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Manga / Dogs: Bullets & Carnage

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"The dog inside me will not die..."

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 who 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, titled Dogs: Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark, 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. Later on, 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, also titled Dogs: Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark, which is based on the original manga.

Dogs: Bullets & Carnage provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The black blade that Naoto wields can slice cleanly through guns.
  • Abusive Parents: Angelika Einstürzen to the kids with Kerberos spines. She tells them to kill in order to gain her love.
  • Achilles' Heel: Those with Kerberos spines can regenerate even amputated limbs, but causing damage to the brain or their collars causes permanent damage.
  • Action Girl: Naoto and the Twins.
  • Animal Motifs: Constant references to being 'stray dogs' on the edges of society.
  • Art Evolution: Given the several-year gap between the original Dogs and Dogs: Bullets & Carnage, it's not much of a surprise.
  • Ax-Crazy: All of the villains, some of the heroes too.
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  • Badass Boast: Frühling 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. Ernst Rammsteiner - that is, Bishop, the blind priest - fights her and lives.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted with the women. N/A for the men.
  • Berserk Button: Depriving Badou of cigarettes. Or for Heine, being touched by females. And if for some reason you find yourself holding Heine's gun, don't fire it.
  • The Berserker: Heine & Badou in combat.
  • Big Bad: Part of the plot is trying to figure out just who this is. Einstürzen seems to be a good candidate
  • Big Brother Instinct: Heine towards Nill.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Momentinvoked: In Chapter 44, a serious conversation between Heine and Giovanni is interrupted by Marcel Calcerino and his gang speeding by in a van being attacked by Einstürzen's men. Heine and Giovanni both stop for a moment to marvel at how bad Calcerino's luck is before getting back to the shooting.
  • Blind Seer: Bishop.
  • Blond, Brunette, Redhead: Heine, Mihai, Naoto and Badou.
  • Cain and Abel: Heine and Giovanni.
  • Cheerful Child: Luki and Noki, subverted in that they go about hunting people down, fighting, and killing while treating it all like a fun game.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Badou shows up very briefly (and 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). Heine is first mentioned briefly in Badou's intro chapter.
  • Children Are Innocent: Despite the fact that they enjoy fighting and killing, Luki and Noki have always been portrayed as oddly innocent, and they don't even seem to know that killing is wrong. At heart, they're just children who would be completely normal if not for the weapons and the brainwashing that makes them think nothing of killing. When the twins are Brainwashed and Crazy, both Naoto and Badou feel horrible for having to hurt them, and Badou is even enraged that somebody could do that to a child.
  • Cloning Blues: Possibly Naoto.
  • Cooldown Hug: No so much a "hug" but Heine seems to have had this effect on a few characters, particularly Lily when she went berserk.
  • Designer Babies: Heine, Lily, Giovanni and most others with a Kerberos 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 Angelika Einstürzen 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, "the Dog", 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.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Unless there's a woman around or someone's holding his gun, Heine is disturbingly calm while mowing down mooks.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: At one point, Heine ends up straddling Naoto while her sword is impaling him through the stomach. He even holds her face in his hands while it's happening.
  • Dynamic Entry: Mihai does this once.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the equivalent OVA episode of Badou's intro chapter, you get an actual visual shot of a shirtless Heine, whereas the manga doesn't give him an appearance until his own chapter.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Naoto, Frühling, and Magato.
  • Enemy Within: Heine. In his mind, he and the "thing" sit down and have a nice chat over lunch in chapter 55.
  • 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 stabbing him at his MOTHER's command who is a) forcing her to do so through possession and b) currently inhabiting multiple bodies, including one that looks like Heine's dead little sister? Nasty, verging on Surreal Horror.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration: Badou does this at the beginning of his intro chapter, then lampshades it.
  • Fighting Your Friend: "Friend" is a strong word but Einstürzen possesses Naoto in 71-72 and sends her after Heine, who's surprisingly reluctant to hurt her.
  • Fingore: Naoto slices the fingers of an information broker off and steps on their hands to extract information.
  • Flashback
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Badou is sanguine, Heine is choleric, Naoto is melancholic and Mihai is phlegmatic.
  • Get Ahold Of Yourself Man: Heine and Naoto have a moment of this.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Sibling, in this case. Pretty much anyone who reveals to Heine that they have a Kerberos spine.
