While Devil King is an interesting diversion from the action-minded gekiga you’d expect from Takao Saito, Dingo is a return to familiar territory, though it does enough to distinguish itself from that mostly humorless comic about Japan’s greatest assassin, Golgo 13.
Dingo is a seinen manga from 1978 about a Japanese private detective of the same name who plays as a tourist guide in Paris. Dingo is self-interested and mostly boorish, living with his French wife with whom he shares an open relationship. One of the manga’s recurring gags is Dingo coming home while his wife is making love with some other man. The man, noticing Dingo and his imposing frame, usually freaks out and runs away as the couple calmly tries to explain everything is okay. Boy, those French sure are wacky!
Volume one of Dingo is organized into five mostly standalone chapters. When Dingo isn’t comically interrupting his wife’s lovemaking, he’s getting involved in Paris’ criminal underbelly, primarily for his own profit. The stories span murder conspiracies, secret disguises, gambling, femme fatales, and everything else that belongs in a proper comic about a private detective. As you’d expect, Dingo maintains a strained relationship with local law enforcement, and one of the stories points to an even more morally ambiguous past where Dingo struggled with drug addiction at the behest of a former mentor, one of Paris’ crime lords. That story in particular points to the possibility of a broader narrative that I hope gets teased out in subsequent volumes.
Takao Saito’s official website lists Dingo as having 48 chapters, but the manga seems to be very much out of print. Even digital manga bookstore ebookjapan only has the first two volumes listed. So once again, JManga is offering something relatively hard to find, though the fact it’s been more than a year with only the first volume released may frustrate those who enjoy Dingo and want to read more.