Dogs: Bullets & Carnage
Released Year : May 19, 2009 to July 17, 2009
No of Episodes : 4
Genre : Action,Seinen
Plot : It is sometime in the future, where a certain European city extends far underground, even secret, dark levels that have the key to the past. Ex-assassin Mihai has returned and is living with Kiri, who now runs a resturaunt. Sword-wielding Naoto, Haine (white hair), a mysterious product of genetic engineering and his sometime partner Badou (eyepatch). (Source: ANN)
Our Review : "Fuck up. Gentlemen"
First of all, let me point out I am a huge fan of the Dogs manga, originally I never intended to watch the OVA's because I had heard that they were a very disappointing adaptation of the manga. I decided to give them a watch because of the more recent chapters of Dogs: Bullets and Carnage that I had been reading and wondered how it would be if it was actually animated, so it was with some trepidation that I watched the OVA's.
Secondly, this is not an adaptation of Bullets and Carnage, so anyone coming here expecting to see that will just have to do with watching the original manga play out being animated.
Thirdly, it's very disappointing.
Dogs doesn't seem to work as an anime, I can't describe why it doesn't work, it just doesn't. If you want to understand what I'm getting at go and read the manga then watch the OVA's, you'll soon realise what I mean.
Now I'll be honest, Dogs story was never one of its biggest strengths, however in the manga it was enjoyable, it was entertaining, and at times it was downright funny. But the manga's storyline doesn't translate well onto the screen and it becomes all too obvious what the weaknesses with the storyline were. If there's one thing that's frustrating about Bullets and Carnage, it's that it tries to present the storylines for each character as separate entities, without really taking notice of the character interactions, as such the story feels more disjointed and broken up than the sort of one shot chapters that actually spawned it.
Another issue is that some of the humour is lost, this is more prevalent in Badou's chapter than anyone else's, his most memorable scenes in the manga are again, a victim of not translating well and his episode in the anime (in my opinion anyway) suffers more than anyone else's in the story.
The art in Dogs was always the selling point of the manga, it looked gorgeous, and the action scenes were very intense, in the anime though, the quality has dropped considerably. The character models by Kumi Ishii do at least resemble the characters in the manga but most of the time they look awkward, especially Heine and Nill who both seem to have undergone a massive change from the manga, and it doesn't suit them, in fact, most of the character designs in the anime don't suit the characters. I will cede though that at least they look good in colour.
The biggest disappointment about the art though is the action. I wondered how David production would be able to pull off the amazing action scenes in the manga, and to be quite honest, they can't, maybe that's a sign of their inexperience (they've only done 5 anime after all) but I digress; the action doesn't look good in the anime, and I mean that it doesn't look good, the manga had a way of making the action look good thanks to its outstanding panelling, the anime naturally doesn't resort to this and it suffers tremendously because of it, the gunfights are boring, the chase scenes are boring, the standoffs are boring, in fact when it's not busy being boring it's looking bad thanks to the character models. Don't go into this anime expecting to see the amazing art in the manga, you won't get it.
Before I cover the voice acting I should address the music, and really, there's nothing worth addressing, the score is instantly forgettable being some sort of weird jazz/techno hybrid which tries to create a noir feeling similar to something seen in Darker than BLACK but fails. The music won't be getting any awards anytime soon so here's the next question.
How about the voice acting?
Well, my instant reactions to the voice acting where mixed, especially Heine's voice, Takahiro Sakurai makes Heine sound older than he actually is in the manga, his voice is too deep for me to believe him as a convincing Heine and made the character less of the cool cat that he is in the manga. Shizuka Itou and Akio Ootsuka manage to make passable performances as Naoto and Mihai, but the honour of best voice actor in this little disappointment of an anime goes to Akira Ishida.
Yes Katsura fans, Ishida manages to be extremely impressive as Badou, you can literally feel that Ishida is putting his heart and soul into this performance as he embraces Badou's (very unique) personality wonderfully. Ishida needs to play crazy roles like this more often, rather than go with the weird (and annoying) bishonen that is Break Xerxes, and the creepy emo that is Gaara, I mean it when I say that Ishida is the best thing about the voice cast, his acting managed to save the sound aspect from a much lower score.
The characters are nowhere near as impressive as they were in the manga, Mihai and Naoto were never going to win any awards to begin with, it was always Badou and Heine that stole the show for me but they suffer in the anime, it's hard to describe, again it's something that you have to read the manga to understand what I'm getting at but they're nowhere near as cool as they were in the manga.
Now, I'll be honest, I made a lot of comparisons between the manga and the anime here, I admit that the anime should be judged on its own merits but it's very hard to do a review of the Dogs anime without doing comparisons to the manga in a lot of places, it's not a terrible anime by any stretch of the imagination but it is very, very disappointing. It's also worth mentioning that the anime can't pull a stand alone move either, as there are so many indications of the producers wanting to do a Bullets and Carnage anime as well.
Maybe Dogs was never meant to work as an anime.
What do you know, I think I solved my own problem there.