This is review number two hundred and twenty eight. This anime is part of the Summer 2013 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou or “Dog and Scissors”. As you can see from the long and complicated title, it’s adapted from a light novel. It’s a twelve episode anime about a dog and a girl and some stupid characters as well. It’s pretty good, I guess. Let’s read on.
The anime is about this guy named Kazuhito Harumi. He loves books. His life is consumed by it and he does nothing but read them. His favorite author is Shinobu Akiyama. He’s a talented author that has a wide range of books expanding different genres. His “Deadly Sins” series is considered the best of his works. Shinobu Akiyama is a bit mysterious though and he doesn’t show his face on public. His fame in the literary world is as famous as his hidden identity. The Deadly Sins series isn’t complete though. The final installment of the series isn’t finished yet and Kazuhito wishes the talented writer would release the book soon. Too bad he’ll never see it after he was shot in the face with a shotgun after saving a girl from a robbery. His life flashed before his eyes but going through his head was “I can’t die without reading the last part of the Deadly Sins series”. The next thing he know is that he is being brought home by the girl he saved, tied up and hanged then realized he became a dog. Here’s the kicker. The girl he saved is Shinobu Akiyama herself.
Taking the Pants Off
Dear readers, what we have here is a Gonzo anime. It was a previous anime from this glorious studio that convinced me to abandon my otaku lifestyle and get a job. It was awful, to say the least. When I started this blog, I always hated the fact that most reviewers judge an anime by the success of a studio. It’s a shallow view point that does nothing but place stigma to a fairly good anime. After a year of doing this sh*t, I soon realized that some studios are truly consistent and some have a pattern of success/failure in their shows that you can easily pick up after a few episodes. Then we have Gonzo. They’re a fairly good studio during the early 2000s and some of their anime have been a joy for me. For some reason though, Gonzo is currently going through this weird phase where watching their anime will make you hate yourself or, in my case, re-evaluate your life decisions. Zettai Bouei Leviathan, to this day, still scars me. So the idea of watching another Gonzo anime honestly stirs something deep inside me I don’t want to feel. I went into “Dog and Scissors” with tremendous doubt. This show will suck. Well it didn’t. This is an enjoyable show and I am glad I gave it a chance. Gonzo still managed to ruin a fairly good anime though and I’m glad I was right about that.
I’m being overly dramatic though. I just really miss being a bum doing nothing but reviewing anime and I need an outlet for all my despair. The anime is actually pretty good. The premise is something I find very inviting. The idea of a guy stuck in a dog’s body after he died is something I find pretty refreshing. The fact that he now lives with a really hot girl, that loves to dress in black, is sort of a bonus for me. There’s a lot of things to enjoy in this anime. I really think the show had enough to create a solid story to build up as the anime progresses. The show could explore the mysteries behind Kazuhito becoming a dog. Maybe they can do an angle on why the Deadly Sins series is so popular and why the last volume is so important. They could do a story where the two main characters gradually fall in love or something. From the premise alone, there seems to be a lot of things the anime could’ve done yet the one it present was pretty disappointing. As you watch the show, you honestly could feel the potential being wasted. In the span of twelve episodes, I think all the anime did was hint at some bestiality jokes and make a handful of characters look dumb. I often wonder if the light novel this show was adapted from was also a disappointing as this adaptation.
The anime had two plot points though. The first one is about the relationship of Kazuhito the dog and Kirihime Natsuno the enigmatic author. The couple has a very playful relationship and it’s a big centerpiece of the anime. Kirihime would often tie Kazuhito up whenever she gets mad and then punish him. She would grab her scissors and then cut the poor dog as retaliation. It’s a comedic kind of bond between the two characters since one is a hard to read snob and the other is a literary obsessed freak. Their wavelengths rarely met but when they do, it’d be about how much they care and look out for each other. Kazuhito is an honest guy that would declare his pure and honest intentions to Kirihime which would make our little snob melt like butter. Kirihime would gradually fall in love with Kazuhito but it often never works out for the two because, again, they’re on two different wavelengths. Aside from the playful banter of the two main characters, they also get involved in some mysteries or trouble in the show. It’s often the collective effort of the two that would get them out of their problem. As a plot point, it’s not really much. I’m serious about this one being the center piece of the show though. The show’s main focus is the relationship of the two characters. It’s about the hot famous author falling in love with a dog. You can’t get more edgy than that, I tell you.
The second plot point is about the other characters of the show. This anime has this format where a character gets introduced or put on the spotlight and their personal circumstances are the sole focus of the show. When the main characters would get involved in some mystery or simple trouble, it would often lead to a new character being introduced. They would often be related to Kazuhito or they’d be greatly influenced by some books or Shinobu Akiyama herself and it would lead to some pretty big problem. I honestly love how some of these little subplots of the anime would be handled. It had a smart pacing to it that I really like. This is where you can tell that the sophisticated presentation of a light novel is being utilized. The subplots had a really interesting build up and the introduction of the character is smooth. After a few episodes, you’ll recognize the pattern but I still applaud the anime for handling the twist for each subplot. They were executed amazingly to the point where you often never see it coming. This is what the second plot is mostly about. It’s just the misadventures of the main characters that often results in the introduction of a new character. From the looks of it, it seems the anime is mostly about small subplots that apparently have the same characters. I’m sure you noticed it by now but the anime has no actual story.
