Despite their differences in position, three men—the youngest senior executive of the Port Mafia, Osamu Dazai, the lowest ranking member, Sakunosuke Oda, and the intelligence agent, Angou Sakaguchi—gather at the Lupin Bar at the end of the day to relax and take delight in the company of friends.
However, one night, Angou disappears. A photograph taken at the bar is all that is left of the three together.
Fast forward to the present, and Dazai is now a member of the Armed Detective Agency. The Guild, an American gifted organisation, has entered the fray and is intent on taking the Agency's work permit. They must now divide their attention between the two groups, the Guild and the Port Mafia, who oppose their very existence.
A Bungou Stray Dogs (2nd season) Review - Rewritten and Revised
Spoiler-free if you have watched the first season, not so much if you haven't.
TL;DR: A lot more serious and darker than the first season. Absolute improvement from what the first season offered.
1st arc (13-16): Osamu Dazai and the Dark Era
2nd Arc (17-20): Guild Arc; Double Black
3rd Arc (21-24): Yin and Yang Arc
For the people who never watched Bungou Stray Dogs:
What’re you doing here? Go watch the first season.
If you were to ask me if I suggest watching Bungou Stray Dogs:
Would I tell you Bungou Stray Dogs 1st season was great? Absolutely not.
Would I tell you
Bungou Stray Dogs 2nd season was great? Absolutely.
“The people I’ve met back then made who I am now”
The first arc is a prequel to the anime. It really shows you what happened in Dazai’s past, including the people that were involved in his past. What’s the best part about it though, it shows a darkness in which the first season is incomparable to. It’s a very large difference, but also an enjoyable one at that. There’s a lot more emotion put into this, and it’s not so focused on terribly dark humor in which the first season pulled often. I’m not saying there weren’t any serious moments in the first season, though. What has been shown to us is actually some very heavy stuff for this part of the “second season.” The story so far, in basic terms, is well brought out explanation to what happened to Dazai in the past and what he was involved in.
The second arc might just be the most serious arc of the series. It continues where the story of the first season left off, and boy how it manifested the darkness in which the first season was leading up to. There's a new sinister feel in the air, in which there seems to be a war between the three organizations: The Guild, Port Mafia, and the Armed Detective Agency. There will be many more thrills to arrive, making me eagerly wait for each new episode of the week.
The third arc.. Was a phenomenal arc. It shows you that there’s such a big difference between Atsushi Nakajima and Ryuunosuke Akutagawa, yet it is as if they’re the same person. The goals that they seek to achieve are relevant, but from a far standpoint, they seemed so different. It was very well done, and I am glad they focused on that heavily in this arc. A very well done arc to end the series.
Between the three arcs in this second season, despite me saying that the third arc was phenomenal, the first arc was the absolute best arc. Oda Sakunosuke was the most notable character in this second season, despite him having only four episodes of screentime in the entire series. What that man goes through in this arc could be seen to reflect who Dazai became.
The high point of the series. Each character that is introduced into this series have their own strong resolve. The same characters that appeared in the first season took onto the screen again, along with the new group of people called The Guild. I will mostly be speaking about four extremely notable characters, no particular order of their notability. However, there is one character I found to be the best.
1. Dazai Osamu. A well-developed character.
What was seen as a very forced-comedic character with his forced-comedic suicidal attempts, turned to be one of the most beloved characters in the overall series. When he runs outside the range of the forced comedy, Dazai takes a dive into adult maturity, and becomes a very serious character in this second season. A very strong man, who was forced to witness too many things that a person really should not. A Port-Mafia blooded character, and the most Port Mafia-blooded character. Despite that being so, he becomes the most resolved individuals to walk across the screen in this series, and takes the trophy of being able to impress me with the improvement he receives. His reasons to his development made me see him as a very well-written character.
2. Atsushi Nakajima. The main character. Yin of the duo.
What is it like being kicked out of the orphanage? What is it like to be outcasted? Atsushi eventually grew to have a very strong drive in saving people who are outcasted. He learns what it means to be outcasted, and it makes him such a wonderful character. It is especially shown in this second season what he mentally goes through whenever he tries to do well for others, and it is spectacular. His resolve is trying to do well for others, as a way to approve himself. Despite his hatred for Ryuunosuke, it is as if those two were the same person in terms of resolve. Speaking of which.
3. Ryuunosuke Akutagawa. Reflection of Atsushi. Yang of the duo.
A powerful young man with a strong resolve, to prove to people who he truly is. A man who seeks approval from a specific audience. The absolute reflection of Nakajima Atsushi in terms of how they wish to achieve their resolve. He constantly pesters Atsushi with what seemed to be a self-righteous complex. However, it comes time to time where his true character was revealed, and it makes him become more notable every time. He means well for himself, but in Atsushi’s eyes, it seemed not so. But, indeed, they were aiming for the same resolve.
4.Oda Sakunosuke. Reason to Dazai’s development. The best character.
“My throat hurt. I couldn’t breathe. I heard someone screaming. I realized, because my throat hurt so much, that I was the one who was screaming.”
Oda Sakunosuke is one of the biggest reasons I could say that this season takes a dark turn. Everything this man goes through was absolutely dreadful, and it makes me sympathize his character. It releases his resolve, and is done so well when the big fight with him occurred. He had a very strong relationship with Dazai Osamu, and everything that Dazai Osamu does was due to him meeting this man. I was able to emotionally invest myself into this character, despite him having to appear only for four episodes of the series.
