Final Review: Dog Days’

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Dog Days’ is the sequel to the surprising hit Dog Days in 2011. It continues to be an original work dependent on no source material. Dog Days’ takes place three months after the events of Dog Days and now brings both Rebecca and Nanami to the party as previously promised. Furthermore, there is the introduction of a third “clan” led by the squirrel looking Couvert. Dog Days’ premiered during the Summer 2012 anime season and was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll. So what does the former Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha staff have in store for us this time?

Well it turns out Dog Days’ is not done by the Nanoha staff this time. In fact, the director has changed for this show and the results show. Granted that Junji Nishimura is a good director for many of his other works, Dog Days’ is a series that constantly teased with potential “plot development.” Its predecessor was known to be a shockingly decent series by mixing a fair amount of fluff with a somewhat compelling story. Unfortunately, Dog Days’ takes away anything that previously compelled and keeps only the fluff. Sure, the series is still an easy watch as usual but it’s also painful to see that it just wastes its time now. The series had the potential to become the next “Nanoha-like” franchise with a fairly interesting set of protagonists but decides to chuck that “cool” idea out the window and replace it with a full 13 episode set of the characters having fun in the weirdest ways possible. That said, the plot is effectively a waste of time. The battles aren’t as interesting as before and there is no over-arching curse or prophecy that sets a somewhat darker tone on the series. This is “milking” the franchise at its finest if you ask me. The ending of the second series is expected given the prequel and the overall flow this time around. In essence, nothing of meaningful value really happened this time around. Though, it’s almost as if this was a setup to a bigger story in the future…if there is another sequel that is.

Art in this show remains quite strong and the character designs seemed to have received a slight upgrade since season 1. Animation also remains outstanding for a Seven Arcs title. The movements are incredibly fluid and crisp, probably more than the first season even. Visuals remain colorful and Seven Arcs really seems to have dedicated their budget to this show. The animation definitely, at least, had a Nanoha movie like feel.

OP theme remains strong like the previous one, courteous of Nana Mizuki. The ED theme this time is also quite good by Yui Horie along with the various inserts by her. Background effects are above average and the top notch cute sound effects remain as well. Seiyuu is the same as before with no complaints from an impressive seiyuu lineup.

Enjoyment? The series started off quite good as classic Dog Days. However, as the series progressed, enjoyment certainly deteriorated as there was no over arching plot like the first season to really keep one hooked to the series.  Most episodes are fluffy one offs that are easily forgettable and don’t really add much to the story. The battles are fun as usual but nowhere near as interesting as there is no major motive this time around, let alone anything at stake.

Overall, Dog Days’ only managed to replicate half the success of Dog Days. It remains an easy watch but not something that could be recommended to large group like its predecessor. It seems that they need to bring back the Nanoha staff for this show to really shine.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0.5/1): Brings Rebecca and Nanami. New clan strikes some interesting.
  • Character Personalities (1/1): Same as they were in season 1.
  • Character Development (0/2): No development this time around.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (0.5/2): The cast grew significantly. Only a handful of useful characters this time that added any value.
  • Pacing: (0.5/1): There was no real direction but it didn’t rush anything..
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1/2): It’s a fantasy adventure series filled with fluff with a touch of slice of life this time around.
  • Conclusion (0.5/1): Similar ending as previous season. Cute end with Cinque and Rebecca.
  • Total: 4/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (2/2): Significantly more detailed than season 1. Quality really stepped up.
  • Character Designs (1/2): Designs are much sharper but still need to work on the base designs. Too much repetitiveness.
  • Fluidity (2/2): Stunning, crisp, and fluid.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (2/2): Incredibly colorful and visually appealing.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1/2): Seven Arcs continues to excel over time. It’s not as good as the Nanoha movies quality but still top notch for them
  • Total: 8/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2.5/3): Solid OP and ED theme. Yui Horie also had a few good inserts too. One of her better sets of songs.
  • Background Music (1.5/2): Above average music
  • Sound Effects (2/2):  Top notch sound effects. Cute too.
  • Seiyuu (3/3): Excellent seiyuu cast lineup and work too. Fitting with the series.
  • Total: 9/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (1/2): Fluffy fun
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1/2): Had potential but lost it as the series progressed. No hook.
  • Presentation (0.5/2): Episodes feel very episodic. Lack of the heavier action and character growth from the first series.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Zero. Waste of time compared to the first series.
  • Recommendation (0.5/2): Dog Days remains a relatively unique title. It’s good for killing time when looking for a fluff or filler series. Outside of it, however, Dog Days’ is not really recommended. Dog Days yes.
  • Value (0/1): No value added to what the first series already did.
  • Total: 3/10

Preliminary Score: 6/10

Final Score: 6/10

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