Hōgen is a huge harlequin Great Dane with yellow eyes (sometimes blue in the manga).
His ears are ragged and there are two scars on the left side of his head. There are also two scars on his neck.
Hōgen is an evil, cruel and power-hungry dog.
He is a schemer and skilled strategist, and has shown great cunningness and planning while making his moves in war. However, he is also known to lose his temper or underestimate his enemies, especially young Weed. He's also overly confident at times and too sure of himself and his own plans.
In battle, he is a very strong and skilled fighter. Though he seems to have at least some sense of honor, he uses very cruel, humiliating and unfair ways of dealing with his opponents. He wants to break his opponent both physically and mentally. He is certainly sadistic and even disgusting in nature, doing nasty things like sitting and urinating on the dead.
He doesn't seem to care about anyone expect his brother, though he has at least shown unusual respect and comradeship towards Murder S (aka Sniper). He is ready to sacrifice his soldiers in battle and sometimes kills them because of their failure. He is also ready to run away himself in a cowardly way and leave his minions to be killed.
He is known to have a perverted liking for females, especially Japanese breeds, and sometimes orders his minions to get him them. Despite this, he doesn't seem to have or at least isn't known to have any offspring.
He also has a bit humorous side, though often a cruel one. He makes jokes and funny lines at the times. This is probably to give his otherwise very dark character a bit of a lighter tone.
Ginga Densetsu Weed
Hōgen was, apparently, born in a lightless shack in a forest close to the Northern Alps along with his brother Genba and 18 other dogs. Hōgen and his brother were rulers of the group thanks to their aggressive nature. The breeder gave them food during their first 6 months of age but suddenly didn't return to feed the dogs (the breeder was a criminal chased by police so it is possible that he went hiding from them). The dogs were left to starve to death.
Soon, one of the dogs starved and died.
Hōgen had heard a myth that a dog eating dog meat will get ill and die so he forced one of the other dogs to eat the body to test if it is true. The other dogs, mad from hunger, soon joined in and started to eat their dead friend. As the last 17 dogs turned more weaker and weaker, Hōgen and Genba ate them, most of them alive and few of them dead. Horrified, a wild dog called Shingo saw this, but was unable to let the dogs free.
6 months passed and the owner finally arrived with a dog food bag. 1-year-olds Hōgen and Genba attacked and killed him. A bit later, two policemen named Shōji Sudō and Tanuma came to look for the breeder, but instead found the two Great Danes eating his body. They unlocked the door and the two Great Danes fiercely attacked Tanuma. Shōji tried to scare them away by shooting but Hōgen attacked him and bit his face, scarring it and claiming his eye. The two brothers escaped while Tanuma was dead and Shōji swore to hunt down the two dogs.
In next few years, Hōgen creates his own pack of 200 dogs on the Japanese Alps, the Southern Alps being his main fort, and he is soon known as an unfair scoundrel among dogs of neighboring Prefectures. He doesn't respect the authority of Ōu's commander Gin, believing he is just an elderly dog and not as great stories tell.
Hōgen has a vassal called Nero, who guards the Northern Alps. One time, Hōgen comes to visit and sees the little abandoned puppies which GB, Nero's minion, had found. Hōgen thinks they're Nero's puppies and that he is hiding females from him, ordering Nero to kill the puppies to prove this wrong. Nero obeys while GB watches in horror.
Ambitious, Hōgen plans to take over the whole of Japan and decides to start with the legendary paradise of Ōu after he hears from Nero that Gin is moving closer to his fort with his two closest minions. Nero wishes Hōgen would help him to beat Gin, wanting revenge after being humiliated and wishing to tear off Gin's paws and urinate on him. Hōgen, grown tired of Nero, then kills him by ordering his minions to tear off his paws and then urinates on his face.
Hōgen's minions inform the area's pet dogs that they will be rewarded if they tell something about the location of Gin and they will be punished if they try to help him.
Gon comes to inform Hōgen that Gin, Akame and John are resting in a shrine. Hōgen quickly surrounds it with his minions and greets the Ōu's officers with his own, scornful way, demanding Gin to eat his dump if he wishes to live. Of course, Gin doesn't do this and Hōgen orders his soldiers to attack (after striking John who tried to attack him in anger).
