This is review number three hundred and thirty nine. This anime is part of the Fall 2010 lineup, and it’s a doozy. The anime I’ll be reviewing is called Togainu no Chi or Blood of the Reprimanded Dog. It’s a twelve episode anime about gay sex. No wait, there isn’t any. There is no gay sex, and it’s actually part of why this anime sucks. Just ask the people that played the game. Let’s read on.
This anime is about a guy named Akira. He is wrongfully accused of murder, and he is given a chance to be a free man as long as he participates in a game held in the dangerous city of Toshima. Akira has no choice, so he agreed but he totally isn’t prepared for what’s ahead. In his first time there, Akira witness massacre by a sword slinging man, and reality sets on him that his odds of winning is beyond slim.
Taking the Pants Off
Alright, I’m about to review a really awful one. Togainu no Chi is an anime that is hated, simply hated by anyone and everyone that has seen it, those that haven’t seen it, and those that don’t want to see it. This is just one hated anime, and I have been dying to know why. Its MAL page is just riddled with bad reviews, and I’m a bit shocked. I know shows that are a lot more awful than this one get by totally unnoticed. It’s bad, so people just don’t care. Yet here we are, Togainu no Chi receiving a resounding “No.” from everyone, and I think it’s because the original source is just so damn good. This is a yaoi visual novel that has a strong following. I checked a few videos on youtube and I understand why it’s so good. It’s the kind of yaoi goodness any freaky fujoshi would recommend someone, because the VN captures the vivid sexual energy of the genre and the gameplay is just top notch. I kid you not, the voice work will give you an orgasm. No, wait, it didn’t give me one…but…yeah, it’s just one of those masterpieces that everyone loves. It’s a great gateway into the sinful genre, and it’s probably one of the best yaoi VN out there. From the story to the characters to the other stuff, the visual novel is just a gawd of its genre. Unfortunately, some poor f*ck decided to give it an anime adaptation. This is a bad idea from the get go, and someone should’ve stopped him. The anime version isn’t just a watered down, horribly butchered unfaithful bastard serving as a blemish in the VN’s success, it’s also one of the worst anime you can ever watch. It has very little appeal, and any positive aspect is outright killed by its mangled ending. It’s not just a slap to the face of the hardcore VN fan base, but also a slap to anime fans itself. Seriously, who green lit this? Get a Death Note and write his name down in it, for gawdsakes. This show is beyond salvageable, and I’m here to point out all the wrong things about this anime. This’ll be fun.
First of all, it’s a visual novel adaptation. This is one of the major things wrong about this anime. It is a VN anime. Why is this wrong? It’s because VN anime tend to suck…a lot. Like any video game adaptation, visual novel anime can’t quite capture the complexities that make the game great. Without the player interface, the adaptation becomes a soulless being with an auto pilot story. VNs are especially harder to make into an anime because there are a lot of stories to compress in such a short time. Some VN anime doesn’t even try and just create safe stories that aren’t really faithful to the original source. Its main goal is just to say thank you to its fan base, so they let the popular game characters just be their charming selves. A good example of this is Walkure Romanze. No story, just Ecchi stuff. These VNs are especially dull, but actually trying to capture the game’s appeal can be detrimental. Focus on one story, and it’s unfair to the other routes. Fit all the routes in the game, and it can be a confusing mess. A lot of otome anime tend to flop around with both concepts, but bottom line is that rarely do you get a good VN anime. Majority of them are dull, confusing, and hollow. Reviewing a ton of them, I have grown to accept that VN shows are really just destined to plummet back down into the ground face first. It’s nobody’s fault but the game itself for being so damn good someone is tempted to make an anime adaptation of it. As I have learned reviewing a ton of sh*t: Visual Novel anime have a 70% chance to suck and the 30% is something you just force yourself to like. I think the only VN anime I can deem good is Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, and it’s safe to say you’ll never see any other VN anime as good as that one. So Togainu no Chi’s fate is already sealed the moment it became an anime. It only has a good thirty percent chance to really be good. The odds are already not in its favor.
Secondly, sweet flaming Pikachu, it’s a f*cking yaoi game. It’s yaoi, as in two dudes having sex is in it. One dude being forcefully entered by the other. Who in the flying f*ck decided to make an anime about gay sex? You can’t make an anime about gay sex and have it air on TV. Yaoi is turned into Shounen Ai the moment it gets an adaptation, and this also hindered the show’s chances to be good. The stories are built around the fact that our main character becomes sexually involved with the other characters. When you follow a route – a story focusing on just one character- it leads to sex. The relationship gets steamy and exploitative. Yaoi is not a tame genre. Its core idea stems from the fact that forbidden love between two guys is taken to the extreme. How extreme?
