"Stupidity is a talent for misconception"
-Edgar Allan Poe
We've all heard the famous phrase "I'd rather be a Jack of all trades than a king of one", but what happens when you try to be at Jack of too many trades? Well, that's where you get a show like Bunguo Stray Dogs. The second anime to be produced by bones this season, Stray Dogs is an edgy, ambitious story of an abandoned orphan who finds his place with a detective agency solving crimes and battling the notorious Port Mafia. The synopsis is what really had me hyped for the show, because on the surface it sounds
like it has the promise to be something really unique. However, throughout its first season's 12 episodes, Stray Dogs never really discovers what it wants to be. Throw in some sporadic comedy, unnecessary gore along with some of the poorest excuses for detective work I've ever seen and you've got a recipe for disaster.
I truly mean what I say with regard to the promise I had for the show. It loosely reminded meet of the anime Gungrave's synopsis with an orphan joining a powerful agency and excelling through the ranks. I really enjoyed the first episode or two with the introduction of our main protagonist, Atsushi and how he comes into the Armed Detective Agency. I was looking forward to uncovering his past as well as the origin of his mystical Weretiger ability. But after 12 episodes of watching Stray Dogs, I would like to throw a strong disclaimer out there: don't expect anything to be explained in this anime. People use magic abilities, characters appear out of nowhere and mysteries are solved with the level of clairvoyance that would make Nostradamus roll over in his grave. I digress, I can give a pass to the whole magic thing, as I expect this to be explained in later seasons... If I'm even committed enough to make it that far.
After being collected by the agency, Atsushi does his best to fit in. And the man that initially recruited him, Dazai does his best to send Atsushi on meaningless tasks in order to establish himself at the agency. Perhaps it was to lay the groundwork for the characters, but I felt that nothing really happened in the first five or six episodes. At one point I thought the show was a dark comedy, the next a murder mystery, but all of the ideas that it seemed to have fizzled out into one disjointed mess. It's like the kid from your high school that never figured out what he really wanted to do and instead hung around into his 20s and 30s and made attempt after pitiful attempt to be cool. Not to mention the ghastly written comedy. Perusing the forums in hopes of finding out what I was missing to take away from the show, I found statement after statement praising the comedy in Stray Dogs. Has anime become so watered-down that feeble comedy such as the kind found here is passable as funny? The jokes are so forced and random that it made me cringe. I laughed at approximately 0% of it. I know I can't be the only one that feels this way.
Another mute point that was spewed at me was how each of the characters were based off of a famous writer of American, British or Japanese dissent. There is Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe and Agatha Christie just to name a few. The moment I thought I knew who the writers were portraying, they would do something so out of character that I had no idea who they were trying to emulate. It's almost as though the creators of Stray Dogs were trying to use this as a scapegoat. They probably figured that most anime fans have little knowledge of old literary geniuses, so it didn't matter if their personalities were accurate to achieve the same amount of praise.
Forgive me, for not all the writing is bad. The last 2 to 3 episodes dwarfed The rest of the series in terms of complexity and engagement. There are still the occasional scenes where the character's moods would shift from serious to slapstick, but I felt like overall I finally got some bang for my buck. The main villain even got some backstory and the writers offered a glimmering sliver of hope for next season.
As a main character, Atsushi was one emo moment away from me chalking him up as just another whiny bitch. Honestly it was uncovering his crippled past that drew me to the series in the beginning. I wish someone would've told me how little of an explanation I would get in the long run. His interactions with Dazai at the beginning of the anime were rather entertaining, but again their relationship never really transpired past the same cheesy recycled jokes and forced authoritative delegation by Dazai. Speaking of Dazai, what is with the suicide complex? I'm assuming it has something to do with his personification as a famous writer, but I found his split personality offputting and unnecessary. I mean who could be that bad at committing suicide? His true motives for recruiting Atsushi and acting the way he does haven't fully been explained, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Honestly, Kunikida was my favorite character of the entire show. His methodical personality and antics reminded me a lot of myself, and of course he got berated with jokes on a regular basis. It seemed like he was the only genuinely serious thing in the entire show. The rest of the characters were thrown in to fit various tropes, and that lazy, pompous detective guy Ranpo pissed me off to no end.
The OP is actually rather strong. It punches you in the face both visually and with some ear-splitting metal riffs. It's arguably the only aspect of Stray Dogs I consistently enjoyed from beginning to end. The ED and rest of the soundtrack were forgettable but didn't necessarily detract from the overall experience. I did quite enjoy the artstyle however. There was something about the colors that really caught my eye... I can't explain it but perhaps it was a combination of the bigger budget and flashy fight scenes that kept my senses stimulated. Each character was uniquely drawn, and there was rarely a repeated background to be seen. I loved it.
It goes without saying that my feelings about Bunguo Stray Dogs are relatively negative. I will probably stick with the second iteration launching in October because I've already devoted enough time to it... but only time will tell. Hey, maybe I'll even forget about how much I disliked certain aspects of it and move on. I'd recommend this to fans of more recent series, and people looking for generic battles and a cheap laugh. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of my Spring 2016 reviews!
Initially, I wasn't too excited or hyped up about the show because I didn't feel any type of enjoyment. Most of the times the humor felt forced along with most of the drama however during episode 3, that was the biggest turn around for me. Everything after that episode had me completely anxious, and excited to see what's going to happen next episode! Before I knew it the damn show was over. The story itself is really engaging. I think that the biggest part of Stray dogs that I enjoyed most, was the shows well delivered, strong, dramatic and
supernatural story-line. One of the biggest issues that I had, that I also noticed a few others had this problem, was the balance. Sometimes, stray dogs was a comedy, then a drama, and then finally back to comedy. The poor balancing negatively affected my time watching it because it really took away some of my engagement not to mention my enjoyment with the show. That said, the story is actually pretty solid. In terms of the stories supernatural occurrences, it reminds me a lot of both the series Durarara and Baccano. Oh, and I cannot forget the comedy style! although, thinking back I don't remember whether or not both DRRR and Baccano used over the top reaction faces..
That aside, the whole gang warfare, port mafia vs armed detective company reminded me a lot of yellow scarves vs the dollars. Of course Stray dogs version of this is more about justice than revenge. Now I did enjoyed Stray Dogs comedic routines. It is always refreshing to have a bit of comedy and fun after dramatic or serious events have occurred. It really does take your mind off of things for a while. I believe that uniqueness was Stray dogs strong-point overall. It is is one of those titles that's simply fun to watch because of an interesting story with unexpected and exciting new developments.
As far as animation and art style goes, visually stray dogs reminded me a lot of Baccano! even some of the characters looked like they belonged in Baccano. I noticed that Bungou Stray Dogs setting and character designs have a strong 1940s-1950s feel to it. I think that whoever the key animator was, and whoever was in charge of doing the background settings did an amazing job with it. I loved watching the fight scenes occurring in this show. Fights and action scenes are perhaps one of the most noticeable things caught my attention the most. During fights, I noticed that the fast paced animation used greatly increases the intensity of the battles. In addition to that, I also observed that when it comes to fighting, when characters are talking to each other, there is also a sense of build up. I knew that right after characters would finishing talking, there would most likely be some sort of turnover and the quality of the fight would turn out even greater. Character designs were pretty interesting, the eyes were most unique to me. They weren't quite oval shaped nor were they round. For some strange reason male characters features tend to stand our more than the females. I noticed that are drawn to be more "pronounced" so to speak. They did a great job making a good looking main character for the Fujo's to go nuts over too.
Sound was pretty great too. I enjoyed both the soundtrack and voice actors used in Stray dogs... well except Chiaki Omigawa. Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard. She sounds like a boy going through puberty, that is how bad her voice is. Every other voice actor I had no issues with. The background music was pretty good too. I like that during battles, the music would help intensify the fight. Lastly, I loved that vocals were used in most of the songs, rather than just sticking with instrumentals.
Character growth and development is featured in the show however, it's not really prominent. I feel like the events in season 2 will definitely help characters develop more so that they aren't too.. plain. My biggest issue with the characters is that none of them really stand out. Having a long lasting impression of the characters in stray dogs seems almost impossible due to their uninteresting traits along with personalities.
Enjoyment for the show was pretty strong. I think that this was easily my 4th favorite title airing this season. It does deliver quite a lot of drama, action, and mysterious elements. I do believe that because of the way the show is written and introduced that it doesn't appeal to everyone. My overall feeling for the show is that it felt too incomplete, like they are relying on season 2 to make things even better. Despite that that though, I believe that stray dogs delivered enough greatness to make me want to come back for more. I was impressed with just about everything featured in Bungou Stray Dogs.
Bungou Stray Dogs had a somewhat interesting premise, yet was ultimately disappointing. This anime could be easily summarized as an average battle shōnen with arguably sub par comedy: not exclusively because the comedy is bad, which is hit and miss, but because of its implementation in the most inappropriate moments. This does not mean the anime as a whole is terrible, it is simply lacking as hardly any progression was made throughout its airing time making it as a whole just average.
