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Dog & Scissors Complete Collection (Bilingual) Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read

Dog & Scissors Blu-ray CoverA book maniac has a second chance to read his favourite author’s works … how bad can that be?

What They Say:
Harumi Kazuhito could spend days at a time with his head buried in his beloved books, and little would make him happier than perusing the pages of his favorite author. Unfortunately, when Harumi gets himself killed, he inexplicably finds himself reincarnated as a dog… which might not be so bad if he could read, or his new owner didn’t have the unfortunate twin predilections of playing with scissors and tormenting her new pet! But what truly makes this strange reincarnation the worst of all possible worlds is that she’s also his FAVORITE AUTHOR! The horror! Can Harumi find a way to live with this tantrum throwing typist, or will her crazed clippings prove to be his undoing? Can he escape her constant hounding via the doggy door, or is he barking up the wrong tree? There’s a rough, rough time ahead as canine compulsive readers and literary she-wolves get snippy with each other when doggies do what they gotta do! Get ready for a twisted tail with a novel twist, and find out if dogs and cutting implements can ever co-exist in DOG AND SCISSORS!

The Review:
The disk set is available in two formats using DTS-HD MA 2.0: Japanese with subtitles and English dub. However, when Sentai Entertainment did the English version of the soundtrack, the dialogue sounds like they are whispering due to the cacophony of the music; it makes it impossible to hear the actors when there is a tune playing at the same time. But, the original Japanese is fine with voices in the foreground and accompanying melody softly balanced in the background. For those who like watch instead of read their anime, this time, you are better off watching in the original format.

The usage of a widescreen format does help to show off the expanse of Natsuno’s penthouse, her collection of books, the vast cityscape and makes the action scenes more expressive by allowing the characters to more fully interact with the environment; however, since this is the norm for most modern anime, it doesn’t add any drama or make the story move along any better. If the entirety of the whole screen was used, then perhaps it might have worked, but most of the time, the characters are confined to one side and the rest is decorated by window dressing.

Sex may sell, but, in this case, it doesn’t really help. To have Natsuno lounge on the front cover in slinky black lingerie, with her signature silver scissors at her thigh may spark someone’s interest to watch, however this has nothing to do with the series; the only signal as to the real intent is the title. The buyer will need to read the back description and see screen shots to even get a general idea of the anime. But the banal jokes even makes the synopsis another gimmick instead of a serious way to promote the show. If you want some to take an interest in something, tell them the truth rather than sugar coat it with false advertisement.

The menus of the set are very basic. Although Sentai may have tried to change the foreground of each disk by using a different character on a scissor background, the overall design is the same: an episode list on the left with each title separated by a scissor accented clip line using a dog paw print as the cursor. While they may have tried to tie the menus into the anime, this same format has be used on all of their releases, so it is nothing original.

Sentai Entertainment spread the episodes into a three disk set instead of a normal two disk package, and as such, they should have had plenty of room to add additional content, like biographies of each character in an effort to them flesh out. However, they gave us textless opening and closing animations plus some trailers for their other acquisitions; it might have been nice to see them on all of the disks, but they are spread out over the set. Extras are supposed to add to the content of the set, not subtract from it by just tacking on non-essential materials.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Harumi Kazuhito was your normal high schooler, with one exception: his fascination with books! He would read anything and his apartment expressed his interests, walls shelved with a variety of topics, but it didn’t stop there, the passion spread into another room just for the overrun. In fact, so overwhelming was this mania, that he persuaded his parents to allow him to stay in Tokyo instead of moving with the family so that he could get the newest releases on time rather than wait for the delay of being delivered to the outskirts.

But, out of all the novels he has read, there was one author who stood above the rest – Shinobu Akiyama. This writer was amazing, there was no genre he/she did not touch which didn’t turn into a best seller and yet, no one knew anything about them. However, out of all their works, there was one which all waited for: the final book of the Seven Deadly Sins collection, Lust. It had been years since the last one was published and many others had been written since then, but no word as to when this was to be released. His obsession was peaked, all seemed pale compared to this ultimate book.

After his latest purchase, Kazuhito relaxed in a coffee shop to read his latest find, another novel by Akiyama-sensei. He devoured it as usual, the thrill to find out how it ends the only way to sate his appetite. But, he still wanted more. As he wondered how to feed his hunger, a loud customer at the bar started screaming and waving a shotgun around. He tried not to look at the madman but was confronted nonetheless as he told them to get up and give him their money. Them? Then he saw her, a beautiful lady writing in the corner, so absorbed by her task that she didn’t notice the insanity around her.

He could have done as he was told, but the woman would have suffered; he had to save her by any means necessary, which meant grabbing the gun and wresting it from him. However, he was no match for the adrenaline fueled psychopath as he found out by a shower of crimson and his limp body crumbling to the floor. As his life drained away, his thoughts drifted – would his family know how he lived? But, as the light grew brighter, his last question was: how can I die now without having read that last book Lust? I would do anything if I could just read Akiyama-sensei book!