Yeah, this is where the hatred for Gonzo comes in. A story about a boy stuck in a dog’s body with a hot girl falling for him apparently warrants no actual story. Aside from the countless flirting that ends in comedic violence, the anime has no overall story. It’s kind of puzzling because there are a lot of things to work with here. The anime was able to set up this wonderful idea of how books can change people. In the first half, the literary influence of Shinobu Akiyama has touched a lot of people to the point where they really change their life. I was hoping there would be a theme of how books should be appreciated and how people should be considerate towards the authors that push forth their love through their writings. With the idea that Shinobu hasn’t started writing the last installment of her series, I was hoping the theme would be incorporated in this particular part of the story. All of this was abandoned towards the second half though. The intriguing premise of the anime was thrown away and more characters are introduced. It soon became a character centered show where their individual quirkiness would be the highlight of each scene. That’s all well and good but the characters in the anime are sadly all one dimensional. Their charm doesn’t last long and the anime overuses them a lot. It’s weird. The story of the anime really serves as nothing but sort of a cup to hold the characters in. It serves no purpose beyond that.
If the directionless progression of the anime wasn’t bad enough, there is also another part of the anime I really find bothersome. I’m talking about the misplaced fight scenes. I realize that one of the show’s charm is “exaggeration”. After all, they had a boy transfer into a dog’s body with no explanation whatsoever. It was quietly glossed over and I’m fine with that. I also understand the fact that they just established Shinobu Akiyama as this super cool author yet they never bother to explain how. Exaggeration is part of the show and I actually find the idea pretty fun. It’s not as fun though when the characters fight. For some strange reason, the anime needed to have two characters lock horns. The anime leans more towards the slice of life/comedy genre so you’ll have a school girl fight a maid for the most retarded reasons and use the most absurd of tools. It’s really hard to convince yourself that this talented author is also a skilled fighter that uses a pair of her favorite scissors to stop a bullet that was fired from a kitchen knife that doubles as a chainsaw and a cannon fired by a school girl. Did you read that? I made sure I re-read what I just wrote because even I don’t believe it. The fight scenes in the anime are pretty stupid. They serve no actual purpose than to overcomplicate the characters and to add nothing to an already shallow story. I’m a bit irked that the show deemed pointless fight scenes more important than having an actual cohesive plot to tie all the nonsense in the show together.
The strongest aspect of the anime is certainly the characters. The show made sure to overcrowd itself before it reaches the second half. I think it’s because the plot was starting to crumble apart at that point. Anyways, the characters are certainly interesting. They all had their individual charm and they certainly stand out because of how colorful they are. The main characters are also pretty cute together. The bestiality angle lasts for two episodes and then you slowly enjoy the banter the two of them put out. Kazuhito is this nice guy that loves to reads books. He’s the straight laced kind of character where his kindness would capture the heart of a girl. It’s typical light novel trope but a pretty damn good one. It’s all the more fun because our main hero is a Dachshund. Seeing this dog get his hair cut or tied up is pretty entertaining to watch. I’m a bit bummed the anime never took the chance to let him grow more though. He stuck to his book otaku personality till the end which is shame. An engaging story would’ve made this little dog more interesting.
The other main character is the enigmatic Kirihime Natsuno. She is really shrouded in mystery and I think it’s the best part of her character. She is a talented author that has dipped in a lot of genres, including BL, but she is also a skilled fighter. She fights using a pair of scissors that she holsters in her hips. This damn thing is strong and again, overly exaggerated. She also uses it to cut Kazuhito up because she is a bit of a sadist. Her personality stretches far more than that though. The anime would always hint of something more about her yet never really spilling anything. For example, she has a sister yet we never meet the girl and I think it’s to preserve Kirihime’s mysterious nature. The show made sure she is unpredictable and hard to read. I think they did a good job of it because you’re often spending way too much time wondering what exactly her deal is. One thing is clear about her though. Despite being a massive snob and sadist, she is also in love with a dog. She has this cute moment where she goes all tsun tsun in front of Kazuhito and she just talks to herself being all shy and dainty. It’s cute.
