When you think of anime studio GONZO you probably think of Strike Witches or Rosario + Vampire first, but today I’m here to look at Dog and Scissors which aired back in 2013. Based on a comedic light novel series about an author and a bookworm, this one promises to be an entertaining watch, but does it deliver?
Our story follows high-school student Kazuhito Harumi who is an avid bookworm. He spends his days doing nothing but attending school, reading books and popping into his local bookstore to buy new reading material. One day he’s shot and killed in a robbery while trying to protect someone else, but because of his inability to pass on without first reading the unreleased conclusion to his favourite author’s series, Kazuhito ends up being reincarnated into a dog!
Of course now being in the body of a dog and in a pet shop, Kazuhito finds himself with no books to read. As the week goes on since his resurrection as a dachshund, he ends up calling the name of his favourite author, Shinobu Akiyama, which – to his surprise – leads a strange woman straight to him!
This woman (called Kirihime Natsuno) takes Kazuhito home and interrogates him about why he’s yelling about books and Shinobu Akiyama. At first, Kazuhito is surprised that Kirihime can understand him when no one else can, but once it’s revealed that she’s the author he so adores (Shinobu Akiyama is a pen name, it turns out), he’s ecstatic that she’s the one who adopted him.
As it turns out, these two were fated to be together. Kirihime just so happens to be the customer he protected during the robbery and she now feels some responsibility for him having lost his life. Together they begin to look into the culprit behind the crime, since he’s still at large. As they investigate, it becomes clear that the two make a good team and Kirihime warms to the idea of keeping Kazuhito by her side not out of a sense of guilt, but because she genuinely wants him there as a companion.
From here the series follows this mismatched pair as they solve mysteries together while Kirihime tries to work on writing her next novel and Kazuhito spends his days reading books from Kirihime’s extensive collection. Our protagonist is also often found walking around the neighbourhood (where he’s nicknamed Kuro by those who see him regularly) and visiting his favourite bookshop, which happens to be the same as when he was alive. As much as Kazuhito tries to stay out of anything troublesome, he often finds himself running into his sister Madoka, a popular idol Mazi Akizuki and many other colourful characters – all of whom spell trouble for Kazuhito’s peaceful days.
Honestly, as a bookworm myself, I can sympathise with Kazuhito; no way would I be ready to pass on without seeing the conclusion to some of my favourite series either! While reincarnation stories have certainly exploded in popularity since this aired in 2013, the premise is still a lot of fun and I think this is a fairly unique spin on some of the tropes we usually see. The problem for me with this series is with the comedy.
One notable thing about Kirihime is that she carries a pair of sharp scissors with her that she can wield as a deadly weapon. This gives us some interesting fight scenes in the series, but scissors are also used in the comedy where she threatens Kazuhito with them. She often goes as far as cutting his fur or throwing the scissors at him which honestly just makes for uncomfortable viewing since it’s getting a little too close to animal abuse for my tastes. Kirihime isn’t the only one with a screw loose either, as her editor is masochistic to the point of being happy whenever Kirihime threatens her with or uses her scissors on her. Madoka, too, wields a deadly weapon and is often found cooking up some kind of deadly curry to feed Kazuhito.
If you’re okay with this kind of comedy then you’ll likely enjoy the show. Even despite my dislike for most of this, I still enjoyed the series to the point where I can happily recommend it to others despite these problems. Kazuhito and Kirihime’s relationships and stories are just strong enough to keep you invested, despite everything else.
As previously mentioned Dog and Scissors has been handled by GONZO and the series looks great even almost a decade on. GONZO manage to make the comedy and action scenes fit together seamlessly with a vibrant palette of colours. The light novels the series was based on were ongoing at the time of the anime airing, but despite that, the studio found a decent stopping point that will leave viewers satisfied. This is especially important now, since the light novels have never been licensed for an English release, so we’ll never know what else was in store for the characters.
Music for the series has been handled by Akito Matsuda (Holmes of Kyoto, Sound! Euphonium) and while it’s not particularly memorable outside of the show, it fits well generally speaking. It’s a bit of a shame, given the quality of Matsuda’s other works, but that’s not a knock against the show itself. The opening theme for the series is “Wan Wan Wan Wan N-1!!” performed by the female voice actors, while the ending theme is “Lemonade Scandal” by Yu Serizawa. Both fit the series well thematically and are catchy songs.
In regards to the voice actors, this release includes both the original Japanese track and the English dub. Both casts are pretty good and they’re led by Kazuhito being played by Takahiro Sakurai (Crusty in Log Horizon, Diablo in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime) in Japanese and Blake Shepard (Soma Yukihira in Food Wars, Futoshi in Darling in the Franxx) in English.
Kirihime meanwhile is played by Marina Inoue (Armin in Attack on Titan, Momo Yaoyorozu in My Hero Academy) in Japanese and Jessica Calvello (Ku Fei in UQ Holder, Black Rabbit in Problem Children are Coming from Another World, Aren’t they?) in English. I like both sets of leads about the same as each other, so the only big deciding factor in which to watch likely lies with the fact the English dub removes some of the puns from the original script. For example, Kazuhito uses “Wanderful” instead of “Wonderful” in one scene due to being a dog and ‘wan’ being the noise a dog makes in Japan, but in the English script, this is removed entirely with Kazuhito instead making barking sounds while saying wonderful at the same time. Not a huge loss by any means, but it does make it worthwhile watching the Japanese track as well if you’re particularly interested in that side of things, especially since this is a series that does like to use puns and has helpful translation notes where applicable.
Dog and Scissors come to the UK thanks to MVM in a complete collection on Blu-ray. On-disc extras include clean opening and ending videos as well as a collection of trailers for other series available via the US distributor Sentai Filmworks.
Overall, Dog and Scissors is an entertaining comedy provided you can put aside some of the more extreme parts of the characters. Certainty the relationship between Kirihime and Kazuhito is the major selling point, especially if you can empathise with Kazuhito’s love for literature. However, if you’re particularly sensitive to comedic scenes that centre around S&M or animal abuse, then perhaps sit this one out.