iSugio

Dog & Scissors – Review

by Miguel Douglas

@isugoi

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The absurd mystery comedy centers around Harumi Kazuhito, a high school boy who is obsessed with reading books. One day, he is killed in the middle of a robbery—and resurrected as a dachshund dog. Unable to read in his new form, the hapless Kazuhito now belongs to Natsuno Kirihime, a sadistic girl who uses scissors like a weapon.

For anyone who is even remotely familiar with anime – and arguably the entertainment sphere within Japan as a whole – the idea of fetishism is not an uncommon element  within many works. As in the case of Dog & Scissors, the name pretty much explains it all. With a simply premise that initially focuses on a girl and her dog, the series soon decides to add scissors into the fray, conveying them as one of the most appropriate tools for punishing others – with the punishment being received primarily by the dog of the series. And yes, a strange hint of bestiality is also thrown in as well. Yes, it actually is as absurd as it sounds.

Based on the Japanese light novel series written by Shunsuke Sarai and illustrated by Tetsuhiro Nabeshima, Dog & Scissors is certainly one of those series that likes to throw some odd ideas around in the hopes that one of them may actually stick. The series initially begins as an exploration of death and reincarnation, with the main protagonist of the series, Kazuhito, a bookworm who loves to read novels, suddenly dying in a horrific robber gone awry. When the notions of reincarnation come into play, Kazuhito unintentionally becomes a dog under the ownership of the sadistic Kirhime Natsuno, a woman who revels in punishing Kazuhito in a variety of ridiculous ways. This is when the series drops all sense of palpability and starts to rely on a strange sense of humor that often borderlines on animal cruelty.

Of course, the animal cruelty that is shown throughout the series is often expressed in a comical fashion, with Kazuhito in dog form being able to actually communicate his distaste for both Kirihime and his unfortunate situation as a human-turned-dog to us as viewers. We get to witness his introspective dialogue, often with Kazuhito acting more human despite being trapped within the confines of a dog. Without this element of the series, Dog & Scissors may have been simply unbearable for many animal lovers out there, with Kazuhito getting violently harassed in practically every episode. It is all humorously displayed through, but it does feel a little weird viewing a dog getting punished usually for the sake of just getting punished. Having Kazuhito constantly getting strung up in in full bondage does get somewhat repetitive with each ensuing episode, with the idea of Kazuhito finding his killer being marred by the senseless comedic approach of the series as a whole.

Kazuhito and Kirihime’s bizarre relationship is the focal point of the series, which certainly adheres to the aspects of fetishism I mentioned earlier. This ranges from sadism – usually surrounding a bondage theme – to light instances of bestiality that fortunately remains slightly outside of being anything overtly sexual. Those two forms of fetishes are the largest within the series, and like the case in many other series, it could be the deciding factor for many viewers. As a comical take on a relationship between an owner and her dog, the series could have reached a significantly wider audience, but with the added fetishism, Dog & Scissors will undoubtedly alienate a majority of its viewership. Even the simple premise of Kazuhito wanting to still read books as a dog would have sufficed if showcased more throughout the series, but we only get glimpses here and there regarding his excessive hobby as a human, often becoming eclipsed by the comical aspect of the series as whole. Also, Kirihime is seen as an individual who outwardly attempts to prove her worth but we slowly begin to see that she is incredibly insecure, with Kazuhito usually being the only one to see those insecurities. One would hopefully expect more concerning this aspect of the series but we receive very little of it in the end, which is really unfortunate.

As an overall comedy series though, Dog & Scissors is funny despite its odd adherence towards its strange fetishes. It definitely likes to stray away from many of the traditional tropes of comedy genre as a whole, which I found to be refreshing considering that it was not afraid to be just a little different in its execution. On the other hand, Dog & Scissors does start out rather strongly but soon dissolves into a rather nonsensical series that removes much of its creativity, in turn replacing it with seemingly random gags and receptiveness as the series nears it conclusion. Dog & Scissors may work for those viewers who prefer a little weirdness in their anime viewing, but its inability to stay focus for too long ultimately makes it a rather laborious viewing experience for the more attention-prone viewership out there.

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Author: Miguel Douglas

As an avid viewer of both Japanese animation and cinema for more than a decade now, Miguel is primarily concerned with establishing a critical look into both mediums as legitimate forms of artistic, cultural, and societal understanding. Never one to simply look at a film or series based solely on superficiality, Miguel has dedicated himself towards bringing awareness to Asian entertainment and its various facets.

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