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First Glance: A Woman & Her Guard Canine

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Alternative title(s): Ojou to Banken-kun
Manga Adaptation by Project No.9
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Isaku Senagaki lost both of her parents in a vehicle accident when she was 5 years old, leaving her an orphan. Isaku was raised by her yakuza boss grandfather and has spent almost her whole life under the care of Keiya Utou, the family’s devoted servant and constant protector. Isaku is ready to finally make friends and maybe even find love as a high school student who longs for a regular life away from the yakuza antics she is used to at home. The 26-year-old Keiya bribes his way into the school to act as a student and continue to defend Isaku from any perceived threat, and she is horrified when he does so with the consent of her grandfather.

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Artemis’ verdict: NOPE.

Like many other long-time anime viewers, I prefer strong animation and bold artwork, but these qualities are rarely the deciding factors in how much I enjoy a new show. I’m much more likely to pay attention to the plot and character development than the quality of the production. A Girl & Her Guard Dog, on the other hand, is an awful anime, and I have to say it out loud. Even though I am aware that beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder, that art is subjective, etc., this has got to be one of the ugliest performances I’ve seen in a while. Isaku herself is depicted with rather strange facial proportions, from her weirdly shaped face to her exaggeratedly pouty mouth and crimson cheeks, making it appear as though she is dead or possessed. All the characters other than the main female are also drawn without pupils, giving the impression that they are possessed or dead. The latter, in my opinion, is intended to suggest a frail or doll-like innocence, but it really appears that she is continually pacing around with a fever. In addition to the extremely limited animation and general lack of movement, the thicker character outlines and, in particular, Keiya’s darkening upper lip, are equally disturbing. As a result, almost nothing about this series appeals to me visually.

I would be relieved if it were A Girl & Her Guard Dog’s biggest sin. Sadly, the plot and the characters just become worse. Keiya, a yakuza henchman who paid his way into the school to pretend to be a student in the same class, is 26 years old. This awkward age difference isn’t the only issue. The truth is that Keiya is a huge creep. I get that Isaku is the one who initially develops a crush on him, that everything should be one-sided at this stage, etc., but we all know how this story ends. Keiya is raising more red lights than usual even if that weren’t the case and Isaku’s love was destined to stay unfulfilled. He declares himself out to defend Isaku from other young guys, calling them all “wolves” who can only “think with their other head.” However, he subsequently enters her bedroom against her orders for him to leave and cuddles up next to her on the bed as she is hiding under the covers. Even while it’s not the only awkward scene in episode 1, it stands out as one of the most memorable and left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Do not forget that this is a romantic comedy. I apologize, but I’m not amused.

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Jel’s verdict: NOPE.

When the main lady is still a kid in the first scene and the main guy enters looking like a grown-up man, I mentally checked out of this. It got worse for the rest of the episode. It pains me to say it, but it is impossible to be both a romantic comedy and a dad anime at the same time. AVOID ATTEMPTING THIS. Try Hinamatsuri if you want a dad anime with a yakuza vibe; I’ll never stop recommending it. Watch this romantic comedy with a yakuza theme if you want to. Nisekoi? Don’t watch it, despite the fact that I would choose that over this. And watch Yakuza anime if that’s all you want  Akiba Maid War.

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