The rest of the characters are also pretty entertaining. There are a lot of girls in this anime and the show really introduced them vividly. Individually, they all stand out because of their very unique personality. From an obsessive sister to a hardcore masochist, the side characters really add a lot to the craziness of the anime. Some of them also had their own subplots explored by the anime. Their personality really comes out beautifully and it was nicely utilized by the anime. They certainly give the show some added variety. Unfortunately though, without a proper story, the characters were a bit overused. They’re one dimensional personality, which is comedic, was poked fun at by the show so many times that it just lost its appeal. The anime had way too many scenes involving Kirihime beating up this hardcore masochist that you easily recognize the show’s lack of a cohesive plot. In fact, towards the second half, it became a bit bland because the anime overuses jokes way too many times. Even the characters themselves were greatly hurt by this approach of the show.
The anime had a wonderful start. The premise was pretty interesting and the promise of a decent plot was probably the thing that ruined this anime. I don’t think a 2013 anime should be directionless and should solely rely on their characters. That’s a lazy anime and nothing is more insulting that a lazy anime. I feel bad for Yukio Takahashi. This was his directorial debut and it’s a big letdown. His show promised something that it never delivered. It’s a learning experience, I guess. Something not surprising though is Gonzo releasing another downer. I’m actually hopeful this studio can climb out of that depressing sand pit it’s currently stuck in and this show actually showed promise. A little bit more, Gonzo. A little bit more. For the meantime, I’ll just give a big sigh to this studio. Atleast it’s not as bad as Zettai Bouei Leviathan. This anime was decent but certainly lacking. I guess the adapted source is a bit suspect too. Seven volumes of a light novel don’t sound like something that has a compelling story. It’s all up in the air. I’m pretty sure this anime was disappointing though regardless.
Sight and Sound
Character design is pretty great. Tetsuhiro Nabeshima did a wonderful job on conceptualizing the characters. Kirihime alone is enough to give praise to his work. Kirihime is the typical slender pretty girl but the choice of giving her fierce red eyes and making her wear black was a smart move. She is absolutely as interesting as her personality. The short skirt coupled by the long jacket that compliments her slim figure really makes her one awesome character. She was really a great eye candy for the show. I’m glad the anime was able to capture Tetsuhiro’s vivid designs. This is something I give props for Gonzo. They were able to translate the design with ease. The rest of the characters look pretty simple though. There is a wide range of them and I admire that aspect of the show but I think the other characters just look a bit too plain considering how colorful their personalities are. Aside from their hair color and cute uniforms, the designs were a bit lacking. It’s a good thing their quirkiness made them well rounded. Kazuhito’s Dachshund design looks pretty cool. It’s not overly cartoonish and the proportions look pretty decent.
The animation is also pretty great. The movements are pretty awesome and they were clear enough to follow. There is certainly a lot of work done in the animation and I thank Gonzo for that. The way the characters move about on the street or chasing some random culprit looks pretty great. Of course, the exaggerated aspect of the anime comes through nicely also because of the great animation work. I’m bothered by the random fight scenes but they were certainly pretty cool animation-wise. The choreography of the fights is smooth and the camera angle was certainly utilized at every opportunity. The added effects of certain scenes were also nicely incorporated in the anime. Certain transformation scenes, monologues and S&M bondage scenes look pretty great and the detail work is really good. The production value of this anime is really high. I’m personally glad Gonzo convinced me they can actually put effort in their anime if they tried.
The anime’s OP is “Wan Wan Wan Wan N_1!!” by Inu Musume Club. This was sung by the various voice actors of the anime. It’s an energetic and cute song with a lot of randomness in it. The addition of various lines by Marina Inoue in the intro was also pretty sweet. I’m not really sure what the song was about but it’s really catchy and it has a really explosive style that you can’t help but enjoy listening to. The Op sequence is just as random as the song. It was able to capture the spirit of the anime though. It featured all the crazy characters, some overly exaggerated scenes and total randomness with no cohesion. It’s just like the anime and its directionless banter. The animation is awesome though. The CG touches and the various dance scenes in the OP looks awesome. I’ll give points for Gonzo for making a fun OP.
The anime’s ED is “Lemonade Scandal” by Maxi Akizuki. Maxi is a character in the anime and she’s an idol in the show. She has a really awesome voice. The song is a cute romantic song with some playful lyrics. I love it. Maxi’s voice made the song special with how she hits some high notes and the use of instrumentals also added a lot to the song. The ED sequence is some short montage of the characters and some randomness as well just like the OP. The sequence mainly highlights the dog and the girl though with some still poses of Maxi and the rest of the cast. Again, amazing animation Gonzo should be proud of.
4/10 “It’s a directionless anime that recycles way too many of its jokes and characters. Not even the idea of girl falling in love with a dog can save the disappointing content of this show.”
This anime had all the potential to be pretty awesome. It had amazing characters, a great premise and some colorful nonsense that should’ve meant a lot more if the damn show had a stable story to focus on. It doesn’t and the show became boring as you keep watching it. It’s a shame. I was ready to like this show. If you enjoy over the top comedy anime then you might like this anime. If you enjoy high production values in your anime with little to no plot then this show is for you. It’s best to not bother with this one though.