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Title: DOGS - Bullets and Carnage
Genres: Seinen, Drama, Dystopia, Science-fiction, Futuristic, Action, Gore
Author: Shirow Miwa
Artist: Shirow Miwa
Publication: Ultra Jump
Start Date: Original run 2001, sequel in 2005
End Date: Ongoing
Number of chapters at review: 27
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 26
General Overview: The story of "DOGS - Bullets and Carnage" is based on a miniseries called "DOGS - Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark" which sets the setting of DOGS and introduces the reader to the plot. The story follows four characters in each one's short story, mostly independent from the others and shows the beginning intertwined relationships the four characters share.
DOGS - Bullets and Carnage is set in a futuristic dystopian world, sometimes resembling European cities like Prague or Vienna.
The plot follows Haine Rammsteiner, an albino gunman which is genetically manipulated causing him to have rapid regenerative powers, who is trying to find a way "below" to conclude with his past and self-understanding.
On his search Haine is accompanied by Badou Nails, a redhead freelancer and Haine's partner with a chain smoking habit. Later, Naoto Fuyumine, a teenage girl with amnesia and a x-shaped scar on her chest, trying to find the murderer of her parents which is linked to gaining her memories back, joins them to get "below".
There's also Mihai, a friend of Badou Nails and retired hitman, living with at the restaurant of a former prostitute called Kiri. Haine refers to him as "sensei", though it's unsure if Mihai actually is his teacher. Also often used for comical sequences Mihai ends up getting into fights unwillingly.
Their quest below into the underground is full of violent and bloody fights while Haine & Co. fight their ways to the past.
Art: 9.8 / 10
Shirow Miwa definitely deserves credit for his artistic talent.
Each character is designed different and pretty much realistic though Miwa tends to stretch his characters a little. The artwork is very unique for manga because it's a film noir style, basically just using black and white contrasts to tell the story. However it's very fitting for the dystopian and violent story DOGS is set in and is benevolent to the overall effect.
The panels are often very clean cut, contain almost always no halftones and have simple or no backgrounds, making it very easy to understand the fighting scenes.
Although Shirow Miwa also intersperes panels constructed with a very good architecural insight and aesthetic sense showing the city or other objects like trains.
Plot: 8 / 10
The story is told in rather unique multiple first-person narrator style which later on becomes more focused on Haine's, Badou's and Naoto's experiences together.
Shirow Miwa also makes use of flashbacks and flashforwards, cutting up the time dimension of the story and forcing the reader to focus more on the character's view and experiences which seems very organic to the reader.
Benevolent to the reader's impression is the comical way some character's traits are designed, e.g. Mihai extremely bad sense of direction (much like Zoro of One Piece) or the appearances of the "Hentai Priest", a blind bishop with a lolita fetish. This comical way is also sometimes used in actually serious situations.
The story develops very fluent and is easy to grasp. However, this easy-to-understand storytelling is sometimes very shallow and lacks depth more focusing on the gore scenes and fights of Haine, Badou, Naoto or Mihai.
Focusing on Haine's past which intertwine's with everyone else, the story keeps getting thrilling and intense.
Also, one must distinguish between "DOGS - Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark" and the "Bullets and Carnage"-series since the original miniseries outdoes it's sequel due to better plot construction and content, mainly more character development and depth by now.
Please, also keep in mind that DOGS is a pretty new story, consisting of less than 30 chapters so that development might come later throughout the series.
Characters: 7 / 10
The characters are designed very well and have a side story for themselves, making the reader able to overlook the otherwise too mysterious plot. There are also many supporting characters, e.g. the "Hentai Priest" or Giovanni, Haine's "brother" and many villians.
Most character appearances make sense and help bringing the story further, although there are also a lot of "footsoldiers", mainly shown at the beginning of DOGS.
The story also focuses to much on the "badass style" character wit his "lone wolf" traits.
Theme: 3.5 / 10
The themes shown in DOGS are sometimes cliche ones, like lonesome wolves as characters, revenge, grotesque cruelty, past and it's effect on people or dystopian world order.
DOGS is heavily based on the "survival of the strongest" - principle and depicts nearly every character as a "lone wolf"-type.
Originality: 5.5 /10
DOGS is not a unique seinen story.
The way the story is told and the film noir artwork though are pretty unique to manga and would deserve to look at it at least.
However, the story is quite entertaining due to it's comical appearances and great fighting scenes.
Overall: 8 / 10
I gave the series more points than it would deserve in my opinion due to the very entertaining and tense miniseries "Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark" and it's unique and highly awesome artwork and former narration style. Shirow Miwa also made two one-shots and spread a little bit of fanservice in his artwork
The best way to sum up DOGS would be to compare it with the most early chapters of Berserk. There is not much philosophical or provoking topics but it's really entertaining due to it's artwork and fighting scenes. Some people probably won't like the amount of gore in some fights though.
An advice of mine would be to read at least 5 chapters at once because otherwise the story seems too short for many people due to many many short chapters (Most chapters are 15 - 17 long) and a very lot of cliff hangers.
Further info, mainly on characters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOGS
For pictures on what the Manga looks like:
Edited for spoilers. ~ Luckas
Last edited by Luckas; April 14, 2008 at 02:23 PM.
wwoooow super review!! I don't like the theme and originality part, but I have to say it is kind of true -_- b ut still the manga is really nice and the graphics really specials and nice! He is a master at his own art, I really wonder how it can go even deeper, how it will turn out in the future!
This serie got something really appealing, among this total chaos, there is something really appealing, the style of the whole manga seems so "powerful"!! -_-'
I can remember that the owner of that restaurant, Kiri, said my husband to Mihai, I will check it again, maybe I remembered wrong. I think it was in DOGS - Howling in the Dark, maybe it changed in Bullets & Carnage?