What? What do you mean GISS? You don’t want me to show screenshots of the game in this review? Why not? I’m trying to prove a point here. But sure, I understand. It’s unfair to my readers if I just suddenly drop a NSFW picture here. Let’s just skip the-
Ha! WordPress has another good reason not to grant me ads in my own site. Here’s more:
And this one is to further explore just how big of a “NO” the anime adaptation is destined to be:
Good gawd, help us all. So again, some sick bastard thought that an anime adaptation of this yaoi VN is a good idea. Seriously, write his name down a Death Note. The 30% chance this anime had of turning good is now slashed into half when the main appeal of the game is taken out. This anime didn’t tame the yaoi and push it back down to Shounen Ai. This anime gutted it out completely. So this VN anime is missing the best part of the game. What? It’ll focus on the story? Which one? There’s five characters our main character can f*ck. Who will they feature, and isn’t that unfair for the other routes? Oh, what’s that? It tried to cram all five stories in? Wow. That’s a good idea.
Now, to be fair, there is something else the show can work with. Togainu no Chi is both sinful in every aspect of the word, and it’s also very gory. The story is about a guy named Akira who enters a deadly game so he can clear his name. Being wrongfully charged of murder, he goes into a deadly town named Toshima and enters the game called Igura. The game is about collecting dog tags from other player, and if you can make a Royal Flush then you can challenge the boss named Il Re. If you can defeat Il Re, then you become champion and you take the role of leader of the drug syndicate running Toshima. Of course, earning tags means killing people and, in this post-apocalyptic place where chaos rules the land, there are many people ready to kill you. In fact, in the first episode alone, you are treated to a massacre by one of Akira’s supposed f*ck buddies. The first episode certainly has potential, since the premise is pretty straightforward. All Akira has to do is kill some people, try not to get killed, and then win enough tags to battle the final boss. The potential is something the anime tries to bank on as well, since it can’t feature the other good thing about the game. The anime now follows Akira just moving about in Toshima trying to achieve his goal. Along the way, a lot of people are killed and he also meets the other “routes” he has to conquer. Devoid of any “bonding”, the story is badly one dimensional so you’re really just watching this because you want to see more of the graphic violence. Side note, this is a good idea for a VN though. A yaoi visual novel that celebrates graphic violence, that manly 80s stereotypes love to glorify, and pair it with the steamy sexual nature of gay sex is a really good idea. I haven’t played the game, but I am in love with the concept. I also feel bad for the anime, because there is absolutely no chance to make itself good. 15% is all it’s given, and you can tell it tries to make the best of what it has.
The first half is basically just introduction for the characters. Nothing major really happens. The anime just tries to setup all the possible characters in the game. He meets the five characters he can have sex with, and they don’t really do anything. Since they can’t have sex, they feature this instead:
They’re sunset viewing, and it feels a bit off. The graphic violence is somehow a bit nulled by the directionless story of this anime. Sure, people die but there’s often no point to it. Akira doesn’t really try to collect dog tags. He just goes around meeting people, hiding, get threatened by other players and talking to the regular characters. It’s not exciting. If you watched this anime not knowing its yaoi, then a lot of scenes won’t make sense. A lot of character motivations won’t make sense and you’ll just feel impatient about the story. The biggest problem is that Akira is never really in any danger. While a lot of the much better players gets to cross path with him, he doesn’t really get killed. In the first episode, he is spared by the hot guy in leather pants and you don’t really understand why. In the second episode, this shota character spares him once again after we see shota stab a random guy in the street. He somehow just wants to befriend Akira, and it’s a bit laughable considering they’re in a game where you win by making a hole in your enemy’s body. The anime tries it damnest to introduce all the possible routes in the game though, and the important plot points that makes the game great. In the first half, the show really tried to establish the game’s status quo. It tried to push the yaoi away, and make a manly story out of what’s left. I kinda see the effort put behind it, but you can also tell the show is missing something. I only learned what that something is when I saw those youtube videos of the game. Still though, the characters do grow on you. The overall plot about the man in charge of the game, those drugs that are spreading in the city and the executioners hunting down people that break the rule of the game also has a unique charm to it. It is part of what makes the game great, and I do appreciate the fact that the anime is able to capture that solid storytelling without the yaoi factor. You have a good sense of what the roles of the characters are, and you have an idea how great they could’ve been in the game. For a VN anime with a 15% chance of being good, it’s really doing great in achieving that. I don’t mind the plot holes, because I am still finding enjoyment here and there. The show’s 15% margin is clearly unattainable though, because of the clusterf*ck that is the second half.
