Dogs: Bullets & Carnage, a manga where the story seems so very simple. ...in actuality, when you get far enough, it can confuse you. That's how complex it can get and it's not loopholes or anything of that sort. It's the kind of story that confuses you and makes sense when things are revealed later. At first it's pretty linear, and then what's this? Plot twists? A lot of them? Secrets being revealed? Oh what are its readers to do. DBC follows Haine, a guy anyone with common sense wouldn't wanna cross paths with. Well, if you don't know him well enough that is. He hangs around a church of all places, and has a bad past. He wants to get to the mysterious, ominous, "underground" to finally put down the evil female scientist, Angelika, who created him. He also wants to find out more of his past, and is joined by Badou, a "mellow-like" chain smoker. Joining them are Mihai, an old man who knows his combat, and the beautiful "sword maiden" Naoto. These four are the main protagonists, and the manga follows their past and futures.
The story's great, yes. However, past halfway, it starts to slow down and drag around a bit, but immediately pick up later. Anyone who can really appreciate the different world and mood this manga has to offer wouldn't wanna miss out on it.
Ah, the art. The kind of famous yet underrated mangaka Miwa Shirow. He's done work for the notable band Supercell, after already working on Dogs. His style has evolved so much, that it's amazing to see his progress. In the beginning, Dogs seems to be on the semi-realistic side, with detailed backgrounds and shadow. Halfway through this series, everything gets smoother, there are less backgrounds (which is hard to explain aesthetically, but it's pleasing and actually gives pages flair), and the characters become more well-defined. The most recent chapters have shown even more progress. Now he has a set defining style, and there are no backgrounds. Why doesn't he draw them? Let's see, he's a mangaka drawing detailed clothing wrinkles, puts in a lot of inking, works for Supercell, AND has no assistants. All in all, its become a part of his amazing style, and I respect him for it a good deal.
The characters of DBC are great. They're colorful and complement each other. Haine is interesting in that he has a lot to him, and receives character growth. He changes throughout the manga, and improves. He's broken all over mentally and physically, with the added case of a fear of women. This is partially from Angelika who experimented on him, and accidentally killing a sister-like female friend, Lily. His terrible past makes him anti-social (honestly you can't really blame him), and added violent tendencies as he was experimented on. Heck, there's "someone else" inside of him. His fear puts him at odds with our main female protagonist Naoto, who is also on the quiet side. Beautiful, short-haired, and slender, she suffers from a bad case of amnesia. Haine, coming from the infamous underground, is followed for information. Naoto is strong physically, emotionally guarded, level-headed, and the fact that she doesn't give up hounding Haine displeased him greatly. Through time, they accept one another, are able to work together, and walk side by side.
Badou, the seemingly simple and lazy smoker. Long red hair, and an eyepatch. This guy just seems so harmless, huh? WRONG. No smokes? He's going to destroy everything on the whole block, no joke. Aside from that, a sort of nervous, and comic relief character. He's easygoing and pretty friendly, even if he can be kind of crude. An information broker with many sides to him. Does a bunch of odd jobs for cash and info. Haine's "friend."
Of course we can't forget Mihai. A quiet older man, who seems to have a tragic past, which he did indeed have, just humbly hanging around a certain cafe, drinking coffee. Right. He can fight with his fists, and can shoot well. A force to be reckoned with. Sort of wise, and a nice person. This guy is not what he seems, however. Yes, he's nice, but he can be deadly serious if he wanted to be.
Dogs: Bullets & Carnage is actually my favorite manga. How? The story's great, the art's great, and these are my favorite characters; Haine and Naoto, if you noticed that. All by an artist I respect. What else could I say? Of course I enjoy this manga.
This manga's score overall is a 9. A point docked down for the story's pacing, which is a very big deal when a manga loses your interest for a time, even if it's short. It's not quick in your face ground-breaking, but it's a slow ground-breaking. You just don't realize how good it really is until later.