The story of Bungou Stray Dogs is centered around the orphan protagonist Atsushi who was kicked out of the orphanage because of mysterious incidents
that happen around him. Having no idea or clue on how to survive, he aimlessly wanders around, just to coincidently fish out a suicidal detective out of the river, by the name of Dazai. Of course it just so happens he is no ordinary person: he works for a firm of supernatural investigators. Being pulled into this world, the daily life of the protagonist begins with a wacky cast of characters. Not to mention the mystery surrounding the main character.
At first glance it may seem as an endearing premise, which it is, only up to a certain extent: while it treats some of the difficulties the protagonist is suffering, it mostly focuses on the introduction of new characters and their respective powers. Hence, is mostly of episodic nature. The various powers introduced are interesting and varied on its own, which in turn makes it possible to have entertaining battle sequences, although the conflicts are very simple: detective firm versus the mafia. This is combined with an abundance of comedy, which is personally the biggest gripe with the show. The humor is rather basic: suicide jokes, ill-timed situational ones are such examples. What is worse, whenever it is trying to be serious, it is often followed by a gag that hampers the immersion in the narrative significantly.
The characters presented in the anime are of simple nature, with some endearing ones, while others are rather dull. The main character Atsuchi is a timid boy who does not know of friendship; combined with the fact that he is very insecure of himself and his peers, the protagonist finds himself in a constant conflict. Being labeled as a seinen anime, it does not present an interesting development akin to the genre, rather it follows that of the battle shōnen one. He experiences some character development throughout the series by interactions with the cast, and the events that happen to him. He could be described generally as a wimp in some occasions, while in others he is courageous.
Regarding the other characters, these are rather stereotypical with their own charm in some cases: the excentric airhead, the suicidal enthuthiast, the strict guy, the maniac - just to name a few. Some of these have some mysterious background attached to them, which enhances the narrative, and in exploring their respective personalities. Due to the short span of the anime, most characters remain very basic, as well as the opposing entities of the main cast. Consequently, there is little investment in the villains themselves, which is a bit dissapointing.
The animation of Bungou Stray Dogs was well executed which implemented some great action scenes: fast and fluid, with consistent design. As for the art style, it was remarkable with amusing character designs: although using a similar template as other anime, it is distinguishable on its own, more akin to the likes of Durara. In addition, it makes use of exaggerated facets of the characters for comedic purposes, which were lacking: this was mainly due because of the humor that simply was not fitting for the different atmospheres the anime was trying to portray.
Concerning the sound used, it was a whole well implemented and executed with befitting voice actors, although in some cases it could feel off.This mainly concerns in some cases some transitions of suspense to comedy, and also the protagonist. The soundtrack uses various tunes, jazz included, which is a nice touch to the generic notes viewers are used to. The ending of the anime was well done with a great transition, which was personally a joy to listen to. Unlike the ending, the opening is rather forgettable as a whole.
Bungou Stray Dogs was a show I had some interest in, yet was rather disappointing as a whole, which was mainly because of the ill-timed and arguably bad comedy. The anime falls short of even beginning to expand on the whole mystery surrounding the protagonist, consequently being quite hard to get into. Regardless of said issues, it had some great action sequences as well some interesting background stories to share, which was satisfying. Otherwise this anime is quite average and does not stand out from its competitors. If the jokes are no issue for the viewer, I'd say try it out, otherwise not.
What happens when you get together a special group of individuals based off famous literacy authors? The answer is Bungou Stray Dogs. Only this time, they have special abilities in a world where there’s mystery, crime, and all other sorts of dark phenomenon that will take your breath away. Based off the manga of the same name, this is a show that can be easily recommendable to almost anyone. But if you’re a fan of supernatural mystery, it’ll be an exception treat.
Bungou Stray Dogs is prime proof that supernatural fiction can still work in attractive fashion. The show stars a group of characters as part
of the group known as the Armed Detective Agency, who specializes in missions to solve dangerous cases. It offers a select group of individuals with their own unique talents, traits, and ways that makes us wonder about their everyday life style. Then, we also meet Atsushi Nakajima, the main protagonist who got kicked out of his orphanage and ends up becoming a member of the Agency himself. It’s like fate connected his life together with these individuals in a story of innovative wonders.
If you’ve seen The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or something along that line, then watching this show will feel a bit familiar. On paper, it’s a pretty cool looking show with a cast of badass characters named after famous literary works. Not only that, their special powers are also based off of their well-known literature. The first episodes establishes a blend between mystery, supernatural, and black comedy. In fact, the show easily crafts a mood that is rather comical with the way Osamu Dazai is introduced. I mean think about it, the guy tries to commit suicide in an absurd fashion until Atsushi decides to save him. Throughout the show, his relationship with Dazai can be viewed as bizarre. This also expands to many other characters because truth to be told, Atsushi really is like the new kid in class. Other characters he gets associated with such as Junchirou Tanizaki, Doppo Kunikda, Ranpo Edogawa, Akiko Yosano, and Kenji Miyazaza also brings the best and worst out of him. Throughout the series, it’s also shown that he is perhaps the most “human” out of all the characters. He is very ordinary and has low confidence in himself from the beginning. The revelation regarding his own powers also makes him feel like he’s a walking curse and that misfortune follows those who he encounters. Now you’re probably asking why you should care. The main factor is that Atsushi needs to realize that not everyone can be saved. Kunikda realizes this and constantly reminds himself and others that it’s a cruel world they live in. And that’s a lot to say about the show. The world setting of Bungou Stray Dogs has mafias, underworld organizations, and crimes that goes beyond imaginations.
The story structure sets up the show nicely with its first two episodes. I will emphasize that as part of the series, comedy also plays a large factor to perhaps decide whether you’d like to continue watching or not. For some, this can be very entertaining in the form of popcorn comedy. For others, it can be distracting and even annoying. Director Igarashi Takuya puts his talent at the table and his previous work with Ouran Koukou Host Club can feel familiar to those who recognizes it. That is to say, the comedy may not be suitable for everyone, in particular the timing. The adaptation itself is also quite faithful with panel by panel. It also brings in the violence that gives the show a darker tone mixed in with the humor and jokes. However, I will mention that the show does go off for two episodes around mid-season (not based on the manga). Also, the plan to adapt the series is split into 2-cours (12 episodes ach) and this review will cover the first half.
As some may expect, the Armed Detective Agency also attracts enemies. This is where the Port Mafia comes in as they are introduced. Working from the shadows with mysterious origins, we also meet Ryunosuke Akutagawa, mysterious member of Port Mafia who seems to have a history with Dazai. Other members introduced in the mafia also shows their ruthlessness and lack of care for human life such as terrorist bomber Momojiro Kaji. The point is that the show makes them the main antagonists for the first cour, an antithesis to what Atsushi believes in. At one point, he even meets a young girl known for the murder of 35 people yet still hopes there’s some redemption for her.
As I mentioned before, Bungou Stray Dogs is a cool looking show, literally. The characters portrays some unique personalities with their own personal powers. From tiger transformation to bringing objects into existence by just writing in a notebook, the show demonstrates the capability of attracting fan of supernatural fiction. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the mystery is very impressive. It’s actually pretty straightforward although sparks quite the curiosity about characters’ background stories. What I mean is more of the cases that is rather predictable and some of them actually feels repetitive by nature.
Bones helms the series and once again shows that they are capable of capturing the magic of supernatural genre. Character abilities not only looks cool but also decoratively presented in fashion that is extraordinary. Speaking of the characters, each of them has some unique appearance that makes them stand out in one way or another. From the carefree expressions of Dazai to the mischievous Akiko, it has something to offer for anyone. There’s also a prominence of male characters with bishounen-like characteristics so female fans may find this series a nice sight to look at. The action speaks pretty much for itself with good amount of violence, choreography, and battle theatrics. I can also confess that most of the character expressions in the anime is done better than the manga.
Soundtrack is a nice way to make the show more entertaining as well. From the OP song by Trash Candy to the battle OST, it gives the pleasure of what supernatural battles are all about. Character voice mannerism can also be praised especially for guys like Akutagawa’s sinister tone or Daizai’s sarcastic personality. Because the show is known for its catchy dialogues, the voice mannerism has to be portrayed with credibility and the voice actors/actresses does just that.
It is what it is. Bungou Stray Dogs is pretty much a show that can be watched by anyone from the beginning without any knowledge about literature. That being said, the comedy can feel like a bit of the hit or miss category. After the introductory episodes, the story does pick up quite a bit so patience is a key to enjoy the show. Luckily, there’s an adequate amount of entertainment provided by the unique cast of characters, themes, and storytelling so be prepared for a wild ride. It’s one that you’ll someday come back and realize how fun it was.
Before I settle into my oh-so-riveting review of Bungalow Stray Dogs, let’s clear two things up.
1. Atsushi got kicked out of an orphanage.
2. Kyouka killed thirty-five people.
I know this is a little confusing, but let me just break this down.
1. Atsushi got kicked out of an orphanage.
2. Kyouka killed thirty-five people.
Now, let’s move on.
