Dolce, and His Master
Dolce, and His Master (ドルチ ～ダイ・ハード・ザ・キャット～ Doruchi ~Dai Hādo Za Kyatto~, lit. "Dolce: Die Hard The Cat") is a short story manga written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki; originally published in Shueisha's Manga Allman Magazine from October 2 to October 16, 1996 (Issues #11-12).
It was later compiled with Araki's other stories in a tankōbon titled Under Execution Under Jailbreak.
After six days of isolation on a yacht, first-class architect Masago Ayashi and his cat Dolce are starving, trapped in the vast ocean, surrounded by sharks and with a drowned woman on board. Masago repeatedly tries to use his radio without an answer. Dolce is on the deck near the woman's corpse, playing with a bottle of water. He tries fervently to open the bottle, but breaks two claws off. The woman's rotting body is surrounded by flies.
Masago claims to himself that it wasn't his fault that his yacht crashed into a rock and the woman drowned. He blames her for distracting him by taking off her clothes.
Masago is happy that he brought Dolce with him, considering his cat a true friend. In his boredom, he crafted an extravagant outfit for Dolce consisting of leopard-patterned clothes, jewelry, and boots made of the woman's leather bag. While he teases Dolce, the cat claws around the seats and uncovers a piece of candy between the cushions. Masago snags the candy, while Dolce swings at it to get it for himself. Masago conjures a bet; they both roll two dice, and whoever gets the higher number wins. Masago rolls an eleven. Dolce pounces at the board and 'rolls' the dice to twelve. Dolce wins the candy, but Masago refuses by saying Dolce "doesn't understand numbers," and that since he is larger than Dolce his body "needs more calories" and steals the prize.
Just as Masago is about to put it in his mouth, Dolce swipes it out of the air and eats it. This enrages Masago, who scrambles after the cat. Dolce jumps through a half broken window, and as Masago chases him a glass shard cuts deep into his arm. Through desperation, he licks his own blood and finds it tasty. Regardless, he continues after Dolce, who has jumped onto the mast of the yacht. Masago notices the woman's body is gone, and with only a part of her foot remaining, he realizes there are sharks lurking nearby. Masago mentions he intentionally drowned her before so he could eat her later. He starts eating her foot but realizes that he'll need to eat Dolce instead since it wouldn't be enough.
Picking up the water bottle, Masago tries persuading Dolce to come down from the mast. The boat is quickly capsizing, and as the mast nears the water, Dolce slips, almost falling into the water. Masago, hiding a knife behind him, continues to taunt Dolce. He pulls out the knife once he notices the yacht is sinking. The two come to a standoff, and decide to wait it out. Dolce falls asleep but eventually awakens to see Masago is missing. Relieved, but wary, he walks down to the sinking ship. With his eyes on the water bottle, he notices Masago's hand sticking out of the planks with the knife. While Dolce perceives the situation, he hears a voice — from behind him.
Masago has laid a trap, and entangles Dolce with a rope. Masago reveals that he cut his fingers off to trick Dolce, and lunges after Dolce's neck, biting into him. Dolce suddenly speaks, saying if Masago wants to eat him so much, that's what he will get. Dolce dives into Masago's mouth, forcing his way down his throat. Masago believes his mind is playing tricks on him, but the force of Dolce inside forces his neck and chest to burst open. Masago's body falls into the shark-infested sea.
Later, a rescue helicopter arrives above the premises, but does not see the yacht. One of the pilots identifies a cat, wearing clothes, sitting atop a seagull. The strange sight dissipates, and the pilot decides it was just an illusion.
- The name of the manga is referencing Salvatore Adamo's hit, Dolce Paola. The second half of the title may be referencing the song's record label, His Master's Voice.
- Masago's death via forced-consumption of his cat is potentially a reference to the 1990 film Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
- The name of the yacht "Lagoon" is most likely a reference to the yacht of the same name from Vento Aureo, from the Mystery of Soft Machine arc.