"Drop Dead Ace, the little yellow pill ♪"
On another Earth, death almost never visits humanity. By an unknown mechanism that defies the known laws of physics, every human is blessed with Revival, the ability to come back to life after fatal injuries, and can only die after their natural lifespan has run its course. Committing temporary suicide to relieve minor illnesses and pains is commonplace, and thus any medical care is nonexistent. The world is a much less grim place... until one day, when people start failing to revive after death.
A mysterious disease is spreading rapidly around the world: Resurrection Deficiency Syndrome (RDS), which removes the infected's ability to resurrect, rendering their next death permanent. The disease is spread only by human carriers, known as Vectors, who willfully or unknowingly transmit the condition to immortals. In an effort to preserve the human race's immortality, police agencies and militaries cooperate with the UN Disease Control Office, aka UNDO, to track down and exterminate Vectors before they can spread RDS — only for strange, nearly superhuman individuals dubbed Escape Artists to intervene on behalf of the infected, spiriting them away from the police for unknown reasons. After police lieutenant Shin'ichi Kenzaki loses his sister in one of these incidents, he heads up a new task force dedicated to both killing Vectors and putting an end to the Escape Artists. And the Escape Artists take an interest in him in turn, including the bespectacled girl who helped his sister's killer get away...
Immortal Hounds is an ongoing Seinen manga by Ryo Yasohachi, beginning in 2013. It blends copious action and grotesque violence with investigations, guesswork, gambits, and constant twists, centered around a colorful cast of characters whose morality is never quite clear.
After volume 6, the story continued as a sequel titled Immortal Ridge, this time from the point of view of the vectors. The numbering was rebooted accordingly.
Due to the rapid pace of the plot and reveals, all spoilers up to Volume 6 will be unmarked.
Immortal Hounds provides examples of:
- Alternate Universe: The story makes it clear from the beginning that the world the characters inhabit is one parallel to our own, in which Revival's existence has kept the population far lower and the natural lifespan is limited at 60. It's revealed very early on that the Vectors are people from our universe who crossed over for unknown purposes.
- Amazon Brigade: All of the Escape Artists, excluding Kouda, are Action Girls. There are implied to be male operatives elsewhere, but the story focuses exclusively on the female branch.
- Big Bad: "Mama", the leader of the Escape Artists and Fuurin's biological mother, seems to be this.
- Black Comedy: Since even headshots and dismemberments count as Amusing Injuries in this universe, and many of the characters are either Ax-Crazy or Conditioned to Accept Horror, this is frequent.
- Black Comedy Rape: Immediately after becoming The Starscream, Hiiragi molests Kouda and forcibly breastfeeds him. It's disturbing enough that it's only Black Comedy because of how absurd the context is, and because Kouda is a bit of an Asshole Victim.
- Combat Tentacles: All Escape Artists, as well as Tsubaki, have the ability to manipulate tendrils of cloth called obis and use them as versatile weapons. They contain the user's immortal blood, so the stronger the user is, the more tendrils they can use and the more powerful they can be.
- Cryo-Prison: UNDO disposes of Escape Artists and other immortal targets by freezing them in liquid nitrogen and locking them in tubes underground. Fuurin, Kiriko, Karigane, and Snow White all meet this fate before Kenzaki springs them.
- Dark Action Girl: Half of the cast.
- Death by Sex: RDS is spread by sexual activity with Vectors, though most of the characters refer to it as simply "loving" a Vector. Kanai reveals that the condition isn't an infectious disease, but as he doesn't clarify what it really is, Kenzaki's team continue to treat it as such. It turns out that "loving a Vector" is more accurate; falling in love with a Vector and straying from fate's predetermined path is what revokes immortality, regardless of whether sex is involved.
- The first time Mama is seen bathing, there's a panel of her rear as she stands up.
- Kyoko's breasts are visible when she and Wakabayashi are having sex, and later in the same volume Hiiragi exposes one of hers to Kouda. The context of the latter is anything but appealing, however.
- The crowner is Karigane, however. After Kenzaki unfreezes her from her Cryo-Prison, she's seen fully nude from the front for several pages, and perfectly comfortable with it.
- Foreshadowing: The Escape Artists insistently say "love" instead of sex when it comes to RDS transmission, which seems like inconsistent censorship or weird terminology at first. Then Fuurin reveals that RDS is acquired only by love.
- Grey-and-Grey Morality: The Escape Artists and Vectors are mass murderers, some of them quite enthusiastically so, but UNDO aren't exactly peaches themselves. Kenzaki learns quickly that he has to navigate between the two to properly end the conflict.
- More Dakka: Even the smallest gunfights involve seemingly hundreds of bullets fired.
- Red String of Fate: Fuurin's Exposition Dump reveals that this is why humanity has Resurrective Immortality. While most aspects of life are freely changed, an individual's romantic history (who they end up settling down with, how many kids they have, etc) are predetermined from birth by an unknown system. Falling in love with someone outside of the path normally just leads to a breakup, but RDS is what happens when someone glitches the system by falling in love with a Vector who hails from outside the universe, causing them to lose the system's control and their immortality along with it.
- Resurrective Immortality: Every human in the world can regenerate from fatal injuries, no matter how severe or whether it defies the laws of physics. Nobody knows how this happens, but it's so normalized that suicide is used in place of any medical care. Rather than biology or magic, this is actually due to the universe making it so that the injury never happened, so as to preserve the Red String of Fate.