While Bungee was a pretty fun show to come back to week by week, it kinda overstayed its welcome. With some interesting ideas came a rather formulaic, and otherwise inconsistent plot, that was only held up so much by the surprisingly comedic nature of the anime, as well as the good production
values. Speaking of values, what is the value of 7 x 5? It’s thirty-five, the amount of people Kyouka killed! She killed thirty-five people, everybody! WOW!
What I liked right off the bat is how Stray Dogs quickly reassures the audience that this isn’t gonna be some edgefest. Atsushi gets kicked out of his orphanage (this is important, remember it) and a dark tone is set, but comedy kicks down the door by introducing Dazai after his failed attempt at suicide.
Yes, you read that correctly. A character’s running gag is that he contemplates and even attempts suicide pretty much constantly. That’s a thing and it’s easy to accept.
Then the love-hate relationship between the drowning fool and his partner, Kunikida, is established, a little bit of investigating and exposition later, and a small fight at the end perfectly label this as a mystery/crime action show with some good laughs and a few dark undertones. Is that what defines the following eleven episodes? Yes. But… not exactly in the optimal way.
In several places, the show seems to want to be a comedy more than anything, no matter what’s going on. One episode is spent building up an intimidating enemy… only for them to be swiftly defeated. Off-screen. Wow. Or, a dark scene could potentially come up, like the middle of episode six, and immediately follow with Dazai goofing around in the office. Consistency is a little nice to have…
But you know what IS consistent? The fact that Kyouka killed thirty-five people! It never changes! AND, Atsushi was kicked out of his orphanage!
And even though I probably found this to be funnier than a lot of other people did, the comedy did get stale after a while. There are a lot of quirky characters and the art’s shifting styles made it enjoyable for me, but after a while, you get the picture. It’s generally the same jokes, the same gimmicks, especially since most of it is centered around Dazai. He’s suicidal and loves women. Oh no, I probably spoiled like three entire episodes worth of material…! And comedy in general is a huge hit-or-miss. Some are obviously gonna love it while others will hate it. If the first episode didn’t get you interested, the rest will be a torturous gauntlet of strange humor.
Beyond that, the conflicts in general are interesting, and the supernatural abilities of each character make for some good battles; most take a couple minutes, but some can be pretty long, as in, half an episode at least. The powers are pretty unique and suit their characters, either fitting their personality, or the general theme of the character. (All the characters and their powers relate to literature, most of it being Japanese.)
But one of the most frustrating things is the lack of involvement with the main character, Atsushi, who got kicked out of his orphanage. Sushi-man doesn’t learn how to control his power until late in the series, and doesn’t do so with training or anything, it just… happens. Before this, he almost never uses it at all… in fact, he has such little involvement with -anything- that one might question his role in the story. For the time being, he just gets dragged around by the agency he’s in.
Part of the reason for this lack of sushi is because, for some strange reason, Bongo’s light novel spinoff, which focuses more on Kunikida, was adapted in the very middle. It’s a very strange couple of filler episodes that turned me off pretty quickly. It feels weird that I’m saying this to Studio Bones, but guys, there’s a much better way to adapt this… it’s called an OVA, and you put them after the series is finished.
You know who else is finished? The thirty-five people that Kyouka killed!
And a little predictably, the first cour of Oingo Boingo ends with a very unceremonious episode, even though it had one of the best fights. While Stray Dogs was planned for a split-cour release from the beginning, it’s not catered to that sort of release very well, given the nearly aimless first season. If this is supposed to be a preview, it’s quite a long one, and the second cour has a lot of making up to do.
So, did you know that Atsushi got kicked out of his orphanage? Just a quick reminder on that, because that is indeed true. Bunko really wants to get this point across, for some reason, so they show the very same flashback of Atsushi getting kicked out of his orphanage whenever possible. I guess they just wanna repeat everything in this show a thousand times? Whatever. I feel like Atsushi could be interesting… being the self-insert that questions things that are happening and the people around them, he’s a bit like an audience member, but not self-aware or witty in any way. Plus, he’s the typical unconfident but powerful protagonist with an insanely OP ability that the bad guys wanna capture because they’re bad guys. I think there’s a lot that could’ve been done with him, but instead, a mixed bag of “eh” was created.
Dazai, the not-so-desperately-needed comic relief of the anime, is definitely the most enjoyable character, at least until you get tired of his gimmick and his otherwise unbalanced personality. Here’s a question, why does this guy always try to kill himself? And why is he happy about it? ...And why is he otherwise a serious character? Unlike Atsushi, who has room to develop, I think the author wrung out everything this character had and shaped him into a walking question mark.
Eventually, my favorite character became Kunikida, because his personality wasn’t much of a gimmick and the laughs generated from him were often due to his interactions with others, specifically Dazai, who irritates him to no end. Plus, he has some super weird ideals and relationship goals. Whatever levitates your Gengar, man. He’s a cool guy.
Should I talk about the villains? Because aside from Mr. Edgy Bad Guy with the Rash, who ust comes off as a typical, edgy bad guy who tries his best to be intimidating and only does so for the first episode, villains just come and go with each episode. Pretty much everything they do is just kill a bunch of random passersby, because that’s always sure to rev up the tension! ...Not.
Later on, you’ll meet Kyouka, who killed thirty-five people. ...This actually isn’t repetitive beyond her introductory episode, I’m just memeing you.
Studio Bones crafted a predictably impressive-looking show, particularly with its gorgeous, vintage-themed character designs. My favorite aspect isn’t their clothing, interestingly enough, but their diamond-shaped eyes. It’s very simple but has a lot of character. They also do their best to keep the comedy alive by shifting the style to a simple, more cartoonish vibe which only animate between a couple frames and show some brilliant character faces and reactions.
Coupled with this is a fantastic voice cast; @sushi is unfortunately weak with a rookie seiyuu, but superstars Hiroshi Kamiya and Mamoru Miyano knock it out of the fucking park as Ranpo and Dazai. They sound like they had a ball with their roles. The soundtrack, though, is just… weird. I didn’t like it, but it’s certainly an interesting bag of… well, all sorts of things, really. At one point, I heard a bunch of screeching and then some quiet rapping, if that’s any indication. I like the OP, though. It’s a pretty solid hard rock song with an interesting vocal hook and some great instrumentation. But the melancholic ED is even better, being a mellow track that transitions very well at the end of each episode.
And so, Bumble Stray Dogs is done for now, but will be back in the future. I’ll come back to greet it again, because I do think the series has a lot of potential for improvement, but it needs to get the ball rolling fast, before Kyouka kills another thirty-five people and Atsushi gets kicked out of another orphanage.
Story - 5/10
Art - 8/10
Sound - 5/10
Characters - 5/10
Enjoyment - 5/10
People killed by Kyouka - 35/10
Overall - 5/10
Favorite character - Kunikida
Favorite episode - 1
Recommendation level - Medium-high
(This is a spoiler-free review adapted for this site)
[Synopsis]: Due to a recent string of mysterious incidents involving a great, white tiger, Nakajima Atsushi (Uemura Yuto) is evicted from the orphanage that has served as his home his entire life. Left both homeless and penniless, Atsushi happens upon a drowning stranger whom he rescues from a nearby river. The man turns out to be Dazai Osamu (Miyano Mamoru) who, along with his partner, happens to be searching for the white tiger responsible for Atsushi’s predicament. Dazai himself belongs to the Armed Detective Agency – a group of people possessing supernatural abilities that solve especially violent
crimes and combat underworld organizations. Following Dazai’s lead, Atsushi is quickly entangled with the agency and the menacing Port Mafia as he struggles to find his place in the world.
Bungou Stray Dogs features a fairly small cast, comprised mostly of the various members of the Armed Detective Agency, the Port Mafia, and a few episodic characters besides. Perhaps the most key feature of the show’s cast is that each character’s name serves as some reference to a renowned author or poet with most of the references stemming from modern Japanese literature. This relationship between author and character is an ongoing element within the show and often certain personality traits or actions associated with the authors are exhibited by their respective characters in varying degrees.
While this aspect of the show sounds both interesting and engaging the manner in which it manifests is very lackluster and sometimes even problematic. The actual depth of reference the characters pull from their real-life counterparts is very shallow with most characters simply borrowing their names with their abilities often titled after their author’s most pervasive work. Beyond this the characters don’t seem to have all that much depth to them and hardly borrow from their referenced authors in either a thematic or intelligent way. What could have been a complex and intricate parallel of ideologies and themes becomes no more than a slew of referenced names. My own familiarity with each author is incomplete and there are occasionally thematic parallels that arise however for the most part the show is quite shallow in how it pulls off this would-be-interesting characteristic.