In a strange twist of fate, Kazuhito found that he was not dead. Something was different, he was in a cage and some strange afro guy was fawning over him. Why couldn’t he comprehend when he was talking? When he left to get some food, he saw the answer in a mirror opposite – there was a dog staring back at him! Paws, long snout, floppy ears and an annoying bark? What had happened to him? What happened to his body?! Days passed as he languished in his prison, his jailer speaking to him, but he could not respond in return. But the worst part of all was … he had nothing to read! Kazuhito had read everything within reach and this guy wouldn’t let him read over his shoulder. How could he survive in this world? And as if the universe answered his call, a familiar woman walked into the shop, asking to buy this animal. She had heard all of his inane prattling and wanted it to stop – by shearing his cage to pieces with a pair of silver scissors.

It was the same person from the restaurant, she understood this dog and it seemed like she was the only one who could interpret his thoughts. And yet, why did she care? All was answered as they made their way to her apartment, but she did not have a warm bed waiting for him; instead he found himself bound by cloth and rope as she interrogated him at the point of those same shears. This woman was insane! She would cut him apart unless he could explain how she could understand him and why she should care. As Kazuhito unraveled the tale of his death, her gaze slowly softened and ended with the swift strokes of the blade. His furry body collapsed as she introduced herself as Kirihime Natsuno then lead him on a tour of her penthouse. But, it stopped when his dachshund legs quaked after seeing the extensive library laid out before him. All of those books – and a complete collection of Shinobu Akiyama? She had good taste and there was a reason why … she was known by that same name. This was Akiyama-sensei?! How could his favorite author be this crazy woman? And why has she unable to write anymore?

After a fitful night’s sleep, Kazuhito accompanied his new master on a little errand, to a place he recognized – it was his old apartment. The criminal who had killed him was still on the loose and the police were no closer to finding him. Natsuno suggested that they go back to his place to see if they could turn up any clues that the others had missed. But, what the investigators did not know was that he lived in two rooms, his sleeping quarters and his book depository. While the pair talked, the murderer heard them and ran from his hiding place, with the dual giving chase. After confronting him, Akiyama fought valiantly but soon understood that this man was also a fanatic of her work, using her own characters’ fighting styles to confound her. After some coaching from her canine companion, she quickly dispatched this maniac and left his end to Kazuhito. But, he had already forgiven him, understanding that if he didn’t he could not pursue his greatest love without guilt – reading; it was Natsuno whose guilt was still consuming her, and it was that same shame of her being able to live his life that had kept her from writing.

While they make their way home, Natsuno asks Kazuhito if he knows of the old saying that you only hurt the ones you love? Why was this lunatic asking him such a crazy question? But then he understood, she was expressing herself the only way she knew – by punishing those closest to her, and unfortunately, that would be a certain dog. But, the good thing to this insanity was that she was now in the mood to doing some serious writing! Now if she will only finish Lust!

In Summary:
This is NOT an anime for people who love animals. The constant punishment of Kazuhito by Natsuno via her scissors may be the punch line of the show, but it seems that the original author, Shunsuke Sarai either forgets or ignores the fact that character is a dog. Although it may occur off-screen, the yelps and screams are still heard and results of her artwork are quickly seen in the next shot. Of course, to continue the laughs, they repeat the same joke several times during each episode; this happens anytime she gets mad, which is usually after he insults her or he gets too much attention from any woman who pets his furry body – which Natsuno considers this cheating on his part.

Then you also have to take into account the way that Natsuno misinterprets Kazuhito’s compliments – and they are usually as sexual innuendoes. If these were between two consenting adults, then maybe you can get away with them, but this is between a human female and a dog; we do not want to hear about what kind of position they will need to use or how they will raise the puppies. And to raise the issue even more, a whole episode is dedicated to Natsuno using a dating manual on how to have a perfect date with a dog! Beastiality is not for everyone.

Lastly, when they introduce Akiyama-sensei’s editor, Suzuna Hiiragi, this opens up another sensitive subject: masochism. This lady already has a crazy look in her eyes, but when you add that if she does Natsuno’s bidding, her client will either cut or step or beat her, this adds another piece to this twisted puzzle. Of course, she knows about how to motivate her favourite writer and this is all for the better for her; Hiiragi creates new schemes to stymie Akiyama in turn frustrating her and then she jumps in at the right time to remedy a solution, only if she will punish her in return. One wonders how she gets any work done?

Even if they try to lighten the sadomasochism with comedy, it doesn’t really work with an incoherent plot line, which was supposed to revolve around Akiyama-sensei’s fight to finish her novel; but that quickly devolved into loose skits tied by minor characters to string along the romantic story between dog and human. The whole series just seemed to collapse after the first two episodes and snowballed from there into a complete and utter mess.

There is a reason why this series was labeled MA, it is for mature audiences only. Though they never show any of the actual acts, the implications are enough for the viewer to infer what is happening behind the scenes. Trite jokes about serious subjects can’t salvage this anime. If you are curious about the series, it is better to see via a streaming service or rent it; save your money for something that can truly be enjoyed without having to cringe after every episode.

Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean opening animation, clean closing animations

Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: C
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: C
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: January 6th, 2015
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sharp LC-42LB261U 42” LED HDTV and Sony BDPS3200 Blu-ray player connected by HDMI

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