with such excruciating time constraints, what was adapted into a pilot episode was GREAT, and vastly exceeded my expectations. I hope to see more, and I think the general audience will at least agree to that.
Under the Dog is very good at what it tries to be, so long as the viewer also understands what Under the Dog is trying to be, which is a pilot show for something more.
For those unaware of the history behind this anime, Under the Dog was financed via a Kickstarter campaign, which is unusual, to say the least. After a couple years in development, Under the Dog was released as a single episode lasting just over 30 minutes in length. A sizeable number of fans and supporters were disgruntled with the final result as many had expected something more expansive.
However, many fans
fail to realize the tremendous cost that goes into creating an anime series. Even with a successful Kickstarter campaign, the creators of the show had to make a decision as to how much they were going to attempt to produce. In the end, they opted to produce a single very well made episode in the hopes of garnering support for a full series from a studio rather than to produce a few sub-par quality episodes by stretching their budget to its absolute limits.
With the context of the production history in mind, I praise the final product that has been presented to us! The art is of masterful quality, and there was no blatant use of CGI as a means of saving money during production! In truth, there were more than a few scenes that I expected would employ CGI to save cost, but I was pleasantly surprised by the general absence of CGI!
The story is lacking and not heavily fleshed out, but in the context of Under the Dog currently being a mere pilot episode, this is not all that surprising. The key thing to take away from the story is that it was not forced and was presented in such a way that it leaves the viewer wanting to know more, which would bode well for a continuation of the series.
The soundtrack is very good and fitting for the main action taking place; if anything, I would have liked to hear it a bit more. The voice acting was good on the Japanese side of things with none of the performances standing out as either superb or mediocre. The English dubbing of certain characters was far superior to what could have been awful "Engrish", but that is not to say that the English voice actors were impressive in their performances.
The characters are perhaps the weakest part of Under the Dog, but they are not so weak that they detract from the show's enjoyment. I believe that the producers of Under the Dog were actually rather wise in their development of the characters, though I cannot elaborate on that further without delving into spoilers.
To me, the most important thing an anime needs to get right is the enjoyment factor, especially in a pilot trying to start a new fanbase. Thankfully, Under the Dog is spot on when it comes to enjoyment, so long as you're not a disgruntled supporter who was expecting to see something else.
As someone who has only loosely been following Under the Dog's development, I thoroughly enjoyed watching every minute of this show! The show didn't try to cram in too much exposition or bore the viewer with 25 minutes of establishing the setting. Instead, Under the Dog engages the viewer from start to finish with a healthy dose of action, mystery, and suspense!
Under the Dog is by no means perfect, nor will it likely leave its viewers fully satisfied. However, that is the hidden brilliance of the show! Viewers, myself certainly included, will demand more from Under the Dog because, after merely a single episode, they will care enough about the IP to want more of it!
In leaving the viewer wanting more, Under the Dog succeeds in its goal of drawing in a new fanbase. Fans of the franchise should keep pushing for more because this pilot shows that there is potential to be found in a full Under the Dog series!
Just what is going on with Under the Dog?
In a nutshell, I think a lot of people have missed a pretty important memo.
Story time: In Seattle back in April of last year, some folks from the O-Network interviewed Jiro Ishii and Koji Morimoto, the writer and producer of Under the Dog, asking them about their upcoming OVA project. (reference below) Under the Dog was originally written back in 1996, and Ishii said he had intended it to be a 26 episode project. For the mid 90's, they thought the show was a little ahead of its time, so they tabled it for
The narrative revolved around a unit of 'gifted' individuals known as Flowers; hybrid super soldiers that waged war as their handlers saw fit. failure was unacceptable, and desertion meant death for the Flower and their family. I could go on, but the question you're probably asking is where was all this in the OVA? Well... it kinda wasn't.
In that same interview, Ishii stressed the point that the OVA they were making was only the FIRST episode. Funding was a bit of a problem, so they turned to kickstarter to help get their project off the ground, and this OVA is the result; a very expensive Pilot episode. An episode that has, unfortunately, received a disheartening amount of bad reviews from MAL users. I can only hope that this dislike is mainly because viewers are taking it out of context of the rest of the show. For instance, a while back I talked with another MAL user that had also reviewed Under the Dog; She was unaware that the OVA was part of a bigger picture and, understandably, rated it quite low. Honestly, I don't blame her. If this OVA was all we got, i'd be disappointed too. Really, the only reason I can't give it a 10 or at least a 9, is because it IS just the first episode.