Hiro joins to fight on Gin's side and Akame leaves to get help from Ōu. Hiro, Gin and John fight surprisingly well and as a final trick Hōgen uses female pet dog called Reika as a hostage to make the Ōu dogs surrender. This works and Gin, John and Hiro are captured, badly wounded and dragged to a shack which works as their prison. Reika is now Hōgen's prisoner as well and the Great Dane tries to woo her, wanting her to give him puppies. Reika is clearly disgusted and tries to run away but is stopped by Hōgen's soldiers. Hōgen believes that now that the main officers are on his hands, Ōu will fall quickly, especially since he knows it was attacked by humans just a while ago. Hōgen starts to gather pet dogs, planning to destroy what is left of Ōu. He forces 150 pet dogs to join his army. Hōgen calls the Rocket Brothers (Rocket, Jet and Missile) to his side, saying that he will reward them by giving them more territory if they scout for him. The Rocket Brothers find out that Gin has a son who is planning to rescue his father, but because Rocket leaves his brothers and his mission, Hōgen sees them all as traitors and kills Jet and Missile before they can tell him the news.
John, Hiro and Reika manage to escape the fort with the help of Lefty, Rossi and Tommy. Furious, Hōgen sends his soldiers after them. John, Lefty, Rossi and Tommy stay to fight them to let Hiro and Reika escape. All four get killed but John's great persistence, pride and loyalty makes Hōgen feel uneasy and fearful for the first time in long time. He would never forget John.
A bit later, one of Hōgen's scouts informs that Ōu's army has met Kyōshirō's pack in Hida Takayama and that the army is lead by Gin's son Weed. Hōgen is at first surprised to hear that Gin has puppies. He had once tried to ask Kyōshirō to be his ally, but the young dog had refused. Hōgen decides to kill both of the young dogs at once and asks his old ally Murder S to send his best assassin apprentices to eliminate them. However, Lecter and Thunder fail in their mission.
Hōgen sends his brother Genba and his army to take over Ōu. He promises Murder S, who is vengeful at Gin, that he will let him kill Gin when the right time comes. Murder S creates a plan to test which Hōgen's minions are loyal and which not. The soldiers are made to stomp on wounded and weak Gin.
Those who hesitate are deemed traitors and killed. When Hōgen hears that Genba has taken over Ōu, he thinks he has no use to Murder S anymore and orders him to be buried alive. However, close to death, Murder S shows his true intentions: that he is loyal to Hōgen and actually quite similar to him in mind. Because of this, Hōgen lets him live and makes him the commander of the Alps.
Hōgen decides to leave his fort, giving it for Murder to control, and make the Ōu's paradise his new fort. Knowing that Weed will soon attack his old fort, he asks Murder S to eliminate him. Hōgen calls 200 soldiers lead by Kamakiri from Bingo. However, Kamakiri does not want to become Hōgen's minion but his equal ally. Hōgen does not want this and creates a little game with Murder S which humiliates Kamakiri and makes him his minion.
At night before the leaving to Ōu, Gin escapes his prison. Murder S is unable to fetch him back and instead brings a body which looks like him. This fools Hōgen and he decides to drag the body with him to Ōu. On the way to Ōu, Hōgen shows the body to some local dogs. In fear and believing that Gin is dead, the dogs join his pack. When Hōgen's army reaches Ōu, it has already 700 soldiers. He happily greets his brother and admires his new fort.
Hōgen decides to chose officers from his army, to find the strongest of his pack. There is seven candidates: Tōbē, Buruge, Kintarō, Jaw, Mirko, Kite and Batto. The lost candidates get killed without mercy and finally four officers are chosen: Tōbē, Buruge, Batto and Kite.
Akame and few other Ōu's soldiers are hiding in the area and causing trouble to Hōgen. Hōgen sends Tōbē and Genba to deal with them but Weed's pack joins the fight and Genba and Tōbē are soon in trouble. Hōgen sends Kamakiri to help but it's too late: Genba gets badly wounded by Tesshin and becomes paralyzed and mad, unable to recognize even his own brother. Crying, Hōgen mercy-kills his brothers because years ago they promised they would die from each other's fangs.
Furious, Hōgen throws Genba's soldiers and Tōbē off the cliff, blaming them from the death of his brother. He decides to hunt down the Ōu's dogs for good and splits his army to search from different directions. Hōgen meets Weed and the young Akita mix tries to defeat him with Zetsu Tenrō Battōga but fails because Hōgen uses one of his minions as a shield.
