Well, shoujo fans, we’re here again. Or at least I am, and the 10-year age-gap romance between a Yakuza princess and her guardian continues in A Girl And Her Guard Dog Episode 5, titled “Strife and Settlement.” Last episode, Isaku witnessed Keiya Uto fight off an attacker and get stabbed in the process. In this episode, Isaku gets abducted.
The bulk of Episode 5 grapples with the reality that Isaku is still a Yakuza Princess and a valuable asset to be kidnapped and Keiya is genuinely a bodyguard set to keep her safe. With action stuffed in and more focus on Isaku reckoning with the weird reality of her mobster life, the episode is mostly fine until the last seven to ten minutes.
A Girl And Her Guard Dog Episode 5 has a car chase, and it is one of the worst animated things I have seen in a long time. The cars lack all proportion, especially when Keiya begins his action sequence by getting out of the car and attacking. From odd face proportions and arrangements for every character, action is definitely something that this series does not need. While the hair has some movement in small places, it’s only doing so at specific moments. Otherwise, everything remains static. In fact, for a fast-moving action sequence, everything is shockingly extremely still. But hey, at least they changed the part in the manga where Isaku is once again threatened with sexual assault by someone who has her against her will. So that’s good, I guess?
Again, the proportions of the characters in the series remain odd and seem to be getting odder as new angles are introduced. Additionally, there are fairly long stretches where dialogue happens, and the scene is entirely still. The reason this is disappointing is because of how wonderfully animated the ending theme is. While anime series often feature different animation styles in their opening and closing themes, when the animation is so fantastic for the three-minute song and completely awful for the rest of the series, I’m just confused.
The other “good” about the episode is that Isaku isn’t entirely helpless. When Keiya rescues her, it’s because she fights back with success, reading the situation well. That agency is something that we keep seeing in small glimpses as she questions what she wants or makes decisions that go against her. The series also goes through a lot to tell the audience that in this relationship, Isaku has a choice and that she is active in protecting herself from bad people, which surely translates to being able to start a romance with a man who raised her and is ten years older. Surely?
Look, I’m trying to ignore the age gap as much as possible, and in A Girl And Her Guard Dog Episode 5, it manages to go almost the entire episode without mentioning it. In doing so, the romance becomes at least a little endearing. This is primarily because, for the bulk of the episode, there really is no romance. Isaku is learning self-defense because of the nature of their lives. She makes Keiya study and do his school work (yes, she makes this whole 26-year-old man do his Summer homework) by tutoring him, and they almost seem normal..and then the last seven minutes happens…
How does the episode end, you may ask? Well, Keiya’s reward for studying isn’t a kiss. It’s seeing Isaku in her bathing suit, alone in her room, and then making her sit on his lap in a pool with him. It’s supposed to be a sweet recreation of the beach day that she missed by being kidnapped, but instead, it plays out awkwardly. While on paper, what happens is creepy, the added monologue where Isaku tells the audience that she chose her swimsuit for Keiya is what makes it all the worse.
A Girl and Her Guard Dog Episode 5 is funny when it wants to be, endearing when it wants to be, and then it crosses a line, and it’s a facepalm. When you’re romantically sitting in an inner tube, you don’t want to hear, “I’m just thinking about how you’ve grown.” At the end of it all, A Girl and Her Guard Dog Episode 5 is creepy again. But it at least has a palatable, ill-proportioned first half to watch.
A Girl and Her Guard Dog Episode 5 — "Strife and Settlement"
A Girl and Her Guard Dog Episode 5 is funny when it wants to be, endearing when it wants to be, and then it crosses a line, and it’s a facepalm