  • Mark of the Beast: Not really a marking, per se, but everyone with a Kerberos spine has a metal collar attached to their neck.
  • Mark of the Supernatural/Technicolor Eyes: Kerberos subjects seem to have abnormal eyes: Heine's are red, and the hardcore Twins have matching gold and black eyes.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Anyone with a Kerberos spine has a Healing Factor powerful enough to make them practically Immune to Bullets.
  • No Loves Intersect: The Ship Tease in this manga seems to follow this: Heine gets teased with Naoto, Badou gets teased with his friend Mimi, Mihai is already Platonic Life-Partners or an Official Couple with Kiri, and even Nill has her own Love Interest. The only possible exception to this is Magato's obsession with naoto, but we have no idea what the hell that's all about anyway.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Badass Normal Mihai not only keeps walking, but also fighting with a few swords stuck through his arms.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Heine gets shotgunned 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 Kerberos 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 Heine (or anyone else with a Kerberos spine) has real parents, they're never brought up.
    • Heine and the other experiments DON'T have parents.
    • In chapter 69, Angelika Einstürzen makes a comment to Heine that he, Lily, Giovanni, and all the other kids in the Kerberos experiment were grown from her genes. This would make her their biological parent.
  • Papa Wolf: Badou, surprisingly. He goes way out of his way to defend and take care of Noki while underground with Heine and Giovanni, he has no reason to be protecting her, but because she is a child he is not willing to let any harm come to her.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Heine may be a protagonist, but anyone he goes against really should pay attention to this.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Heine is the red, Badou is the blue, somewhat emphasized by their clothes. Naoto, by the way, wears purple.
  • 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.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Naoto's always been pretty but the clothes that Miss Liza picked out for her look outstanding on her. It annoys Heine.
  • Ship Tease: Quite a bit between Heine and Naoto as the series progresses. These two links 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.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Heine volunteers to become the "Master" of his group in the Organization to save his friends. Unfortunately, by succeeding at it, he renders his group moot and Einstürzen makes them kill each other.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Badou smokes like a chimney or three - whenever his bad luck doesn't keep him from doing it.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Heine. Badou has his moments, too.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Haine or Heine? Mihai or Michai?
    • Einstellsehn or Einstürzen? Official translations go with the latter, rightly so because it's meant as a Shout-Out to Einstürzende Neubauten.
    • According to this post on Miwa Shirow's twitpic account, "Heine" is the correct spelling. (ハイネ = "Heine") "Haine" is just how it's transcribed in Japanese.
    • Though the spines are often called Cerberus, the official translations go with Kerberos.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Luki and Noki turn out to have Kerberos Spines, though other characters with them have other eye colors.
  • Sword Lines: Expect these whenever someone with a bladed weapon fights.
  • Theme Naming: Heine Rammsteiner and Professor Einstürzen are named after German bands (Rammstein and Einstürzende Neubauten, respectively).
    • And then there's Badou Nails, named for Nine Inch Nails.
    • "Frühling" is German for "spring". Meanwhile, "Herbst" is German for "autumn" and "Fuyumine" is Japanese for "winter peak". There's no "summer" yet, though.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Luki and Noki with spaghetti from Buon Viaggio.
  • Twin Banter: Luki and Noki, especially when they are about to get into a fight with someone else.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Luki and Noki again and really anyone with a Kerberos spine implanted in them, at least while they're young.
  • The Un-Favourite: Giovanni seems to be this to his handlers, as they seem to prefer Heine, who ran away.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Magato comments that those with Kerberos spines are like this because those with spines don't need to dodge attacks and so never learn.
  • Villain Episode: Dogs: Hardcore Twins follows the titular Hardcore Twins.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Badou is something like this.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 57, 61 and 73.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Usually asked of Heine by Dominico and Marcel.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Turns out Naoto's sword is good for dealing these to those with Kerberos spines.
  • World of Badass: Everyone in the underground manages to acquit themselves well in the Underground invasion against Einsturzen's forces.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Surprisingly, Naoto says this to Heine after the Underground Massacre. He doesn't believe her. Later on, he says much the same to her when she's going through a rough patch. Unlike him, she does (tentatively) believe him.
  • 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.