Dog & Scissors: Episode 1 – “Every Dog Has His Day”

Dog & Scissors, which is known in Japan as Inu to Hasami Tsukaiyo, is an anime based on a light novel series written by Shunsuke Sarai and illustrated by Tetsuhiro Nabeshima. The anime is produced by Gonzo, and is directed by Yukio Takahashi. The series is being simulcast on Crunchyroll on Mondays.

The episode opens with a young woman writer telling a dog to try dying. When the dog argues and doesn’t comply, she pulls out a pair of scissors and tries to get him. When the dog runs away, the woman chases after the dog. We can hear the dog’s thoughts, and he says that he wasn’t always a dog; he used to be human. It cuts to the opening credits, and then the episode tells the story of how the series got to the point we saw in the beginning of the episode.

A high schooler named Harumi Kazuhito is a bookworm, and his favorite author is Akiyama Shinobu. He lives by himself in Tokyo, because his parents moved out to the country when Harumi was in middle school. Harumi didn’t want to go, because release dates for books get delayed in the country. His parents made him a deal: if he could get into a competitive high school, Harumi would be able to stay in Tokyo. Obviously, Harumi fulfilled his end of the bargain.

Harumi goes to a restaurant, where he’s reading a book by Akiyama Shinobu. He laments that Shinobu still needs to write the final book for his favorite series, and that he doesn’t want to die without reading it. Sitting behind him is a young woman who is writing furiously.

A robbery takes place in the restaurant, and Harumi tackles the gunman in order to protect the young woman writer. Harumi ends up being shot and killed during the struggle. As Harumi is dying and sees visions of his family and friends, he sees the final book of Akiyama Shinobu’s series that he wants to read. When he reaches out to touch the book, it turns into a dog; then there’s a blinding light.

Harumi awakens to find that he has been resurrected as a dog. The young woman writer appears at the pet shop where Harumi has been taken to, with a pair of scissors in a holster. When the clerk says Harumi isn’t for sale, the woman whips out the scissors and slashes. And then something rather unbelievable happens: her slashes cut through the metal bars in the cage holding Harumi. OK, I know that this is supposed to be an absurdist comedy, but… yeah, I have a hard time believing that could happen, even in an absurdist comedy. The first thought that came into my mind was, “Riiiiiight.”

The young woman takes Harumi home, ties the dog up and hangs him from the ceiling, holds a pair of scissors in front of him, and tells him to die. Yikes! Thank goodness Dog & Scissors isn’t more mainstream, otherwise PETA would probably be all over this series!

Apparently, the woman (whose name is Natsuno Kirihime) can read the dog’s mind, but no explanation is truly given as to how she is able to do this. Again, I understand that this is supposed to be an absurdist comedy, but I can honestly say that it’s not that funny, nor is it that believable, even for absurd comedy. I’m sorry, but I just can’t find potential animal abuse to be funny. There was only one moment that I truly found to be funny in this episode; it’s the reaction that Harumi the dog has when he learns that the psycho woman that he’s with is actually Askiyama Shinobu (which is the pen name she uses as an author).

This is a series that has an interesting premise, but the execution basically ruins it. First, I really didn’t care about any of the characters by the time I finished the first episode; in fact, my least favorite is Natsuno. She came across as being a psycho without much in the way of redeeming qualities. Second, the scissors shtick got old really fast; and since scissors is part of the title, and scissors show up a lot in the imagery for both the opening and ending credits, I suspect it’s a gag that will be running throughout the entire series.

I’ll give Dog & Scissors another try next week to see if maybe it might improve from the first episode; however, I’m not terribly optimistic I’ll get much further in this series before I decide to drop it.

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