First volume cover of the original Japanese release in 2006
|Genre||Action, Biopunk, Drama, Thriller|
|Dogs: Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark|
|Written by||Shirow Miwa|
|Dogs: Bullets & Carnage|
|Written by||Shirow Miwa|
|Original run||2005 – present|
|Original video animation|
|Dogs: Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark|
|Directed by||Tatsuya Abe|
|Produced by||Goro Taniguchi|
|Written by||Kiyoko Yoshimura|
|Released||May 19, 2009 – May 29, 2009|
Dogs (Japanese: 狗-DOGS- Hepburn: Ku -Dogs-) is a Japanese manga series by Shirow Miwa. The first manga of the series was published in 2001 as Dogs: Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark (Dogs: Prelude in the English version published by Viz Media). In 2005, a manga sequel began serialization in the manga magazine Ultra Jump as Dogs: Bullets & Carnage, continuing the storyline. The Dogs: Prelude manga volume has been adapted into a two-volume original video animation series (OVA) by David Production in 2009.
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Dogs is set in a dystopic European city where violence, crime, genetic manipulation and other scientific brutalities have become common. The story focuses on four antihero protagonists who, through a series of coincidences, meet as they search for a way down to "the Below", looking for answers to their individual pasts.
The series originally began with Dogs: Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark (グッドドッグ・ステイ Guddo Doggu: Sutei, lit. "Good Dog: Stay"): a one-shot manga that serves as prequel to the main series, Dogs: Bullets & Carnage (ドッグス: バレッツ&カーネイジ Doggusu: Barettsu Ando Kāneiji). The Stray Dogs manga introduces the four main characters and the majority of the support characters, in four chapters that are largely independent of each other. The storyline presented in Dogs: Bullets & Carnage continues the adventures of the four main characters. Publication of the series took a short hiatus and resumed in the March 2010 issue of Ultra Jump.
A one-shot called Dogs: Hardcore Twins introduces the characters Luki and Noki, a pair of twin sisters sent out to capture a former local gang-boss. Another one-shot called M.M.M. Works Annex Featuring Badō Nails details a brief glimpse into Badou's past.
The original Dogs: Stray Dogs Howling into the Dark volume was adapted into a drama CD released in 2007. A second drama CD was released on October 23, 2010, adapting the first volume of Dogs: Bullets & Carnage.
On November 19, 2008, an OVA adaptation of Dogs: Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark was announced in Ultra Jump. The two-volume OVA series was produced by David Production and featured the same voice cast as the drama CD. The first DVD volume, released on May 19, 2009 with the fourth volume of Dogs: Bullets & Carnage, featured adaptations of the first two chapters, "Weepy Old Killer" and "Gun Smoker". The second DVD volume, featuring "Blade Maiden" and "Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark", was initially released on May 29, 2009, for a limited time and later released on July 17, 2009 along with a limited edition reissue of the first Dogs manga which included new story material.
Carlo Santos of Anime News Network stated that Shirow Miwa raised "gunplay to the level of art" and that the loosely connected characters "provide the backdrop for mouth-watering eye candy". He also states that the "bent-perspective and striking layouts" will dazzle the reader "with split-second bullet-time acrobats". The most striking aspect is how the sparse backgrounds and lack of special effects make each scene more effective because the critical moments have a "frozen in time" quality more effective than a comic book's attempt to capture motion in a still frame. Santos also credits Miwa's ability to "craft a manga storyline about an old man who's the very opposite of a spunky teenage protagonist". However, Santos believes it is another "pompous, preening '_____ with guns' series" and that it is hard to find any substance of artistry when the Miwa is "cycling through all the usual tough-guy tropes". The characters fall into clichés and the entire series is "cliché city". He believes that the stories are too loosely connected. Even though the characters encounter each other eventually, it is "not the same thing as actually kicking off a storyline together".
Leroy Douresseaux of Comic Book Bin stated the volume is "a stylishly violent crime thriller in the vein of Asian film-influenced movies like Pulp Fiction and The Matrix" and that Miwa's art reflects the elegance such a manga needs. He thought that the characters dress well and that most of characters "sport top of the line hair styles". The series is not empty either. Douresseaux called the series "visually sharp" and said that it bears some weight behind each swing. He believes that Garth Ennis fans and fans of violent anime will like the series.
Manga Recon's Ken Haley stated that although all four stories in the volume were enjoyable and entertaining, the fourth story involving Heine "feels cut off and adrift from the other three" because it incorporated science fiction elements the other three did not hint at. He felt that Miwa's artwork is engaging and the characters designs are interesting and "contemporary with a vague hint of industrial/goth at times". Miwa's use of heavy blacks and stark whites reminded Haley of Shou Tajima, illustrator of Multiple Personality Detective Psycho, although there is no further similarity. He says that Miwa's style is dynamic and the action sequences are "fast-paced and kinetic" because of liberal use of extreme depth cues, an artistic technique which exaggerates the sense of distance. However, the technique does seem a bit overused as it is used in every action sequence, causing it to lose impact. Haley does entertain the idea Miwa used the technique in a satirical manner and, if so, "it worked". He praises the lack of backgrounds as they give the stories a "universal feeling" and allows them to be set in any modern-day city. However, the lack of backgrounds means that important setting information needs to be expressed through dialogue. Despite this, Haley is curious to see what will happen next and how the plots will connect to one another.
- "Shaman King/Ultimo's Takei to Restart Jumbor Manga". Anime News Network. January 19, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
- "Viz Media Picks Up Miwa's Dogs, Mase's Ikigami Manga". Anime News Network. July 25, 2008. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
- "Viz Media Previews New Manga Series for 2009". August 5, 2008. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
- "DOGS ドラマCD" (in Japanese). Booknavi. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
- "DOGS ドラマCD 2" (in Japanese). Booknavi. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- "Miwa's Dogs Action Manga to Be Animated (Updated)". AnimeNewsNetwork. Retrieved November 19, 2008.
- "Dogs Anime DVD Project to Be 2 Volumes Long (Updated)". Anime News Network. December 10, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- Santos, Carlo (2009-04-28). "MmmBobobop - RIGHT TURN ONLY!!". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- Douresseaux, Leroy (2009-04-13). "Dogs: Prelude Volume 0". Comic Book Bin. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- Haley, Ken (2009-04-17). "Dogs: Prelude Volume 0". Manga Recon. PopCultureShock. Archived from the original on July 3, 2010. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
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