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36 of 31 chapters read
For the most part, the story has very little to do with dogs. We have a troubled girl named Shina who is a popular blonde bombshell at school, one day she joins the afterschool club known as the Troubled Dogs. Now what the hell exactly is a Troubled Dog? Well, it's basically a group of mysterious students, a botanist, and a janitor who goes around kicking ass and solving problems at school. The problems range from sending a fluffy love-letter to a random heartthrob to something as serious as stopping a bomb threat. The better stories always involved the villain Shinai, who is actually a very charismatic Top-A student who constantly fiddles the tune of a completely evil conniving bastard, although at times he can be surprisingly nice to the main character Shina because well, he just wants to sleep with her.
A lot of the stories are fast-paced, always trying to raise the tension as the students are trying to work around the school system and avoiding the teachers and authorities. However, it's not quite as exciting as it sounds, simply because some of the plots are borderline silly, and not to be taken seriously. The case would be the chapter where there was a field trip to an outskirt part of the city and suddenly the whole place was bombarded by terrorists and the students were held hostage. Well, the way the story was resolved was extremely silly. Apparently the terrorists were all idiots with no training whatsovever as a couple of students just took them down like Navy marines.
My biggest disappointment with the story was the last volume. There are 10 volumes and the final volume was extremely underwhelming. I thought the whole thing would go out with a bang with the school finding out about the mysterious Trouble Dog organization but they introduced a new villain instead and from there it became a rushed mess.
But also then again, the entirety of Troubled Dogs wasn't as bad as it seemed. There were some fun and good moments sprinkled throughout. Especially the love triangle between Shina, Shinai, and the main male character Ryuu. There were also some minor characters who were pretty interesting as well, but they didn't appear too often. This was just a mindless manga with good character moments, but pretty disappointing because of its unfulfilled potential.
Story - 6
Some good character moments, the thrills were few, but they were fun. But a lot of the stories can be silly, and just made me lose interest.
Art - 5
Just mediocre. A lot of the characters look the same and becomes confusing especially the last volume, where there were at least 3 important characters who looks exactly identical.
Character - 6
The best part of the manga. The female main character Shina wasn't too annoying, although she was your typical female character she always displays strong qualities and is always the first to try to solve any problem. The villain was good, and the main male character Ryuu was more of a mysterious bad-ass, but he has probably the best dialogue out of all of them.
Enjoyment - 7
I did enjoy most of the volumes. Of course the last volume just wasn't up to standards, but the middle volumes were quite decent.
Overall - 6
It's a pretty forgettable manga, but skimming through it wouldn't hurt.
25 of ? chapters read
Now, this custom is twisted in the manga Dogesen, where it almost, affirmatively mocks and even criticizes the flaws of Japanese society. This manga takes on a Japanese personality to the extreme. What we have here is a character named Seto so fed up with the structure of the Japanese system that he is willing to make a joke out of it. This is also a character who has mastered the art of Dogesa, or artform of Japanese apology, and he uses it to get exactly what he wants, in any situation. The manga is made up of 27 short stories in which we see the character in action. Of course, being drawn by the same artists who drew Baki the Grappler, we will expect to see awesome, macho artwork plus hoodlums and gangsters appearing out of the wood works too.
This manga's sole strength is in the storytelling, there are more than a handful in which there is just masterful plotting at work, it has some of the best stories I've seen yey, not to mention they are also straight up hilarious. The most memorable chapter has to be the one where a gangster was caught having sex with the boss' daughter in a hospital, the problem was that the boss himself was dying of a gunshot wound on the floor below. The gangster needs to come up with a good explanation why he was banging the daughter, and this is where
our character Seto comes in, he teaches the gangster how to perform the intricately layered dogeza process, and the result is nothing short of genius.
The other story that stood out was when Seto had to go up against the undefeated master in apologists. A man whose apologies are so strong that no one can resist, the panels in this chapter filled with genuine hilarity, and we see a complete caricature of a Japanese company where the sly boss uses dogeza any chance he can get to improve his business.
Dogesen is an extremely original manga that can also be very alienating to anyone in its concept of storytelling, using a dying Japanese artform, bringing it into present life and trying to make some sense of it. The main character, Seto, is seen to be an old-school traditioned Japanese male, mixed with a sprinkle of eccentricity. He does make an interesting character, however since the stories are so short, there isn't enough time to develop characters, even though the characters appear repeatedly throughout the manga. But that is just a minor quip that can be easily overlooked. With the story stories, the in-your-face artwork, the original concepts, Dogesen is a strong manga that never stayed past its welcome, and what we got was something very enjoyable, funny, and genuinely touching as well.