There is really no story, but the anime crammed a lot of routes in the second half. Things just really happen. Akira is bland for the entire first half, but then he just goes out of character to get someone mad at him. We suddenly realize two of the routes are brothers, random flashbacks happen and a lot of things transpire in just one episode. There’s also a gradual sense of the show collapsing as you progress through the end. The story about Keisuke is still doable, with the anime focusing on him trying to make Akira proud, and then Akira abandons him to go talk with Rin. The shota’s backstory is explored, and he suddenly fought Il Re for no reason. This encounter is beneficial for the drug syndicate though, because they realized Akira is part of a secret project tied to the drugs circulating in town. This leads to a battle between two routes, and they have actually fought before as explained by the flashback introduced minutes before they fight. The main premise of collecting tags and fighting Il Re gets thrown in the crapper, and the story jumps into a civil war instigated by nothing. It somehow jumps to a story about humans as weapons, and a guy taking someone’s blood so he can be powerful. The story then just erratically jumps into something else, and a forced ending is achieved. It’s like the show really tried to cram as many potential plot points it can, and the end result is a total clusterf*ck. The scenes don’t make any sense, characters suddenly have ill-advised motivations and forced melodrama comes out of nowhere. I understand though. The VN is a slow burn. It has time to setup a lot of things, and focusing on one character in one route is a good way to do it. The anime doesn’t have the same luxury as the game. It just needed to really do as much as it possibly can, and it ultimately ruined the show. The second half outright killed the 15% chance of the show being good. Nothing made sense in the end, and there is no pay off for sticking with the anime. It could’ve at least chosen one ending, and give us gay sex in the last episode. Instead, it just limped its way to an ending. It’s not even an ending by any stretch of the imagination. It felt more like a cut scene, and you had to pop disc 2 to continue the story, except your classmate stole the second disc and you can no longer watch the true ending. The first half is honestly decent, and you can tell potential is there, but the second half just kills everything. I’ll give points for actually letting some important characters die, but it was the ending that really ruined everything. The show’s last chance to leave a proper impression with viewers is horribly presented. You stuck through twelve episodes of awful stuff, and you get nothing for it. That’s just insulting.
Adding to the crap pile that makes the show bad is the main character: Akira. He is bland, and pretty worthless. For a champion prize fighter, he sure doesn’t know how to really fight. This could’ve been the one saving grace for this anime. It just needed a strong main character cool enough to fight the other hot dudes in the city. He doesn’t even need to win or lose. All he needs to do is act cool while he fights, and slowly implies the yaoi potential that the anime can never really outright tell. Instead, this guy just runs around doing nothing. He has a knife, but it’s just for show. He is overpowered pretty easily, and he mostly gets spared by the people that beat his ass. The sad thing is that Akira is really just a plot device. He can’t really be anything else, and the reason is because he doesn’t have a definite personality in the VN as well. This is actually one of the impressive things about the visual novel. There is variety in the routes. Akira acts as both seme and uke in the game. In certain routes, he’ll be the one forcing himself on a character. He’ll be the one teasing and shaming the other dude. He is the seme, and he is a sexy seme by the way. In other routes though, he is the uke or the submissive one. He is the one being teased and butt sexed. He needed to compliment the personality of the route that you, the player, are pursuing. So if one character is dominant, then he’ll be submissive. If one is a shota character, then he’ll lead the foreplay. Without the gay sex, Akira is just a bland character. I have read VN reviews, and he does have the same cold disinterested personality he started out with, but you can tell this changes the more he yaoi it up with other characters. Despite its depraved sex crazed appeal, yaoi is also founded on the fact that a strong bond is made between characters. One is comfortable enough to be violently teased by the other. You realize that the dominant one has turned on a switch the submissive one cannot turn off, and both of them enjoys it. After that sinful exercise, the characters are obviously needed to change in their attitude and interactions. Without the yaoi, how can you expect the characters to really turn out good? The fleshing out is done with literal fleshing out, and the anime can’t really go there. So Akira just stays bland, changes his mood to fit the story from time to time, but mostly just stays as the stupid hot character he starts out as.
