DOGS is set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic setting where it is always winter. Genetic manipulation exists in various forms, from creating attractive child prostitutes to making bizarre weapons. The organisation running the underground world seems to be the cause of a lot of violence and corruption... Including certain events in the main characters' pasts. The trouble is, those characters don't have the whole story. Either they're trying to find who exactly is behind something, or killed X person, or just what got Y involved in it all. Familial angst is prevalent, as are people who are a lot more involved than they first seem. But whatever their reasons or pasts, they're in it together.It started off with one volume, simply titled DOGS, which introduced the four main characters and gave a little backstory for some of them. DOGS: Hardcore Twins introduced Luki and Noki, two young girls who treat killing as a game. More recently, DOGS: Bullets & Carnage started the main plot aspect, revealing more about the characters, introducing new ones, and dishing it all out with heaps of action.There's also an OVA entitled DOGS: Stray Dogs Howling In The Dark, which is based on the original manga.
Badass Boast: Freuling boasts that no one who's ever seen her has lived to tell the tale, which is pretty much true. But it's only on a technicality. Ernest Rammsteiner - that is, Bishop, theblindpriest - fights her and lives.
Designer Babies: Heine, Lily, Giovanni and most others with a Cerberus spine.
Death Is Cheap: Somewhat. At least applies if said dead person was important to one of the main characters. Lily, Heine's "younger sister," is dead, but Einsturzen later shows up in chapter 69 and confronts Heine while using a body that is a Lily-look alike. Then as of chapter 75, Fuyumine, the man that saved Naoto, has been revealed to be alive and the man that Magato killed wasn't really him. And, of course, there's Badou and implications that his brother may not actually be dead at all.
Demoted to Extra: Despite Heine's spine being a very important plot point, the manifestation of the spine, "Evil Heine" or "Heine's second personality", doesn't seem to be very important at all. He's only appeared in illustration a handful of times during the comic's 7+ years ongoing run, and it's usually just to mock Heine or provoke him into letting him (Spine) take control.
Early-Bird Cameo: Badou shows up very briefly (and even gets a line) in Mihai's intro chapter. Luki and Noki show up a few pages later (though they look Off Model compared to later). Haine is first mentioned briefly in Badou's intro chapter.
In the equivalent OVA episode of Badou's intro chapter, you get an actual visual shot of a shirtless Haine.
Fan Disservice: Pretty girl straddling handsome boy, for whatever reason? Hot. Pretty girl straddling handsome boy, possibly about to kill him? Hot, depending on boy's reaction.Pretty girl straddling handsome boy while being forced to stab boy by his MOTHER who's a) forcing her through possession and b) currently inhabiting his dead little sister's remains? Nasty, verging on Surreal Horror.
Hive Mind: Angelika Einsturzen seems to be a group of four similar looking blonde women. She cloned herself many times and used each of her consciousnesses to speed up her research. They may not be exactly a hivemind, but they definitely work together and are the same person.
Only Mostly Dead: Heine gets shot out of a window at one point, seems dead, then jerks back upright a moment later.
Orphanage of Fear: The kindergarten where all the people with Cerberus spines start out.
OVA: DOGS: Stray dogs howling in the dark animates the four short stories from the prequel manga. See the description above.
Parental Abandonment: Naoto's parents were murdered, Badou's parents are never mentioned, and if Haine (or anyone else with a Cerberus spine) has real parents, they're never brought up.
Heine and the other experiments DON'T have parents.
In chapter 69, Einstellsehn makes a comment to Heine that both he, Lily, and Giovanni (and all the other kids in the Cerberus experiment) were "grown from her genes." This would make her their biological parent.
Running Gag: After Carsellino had half his face bitten off by Heine within the first few chapters of the story, it's been a bit of a running gag that his luck is just the worst, as he's continually caught up in the main characters' antics, and he frequently plots and attempts (and fails) to get revenge on Heine.
Scars Are Forever: Badou has scars on both his right hand and right eye (underneath the eyepatch). These are implied to have something to do with his older brother, but little more than a very brief, bloody flashback has been shown so far to explain the wounds.
Ship Tease: Quite a bit between Heine and Naoto as the series progresses. These twolinks are some of the high points (spoiler warning).
And then there's THIS, though the context of the story casts it in more of a Black Widow light. Then there's the fact that the woman in the picture is possessed by his mother who currently inhabiting the remains of his SISTER.
You Killed My Father: Naoto, but with both her parents. Doubly subverted, as the man she originally believed to be her parents' killer got killed by Magato before she could do it, and then it turned out that man wasn't the one who did it after all. She's now looking for their true killer.
Subverted again when we learn they were not her parents