3 of 3 chapters read
The story started out with unlimited potential, and as I'm writing this review, I'm still brainstorming as to how the plot could have improved, and why it just drowns like a fat man in a lake. Speaking of lakes, this is what the entire story revolves around, a God named Kahaku who lives in a mystic, ancient magical lake, and he has the power to stop the drought and famine in the country of China. So somehow, some way, a random peasant girl gets chosen, and she has to travel across the entire China to sacrifice herself. She has to travel by foot, wearing a special pair of shoes given to her by her instructors, and along the way a bodyguard travels with her to make sure that she doesn't try to escape.
Now, this sounds like a wonderful story that can be told in a couple of chapters, and it starts out like a grim, but fantastical adventure, you just can't help caring for the girl as she has a quite a strong personality, and the bodyguard, my goodness, he is a complex, gentle, and caring character with the perfect edge of bad-assness ingrained. The chemistry between the two characters is undeniably strong. I was hoping for a short, touching, epic adventure and was ready to sing high praises for this manga when the story suddenly, and miraculously concludes in the first 50 pages. Nevertheless I was a bit frustrated to say the least, what happened to the long journey across the China? What about the dangers they faced? What about the guards who were chasing them? How did they get to the Lake so quick? In just 50 pages? I was wishing for more, and I was left sour.
The next chapter begins a new story set 15 years after the events of the water-drought. And to much dismay, the peasant girl does not return as a main character, the bodyguard is still there, but reserved to a much more reduced role, which was a huge disappointment. This story made almost no sense, and it played out like a poor mystery that was thought out in 30 minutes. It's about a king who gets a prophecy from a witch that in 15 years he will be assassinated by a left-hand wielding swordsman. So what does the King do? You guessed it, cut off the left-hands of everyone in the city, a very logical choice obviously. That is when the bodyguard and his assistant shows up, they're looking to kill an ancient witch who has been said to bring disease upon the land if not taken care of. From there, the plot thickens to a point where a mist of confusion permeates page after page. Overall, the second story makes very little sense, was silly, and it was simply not entertaining in the least bit.
The third story makes some improvements, we learn more about the bodyguard himself, and the peasant girl makes a cameo, letting us know that she and the bodyguard are now lovers and live peacefully in the town of Suiko. Now, there are now three hooded men traveling the lands to hunt down a demon. The bodyguard just happens to know how to kill demons, and they are looking for advice from him. It's an interesting story, but it never develops to a point where I became enthralled by it. You do learn more about the bodyguard, the history of the towns and Kings, but by that time, I just wished that it should have continued the first time with the girl and the bodyguard traveling by themselves on the great journey to save China. Therefore, I was very confused as to how I should rate this manga, but overall, it had a great premise that was never explored to its full potential. Which was quite a disappointment.
Story - 6: The first story was easily the best, and it had the potential to be a great story, however it ends way too quickly, and we get treated to a loosely connected second story, and from there on it became quite a mess.
Art -3: I did not like the art aside from the cover and the opening page. There were almost no art of the landscapes of China, I seriously could not tell what any of the buildings or the land looked like.
Character - 5: The bodyguard and the girl were by far the best characters in the manga, they are the only two characters you care about. Sadly, they appear less and less as later on in the manga, and we are greeted by other, mild and uninteresting characters.
Enjoyment - 5: Only the first story brought me enjoyment. Everything else I could care less about.
Overall - 6: Giving this a six because I really liked the first story, and the two characters were great. read more
18 of 18 chapters read
In the many horror story I've seen, rarely do they go deep into detail about such monsters, the rule is the more that is left unexplained, the better we can dive into the viewer's imaginations, which is where the true horror is. But in this rare case, Embryo does an exceedingly wonderful job into giving us every, single detail of the alien bugs. Not only do we learn how they behave, we are given information on they breed, how they relate to other insects, how all their bodily functions work, how they breathe, their environment; There are parts where it becomes an entertaining textbook study on insectology, giving us their entire physiology. We not only learn about these worms, but there was a panel where it gave us an entire treemap of the evolution of insects, which I thought was very generous of the author. And it was fitting that 3 of the main characters are acutal scientists, and not not bumbling idiots who suddenly became smart.