The purpose of this episode seems to be to 'test the waters'; to see if anyone likes it and, hopefully, to secure a stable source of funding. But even if by some miracle interest explodes, funding will continue to be a problem for Under the Dog. My personal theory as to why is twofold; Under the Dog seems to be aimed at a smaller, more mature target audience. Also, why would a studio take a chance on something like this when there's an actual, literal MOUNTAIN of dumb, shallow and equally abysmal light novels lying around just waiting to be adapted :p. but thats the world we live in.
Under the Dog was, and still is, something I am really looking forward to; I'd love to see it get the other 25 episodes it really deserves, but unfortunately, it might not happen. I'm optimistic, but I wouldn't be surprised if Under the Dog becomes one of the greatest anime
to ever almost happen.
thanks for reading.
they don't like us pasting URLs here, so if you want to watch the interview (which you should) youtube search Jiro Ishii Under the Dog Interview, you should find it pretty quick.
I can't believe this. This was nothing like the show that was advertised when they started crowd funding. The scene from the trailer which isn't even in this was better than this entire film. how did this even get delayed it wasn't even that impressive. It doesn't have anything to do with "a world 5 years after a terrorist attack at the 2020 Olympics" Crowd funding is a way to fund projects that sponsors normally wouldn't back but this takes no risks. its super generic and has so much of what is popular this is a waste of people's money. There is no character in
this at all, the designs have no flavor and the whole thing just screams generic. I didn't care about any of the characters, and why was there a giant monster. that was not what I thought this was going to be about when i read the synopsis. my only praise of this show is that they actually got American voice actors. overall an extreme disappointment and not at all what was advertised, people should ask for their money back.
When I started to watch this short show, I was sort of enjoying it, it felt very epic and very enjoyable to watch. The entire show is always trailing behind a mystery that is causing you to wonder what is going on. You would think they would explain all this at the end, but they didn't. Because of this we have a visually stunning show full of guns and explosions that makes absolutely no sense and that doesn't sound very good to me. If you don't care if a show makes sense and only want to see some epic explosions and visuals than this is
the show for you. But if you are like me and for a show to be good it must make sense than you will be very disappointed with this show. I was very disappointed with the ending because I was hoping for some cool conclusion of what was going on, but it never came.
For a version with images: https://pavokujaku.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/under-the-dog-is-a-disaster/
The short film for Under the Dog, the successful Kickstarter campaign, finally came out 2 years of waiting. Was it worth the wait, and if you contributed to the crowd-funding initiative, was it worth the money? The answer is a definite no.
First off let’s talk about what most (maybe just many) people were excited for: good sakuga and all around nice visuals. These initiatives to fund small anime projects are to support the medium of animation first and foremost, with things like Anime Mirai, the Little Witch Academia 2 campaign, the Animator Dorms project, etc. This is because people love
good animation and want to support the industry. These projects also don’t really expect to be marketable since it’s more about the art, so they can be more experimental with story and animation which is very attractive to many anime fans. Kick Heart being a prime example of this.
With Little Witch Academia 2, also funded via Kickstarter, viewers got a nearly hour long film with multiple breathtaking cuts and great artwork. At nearly half the runtime, yet nearly 50% more funding, Under the Dog was a short film riddled with bad shot composition, poor art/color direction, a lot of off-model, and a seriously scant amount of sakuga – most of which were a few very short explosions which are a dime a dozen in anime. The production clearly went through issues, with the campaign staying silent for months as if they lost their translator or something; the director concurrently working on Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (which clearly had more thought and time put into it than this project); some staff leaving due to creative differences; and the creators taking production planning classes from Studio Wit and Studio Shaft with release being about 8 months later than planned. Suffice to say, the visuals did not meet expectations in any capacity.
Another main point of excitement was the story/setting; a story written in the 90s at the height of the cyberpunk/dystopian sci-fi anime era, created for the 2010s. The “serious anime”; no moe, no harem or light novel tropes, none of the anime that make people go “ew, anime”. I’m not saying I necessarily felt the same way, as I love moe and, while I for the most part dislike harems and light novel tropes, I don’t think they’re inherently bad, as I really like shows such as Ben-to, Twintails ni Narimasu, and Outbreak Company. With that said, having a more “serious” show with a cool sci-fi setting and aesthetic is something I whole-heartedly welcome and was excited for. However, what was released was nothing of the sort.
This is what I gathered upon first viewing: A shady organization is exploiting kids by forcing them to be assassins or else their parents will be murdered. The goal of the organization is to find some “white” person (not white as in race, but I’m white as in pure soul or something) to save the world. There’s also this big monster that they’re trying to stop. It’s all vague and completely uninspired. Much of the episode is spent having characters talk exposition to each other for the viewer, and then the other part is an elongated action scene that isn’t very well choreographed or animated. Then it just ends in a completely unsatisfying nonending fit for the goal of being a pilot episode. If you think I’m strawmaning and not representing the plot genuinely then I’m sorry to say that my description is unfortunately accurate.