Though the actual depth of Bungou Stray Dogs’ references is questionable, what issues arise within the show’s cast lie with the characters themselves on an individual level. In terms of characterization and how the character fits into the show, Dazai Osamu is possibly the biggest offender. Whether it’s his passion for attempting to kill himself over and over again and comically failing each time or his desire to find a partner for his ideal double suicide, Dazai presents an incredibly unappealing character. Beyond the fact that paralleling the real Dazai Osamu’s relationship with suicide and its presence within his works by turning it into a poorly constructed gag is the height of insensitivity, the gag itself makes absolutely no sense. The very fact that a character is continually trying to kill themselves yet both fails to actually do so and will fight for their own self-preservation runs completely opposite of whatever poor characterization could be drawn out of Dazai’s ridiculous character. In a number of ways, Dazai is representative of how the show handles its references – in a loose and often unintelligent way.
The protagonist of the show, Nakajima Atsushi doesn’t fare much better than Dazai in terms of characterization. From the beginning of the story it is quite clear that he has themes of rejection and belonging after being tossed out of his orphanage. He feels out of place wherever he goes and undeserving of anybody’s interest or compassion. This is a decent start and he does develop over the course of the show, slowly coming to terms with his place within the agency and accepting his coworkers however this is not achieved without some hitches. For one, a certain flashback of his dismisal from the orphanage is often queued whenever the show attempts to discuss the themes surrounding Atsushi and its over-usage quickly becomes tiring. The same exact sequence plays multiple times an episode for more than half the series and its pervasiveness gives insight into the show’s complete inability to characterize Atsushi outside of paralleling his predicament at hand with the scene in question.
Though I’ve highlighted Dazai and Atsushi specifically here, the rest of the cast isn’t a whole lot better. Atsushi doesn’t really play off of his coworkers at the agency as much as he predictably reacts to them in given gag scenarios. The Port Mafia, despite their initial introduction, is continuously undermined as an antagonistic enemy as their plans are foiled relatively easily which cuts the tension surrounding them considerably. And lastly, the show’s cast is chronically over-involved. Bungou Stray Dogs tends to shy away from introducing new characters once each story gets rolling which causes the subsequent events to feel extraordinarily coincidental and predictable at times when the same characters keep wrapping around into relevance.
Bungou Stray Dogs’ animation is perhaps its only worthwhile attribute. Though it fails in various ways elsewhere, the art style is crisp and unwavering while Bones presents beautifully animated action scene after action scene. The fight sequences are very high quality though they are actually rather sparse for the greater part of the show – growing far more frequent after around episode 8 and on. Despite its subject matter, a lot of the show features slapstick, physical comedy and various gags which utilize a slightly more cartoonish aesthetic. Though these gags still look good visually, they are rarely funny and often only serve to disrupt the scene at hand.
The first episode of Bungou Stray Dogs is fairly slow paced as it introduces the viewer to Atsushi, Dazai, and Kunikida as well as the existence of the Armed Detective Agency and their supernatural powers. It isn’t a bad introductory episode but it doesn’t present much of a hook into the show either. The shock comes with the arrival of the third episode as it features the show’s first real action sequence. The episode as a whole is surprisingly bloody and ruthless despite the two proceeding episodes of mostly repeated gags between Atsushi and Dazai. This episode was actually a pretty good introduction into the brutality of the Port Mafia which would later be undermined repeatedly however its the show’s earliest insight into Bungou Stray Dogs’ biggest, critical problem.
After the early introductory episodes, the show plays out in somewhat of an episodic fashion – featuring Atushi as he tries to find his place within the agency and one of the various detectives that work there as they team up to solve various mysteries and cases. There isn’t much of an overarching plot though the Port Mafia’s interest in abducting and selling Atsushi is a recurring part of the story for most of the show. The stand-alone episodes aren’t terribly interesting and the featured mysteries leave a lot to be desired as their outcomes often felt predictable or coincidental.
The major failing of Bungou Stray Dogs is in how poorly it marries its two establishes tones as its subject matter involving murders and underground crime organizations clashes against its style of comedy giving way to very polarizing scenes. The show undercuts whatever real drama or tension it is able to conjure up with its rampant character gags. A police woman is shot in cold-blood and washed away by the river and her senior and subordinates are visibly torn up about it. Dazai then cuts into the scene, mourning the loss of her beauty and says she should have committed a double suicide with him instead. Not only does it continuously set precedent for generally tension-free scenes but it does so by utilizing the stupidest gag in the entire show. One second the show pokes fun at Kunikida’s ideals and Dazai imbibes hallucinative mushrooms and the next moment people are being forcibly drowned, gassed to death, and killed as products of a black market organ trade.
The extremes are too huge and the comedy is too gag-oriented and dumb to allow for the viewer to take any of the more gruesome scenes seriously. The show tries wholeheartedly to be dramatic but completely fails due to its cast of primarily comedic characters who simply aren’t capable of executing a serious moment either because of their exaggerated nature or comedic tendencies.
The soundtrack didn’t stand out to me very much and mostly served to reinforce the two prevalent atmospheres of the show. The music supported the show’s comedy and action from the background without ever becoming too prominent or memorable itself.
[Final Thoughts and Rating]:
Looking at Bungou Stray Dogs as a whole, I would warily say it has potential to be more than what it is. The show element of referencing various authors and imparting various attributes from them and their works into the characters is a very compelling idea at face-value and if it could make better thematic use of the technique I think it could yield very interesting results. With the next season already around the corner I have to wonder if perhaps the show would do better outside of the format of exploring individual members of the Armed Detective Agency each episode and instead attempted to tackle something a bit grander and more comprehensive. With these hopes in mind, the show has to find a place for its comedy and I think if it cut it entirely it would have a fair chance at becoming something worthwhile however I doubt this will come to pass.
To add a quick note about whether or not it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the referenced stories and authors beforehand – I don’t think there is much benefit to it currently. I was familiar with probably over half of the authors mentioned and a moderate amount of the literature alluded to and outside of a few shallow comparisons between characters and how the show aesthetically designed their abilities, there wasn’t much extra benefit to the knowledge so I wouldn’t urge prospective viewers to familiarize themselves unless they wanted to.
I gave Bungou Stray Dogs a 4 because its cast had either poor or uninteresting characterization, its story had a variety of problems, and it was very conflicted tonally causing. Its later action sequences and slight movement away from the rampant comedy of its earlier episodes improved its second half by a small margin along with the overall quality of its animation.
I would recommend Bungou Stray Dogs for its action sequences and animation above all else. Though it has its fair share of narrative issues and a cast of problematic characters, its visuals are quite strong all throughout. I didn’t enjoy the comedy of the show however one can tell whether or not it appeals to them by the time the first episode finishes.
The anime is overall very great and attracted my attention. It had just the amount of mystery, suspense and funny moment to make the show entertaining and interesting.
The Main Character is likable. He had very heroic moments like wanting to protect his friends, but what he didn't realized is that his friends are just so OP that he is the one needing protection.
Wondering if this anime is for you, then see my below list of what I enjoyed form this anime:
3) Funny moments
4) No Harem/ Reverse Harem / Ecchi
5) Without a lot of female characters
6) No pathetic highschool squealing girls that
faint a lot
7) Great fighting scenes
8) Art and Graphic are pretty good
One thing I have to point out is that: the main character, Atsushi, is well..........Very Abnormal Looking. Heed my warning in mind. He is not your average looking anime males. No, he is not a spiky hair guy. Just heed my warning ...... :)
Over all, this anime is definitely worth your time if what I said above is your taste.
Warning: Spoiler Alert. This review is filled with typographical and grammatical errors waiting to be criticized. Do not proceed if bothered. I have read many reviews about Bungou Stray Dogs that contradicts and compliments my opinion but I came to show mine. I let my review speak for itself :)
First, let us break down its tone and mood. Bungou Stray Dogs is one of a kind series that does not settle down to a numbered genres. If you already watched it, you might have noticed that it switches from different tones and variations. I do admit I admire it's shapeshifting.
It may be shocking but I really found it <on point> and helpful. From a humurous communication styles to a serious, fatal & lethal negotiations, to even the characters' decisions based on the given situations and cases, the series takes you to a roller coaster ride without feeling nauseous but rather exciting, thrilling and unquestionably fascinating. Many animes may have had attempted to input several genres in a series but only a few succeeded in maintaining its spot and uniqueness. Surprisingly, Bungou Stray Dogs survived this dilemma. It can be confusing from another's point of view but it just simply wants to create a huge quality leaving the viewers hanging and wanting for more. It seeks alliance from various shades of flavor to generate a beautiful, decent, yet simple style. The tones are well balanced and if you pay attention to the series or manga, it isn't selfish for explanations. It is certainly its beauty that allows it to mix sorts of elements. If it weren't for it's limitless boundary, it would only be your typical clichéd mystery-tragedy anime that's forgettable in many aspect and worst case scenario, leaves you a boring impression. Its strategic goal of being diverse and versatile eventually became its assets to make it to the top shelf.
