This is an anime that used to be in my top contenders for a favorite anime. Sadly, it’s not quite there anymore, but it has not fallen that far in the rankings. It’s largely fun, and funny, and generally just a good time. 🙂
The title, Dog Days, is rather clever, really. It takes place during the dog days of summer, ie, when it’s hot and kids are off from school, and it features a cast saturated with people with animal-like attributes, mostly ears and tails, like cats, and squirrels, and foxes, and, yes, dogs.
The premise of the story takes the isekai trope, that of a human from our world being summoned or otherwise transported to a fantasy world as a heroic champion against the forces of evil, and has some fun with it. While a hero is summoned by a pretty little princess in her nation’s time of need… it’s a rather superficial “need.” To elaborate:
The continent of Flonyard is part of a world that is largely at peace. So peaceful is it, in fact, that “wars” have become more like extended sports festivals. So, when one nation is getting the advantage of another, the princess of the losing country summons a hero from our world, but not so much a fighter as a particularly gifted and enthusiastic athlete. From there, it’s a pretty nonstop ride of fun times, sweet moments… and fan service. Because while the vanquished soldiers may mostly puff into adorable balls of fuzz, the pretty girls on the battlefield get their clothes destroyed instead.
Oh, but wait! It turns out that the aggression the hero was summoned to combat was actually part of a desperate, elaborate ploy on the part of the aggressor, who actually loves the princess whose country she invades, in order to save said princess from a terrible prophecy! Because simply talking to her and explaining the situation was simply inconceivable.
Yeah, it’s barrels of fun, but the plot holes, they are many, heh. The extended ruse, for one thing, and the fan service, but there are more holes than you can shake a stick at. The first season has a rising threat that the world, being so peaceful, is completely unprepared for, but it gets dealt with quickly enough, leaving the real issue one of how to get the summoned hero back home. It would seem the princess summoned him out of his life in order to win a sports event without properly considering getting him back to his own world. But, they figure it out, and then it’s never an issue again in the successive seasons.
In that vein, the show can feel, after three full seasons, like it takes the job of setting up serious situations a bit too seriously. It overdoes the setup of the punchline, you could say, and then it just magics away all the problems.
So, if tension and suspense, and particularly thorough world-building, are what you’re after, Dog Days probably won’t be a good fit. Fan service and light harem elements abound, but what really sells Dog Days to me is just when the characters are all having a good time. Really, those sporting events they call battles are great fun to watch! Best sport ever! I wish it were real! 🙂
The cast, mostly pretty girls, was just so sweet and charming! The hero, and eventually heroes, were fun and easy to relate to, and every bit as adorable as their somewhat-furrier costars. Some of the cast were strong, others were clever, some sang, and they were all lovable in one fashion or another. It was definitely the characters, more than the plot, which kept me coming back for more. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with a show that’s mostly playing a fun, engaging, intelligent sport!
In that sense, I suppose one could say the more serious aspects of the show were the ones I enjoyed the least. Here we are, just having a good time kidding around, and suddenly here comes some legitimate danger, but then the danger proves to be a little less bad than we first thought. I know we need some sort of stakes to make the conflict seem important, but it actually worked fairly well when they didn’t have that anyway, ya know?
In short, Dog Days is a good time, fun and funny, a greatly entertaining way to spend a few hours here and there. It’s not great, but it is good. 🙂
Rating: 8 stars out of 10.
Grade: solid B.