Hōgen returns to his fort and waits for the other platoons to show up. Buruge's platoon comes late and with a spy: Kyōshirō. Hōgen doesn't recognize him but almost beats him to death anyway. Kamakiri's platoon comes with Tōbē and a prisoner: Takeshi. Hōgen is surprised to see Tōbē alive but Tōbee swears loyalty to him and says that he wishes to amend his mistake. Hōgen is suspicious and proven to be right when turns out that Tōbē is now loyal to Ōu and helping Kyōshirō and Takeshi to escape. Tōbē is killed by Kamakiri's soldiers.
Hōgen's reign over Gajō doesn't last long because the humans from the close-by village blow up his fortress. Hōgen also loses most of his officers as they join Ōu's army. Kamakiri gets killed.
When trying to escape, he meets Murder S again and gets attacked by Weed, Jerome and Tesshin which all of them fall of a cliff during the fight (except for Tesshin who got wounded by Murder).
Hōgen throws Jerome into the freezing river and tries to escape but meets Gin. He fights him with Murder S until the Ōu army shows up and he is forced to retreat. Murder S dies and Hōgen is now alone against huge army.
Hōgen tricks the army and believes he can now freely escape, but he bumps into George, Ben, Cross and Reika. He beats three of them easily and Reika says she will go with him. This turns out to be a trick and Reika pushes Hōgen into the river.
Hōgen manages to get up by using Reika as a stepping stone and carries on his escape. He tries to climb up the gorge but now he has to face several members of his old pack. They all attack him, but Hōgen manages to throw down several of Weed’s pack members, until Weed himself gets a hold of his leg and pulls him down.
It is now only Hōgen and Weed. Hōgen start to beat and almost kills the younger dog, but the spirits of dead Ōu soldiers appear to give Weed strength and scare Hōgen. This gives Weed the chance to give him the final strike with his Battōga. Hōgen lies helplessly and crying on the ground. Gin attempts to kill him because of his past crimes, but Weed shows Hōgen mercy and lets him walk away.
It is then when Shōji Sudō, the ex-policeman who has been chasing Hōgen for years, appears. Hōgen attacks towards the man but he shoots him several times, finally killing the dog and having peace.
Hōgen was originally a domestic dog, who, with his brother Genba, were locked in a shed with lots of other dogs by their owner without food or water for days in hope that the dogs would breed and he could make money from the pups. However, Hōgen and Genba killed and ate every dog in the shed.
This left them with an incredibly and in some instances disturbing sense of twisted power and cruelty.Some days later, when the breeder returned to check on progress, he was then killed and eaten by the brothers and afterwards, they escaped into the southern alps where they claimed large territories and lead large packs mostly formed of rogue or misfit dogs, like Nero.
One day, when they realized that their packs were the largest in the region, they decided that they could take Ōu and become rulers. They set their plan into motion by kidnapping Gin and also John, who Hōgen had murdered.
Soon as news spread of their power, more and more dogs joined them until they successfully took Gajō, killing anyone who questioned or failed them, sometimes even their own followers. They also outnumbered Weed's rebel alliance by 600 and felt safe in the knowledge that they were unstoppable.
However, Weed and his pack managed to overthrow Hōgen and Genba's empire by systematically taking out three generals and overpowering the panicked troops until Hōgen was left as the last dog left to fight. In the final round, he fought Weed long and hard in the battlefield. Although he almost killed the young dog when getting hit by the battouga, he badly wounds Weed. At the moment Weed was almost going to die, the ghosts of deceased Ōu soldiers, including John and Smith, started to taunt Hōgen, giving Weed strength to use the Battōga at him.
As Hōgen lies in the snow, Gin and the other dogs move forward to finish him off, but are stopped by Weed, who passionately tells them that if they cannot forgive their enemies, the war will never end. Hōgen uses this opportunity to climb to the top of Gajō, and crazed by his defeat, he screams down at the victorious Ōu army that he will kill them yet when lightning strikes him, killing him instantly. His body is buried by the Ōu soldiers where it lay, lying defiantly in front of Gajō.
See more pictures in Hōgen/Gallery
- According to Ginga Densetsu Weed Meishōbu Retsuden, his birthplace is Hyōgo Prefecture. However, Ginga Densetsu Weed manga itself seems to heavily imply that he originates from the Northern Alps, just like Weed.
- In the anime version, Hōgen and Genba appear to be adults while trapped inside the shack with no food. However, in the manga, they and the other dogs were much younger. Hōgen and his brother became cannibals around the age of 6 months and ate human when they were 1-year-old.