| Back when I was young, the company "Squaresoft" was the premier creator of the video game RPG. I am of course referring to the US market when I say this. The following was strong enough through the NES and SNES eras that many people bought an N64 assuming that the next Final Fantasy would be there. I can't blame Squaresoft for avoiding that platform, I just wanted to point out how loyal the following was.
Final Fantasy VII was the last one that fans could agree on being good. For years now, few games from the Square-Enix merger have been considered better than passable consumptions of time. I bring this up because I heard someone refer to Dog Days as the Final Fantasy that should have been. In several ways, that's kind of true.
The story follows the adventures of a semi-normal boy from our world who is summoned to another as the hero to lead the nation to victory. I say semi-normal. He isn't super human or something, but he's the kind of boy who's constantly climbing on stuff, performing back flips, jumping off ledges, you know the kind, a city is too cramped for him.
In my favorite quotes from the series; the girl who summons him introduces herself as, "the feudal lord of the Republic of Biscotti." Wait a sec...it doesn't work like that. Constitutional monarchy perhaps? After this the hero is given a brief, RPG tutorial-esk, overview of how war works and tossed into the battle.
Here things change from war story to humor. The citizens of Biscotti are dogs. They may be cute or fierce, but they all have dog ears and dog tails what will wag when they're happy. You might see fluffy ears, droopy ears, or fox like ears depending on their family. Their neighbors, the nation of Galette, are cat people. Cat ears, long cat tails, I keep thinking of a light hearted Moonphase. In battle, when an individual is defeated, instead of dying, they transform into a puffball cat/dog like a basketball with ears and tail. If a soldier falls in the water, there are lifeguards to pull him out. At the end of the day, the side with the highest score is declared the winner.
The idea that war can be carried out without casualties or serious pain has some side effects. A battle is far more like a sports event. People can actually give it their all without wondering if they will see tomorrow. As of yet, no villain has been introduced. The knights, specialists, and special-ops are all on terms with each other outside the battlefield. Even the princess (er, ruler) of Galette is an caring person. There is some major hint by the sixth episode that there is something more sinister coming, but the source cannot be identified.
At six episodes in, I can say with some confidence that Dog Days is a fun show. It has all the quirky randomness that Japanese RPGs are known for. (Did I mention it has chocobos?) It's art is often bland, but is punctuated by very well animated combat and some surprisingly well drawn scenes. They keep absorbing time explaining combat rules and tactical RPG tropes (artillery is powerless against troops in melee range), but so far these haven't messed with the flow of the story too badly. I like it. It's worth watching.