Not only is the plot itself completely barren and uninspired, the setting is Asterisk Wars level. What I mean by that is that it’s meant to be a somewhat dystopian/cyberpunk cityscape yet it looks like a completely conventional 21st century metropolitan area; there is nothing that suggests that the story takes place in anything but a typical city as it contains no sci-fi elements. The assassins have some sort of not-clearly-defined power, but that’s more of a fantasy element than anything else. If you expected a city setting adhering to the aesthetic of Ghost in the Shell or Psycho Pass then you’re going to have a poor experience.
Now, for me, the most important part of a story by far is the characters; how I connect to, relate with, empathize with, or am engaged by the characters is the single most integral factor of whether I will enjoy the story or not. Under the Dog has no characters. The protagonist, Hana, has 1 defining trait: she’s sad that she has to do this because she doesn’t want to kill and that she loves her family so she doesn’t want them to die. That’s it. That’s it. She herself isn’t even unique as all the other kids in the organization feel this way, so she’s just a representation of all of her peers. The other characters? The boy? Zero personality. The shady organization? Shady and vague. The monster? Generic monster. The girl from the trailer? She’s on screen for about 5 minutes and just gets the crap kicked out of her.
For a story that was written nearly 20 years ago, you’d think it would be fleshed out over time and perfected. Frankly, I’m not sure whether this is the real story from 20 years ago, considering this has been admitted to really be no more than a pilot to get funding for a 26 episode series from an actual production company. This story feels like a side event to not take any creative output away from the actual real story, but still be enough (in the creator’s eyes) to be a fulfilling pilot. Well, I must say, it does not work as a pilot nor does it work as a standalone story. It doesn’t work as anything. It doesn’t work as a “turn your brain off and enjoy” film because it’s boring and the action sucks. It doesn’t even work as a “laugh at how bad it is” because there’s not even a ton of moments where it’s terrible like in SAO with the rapey fairy king; it’s just empty and lifeless so there’s maybe three or so moments to even comment on or laugh at. It’s completely useless no matter how you watch it.
The worst part is, I haven’t even gotten to the worst part. Remember how I said that these projects are for the art form? That they are supposed to be experimental? They don’t need to adhere to the expectations of consumers and shareholders. So, no otaku shit and no fanservice. Right? Wrong. In a 28 minute episode, there’s two fanservice scenes. Now, I’m not inherently against fanservice, I am a man who is attracted to the 2D after all, but as a story that’s touted as serious and not like today’s anime, both female main characters are sexualized. One gets partially undressed in front of the boy to deliver first aid to herself, which itself isn’t bad but the way it’s framed/animated and the fact that she meekly says “don’t look” clearly shows it’s meant to be sexualized. The second instance is during the final fight when the other girl’s shirt is ripped and her boobs are exposed. Really? Why is this necessary? This isn’t the Monogatari Series; this fanservice has no meaning to the story and it’s completely gratuitous. I don’t want to come off like an angry feminist, but when you have 100% complete creative control, why sexualize the female characters? Why the otaku-esque/HS romance scene with the girl blushing and meekly saying “don’t look”? Why the bland cityscape? Why the completely unoriginal story? Is this really the best that industry veterans can come up with?
I don’t know whether the creators are happy with this product. I don’t know whether the production issues affected the story at all and I don’t know for sure whether this story was intentionally not made with 100% effort due to the creators wanting to save the real ideas for the full story (though that’s what it feels like). What I do know is that the end product is not worth your time or money. Let’s hope that if a full series is made that it’s better.
I imagine whoever wrote this, was inspired from something else. That in writing this, they took their favorite parts of that story, and rewrote it here. Think of watching the last 2 episodes of code geass without watching anything before that. That's what this is. The huge impact without any context or backstory. Even if one exists, you won't see it here. Lots of action and pretty lights.. but no story.
As another reviewer said: Michael bay: the anime
So story? none. It was almost cringy to watch, but alas, I kept hoping something, anything would be given an explanation. Even if it were the most out
of place thing ever, just please tell me what the hell is going on. But for naught.
The art was good. Consistent, had lots of explosions, and looks pretty sharp. Overall I would've expected more from a kickstarted anime, but it turns out they only got $878,028. Which is a considerably low budget for any anime.
The soundtrack was okay. For an action anime, it was pretty much average. I've heard better.
They did get actual native english speaking voice actors though. It was kinda cringy hearing the dudes acting operator, but mostly tolerable.
The main character's VA was pretty good, and everyone else was average.