•Some tones in the series/manga:
『Entertaining, Mysterious, Serious, Humurous, Sympathetic, Secretive, Ambivalent, Scared, Hopeful, Excited, Sad, Pessimistic, Optimistic, Determined, Sentimental, Egotistical, Philosophical, Thoughtful, Informative, Comical, Nostalgic, Chaos, Impassioned』
Indeed when it comes to exchange of words and arrangement of dialogues, the script is very well-written. Inheriting quotes and works of art characterized by the real-life authors are a very smart move of the mangaka. It isn't really distinctive using counterparts from the real world but it is a very artistic way pulling a series made up of literary motivated acts. For instance, the battle between Armed Detective Agency and Port Mafia involves heavily, dramatic, bloodbath, action, scene stirred by delicate, powerful, confrontational, self-reinforcing and logical lines of the characters. The humurous tag involved in the series isn't that hilarious but gives you a good laugh and rather a relief sigh that the characters can be dangerous but at the same time embarrassingly awkward. It balances well with the other elements considering its main genres.
The arcs are undeniably challenging and offer incentives such as "the one who stays at the end will find the story very intriguing and enthralling". Another example is The Guild Arc and Dazai's past (Both from Season 2), now we are alt+tab in a more serious environment. We see the comical mood fades into view as we are now more exposed of the darker side of the story. More and more villains are introduced and we see ourselves having trust issues. But still the series never really loses its foundation—Diversity/Versatility. The emotions surrounding the different arcs are forsooth saturated and we are given a clear detail of the characters' principles and what and who they are or want to be.
While some argues that it has no actual plot, but the constant fighting for justice and saving people lead us to crave for more (and it is still ongoing for both anime and manga). Moreover, the characters are believable and realistic when socializing, narrating and battling. I wouldn't mind telling you that the manga is doing better and better so I hope for more of Armed Detective Agency, Port Mafia and other known and unknown organizations in the future.
On the other hand, the series by far did not disappoint when it comes to visualizing the characters' past and little backgrounds gathering the conclusion that its script opens opportunities for both the characters and the story plot to improve and grow better than its current state. Kudos for a very good written script!
•Sounds & Cinematography:
Before moving onto the characters, let's first take a look at its cinematography. Some series are totally saved by the animations or cameraworks. And Bungou Stray Dogs is not an exemption. Its cinematography is quite the philisophy of art. It uses various colors that implement different definitions. For example, brown and white are dominant when the mood is pretty stable and used in a normal conversation featuring Armed Detective Agency members. Red and black refers to Port Mafia's activities, positions, and abilities while Yellow and Green represents the power and theme of The Guild organization.
The OP from Seasons 1 and 2 have an excellent remarks to display. Every angle has different transitions that suits the mood of the video. The color matches the characters and the setting. It has accurate speed for actions, enough spoiler, good exposure time for the involved characters that make the viewers drop their jaws. It uses faded, darker filters and heavy amount of vignette expressing its action-mystery genre. The lightings and backgrounds prove its instagrammable status and shout aesthetics. The use of color neon green wallpapered the actions intelligently and highlights the important details that need attention. The sound is used esthetically organized by drums and electric guitars & such, (and of course Chuuya's voice yas!), Granrodeo and SCREEN Mode fearlessly gave it a wonderful performance. Trash Candy and Reason Living are your energetic and pretty catchy soundtracks you wouldn't miss whilst watching Bungou Stray Dogs.
However the ending songs, compared to the opening songs, sit down to one filter for a feed. If you observe them, it focuses on blue and white colors maintaining the balance between peace and acceptance combined with dramatic lyrics of Luck Life's "Namae wo Yobuyo" and "Kaze ga Fuku Machi". The message brought by the songs are heavily filled with emotions and drives, and thus, obviously, can put you to tears. (IT IS SO TOUCHING THAT I PERSONALLY PUT IT IN MY PLAYLIST and play it everyday when I come to school). In other words, the ending songs are really, really heartwarming as the singers and the band delivered it beautifully.
To sum up its sounds and cinematography, Bungou Stray Dogs states a perfect presentation, status, and position.
Out of all the areas I'm assessing, Bungou Stray Dogs' characters are its triumph card. From being <Gifted> and having an incredible ability to bringing life to the famous authors and their works, Asagiri has executed his characters very well. Their visuals and arts are highly clean and decent from the costumes they wear and the weapons they use. Despite introducing numerous characters from different arcs, I personally believe that everyone of them had made enough screen time and allowed the viewers and readers to adore and determine who they are. Though some of them has longer amount of exposure, it borrows us distance to recall the newest and recent characters. For example, taking the time of your life indulging the Anne of Abyssal Red ability, Rashomon, Beast Beneath the Moonlight, No Longer Human, Thou Shalt Not Die, Undefeated by the Rain, or Ultra Deduction, you'll find yourself being enchanted by other amazing abilities such as Perfect Crime, Dangai, The Great Old Ones, or Crime and Punishment.
The MC is kind, sentimental and genuinely cares for others because of his traumatic past that promotes us the benefit-of-the-doubt to hold on to his story longer as he proves himself he isn't just "good-for-nothing" to the readers and viewers. His repeated torture scenes and deja vus from his past is forgivable considering teenagers are frequently fragile. Believe it or not, it's kind of impressing because Atsushi represents millenials' moodswings and treacherous decisions. I really, really like the way Asagiri describes Atsushi. He deserves to be a protagonist despite the fact that Dazai had one of the best screen time and story. I believe this is because of his relatable past and personality.
•Supporting Characters and Antagonist/s:
From my perspective, the villains as well as the side characters acted their roles the way the story wants them to and I did not feel any annoying overpowered (which is sometimes exhausting) aura among them. Each has their own SWOT Analysis— Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, which is really marvelous and wonderful. In the case of Dazai's ability, it is proven in both manga and anime that he is the most powerful among ability users but is weak in comes of physical combat and other aspect. On account of that he only temporarily nullifies ability when he touches the target. (Still, I love Dazai!)
I hereby announce that Bungou Stray Dogs is proven... GUILTY for being ambitious and versatile, collaborating such concepts that are admirable and therefore successfully creating a well-desired product that will secure its sustained competitive advantage.
Written by Kafka Asagiri, illustrated by Sango Harukawa and under Bones studio, Bungou Stray Dogs, an anime filled with supernatural action has totally made it for bring us cool characters and several unpredictable elements through it episode one by one. What can I say? I just sit and watch it with “good hopes” about the anime and believe it or not that hopes really fulfilled at the end. Although, the good hopes I mention in here not all of em are answered by this season, there are several reasons why I give 7 (seven) for this despite the fact of my desire to give it
an eight (I wish I could but still my final whole score is 7 (seven)). Well, why the score is 7 (seven) not 8 (eight)? I’ll explain it further below.
Centers on several people who are gifted with supernatural powers and how they use them to do some various activities, for an example like the main characters did for a living as a member of association named Armed Detective Agency. The activities started from problem solving through some cases, catching culprit to bomb disposal. Well, sounds too much? Nope! Because both the writer and the director has succeed to deliver that package directly to the audience without side issue of little importance at the first. I certainly have to admire the creators for not throwing much garbage in the beginning though there’s some episode not fully whole action. But, I liked the story idea very much. I think this kind of story could be a favorite for an anime fans who like an action genre. I don’t recommend this anime to a fans that like full action without background story. Cause this anime show some short explanation about character’s point of view and cases through several event and condition for approximately 24 (twenty four) minutes each of episode. I felt that kind of short but whatever, I still watch the anime though.
For the beginning of the story, I admit it that I quite confused about how the story started. Suddenly, there’s an orphan who complaining in the side of long river about himself after terrible event happened to him. What I confused at that time is that, what kind of action story that the writer want to show with those kind of start? Will it be like an amazing superhero action, an extraordinary magic action or maybe a “boring” one? I added the “boring” one because I thought the good visual is trick from the creators so we can’t denied to watch it. But, after I watched the end of first episode to third episode I’m sorry that I ever thought about this anime that way. Cause especially from the third episode the story suddenly twist into cool and awesome action with little surprise essence from the characters that existed. Indeed, I have to disappointed that near the end the creators still add the introduction one of character which I thought it doesn’t need to. But again, as a matter of fact it well received and paid in the end of the last episode.
I love the creator’s idea to make this story not so serious, added by some little dramatized comedy that makes me giggles several times. For an example like in second episode when one of the main characters got stuck in a barrel for a reason that awkardly ridiculous.
In conclusion, I think for this season the creators did a story focus to introduce the main and the villain caharacters, not focus to main or ideal conflict to it climax or anti climax of the story yet. There’s still a lot of homework for the creators or I’d rather say there’s event that need more to explain and that includes the past of the story and the impact of them to the characters, villain’s true intention, and many other secret that important to known by the audience. And for that, I’m just glad to realize there’s second season for this show.
I love how the creators draw the characters uniquely. My favorite of all is Nakajima Atsushi’s design. I actually didn’t like that type of character but I don’t know, I mean I loved the hair (to me it’s like modern style of fashionista), love from the clothes to the black boots he wore too. And I like the design of Dr. Yosano too. Black short hair decorated with a medium butterfly hairpin, white collar shirt with long black tie, black skirt, black stocking and high heels. Both the design definetely worked to plus the aura of each character and helped improve the personality of the characters. And that condition apply to other characters too, all of the the main and the villains. They made the characters are memorable to the audience and they are different one to another.