Akira is laughably weak though. I don’t think he ever won a fight, and you should get used to seeing him being beaten up by other characters. Seriously, this should be in the title poster instead.
The other characters are decent. In the first half, they were nicely introduced to give you an idea how they act in the game. I really didn’t mind that, because I love the variety of the characters. There is the old guy that sells information to other players, there is a kid that wears shorts and has a stupid happy grin, and there is a bad ass psychopath in leather killing people with his katana. In terms of one dimensional characters stuck to one specific role, they really do their part well. They all function nicely in the status quo the first half has setup, and you can tell how wonderful characters they could’ve been. I’d like to talk about Keisuke here though, because he annoys me to death but I also love his character a lot. He follows Akira in Toshima city, and he joined the game for Akira’s sake. This guy is a typical damsel character, and I just love how big of a sore thumb he is. He is a timid character in a place where people kill each other, and he serves more as nuisance than anything else. It’s both annoying and impressive, because this character can really get a response from the audience. It’s a huge thing, considering how much the story sucks. This means that he just generates emotions by himself, and he’s also a one dimensional character so there’s little to work with here. Keisuke does his best though annoying the hell out of everyone that recognizes his existence. He also gets a very satisfying ending in the second half, and I’d like to call it the only payoff in the show. This guy is possibly one of the few great things about this anime, but great in the worst way possible.
If we are talking about great characters in another sense, then the supporting characters can give you a lot of that. The guy running the game, Arbitro, and his henchmen are possibly the only consistent thing in the anime. They have one distinct role, and they play it consistently throughout the show. Arbitro is the effeminate scum bag with a weird taste for a lot of things. I think he’s the only one that really resembles any aspect of yaoi in the anime, and it’s mainly because of this:
My jaw dropped when I saw this character. Sweet flaming Pikachu, what the hell is happening here? It’s a dog, and it’s a pretty disturbing one. Arbitro keeps this one as a pet, and it’s pretty f*cking fascinating. In a sense, this pet is the essence of what the anime gutted out when it adapted the game. This pet is both sexual and depraved, and that’s the main appeal of the game. It’s f*cked up and hardcore, but you just want more of it. Arbitro and his pet are also the only characters that actually acknowledge the yaoi of the game with a questionable scene between them. It’s this one, and it’s disturbing beyond belief:
This is a huge A-1 Picture clunker, and it’s comforting to know that they aren’t impervious to horrible sh*t. I mean, they do get bombs from time to time like Fractale and Galilei Donna, but you know there is potential there that still made the show doable. This one is just unsalvageable, and no one can do anything to save it. Not even A-1 Pictures, a promising startup studio, can shield themselves from this awful VN sh*t. The wonderful part is that they really tried. The second half tried to maintain consistency and the first half actually took the challenge of focusing on the graphic violence than the gay sex, but it ultimately failed. I love that. I love the idea that a powerhouse like A-1 Pictures can fall hard like that, and do it while putting up a fight as well. Ah, life is good. Naoyuki Konno, bless this guy, really tried to make something good out of this anime. Unfortunately, what kind of anime do you expect from someone prominently known for his character designs? The guy has no talent for directing, and it could’ve been the one good thing about this show. I’ll explain later on, but the graphic violence could’ve been more effectively told if Konno actually has a great vision for how to deliver that violence. He doesn’t, so the end result is just bland sh*t. There is effort here though, but I think it stems more from the series composition that the actual directing. Konno sucks that bad, and it’s a good sign that this is the last anime he ever directed.