But speaking of characters, holy shit. Wow. Literally the first few minutes is all dedicated to the backstory. That is all we know about the MC. She has a family. Sorry for the spoiler, but this is a very tiny detail that could be summarized in one line. I just couldn't find myself caring. I wanted to cry, but wow I do not care. WOOOWWWW of course...
In similar fashion, the rest of the characters have little to none reason nor backstory either.
So this could've been one of those where they showed things that would lead you to assume the backstory, and go on from there. That through the action they could have achieved their introduction and built a solid story with who would be the actual MC.
But then it ends. I've never seen 28 minutes go by so fast. The rest of 10 minutes are credits.
I believe a sequel might be able to save this story, that everything would suddenly make sense in just 3 lines. I want to believe, but knowing how this turned out, I don't think it would happen. At least not on its own.
I just had to get that out there. It's bad. I feel bad for the backers. But maybe if this is more your tastes, if you can blissfully ignore the complete lack of backstory, you may enjoy it.
Thank you for reading, have a wonderful day.
** Please watch the ONA before reading this review. Don't get biased by the reviewers **
I had high hopes for this and while the end result didn't meet the expectations, I wouldn't mind being a backer for a full lenght movie.
In my opinion the big mistake made by the creators is, indeed, relying solely on crowdfunding; nice concept, but very impractical.
but let's stop with the "what if" and review the actual ONA, starting with what I liked (be positive yay)
It is visually stunning, from the static art to the actual animation it's nearly flawless.
The character designs remind my of ufotable's (especially the ones for
God Eater) and anyone who knows me knows that I FREAKING LOVE ufotable's designs.
As for the characters themselves, that's where the problems start, as they're completely generic and we're given no background whatsoever. I get it that the runtime is very short, but we've already had proof that yo can make a lot with little time so taht's no excuse for skipping character development entirely.
Story-wise.. what story? When the ending credits start to roll we know as much as we did in the first minute about the world, flowers, pandoras, etc.
This looked more of a teaser or a prelude to the real story. This makes you want more but at the same time makes you question your decision of backing the project.
That said there are a few direction decisions I really liked, for example:
-American soldriers actually talking American voiced by American VAs
-Exploiting the viewer tendency to "trust" the character with most screen time just to kill her and making everyone realize she was not the real MC
-THE FREAKING SOUND DESIGN OMG.
All in all while I am disappointed I still find myself wanting more so, if they'll ever start another campaign for a full movie and find some sponsor to help the funding, I'll be happy to back it
I was pretty impressed with how this came out although it had a lot of different things from the trailer and was over-hyped. I wish I had known about the kick starter and had a credit card to back them up at the time.
This is my first review on one so please excuse any mistakes I do.
It must be mentioned that we are thrust right into the middle of it with not much explanation or exposition. I feel like this is because the OVA is supposed to be a pilot, and therefore it may get a season if it passes. However we do get some
explanation through what happens and it is enough to at least grasp what is happening. In other words, "show to tell" instead of "show and tell." Otherwise the episode played out like an american action movie, but a good one. 8/10
Not much to say here other than the art was good. It was that great or mind blowing but it was still very good quality. There were CGI but it didn't look terrible. Im glad that they didn't censor anything and showed us the full violence (and some nudity). 8/10
I personally liked the sounds and music. The soundtrack gave me chills when it transitioned during the scenes. The gunfire, explosions, etc. fit well. Also, there was good english and not engrish!! Although some of them could've used better voices. 8/10
This through me off because I was expecting the blond haired girl, Athena, to be more present. However instead we follow Hana. Hana as a character was pretty good and had potential. The guy however was kinda forgettable till the end and Athena barely had screen time. Other characters seen were also kinda forgettable. Kinda cliche characterization but I enjoyed Hana no less. 7/10
I really enjoyed it. In the little time it had, I got enough of the story and Hana to be drawn in. There were a lot of questions at the end but that just makes me want more. I particularly liked the fact that the way the guns were used, and the weapons systems that were being used, were accurate. No spray and pray shooting here. Fight scenes were awesome. 9/10
Was it what I was really expecting? Not really, but it was fun nonetheless. Making an anime is difficult, time consuming, and costly and I am satisfied with what they did with the money they raised. Hopefully we will get to see more of it in the future. 8/10
Did it live up to the trailer we were all shown?
Was it overhyped?
The OVA showed only one scene from the trailer and had none of its futuristic technology, the characters were generic and the main plot device (the Tokyo 2020 terrorist attack) isn't even mentioned in the entire 30 minutes the OVA had not even as some background exposition.
the high school setting is unnecessary and limits what could have been done
i am underwhelmed by this but had there been no hype for this show it might have gotten a pass, but it showed a promising trailer and was even endorsed some big
It bit more than it could actually chew, i was hoping this would fill the cyberpunk void in my soul but it only made it bigger