The art background is realistic enough. I liked the opening when Dazai fall from a high-buiding by the way. It looked cool despite the fact when his body touch the ground, he will be dead. Fortunately, that kind of event did not exist haha. Well, back to the background, I think that the creator already did best for them. Like places (from side of the river to big shipboard) and the action event that got more intense the longer you watched. The design of character, the background and the story fits and blend to one another. It is a very good job.
My first confession about this section is that I fallen in love with the ending song. Though through picture of the ending you can see that such event doesn’t existed to the story yet but the song hits the feel. I definetely will keep it in my track list of anime songs and hearing it again and again. For the opening, I guess that fits well to it scene and has rising the air of the battle scene.
For seiyuu part, I think they all have succeed to portrayed their character’s personality. Like several examples, first Uemura Yuto has made it to show how unconfidence Atsushi sometimes whenever he try to do something out of his imagination and afraid others see him as an annoying one that made them hate him till they want to ask Atsushi to get out of their sight. He started with a weak light voice but in some condition when Atsushi believe in himself, Uemura’s voice could change.
Second, that too happened with Dazai who portrayed by Mamoru Miyano that famous and known with his character voice on Yagami Light’s Death Note. He could make a line between when Dazai teasing or playing around with each other and a side when he get a serious one. It definetely improved the seiyuu cause he has succeed to present Dazai differently than other character he has already portray.
And for the third example, don’t forget Akutagawa who voiced by Ono Kensho. I’ve knew that Ono Kensho often portray a character that have soft side or I’d rather say the good one. But in this anime, (wow) it certainly showed that Ono Kensho have a wide ability to “misdirect” his voice into heavy and sounded bad and evil at the same time. I admit it that I was shocked when I realize who is the voice actor of Akutagawa and he unpredictably is Ono Kensho. They did a very good job with this section.
If the creators have wanted the character of this anime to remember by people who watch it (especially in Japan), then they have made it. First, it because there’s creativity and path that the creators have gives to this anime. And that creativity is to name almost main and villain character from famous literary author’s name in Japan. Which I found that is the brilliant idea to make the introduction of the character more simple and memorable.
Second, the design all of the characters they have made are unique (include their supernatural power) and their personality too. Well, you will find a character that looked weak in the beginning and suddenly he could do something out of beyond and our imagination, you will find a character that looked dumb but have a strong supernatural power, the one who looked innocent but deadful, the one who looked calm but knows everything or the one who looked elegant but in the end get scary as well. You will find many different and unique charactesr in it. My suggestion to describe them all is that, “Don’t judge a book by its cover!”
Despite of two good points I mentioned above, there’s still some shortage though. I have realized that for solution to several conflict that one of the main character through is too simple and fast. Realisticly, that could not happened just for a moment like that, but I’m still happy that after the solution, the next event get surprising feel for the audience. That moment happened for at least one or two times. Luckily, it didn’t broke how slow or the fast story pace is.
Next, as I have explained in the story section that there’s some event that need more description or explanation. It relate to this character section which I realize that there’s character’s emotion changing drastically in one event and the problem is I don’t see any causes or reasons that have been explain previously. Actually, this kind of problem often happened too in other anime that have season per season cross apart. And I don’t blame for the author, the director or any other who’s in it, cause “role” in story will get worked perfectly if you understand the personality of the character, from background story to how “the role” through his or her life in the story. It needs hardwork and it is difficult. Seiyuu in here have role to portray “the existed role” and they have to work together with both the author and the director. If one of them get messed up then “the role” itself could get even messier. I think they have to work this part even more for the next season or project ahead.
And the last part is that the existence of several supporting character (I’m talking about the characters beside the main characters and that includes villains too). There’s several character who get “shadowed” by the other main characters. Actually, it because the story not so focuses on them till comes feeling that I don’t give a crap about what’s gonna happen to them. You will see there’s some poping up character suddenly in the end of final episode. But, the problem is not the sudden poping and I don’t put a conflict about the character that showed up in the last minute. I am actually bothered by some main villain’s character which I found cool at the beginning but “really less-cool” at the end. And for the worse, they have already existed indeed but their role is so small. If i put those character’s existence into percentage, you will find a big hole depends on the main’s role. They are indeed have role to one condition but that condition doesn’t stay for very long, just a little time (like sponsors or something). I tell you, it could make the audience forgot about them. Luckily, their character’s design is easy to remember but I have to tell you again I already forgot their name after I finished watching the last episode. I still did not know how the creators want to put them in the next season. I hoped their percentage of existence will rise up, not drowning to the ground.
Watching this flowing from the first episode to the last episode just like that. I have to admit that I still have enjoyed watching it though there’s some lackness I mentioned above section per section. Cause the genre that I thought would be heavy, it turns out to be lightier than I ever expected. Plus the comedy from this anime is awkward (I mean rare) but I still giggles and some time laughing cause of it. You may predict several that could happened, but between your guess, you will get surprised and amazed by the characters even more. For the continue, just watch the next season for seek that answer further. In all, I would like to say that Bungou Stray Dogs is recommended for all of you who likes an action anime genre with not so heavy story.
For me, there came a point where not only did I no longer care how the show resolved, but I felt if I watched any longer it would be in insult to my emotional and intellectual capacity.
The backgrounds are very pretty and the sounds & music fit the scenes!
The humor of this show is sophomoric & uncomplicated.
The plots for each episode seem to comprise 8 minutes of the show, the rest being aforementioned humor and "character development"?
The characters can, seemingly, only be as smart as the writer(s) are. This series is a fine example of that depth.
80% of the budget for animation appears
to have been put into the op and ed sequences. Which can allow for a frustrating viewing experience when the plot leaves so much to be desired.
There are anime that fulfill the mystery and super-powers criteria very well. Though the name of any specific anime eludes me...
This is my first review. I realize, now, how very difficult it is to write one that is devoid of "how I feel" and rather "what I observed."
So, if anyone has criticism or suggestions as to the construction, flow, or ambiance of this review PLEASE let me know.
If you just disagree, good! It is none of my business and I hope it stays that way!
There's just a certain something to this show that keeps me coming back to it!
The plot and characters' personalities are interesting, no doubt; most are quirky and "likeable" but not too overdeveloped. I also love the cross-literary references that get all tangled up but somehow stay connected (even though I wish they weren't so western-focused).
But I think what really makes this show great is the way it touches on a range emotions that often stay below the surface. In particular, concepts related to the fear/comfort of aloneness, not an uncommon theme in general. This show dives right in, opening a conceptual conversation about
without resolving it, leaving the task up to the watcher. Somehow it has a very nostalgic feel.
Bungo Stray Dogs is about a detective agency made up of “gifted” and eccentric individuals. Most members of the Agency wield their own unique, supernatural ability, and together they make a mighty force to combat the mafia. Also, only one of them is an actual detective.
Now that I’ve filled you in on the basic plot of the show, let’s get right to the heart of the matter. Bungo Stray Dogs is, at times, a mess. Through a series of awful setups that only lead to decent and sometimes good payoffs, Bungo Stray Dogs shows its
inability to make a plausible plot with understandable or compelling villains. Its tone is completely unbalanced, the motivations of its protagonists are often over-explained while still remaining nonsensical, and to top it off, its main character is a total Mary Sue. Whatever there is to like about this show melts away by the time the season reaches its halfway point, and only somewhat returns to form for its finale.
The plotting of individual arcs in this show have been utterly atrocious. While the payoffs are enjoyable, consisting of clever twists and decent one-liners, the setups for these aforementioned payoffs range from pathetic to completely ludicrous. A fine example would be from an early episode, when a client leads some of the Agency into an alleyway. That’s it. They followed a woman into an alleyway and it turned out to be a trap. Not even like a pitfall trap or something. She just pulls out a submachine gun and starts blasting away. And it doesn’t really get better than that.
Tonally, Bungo Stray Dogs seemed to have its footing for a brief second before slipping on a banana peel and falling off a cliff. The wit and comedic timing seen in the first few episode completely evaporates and leaves us with silly chibi faces for no good reason at times not fit for any comedic relief. It’s almost as if the show is desperately trying to make sure it’s not taking itself too seriously, and by doing so only makes it harder for me to enjoy watching. There is a time for humor and there is a time for being toned down and real, and Bungo Stray Dogs has a hard time differentiating between the two.
Villains can be likeable. I’d argue that on some level, they should be likeable/relatable. Without that, we just have an object that only exists to be detested. In Bungo Stray Dogs, that object is Port Mafia. A heinous and ostentatious group of delinquents with quite a heavy reliance on brute force and explosives. Their main goal is to capture the Blue Tiger for reasons completely undenounced to the audience. Other than that, they just do evil things on a daily basis for no apparent reason. They’re as one-dimensional as it gets, and the good guys aren’t much better.