The study of the anatomy of bugs is the true horror element in this manga. Because we know that the behavior of these bugs aren't "normal" at all, they have this connected bond with the main character, planting an embryo in her, and while the scientists scrape for a possibly explanation as to why this is happening, the eventual discovery of the bugs' evolution and growth will definitely give you chills down the spine. The storytelling here is very cohesive, strong, all the pieces of the puzzle definitely fits for the most part, given how difficult it is to write a story like this, the author did a magnificent job. A good example of the author's skills was her ability to convey the dream sequences, there were 2 or 3 dreams in the story that was horrifying, and I even mistook them to be real events.
The art in this manga can be a little perplexing, since the characters themselves have very little expressions on their faces, most of them nothing more than oval circles with 2 dots as eyes, some hair, and a mouth. This can be somewhat disconcerting given that the bug creatures are drawn with meticulous detail. Especially during the dissection scenes, where we see every organ and vein in the bug's body, drawn with extreme detail. And also not to mention the birth scene towards the end, which was one of the most gruesome and graphic birth sequences I can remember in any media.
Also like many other horror films, there is an ending that can be quite ambiguous, it isn't quite explained clearly as to how the bug creatures were stopped, or whatever the birth of the new evolved bug creature was. These does give off a sense of frustration, but maybe giving it more attention the second-time around I can pry off some answers. And since the story-telling and plot in this manga is masterfully done, it wouldn't be a problem for any manga fan, or any horror fan to be consumed in the story.
40 of 20 chapters read
The first two characters introduced in the story are identical twins that somehow look exactly alike in the anime world. In fact, they look so much alike that even their own mother can't even tell them apart, and this ridiculous fact is one of the most important factors in the whole freaking story. Even that skanky little boyfriend can immediately recognize the differences between one from the other, but their own mother cannot? Nor can their grandmother? Nor can anyone else in their own family? And I can't believe how this played such a huge role in the story, it was the ultimate deciding factor that became the death of Inochi, no pun intended.
So we have two sisters, Madara and Nobara, they trade places with each other constantly, since no human being is intelligent enough to tell them apart, they play this to their advantage for unlimited amounts of time, all the way up to the point where one of them was killed. Yep, that's what happens here. One of them, while being the other twin, gets killed. So the twin, who is alive, needs to play the dead twin, for the rest of her Life, while getting revenge on the killer who raped and sodomized her. This is just terrible, it's worse than those made-for-TV prime-time dramas, worse than B-flicks, C-flicks, it's worse than just about anything because it takes itself seriously.
There is a superficial enjoyment here though, because the story does pace itself quite fast so you get the feeling that things are moving and the killer is loose and out killing other twins who gets themselves mixed up. Well, not really, but let's talk about the main villain, the killer himself. Now, here's where the manga really fooled me at first because I thought he was a such a cool villain. He was like Light-lite, you know, the "lite" version of Light Yagami from Death Note. Some of the things he was doing definitely took some planning, and he was always a step ahead of the cops, of Madara (or was it Nobara), and seemed like an uncommon, philosophical, smart villain who knew how to murder people and get away with it. He is a cold bastard which I like, there was even one scene in which he visited the victim's family, just to laugh at them. Now how badass is that? But it turns out at the end that the whole charade was a facade, he was just an idiot who fell for the most simplest trick in the book, in the movies, in anime, in the universe, since the beginning of time. And I hate that stuff, if you're going to make a good villain, why not just roll with it? Why does he have to turn stupid at the end just so the protagonist can win?? Makes no sense.
So this is Inochi, there you have it, a manga filled with leftover characters, and a layer of false sense of security that attempts to cover all the plot holes. And speaking of the plot holes, I'm not even mad about those things, because just about every movie, book has them, but what I can't stand is how many coincidences that happen in this manga. Like the cop is walking down sunset boulevard and he just HAPPENS to see the killer getting on a bus, I mean come on, in this day and age I can't believe that type of storytelling still occurs. Anyway, this is the end of my rant review. See below for a condensed version.
Explained above, nonsensical, but fast-paced and somewhat entertaining. I did finish the whole thing in like a week.
Here's my stance. Good art can't save a bad story. But good story can save some bad art. The story was bad here so it didn't even matter. But I will say this, the cover arts are awesome.
The main characters all were terrible, you learn nothing about them other than "I must get revenge on the killer" type of thinking. The villain was cool at first but turned out to be pretty stupid at the end.
You would want to finish the whole thing just to see how it turns out. There were some good cliffhangers.
5/10. An average, bland manga.