January 17, 2012
Shirow Miwa – Viz – 2011 – 6+ volumes
I think it was partially the influence of Dogs that sent me to Wild Adapter. I do like this type of slick-looking, over-the-top-violent action series, but I prefer the somewhat more character-focused Wild Adapter to Dogs, which, this time around, was all about the action.
Dogs has a very slow schedule, too, at one volume a year (which is not Viz’s fault). I haven’t touched the series since volume four, which I read exactly a year ago. I think I would have benefited from a re-read. I liked the format of the series so far, where Heine and Badou usually cover at least one case a volume, and the action and story goes all the way through and wraps up at the end. The previous volumes hinted at deeper going-ons, and volume five is definitely the beginning of that. A big part of the plot seems to be the unveiling of a secret army at the city’s command. There’s also a lot more behind the villain that Badou was cornering last volume, and he reveals just how deeply he has his hands in the downfall of the city. On top of that, Heine’s enemies boil up from below the city, and there might just be a third faction contributing to all the chaos that is one huge fight that takes place throughout the city.
There’s definitely lots of action, and in addition to excellent fights from both Heine and Badou, we also get to see Naoto and Mihai fight. Unfortunately, both are a little disappointing. Mihai plays a big role in Badou’s fight, except he winds up doing more harm than good. And after so much has been made over her skills with a sword, Naoto winds up shirking from her fight a bit. Both both have roles that carry over into the next volume, so it will be nice to see where they go from here.
But the one volume a year schedule means I have literally no idea what is going on, plot-wise. I like this series a lot, and I recalled all the characters and what they were doing, but what exactly was going on with the characters Heine and Badou were fighting? No recollection whatsoever aside from the details of their individual personal grudges. I have no idea why these two are wrecking the city. With Badou’s fight, it might just be because he’s crazy, but there was a reason for Heine’s fight, I just can’t recall at the moment. A re-read is definitely in order, and Dogs will be a pleasure to tackle again. I read a lot, and sometimes I have a poor memory for details, but still, it never bodes well when stuff like this slips my mind.
But the art and action scenes are just as superb as I remember, which is the main reason I read Dogs. The high-contrast artwork and great composition make for an easy flow and a quick read, and it makes the fights that much more manic and quick as well. It’s a fine series for anyone looking for a quick burst of seinen gunfights, and while there’s not a whole lot of depth, it’s certainly a fun read for the right audience.