What is the Agency? What do they stand for? How do they and Port Mafia both exist without one destroying the other? All of these questions and more aren’t answered very well, if at all. Their motivation should be simple: To protect and serve. You know, just like the normal law enforcement. Instead they find themselves looking for motivation on trivial things such as: Why should they rescue their kidnapped teammate, and so on. Every moment spent in their office feels like a waste of time, something to fill up the episode’s timeslot before they get to the actual point. Every character in the Agency seems to have a lackadaisical approach when it comes to their job, as if the greater good isn’t enough to motivate them. In this regard, they’re actually somewhat more unlikeable than the villains.
Onto the main character, Atsushi is an orphan. You would know that by watching any single episode in the entire series. It’s apparently integral to his very being, something not to be overlooked, and so there’s a flashback of Atsushi in an orphanage that reoccurs throughout the whole season. It never changes or adds anything new to his character aside from the very first time it is shown. He is an orphan, he has been told he is a waste of space, and he kind of believes it himself. I guess it could be argued that it is an important part of his character, but even so it’s not nearly important enough to bear such incessant repeating. Oh, and as I said early, Atsushi is a Mary Sue. Somewhere along the lines he masters his uncontrollable powers. There’s no episode to explain this, nor is there even a quick training montage. Atsushi goes from having absolutely no control to holding his own in a 1v1 with the most dangerous villain introduced so far.
At its best, Bungo Stray Dogs is a fun action series that had a strong start and seemingly interesting characters. It managed to pull off some nicely timed twists and one-liners, despite the basic setups that hold it back in the long run. The characters also have some neat historical context for fans of Japanese literature.
At its worst, Bungo Stray Dogs is a poorly cobbled together setup for its second season, of which I am not excited for. The cast seems interesting and enjoyable when first introduced, but that fades away with every second spent with them. The villains are un-relatable garbage people with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and the heroes are not much better. The amount of time wasted on the protagonists acting silly and squabbling in their generic office setting would have been better spent filling in the plot holes and leaps in logic that are all too abundant in this series.
Bungou Stray dogs
When i watched the first 2 episodes of this anime i had really really big expectations about it but in the middle of the series it kinda went down. Here’s why:
Honestly the plot is really interesting and the fact that the names of the characters are actual authors and that the name of their powers are the names of the books they made It’s something unique for me and I really liked that. The problem is that as I watched the first episodes I expected mystery and action and what I got was A LOT of comedy. This show is like 30%
action and mystery and 70% comedy, this weird combination kinda works out but it’s absolutely not what I expected. At some points the story became nonsense and predictable but besides that I enjoyed it.
I really liked the animation, probably the part i liked the most of this anime. It’s very detailed and the action scenes are well done. I also want a moment to appreciate atsushi’s eyes, they are by far the most beautiful and hypnotizing eyes I’ve ever seen in any anime.
The soundtrack is average as well as the opening, nothing special BUT I have to say the ending is BEAUTIFUL!! It became one of my favorite endings of all time. The voice acting is pretty good and I also heard some new good voices.
The characters are lovable and cute, I liked the design and as I said before they are based on real authors and that’s something really cool for me, but we had almost no character development and at times I felt the characters kinda bland but hopefully we get to know them better in season two.
Overall Enjoyment 7/10:
I enjoyed this anime and I looked forward to every week’s new episode, even tho it wasn’t what I expected I had fun watching it. If you like comedy and a little bit of mystery and supernatural powers give BSD a try.
I just finished episode 12 and I just could not stop myself from writing a review.
Lets just talk about the character designs and the art style.
I try to never judge an anime or manga by its art style but, I gotta say that one of the things that attracted me to watching this series was the unique art style. The eyes, they are just one of the best things about this anime’s art style. It’s very original and soooo pretty. All the characters were designed so well, it suited perfect with the character’s personality.
The voice actors? Did a good job, honestly I
haven’t watched an anime with bad voice actors I mean they suited the character and that all I can say right?
Now the anime is totally worth watching if your into action/comedy/mystery/slice of life and a little bit of blood then I recommend giving it a try. I laughed through the whole series, it is even funny at moments when it really shouldn’t be.
It did had plot armor, but I think they did a good job to not make that too obvious.
I am so excited for the season 2, cuz in season 1 they introduced us to all the characters and got us into the story. So I hope in season 2 that they will be giving us the rest of the story. The sad part is that the main protagonist didn’t master his transformation but I hope he will in season 2.
I loved that the anime actually focused on all the characters and not just on the main protagonist.
The titled of this anime was brilliant too, you’ll know why if you watched the whole series, it actually has a meaning behind it.
Another things is the first episode, I mean that first episode will leave a really impact your view on that anime. It really got me excited for what was going to happen, curious for the story.
Overall I think it was a great anime, and as I said excited for S2
This review was probably very random an unorganized that’s cuz I am writing this real late at night…
But yeah hope that this was helpful to some of u guys !! xxx
I ended up getting so tired of hearing Atsushi's flashbacks about his orphanage days..."oh wow, they slapped you and said you were worthless", its not like you repeated the VERY SAME SCENE FOUR TIMES IN THE PAST 10 MINUTES!!!!
Small nuances aside, it was a very enjoyable show. Although I didn't really understand the character's inspirations until reading some other review's, I didn't feel that was necessary background in order to understand each character. The comedy, although at times misplaced, was good, and I laughed (or snickered) at most of the gags. Having one episode dedicated to explaining each Agency member was nice, although I would
have preferred to see more of three things:
1. Dazai being Dazai
2. Dazai's backstory
3. Dazai's obsession with double suicide (it's not really a spoiler is it?)
Basically what I'm trying to say is that he was the most complex, interesting, and misused comedic relief character in the show. An episode or two dedicated to Dazai's history with ******** (number of asterisks is random, don't bother counting) would have been entertaining, perhaps instead of the Mafia secretary episode.
To be honest, I skipped the OP every time. On the other hand, the ED was slow, sad, and a good ending to each episode.
Visuals made up 86% of the BSD's comedy in my opinion. Chibi drawings make everything funnier and Studio Bones made good use of that, along with a good splattering of decent jokes, to keep me entertained.
I'll conclude by saying that Dazai is best girl.
With another season of anime, comes another supernatural-action title that attempts to be unique, different and original while keeping faithful to its genre. Bungo Stray Dogs (BSD, from now on) is most definitely unique arguably ingenious, but has several, painful shortcomings that unfortunately add it to the vast collection of mediocre supernatural-action anime.
Before anyone watches this anime, I highly recommend you watch The Canipa Effect’s great video on the characters of Bungo Stray Dogs. You will appreciate the ingenuity of the story and understand the characters better once you learn about the Japanese literarians they’re based on.
STORY: Quickly said, BSD is a poorly
told good story. As I mentioned previously, the premise of writing the main characters and their “gifts” based on famous Japanese literarians is ingenious, and due to the limited cultural awareness of the non-Japanese watchers on MAL, this ingenuity has unfortunately gone unnoticed and unpraised. One must be culturally aware of the Japanese literature references in order to fully appreciate the anime’s story, but sadly even so, it remains poorly told. While basing characters on famous literarians is certainly original and unique, it has its drawbacks and limitations. The main characters in BSD all have unique, supernatural abilities (called “gifts”), and these abilities are denominated after their respective literarian’s most famous works. For example, Osamu Dazai’s ability is named after his literarian counterpart’s book, “No Longer Human”. This is where problems begin to arise. Due to the vagueness and obscurity of these ability names, several characters have gifts that are inexplicably overpowered and one can only wonder the weaknesses and limitations of said power. The majority of gifts in the show are so powerful that they almost always bend the rules of the show’s universe, and this results in several plot holes during fights when characters conveniently seem to forget how insanely overpowered their gifts are. The source of the gifts is not explained once, and several abilities are explained with convoluted logic that is hard to digest.
The beginning of the show is extremely typical, the protagonist (Atsushi) is down on his luck and saves a drowning man (Dazai) who was actually trying to kill himself. Dazai and Atsushi are then tracked down by the upstanding, strict supporting character (Kunikida) who is then forced to treat Atsushi to a meal. Attach an unnecessary amount of slapstick comedy and you can already you can see where this show is sort of going, and while the beginning is typical and cliche there’s nothing really wrong with it. The execution of it was pretty good and as a result came off as a funny way to introduce the characters. By the end of the first episode, Atsushi is recruited to the Detective Agency, which is a legal police force where they only recruit members with the supernatural gifts aforementioned.
The plot progression of BSD is driven by several plot contrivances and conveniences, and the source material was adapted in such an odd way that there end up being around 4-6 episodes centered around a bomb and 3 of these are back to back. This results in a tiring, unpleasant and repetitive watch that honestly lost my interest several times. The slapstick comedy in the show was especially annoying and often ruined the tone of several serious scenes. The comedy was often unoriginal and quickly grew repetitive and annoying.
