The eight canine warriors, protectors of the Gale Shrine and loyal servants of Princess Fuse, and the eight orbs they hold define the traits expected of such noble dogs. They may not be gods like Amaterasu, Okami's protagonist, but they're still pretty special. Not only have they taught me about Japanese breeds of dogs (Kai Ken and Shiba Inu, anyone?) the only thing that makes their loyalty falter is food. Many dog owners will identify with this.
I am the owner of two Cocker Spaniels. Lottie, a seven year-old quiet and more aloof dog, and Lizzie, one year-old who likes to eat/chew everything and enjoys jumping on people. I got wondering if my own dogs could be the 9th and 10th canine warriors, and I decided to test them to see if they had the eight characteristics found in these protectors. They might even earn themselves a snazzy neckerchief.
(That's Lottie on the left, Lizzie on the right.)
Lottie is a fine-looking beast. Just look at her, there’s no question she is an honourable canine. Lizzie however, is a different matter. Not only does she regularly fall over and walk into things, but check this list of things we’ve had to pull from her mouth:
- a used sanitary towel
- a decomposing pigeon
- men’s underwear
She also has a habit of pooing on people’s drives, which is pretty funny, but not very honourable.
As I am writing this near Christmas, I decided to test them on the Christian faith. I offered them a picture of Jesus, and some chicken. Both went for the chicken. They are heathen devil dogs.
Knowledge and wisdom
Thought I’d save some time and slam these two together. I took them to a pub quiz and I can confirm that they were minimal help. Lizzie had a good knowledge of 1980's Christmas number ones and Lottie was pretty strong on Wimbledon winners 1953-1972, but they were both a major let-down on general knowledge. Lottie thought the capital of Australia was Brisbane. Poor.
They're two lady dogs so it's more sisterhood, and if I'm totally honest there isn't much sisterly love going on. Lottie occasionally tolerates Lizzie but looks sad and a bit tense whenever she sits next to her. Lizzie adores Lottie but has a tendency to bite her ears. Though maybe battling demons together is just the kind of sisterly bonding activity they need.
As canine warriors they would have to spend a lot of time dutifully guarding the Gale Shrine, so I decided to test this by placing a wooden Japanese doll (meant to represent princess Fuse) on the sofa and telling the dogs in my sternest, most serious voice that it is their duty to guard the princess no matter what. Lizzie reacted by rolling on her back for a tummy tickle, falling off the sofa, then squirming on the floor for a while before leaving the room looking embarrassed. Lottie fell asleep next to the doll but technically didn't leave its side. Mixed results.
For justice, I decided to ask the dogs to read Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" and write an essay about what it says about the judicial system of America in the mid-20th century. Lizzie decided to eat the paper I provided and tried to chew the pen before I wrestled it out of her mouth. Lottie wrote a decent essay but didn't account for the role of religion in the movement against capital punishment. Failure on both accounts.
I thought this one would be easy, as everyone knows that dogs are the most loyal of all animals. It is common knowledge that the hoover is the natural enemy of all dogs, so I lay on the floor and pretended to be attacked by it. The result was that Lottie saw through my incredibly convincing acting and walked away, so I made a note to give her some points in the wisdom category. Lizzie jumped about a bit around me and got very over excited, but when the hoover became sentient and actually attacked me she was pretty useless.
So, mixed results. However, I am biased because despite them being idiots they’re still my gorgeous noble beasts, even when eating cow poo.
The canine warriors in Okami aren’t perfect; Princess Fuse has to tell them off when they don’t return straight away, and they ask you for food instead of thanking you for finding them. But that’s why I love them, and that’s why we love dogs! They’re messy, smelly and occasionally very stupid, but they will always be my gallant canine warriors.
100% authentic canine warriors.
does things about games on the telly for Sky and Ginx. She was very ill when she wrote this.