Sight and Sound
Chinatsu Kurahana originally created the characters, but she isn’t tied to the game for some reason. It’s hard to look for her name, and only the really hardcore fans know she did this VN. She also did the character design for another popular game called Lamento, with the google image searches being insane for that game, and another anime called Samurai Flamenco. Kurahana certainly knows how to draw hot guys. Like seriously, I trust her with anything involving handsome characters in sexy outfits. She knows how to capture the “seme” and “uke” appeal that makes the VN great. She focuses on a good body build, and then just finds way to really make the characters sexy as hell. Her designs aren’t really that stand out, but she puts effort on things that really count. I’m talking about the naked bodies, and the muscle details on them Good gawd, a fujoshi would foam in the mouth knowing how steamy the designs can get. This, of course, is not in the anime. They respectfully captured the handsome faces, but it doesn’t really do anything for the anime. The graphic violence kinda distracts to the bishie potential of the characters, since you’re more focused on seeing Shiki cut people up that actually admire his sexy leather outfit that is nicely wrapped tightly around his beautiful body. What kind of sick f*ck would admire the character’s body when he’s killing people? I guess that’s the one thing really missing from this anime that could’ve rightfully saved it: fan service. This show needed scenes of the characters shirtless, and their bodies should be pressed against each other while they fight. It’d make the fight scenes laughable, but fan service is a good enough reason to make your characters fight shirtless. Chinatsu really makes sure her stills are amazing in the VN. The facial design is absolutely dreamy, and there are enough details in the eyes that’ll easily swoon you. She understands what makes a handsome character great, and she really goes the extra mile for this VN. Akira is one piece of hot toast, and his outfit makes him a lot sexier. The design is so good that even the tag hanging on his neck adds to his sexy appeal. You should see his strong face when he becomes the “uke” in certain arcs. The sex scenes are so hardcore that every expression he makes adds to the sinful experience, and Chinatsu understands how to deliver the scenes through her drawings. It’s a shame the anime can’t capitalize on that aspect as well.
The animation is pretty bad, and this could’ve been another saving grace for the show. If the animation is a lot smoother, then the experience could’ve been different. This is the only chance for the director to really give a crap, and he just didn’t care. The graphic violence is a bit unfulfilling, because it just really happens. It isn’t anything special, but it could’ve been. You could’ve given us interesting kills, and just glorify the violence. It’s a good chance to recapture the nonsensical violence of 80s anime, and the opportunity is there considering how dark the anime can get. The show needed guts, more detailed severed parts and some ingenious use of the camera angles to deliver more shock to certain scenes. In the first episode, Akira saw Shiki kill a bunch of people and I think the deaths could’ve been a lot more impressive. The delivery is a bit pathetic, and characters are like balloons with paint inside them. They don’t really die. They pop, and it’s a bit disappointing. Even the rampage kills lack some flair to them, and the graphic nature of the story should’ve been more amplified considering you already cut out the gay sex. It’s not just the action scenes though, even the normal scenes lack detail. Animation is just pretty pathetic. One major appeal of this show is that it has hot guys in it, and the show ruined that with its crappy animation. Chinatsu’s design is already top notch, so you just need to embellish it. Fan service. Fan service. I can’t believe I’m calling for fan service, but we need it here. Even simple scenes of characters talking, the animation is just awful. They look awkward, and you can just tell the director has no talent. The animation sucks so bad that even the facial reactions are horrible. There are characters crying, dying and feeling remorse but the animation couldn’t deliver on those scenes. This anime had some good chances to really be doable, like any decent VN anime, but you can tell it couldn’t even be 15% good.
Once again, we have a horrible anime with a great soundtrack. The anime’s OP is “Rose-Hip Bullet” by GRANRODEO. It’s probably one of the best things in the show, next to Arbitro’s pet. This song is just awesome. This song is just so energetic that it deserves to be in a Shounen anime instead. The lyrics are pretty powerful, including lines like “Someone shoot me now” which had me laughing considering my experience with the anime. The singer’s voice is pretty wonderful though, and a bit hypnotic. Granrodeo has a distinct style, and you can tell it shines here with the way the strong vocals matches the strong rhythm of the song. This is accompanied by a vague OP. It introduces the characters, and it has some flashy scenes but nothing really stands out. It’s as bland as the actual anime, and that’s too bad. The anime has a lot of ED. I think every episode has a different ending song, and I don’t really understand why. Maybe A-1 Pictures also realize they needed to make the OST good, since they just made a turd of an anime. The songs are all decent for me. I didn’t really listen to them, and there’s too many to talk about. The main reason I skip them is because the ED sequences are all the same. It’s just a dull scene of the episode flashing through a framed background. It’s not really good. “Under budget” is the first thing that comes to me whenever I see it.
3/10 “It’s more like 3% out of 100, because this anime is just undesirable.”
It’s a bad VN anime. It’s not my first, but this one stings a bit because potential is there. Potential is recognized, but the anime couldn’t properly deliver. The story is laughable, the characters are one dimensional, the action is sloppy, the ending is stupid, and the obvious lack of yaoi is disappointing. This is an anime full of wrong things, and it shouldn’t have been made. To be fair, it’s just a few notches above boring so you can still find some good things here and there. If you like hot guys in your anime then try the first episode and go from there. Wasting time on twelve episodes of a mangled adaptation isn’t recommended though. I 100% do not recommend this.