The main antagonist group of the show is the Port Mafia, and if you are to believe that they are going to be the biggest, toughest forces the Detective Agency are going to face you are dead wrong. The Port Mafia is often portrayed as an ever present overwhelming power that threatens the safety of all the civilians and detectives in the city, but in reality, are basically a rival, evil counterpart to the Detective Agency. Several members of the Port Mafia come off as incompetent and weak and sometimes you wonder if they really live up to the dangerous threat that they’re often portrayed as. Towards the end of the series you are briefly introduced to a flurry of characters that are very clearly the true, underlying antagonists of the show and they are much, much more interesting than the main antagonist of this season, Akutagawa. It seems what anyone should take from this season is that it is building a foundation for what is to come this fall, and I would say they’ve successfully (although slowly, boringly and sometimes poorly), built a strong foundation. Hopefully next season uses this foundation to their advantage and is able to be much better.
This is all not to say that BSD is not an enjoyable watch. As I mentioned, BSD is a poorly told good story, leaving the plot to have a few profound and several unpredictable moments that caught me off guard in a good way. The concept behind each character’s gifts and the main antagonist of the show was enough to keep me invested while it was airing and I can honestly say that I enjoyed this show’s run and I’m excited for the next season.
CHARACTERS: BSD has been renewed for a second cour this fall, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that several of the other supporting characters will be developed next season. But for now, most of the characters in BSD are pretty dimensionless and some are just plain stupid. Atsushi and Kunikida are the only characters developed over the course of the show, while the rest are simply background characters. Atsushi is your run off the mill protagonist; a little cowardly, strong-willed, naturally talented and offers a naive perspective due to a lack of experience. At first his backstory was handled maturely, sad yet not quite melodramatic. That is of course until they repeatedly flash back to one scene from Atsushi’s orphanage every single episode. This show brutally beats you over the head with Atsushi's orphanage backstory to the point where it often breaks tense moments out of repetitiveness.
Osamu Dazai is arguably a Gary Stu (No Longer Human ability, hello!?) and that’s perfectly fine and often fitting for his role as Atsushi's “savior”. Dazai is Atsushi's role-model and is what he strives to be a detective from the Agency, and it had (or has, maybe the second season will do this) potential to be an interesting and complex relationship. However, for most of the show the interactions are between Kunikida and Atsushi, as Kunikida is often left in charge of him. Their character dynamics are quite interesting especially considering that they are great foils. Kunikida is studious, prideful and driven by his ideals. Atsushi is often weak hearted, modest, and is driven by his desire to be a human worthy of life. Their conversations and interactions are funny and often very profound.
AUDIOVISUALS: Produced by Studio Bones, the animation of BSD is excellent. The fight scenes are animated with great colours along with great fighting choreography. Some of the character abilities are inherently boring and as a result usually make up for some boring fights, but they are nonetheless animated beautifully. Kept me at the edge of my seat and greatly anticipating several badass action scenes due to the immersiveness of its animation. BSD also has a great opening that gets you hyped for the show every time you watch it, and a great ED that is often extended to the final scenes of several episodes for dramatic effect (similar to JoJo’s roundabout ending extending). All in all a well animated show with very few boring panning frames.
Enjoyment 7/10: Despite my qualms with the show it kept me invested for the most part and I enjoyed watching it. I was excited for every episode when it aired and I readily await the second season.
Overall 5/10: The show is not bad, but not necessarily good. The quality of the story and characters is very mediocre and all the supernatural abilities could have been the shows saving grace but end up being poorly explained and ridiculously overpowered. I’d recommend this show to anyone who isn’t overly picky and unnecessarily analytical and simply prefers to be entertained by their anime.
The story's really good and I like how it progresses. It can surprise you at times but it can also be kinda predictable when you take a closer look at things...or just consider what the most shocking outcome would be. Anyway, the episodes are a bit episodic. I'm ok with this though since, as a detective agency, they have to handle lots of different things. There's also one thing that can be seen as repetitive...and that's Atsushi's backstory. They basically show the same scene every few episodes and sometimes more than once each episode. This may be their way of showing us that the memory
plagues him but I still can't blame anyone who gets bothered by seeing the same thing over and over again.
The main characters are very quirky and it's usually their quirkiness that leads to the comedic moments. Despite this, there isn't much development. Kunikida and Atsushi may have gotten a bit though. Overall, they're consistent and (I guess) have character arcs.
As for the art, I like it a lot. The eyes are unique and I especially love Atsushi's. The pupils also tend to have a diamond like shape which isn't something you see very much in anime. (Or at least I haven't.) The character designs are cool as well. When it comes to seeing their abilities or "gifts" in action, they're usually very aesthetically pleasing. And the animation's good. From what I recall, there isn't a single scene that felt weird to look at.
The sound in this anime is awesome. It has a cool opening song and a nice, relaxing ending song. It's like the opening gets you ready to be thrown into the story while the ending allows you to chill after everything that's happened. The voice actors are good as well. I especially like Dazai's voice actor and how he sounds when he's serious and being comical. The soundtrack is pretty good and adds to the fight scenes a lot. It's honestly good enough to go back and listen to the entire thing.
So, yeah, I think it's safe to say that Bungou Stray Dogs is a pretty good anime. Matter of fact, it's one of the best action comedies I've seen in a while! Because of this, it deserves a 10 overall.
So what happens when you have a buncha people with powers get together and form a detective agency? You get an unstoppable force. Seriously these guys are so strong like nobody can even do anything to them. They're against the mafia and others but damn they're so strong. And this show had a lot of badass characters with cool powers. They're not your standard ki blasts or whatever but pretty cool stuff. This show is pretty funny though and comedy might be one of it's best traits. And Dazai is the best. His power can neutralize any power and he's always messing with everyone and
he's just a lowkey badass. lol. There's a lot of powers in this show it's like watchin freakin X-men. The action scenes are good, the comedy is great and the cast is just full of badass and funny people. Give this show a watch if you like good action and comedy.
By all means this show can't be compared to the greatest ones you've seen, however i believe it's pretty damn solid and i can easily recommend you to watch it, considering you're interested enough to read a review of it.
Now, lets break the whole thing down in parts:
Story - 7
The whole world setting is pretty simple - some ppl have superpowers, god knows why - doesn't matter. The story is pretty interesting, so if you might like the combination of genres 'Action, Comedy, Mystery, Seinen, Supernatural', then you won't be disappointed. Altough i would call this show a Shounen rather than a Seinen (the fact
that characters are working adults instead of being highschoolers doesn't make a series a seinen imo). The comedy is at most places pretty juvenile and won't make you laugh out loud most of the times, however it should reduce the distance between you and the characters
Art - 8
The animation/art isn't extraordinary nor anything new , however it doesn't fall short in comparison to other shows of the season. I also liked the character designes of most of the characters (especially Kyouka's).
Sound - 7
I don't recall any ost from the show that i loved, it was ok though. The opening and ending did not catch my ear all that much either. However the music does work well with everything that happens on the screen and will make you more involved with the action, so i can say it's good.
Character - 9
I liked them, simple as that. Dazai & Kunikida duo is pretty damn entertaining to watch, other main characters are pretty interesting as well, i surely hope i will get to know them better in the next season of the show.
Enjoyment - 8
Got nothing to say in the subject, simply seems like a cool show to watch.
Overall - 8
The show is interesting and fun to watch, it's a strong position among this season's anime, deserving to be in top 5 in popularity ranking of the season.
To summ up, it's a show worth watching, you will surely enjoy it, if the humor dosn't end up irritating you or scaring you away. Cheers!
If Naruto and 91 Days were to have a child, Bungou Stray Dogs would definitely be their one true child.
Bungou Stray Dogs delves into the world of mafia and supernatural powers, which is rarely seen in the industry, the closest the anime that resembles those features would be like Mushishi, which enjoyed notable success.
The plot is engaging with very little dead moments, bar the first episode which took a while to fully captivate me into the series. Foreshadowing was brilliantly utilised giving the storyline a better depth that entices the viewers to ponder and think of what is going to happen next. In terms
of complexity, there actually aren’t many plot twists or intricate moments for the viewers to decipher. As such, the plotline is pretty much one-track, but manages to capture attention of the audience with its high-paced action and modernised effects.
As for the main character, it is a bummer. Rather weak and boring. Not only that, the protagonist powers are pretty shit as well, being able to transform into a cat (tiger actually) which is a joke compared to the side characters. The sole reason I was able to rate the ‘characters’ criteria a 7 is due to the supporting cast of the anime. Characters like Dazai and Rampo had much better context and abilities while also possesses unique characteristics which makes these characters more likeable as opposed to Atsushi which has no direction and willpower without the aid of the Agency.
Additionally, the grounding of the characters past, abilities and personalities are well-written. The writer doesn’t simply slap information into the audiences face with no proper explanation. Abilities, personalities and characters backgrounds are decently explained with very little plot holes to criticise.
Conclusively, Bungou Stray Dogs might not give the audience a intricate and mind-blowing story, but what it does best is that it keeps the audience’s attention in check. Many anime have tried going with plot that consists of difficult and obscure plot under the pretence of being ‘deep’, but instead backfired on them. Bungiu Stray Dogs despite being a genre that involves detectives and crime-solving, used a much simpler and direct route when conveying their message which was a pleasant touch (at least for me).