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Manga / Dog Soldier

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Dog Soldier is a Seinen manga, from 1987-1992, by Tetsuya Saruwatari, who would later illustrate Riki-Oh and after that create High School Exciting Story: Tough. The main character is John Kyosuke Hiba, a former Green Beret living in poverty who, after become disillusioned with his Sociopathic Soldier commanding officer in The Vietnam War and quit the army, is hired/blackmailed by the Japanese government to do dangerous jobs. There were 12 volumes, with the first 6 having been scanlated. There is also an extremely obscure 1989 OVA titled Dog Soldier: Shadows of the Past. This manga is basically the American action movies of the The '80s in manga form. And yes, that is exactly as cool as it sounds.

Dog Soldier contains the following tropes:

  • African Terrorists: Zardoz, founder and leader of the New Revolutionary Army.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Hiba does this once to stop a knife.
  • The Big Guy: Fudo Masami, the 2nd half of the protagonists. He's much bigger than John is and is also said to be able to dual wield Rocket Launchers, as well as being a master of Karate. He also actually averts the Dumb Muscle trope by being the (unfortunately never listened to) voice of reason in the duo of him and Hiba.
  • Bittersweet Ending: A lot of the Hiba's adventures end this way. The enemies that he was fight against are defeated, but it comes at a cost of innocent people dying or it turns out that the enemy wasn't as evil as it seemed.
  • Butt-Monkey: Fudo Masami. Nine out of ten times, if something misfortunate or humiliating happens, it's going to happen to him, although that doesn't exactly mean Hiba's exempt from being an object of ridicule or finding himself in a embarassing situation. He even suffers the misfortune of getting his eyebrows burnt off by Hiba and then getting an embarassing bald spot when he dodges a boomerang thrown by Geronimo of the Red Snake unit, both of which last forever.
  • The Bus Came Back: After Devil's Island arc and the death of his brother, Zhang disappears for some time. He comes back to attend Hiba's (fake) funeral and even helps both him and Fudo to save the president from The Order of Rosicrucian.
  • Captain Ersatz: John Kyosuke Hiba is one of Rambo.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: It goes from the comedic antics of Hiba and Fudo as they struggle to get by, to the gritty, action packed missions which ocassionally have a gag or two, to the tragic or climatic confrontations with the main antagonist of Hiba and Fudo's mission of the week.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Hiba himself. He behaves absolutely innapropriately to the point where he borders on being Chaotic Stupid, and tends to make bizarre and goofy facial expressions, such as asking a pop idol he just rescued from being raped if he can give her oral sex while making a Donkey Kong-esque face while licking his lips. He gets a slap to the face for his troubles.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
  • Groin Attack: Hiba cuts the member off of an attempted rapist.
  • Hidden Badass: 7-year-old Morita Asao: Hires Hiba and Fudo to save his father, parachutes out of the plane, then, after his father is killed in front of him, sneaks a grenade into the prison, and walks THROUGH fire to stop Gaddafi's ICBM.
  • Idiot Hero: Hiba. Just LOOK at his antics whenever he isn't being forced into doing special missions. An example of this is him doing dog-sitting, where he eats all the dog food, then tries to eat the dog for barking so much and actually puts it's head in his mouth before incorrectly realizing that it must be barking because it's fur must mean it's feeling really hot, and not once does he realize that the dog is barking because it's hungry, even when Fudo is blantantly telling him that he's doing a HORRIBLE job.
  • Knife Fight: The OVA has one... sort of. Also present in the manga.
  • Nuke 'em: Zardoz is willing to nuke Tokyo, while Muammar Gaddafi plans to use a massively powerful nuke on the West.
  • One-Man Army: Hiba, of course (sometimes two-man, with Fudo).
  • Only Sane Man: Fudo. Although he ranges from being just as comedic, to even MORE comedic than Hiba due to his status as the Butt-Monkey, he's the more serious and rational of the two in contrast to the Cloud Cuckoolander that is Hiba, and will often scold Hiba for his innapropriate behavior.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Hiba and Fudo.
  • Rated M for Manly: As to be expected from a work whose main character is a Rambo lookalike.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Fudo dons a cap to obscure the incredibly unflattering bald spot in the 4th chapter Tokyo Coup d'État, which focuses on him rather than Hiba, with the latter taking on the role of the comic relief and as the Butt-Monkey of the two, as the antagonist of the chapter is Fumimura, Fudo's most treasured subordinate who respects him more than anybody else, and vice-versa for Fudo.
  • Shout-Out: Well, aside from Hiba looking like Rambo, the early villain Mister Harry looks REMARKABLY like Bennett, while one of Hiba's (former) partners is named Dutch.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Mister Harry is Col. Harry, Hiba's former commanding officer.
  • Tragic Villain: Many of the enemies are this, or at least have a Freudian Excuse.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Chi-Long group have no problems with selling heroin to children. They also have Li-Chen, a young boy, killed.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Hiba and Fudo.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: One gag has Fudo make fun of Hiba for his Teeny Weenie while they use a hot-tub, with Hiba being unable to do anything about it while he's helplessly being mocked by him, due to Fudo being bigger than him even down there, making it seem like Fudo's finally been spared of his status as the local object of mockery for once...only for him to promptly slip and fall as they both leave.
  • You Killed My Father:
    • One of Zardoz's attacks killed Hiba's parents.
    • The Chi-Long group's heroin has killed many people, including Li-Chen and Kwong's parents.