Harumi Kazuhito could spend days at a time with his head buried in his beloved books, and little makes 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 & Scissors!
Aaaghhh!!! The puns…they burn. As if the title of this thing alone wasn’t enough to make you feel uncomfortable. At least Pumpkin Scissors had quirk going for it. Originally released here in June 2014 on sub-only DVD, it’s been re-released on both DVD and Blu-Ray with a new English dub. That’s nice. Set it up for my customary Japanese with English subs, and off I go.
The subtitles for a bit of Kazuhito Harumi’s narration call this story “the stupid nonsense between one woman and one animal.” Well. I’d drop the mic and walk away, except that microphones are expensive, and I’m obliged to do my job here. Harumi is a young man about to enter high school who loves to read so much that he chose to stay in Tokyo rather than move to Okayama with the rest of his family because book release dates are delayed there. His favourite author is the prolific but mysterious and reclusive Shinobu Akiyama, and he and many other fans are looking forward to the seventh and final volume of his Deadly Sins series, Lust. He’s a loyal customer of the mom ‘n’ pop Honda Bookstore, which must be a heck of a place if it stocks magazines called Nomal and suiside (both sic). He’s reading one of Akiyama’s newer works in a café and wondering where his wallet went when an extremely barmy customer at the counter holds up the master with a rifle, then turns to him and the young woman at the next table over, who is furiously and intently scratching on a sheet of manuscript paper with a fountain pen. When the gunman can’t get her to stop writing and stand up, dammit, he levels the boom stick at her, causing Kazuhito to struggle with him. For his troubles, he earns a nice fatal lead supplement—which doesn’t slow down the woman’s pen hand or turn her head one jot. One extended hallucination later, he wakes up to find himself inside a cage on the counter of a pet shop run by a kind man with an enormous afro…because he has been reincarnated as a miniature Dachshund. After a week there, he’s going crazy because he can only read the posters on the wall and the product packages so many times. Give him a book! Preferably one of Shinobu Akiyama’s! At this point, a young woman in dark clothing walks in and inquires about buying the dog, refuses to take no for an answer, and emphasizes that by quickly destroying his cage with Hasajiro, the elaborately designed and carborundum-hard scissors she usually keeps in a holster tied to her thigh.
Shortly after she gets her new little doggie home, she discovers that she can communicate with him by reading his thoughts. However, she finds this out after trussing him up, hanging him from a rope (no, not by the neck) and expressing her desire to see him disembowelled. And whattaya know? She was the woman at the café whose life he chucked away his own for. Her name is Kirihime Natsuno, and she’s living in a big and fancy high-rise apartment thanks to her successful career as an author. Meet Shinobu Akiyama, and welcome to the start of a relationship that veers between animal cruelty and imagining the two of them together in a way that will make your gorge rise—both courtesy of Kirihime (but Kazuhito doesn’t help things by making cracks about her modest build). They also throw in some sympathetic moments between the two of them to give the viewer some hope, until one or the other destroys it and they’re at odds yet again. They’re not alone in this world, though. Throw in many other girls/women—the voluptuous but looney-toon masochist who works as Kirihime’s editor; Kazahito’s little sister, who specializes in one million variations of inedible curry and fighting using the world’s most ridiculous knife; a popular and vain idol singer/author dressed all in white who takes great exception to Kirihime not paying attention to her; an old schoolmate of his who abases herself every time she opens her mouth; a maid with fighting skills who gets more scenes than the supposedly important person she serves—and the freakin’ kitchen sink while you’re at it for all the subtlety and originality that didn’t go into creating them. It’s all supposed to make the viewer revel in the absurdity of the cast and the story, but somebody didn’t get the memo that absurdity requires some intelligence and wit to work. There may have been some of those in the 13 light novels (and counting) this is based on, for all I know, but it’s missing here among the barrage of stereotypes and recurring gags we’re subjected to. There are a couple of references to other anime, but they’re pasted-on sops to the audience more than anything else. There’s music in this, of course, but it’s impossible to hear over the show screaming “LOOK AT ME!!” like a spoiled child. The idol singer character does the ED theme—and why not? It was a bit of a chore to watch this and a grind to write about it—and comedy should be neither of those things.
Yer standard clean opening and ending and Sentai trailers.
If the title, cover, and box copy of Dog & Scissors give you a feeling of suspicion that this anime would be best passed over for another one, well, I suggest that you follow it. Sometimes your instincts are correct.
- Released By: Sentai Filmworks
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Audio: English and Japanese 2.0
- Running Time: 300 minutes
- Rating: TV – MA
- Release Date: 01/06/2015
- Reviewed By: Neil Ellard