When watching the first season, it never occurred to me that there were more food connections to Dog Days than just the well known eclair and biscuit. Perhaps those with a background in European culture or knowledge of their foods would have been more receptive to the numerous sweets that populate the peoples of Flonyard; but, it wasn’t until the second season that I became curious enough to research some of the names’ origins and see how they might affect their owners’ personalities. Not surprisingly, the foods after which characters like Eclair and Brioche, as well as the titles of the nations, are named do take significant part in shaping the large variety of identities.
Republic of Biscotti
Biscotti: Hailing from Italy, these twice-baked biscuits are often served alongside hot beverages and dessert wines. Due to their dryness, they can keep for an exceptional amount of time.
Characteristics: I wasn’t too surprised that a nation of dogs would be named after a type of biscuit, but the connections go further than just the canine affinity for sweet and crusty treats. You often hear the derogatory term, “military dog”, in anime like Fullmetal Alchemist, but a less insulting relationship can be found in Biscotti’s approach towards warfare. Like Galette, the citizens of Biscotti seem greatly centered on patriotism and combative sport. Even when the odds are stacked against them, they dig their heels in and refuse to give up until utterly defeated. Their driving motivation, however, seems to stem from their steadfast adoration and loyalty for ruler Millhiore, who establishes her dominance through her soft voice and sweet demeanor instead of by an iron fist.
I’ve always had a soft spot for eclairs, particularly the frozen kind, due to their sweet cream filling. Although Dog Days’ Eclair is a tsundere, she’s not the extreme hard outside, soft inside that so many other anime promote. Like her name, her exterior isn’t so much tough as it is a light crispy exterior with a bit of squishy give. If you dropped something on top of an eclair, it most certainly would squirt out its fillings with hardly any resistance. However, when in battle, she puts on both physical and emotional armor; imagine trying to bite into an eclair that had been left out for days!
This dairy whey product is better known for the cheese from which it’s referred. I find ricotta “cheese” interesting not only for its unique flavor, but also because of its misinterpretation. Ricotta is actually safe for most people who have a casein intolerance because it is mostly comprised of other milk proteins left behind during the cheesing process that resulted in the leftover whey in the first place. The fun science behind ricotta’s fermentation process perfectly suits Rico’s character–a young lady who can’t help but pull apart and investigate different forms of technology.
Although she is mostly seen with the Biscotti troops, Brioche d’Arquien is an independent fighter with the freedom to come and go as her missions determine. Leader of Biscotti’s Knights Secret Squad, she not only trains future knights, but also investigates the emergence of demons throughout the land of Flonyard. She is widely accepted to be the strongest swordsmaster in the land. The rich brioche pastry includes significant amounts of butter and eggs, and is a wealthier alternative to plainer breads.
(others: panettone, conchiglie)
Galette Lion Army
Galette: This versatile flat and round bread can be considered for either sweet or savory meals. When made with wheat and paired with sweet fillings like jam or fresh fruits, it becomes more of a crepe. However, if made from buckwheat, more common stuffings include meat, fish, cheese, or eggs.
Characteristics: While dogs are known for their openness, obedience, and pack mentality, cats are often prized for their independence and aloofness. Their quick adaptation to situations relaxing or threatening is really quite admirable, as is the size comparison between the domestic house cat and their wild ancestors. I see Galette more as a nation of individual warriors than as a unified front–making them both unpredictable and more extreme in their strengths and weaknesses. Like the galette bread, Leonmitchelli’s feline warriors are flexible to almost any setting, and able to stand alone if required. Whereas Biscotti’s citizens seem to admire their princess primarily for her graciousness and angelic appearance, Galette subjects are more apt to follow their ruler out of respect for her battle prowess and strong leadership.
Although the French literally translates to the tart and sweet “raspberry”, “framboise” more often refers to an alcohol distilled with that same fruit. The resulting beverage is usually quite sweet, and popular versions are made among beers and brandies. I find it amusing that the character with this name is Galette’s representative commentator who takes a lot of pleasure in his job. As one of the main announcers, he has to take great care to not show any bias for either nation, yet still pump up the crowd for whatever outcome there may be.
Although he is more often called by his given name, Bernard, General Sabrage not only leads the Knights of Galette, but also commentates the battles when not on duty along with Framboise and Percy. As befits his name, sabrage is a technique for opening a bottle of champagne with a sword, most commonly a sabre. By sliding along the seam of the bottle, you can strike where it connects to the lip with the blunt edge of the sword and knock off the end along with its cork. For some fun visuals, check out this YT video.
Genoise is a type of sponge cake that is often layered with butter cream or mixed with flavored syrups or liqueurs to create various other types of cakes. But on its own, it tends to be both dry and supple in texture. Unlike other sponge cakes, the genoise is a whole-egg cake, opting to keep both the egg and yolk; this is where it gets most of its protein, though there are variations that also add in butter. I can definitely see how Gau’s Genoise trio live up to their name, as they are a fascinating blend of ditzy personalities and battle-ready warriors. When their minds are on the task, they can be a formidable enemy, but one little distraction is usually enough to topple them.
Principality of Pastillage
Pastillage: A type of modeling sugar, pastillage can be formed into a wide variety of shapes and intricate patterns. It must be handled while in its paste-like consistency; once it dries, it becomes extremely brittle and can only be shaped by cutting or shaving it down.
Characteristics: We have yet to really see how these squirrels will fare in battle against their more experienced “enemies,” but it’s already clear from the start that they are not a nation prone to hand-to-hand combat. Having chosen Becky as their hero, a girl with little physical capability, and equipped with air battalions and magic, they look to be more effective with ranged combat. Couvre even admits to both herself and to Becky that she is not as experienced as her friends on the battlefield; what she lacks in brawn, she most certainly will make up for in spirit!
I do have a hard time imagining Pastillage becoming too much of a threat without more training, but I am prepared for a beautiful display of magical engagements, particularly after Becky’s very magical girl transformation scene. Perhaps she will surprise me with an affinity for spell-casting and catapult Pastillage above both Biscotti and Galette.
As we’re still only two episodes into the second season, we have yet to see what sort of delightful food inspirations will present themselves among Pastillage’s peoples. Excepting the pastillage, which takes a more specialized hand, which pastry would you most like to see me attempt?