Going back to the other characters, most of them you find out why they are doing what they do in the first season, especially for the Armed Detective Agency. The formidable groups they have to go against are Port Mafia and The Guild. They all show to have extremely powerful individuals who are intelligent, and very-well experienced in defending their group. How will the Armed Detective Agency deal with these people?
Studio Bones decided for this second season that it was time to take a dive in their budget. The animation quality is such a beautiful improvement, it’s like watching a beautiful painting constantly being made in front of my eyes. You can SEE the improvement in their budget when it comes to their animation. A spectrum of vivid colors being brought together so beautifully. The OP and ED’s do not disappoint for this factor, either.
When a sinister air reeks onto the battlefield, the animation matches the intensity so well. The atmosphere, comparing the two seasons, it is like the second season came from an absolutely different studios. It invokes what this season was trying to display and it is magnificent.
The OP has a very excited pace, in which they display each one of the groups within the story. I personally loved looking at the opening.
The symbolism in the ED between the three characters: Atsushi, Ryuunosuke, and Osamu. It heavily displays the relationship between the three, and it is stunning. It shows the development that occurs over time in the series, as it heavily focuses on the color blue, Dazai’s straps, and blood. I thought it was stunning visuals.
The sound, again, shows the improvement of studio Bones’ budget. The voice acting is so well done, it is as if you can’t tell if the actors ARE these characters. The most notable voice acting is Oda Sakunosuke. When everything takes place, the emotions being put into the voice acting by his seiyuu is exquisite, absolutely well-done. The voice acting for many of the characters changed so much in this second season. They come to take a very serious tone, especially Osamu and Atsushi.
The OP and ED were very catchy, and they fit very well to the atmosphere this second season has. The OP was done by the same people who made *Cough cough Musaigen no Phantom World cough* opening. However, they also did the Food Wars 2nd season opening, which I thought was fantastic.
Talking about the OST, it gave off such a mafia-like vibe, which is definitely manifested within the story, so the OST very-well matched the second season’s atmosphere.
I personally love having my heart twisted around, and this second season doesn’t hesitate at any cost in doing so. It is much more focused on the dark aspects than the first season, which had dry comedy about suicide, trying to be dark-humor based. The second season takes a very mature approach, which I found to be extremely enjoyable.
Mature, dark, and spicy. Those are the three words I have for the second season. I’m very amazed at the difference between first and second season. It focuses on more of an emotional aspect, while also being very dark. The first season is very mission focused, but the second season strongly focuses on the development of the characters and story. I think it did a great job in being able to have me emotionally invested into the story. Was it enough for me to think this story was great? Absolutely. Hopefully, it can do so for you too.
Bungou Sleigh Bells returns just in time for the holidays. And just like that, I’m already out of holiday puns.
To be honest, following Bambi Stray Dogs throughout the season was a surprisingly difficult task. Not just because of the weird and scattered narrative, but also because Crunchyroll changed its release schedule at least thirty-five times, just like the number of people Kyouka killed. So, my recollection of this series, which I only finished watching about twelve minutes ago, is rather hazy.
Looking back at the first cour from the spring, Stray Doggos was a decent time that seemed to have some sort of identity crisis. It
had fun characters with crazy powers and an interesting concept with the main cast being a group of detectives rivaled against a mafia, but the story took some sharp turns in conflicting directions and was plagued by slapstick comedy about as appropriately-timed as someone’s ringtone of ACDC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ going off in the middle of their father-in-law’s funeral. Hey, I found it funny. Can’t say the same for the guy’s wife, though.
Now, the question everyone wants to know: Does the second season improve on the first in this regard?
Like the first season, Stray Puppers makes a strong first impression. It kicks off with a prequel focused on Dazai and has a more dark and consistent tone despite Dazai being the silliest character of the series. Yet, even this gets tiring after a couple episodes.
For some reason, the arc stops focusing on Dazai, the fan-favorite of the series, and instead moves the spotlight to a guy who’s name I don’t know, because he wasn’t even in the first season. Who the hell’s this guy? Why should I care about him? He’s not particularly interesting beyond having one of the coolest powers of the series: a premonition-based power that activates when he’s about to die so that he can avoid it. The way Studio Bones visualizes it is entrancing. But the guy himself isn’t worth cheering for, because you know exactly how the arc is going to end. The point is that Dazai leaves the Port Mafia due to the events in this arc. A little clarification is nice to have for Dazai’s past, but did it need last a third of the cour?
Imagine watching this on a binge. You clear twelve episodes in a day or two. You’re finally invested in the people in the Armed Detective Agency and are excited about seeing the story evolve. Then, without warning, the anime cuts to new characters loosely related to the overall narrative and focuses on them instead, without looking back at the past season or even reassuring you that they’ll be back. I’d imagine it’d be a little strange.
Of course, after a few episodes the anime returns the spotlight to Sushi Guy, who got kicked out of thirty-five orphanages. The comedy doesn’t cut through everything as sharply and it introduces a new group of villains on top of the already-established Port Mafia, creating a three-sided war. It’s pretty interesting… but I could never connect much with the villains. Many of the people in this season just show up and leave after a couple episodes, and the shifting focus on Bucko’s myriad characters can make it hard to follow. It did for me, especially given that Pokemon Moon absorbed about a month of my life. Praise Mimikyu.
The more serious plotline leaves less room for characters to dick around all day, so there aren’t a lot of funny, memorable moments like there were with the first season, and no one really changes. With the first season, I thought Atsushi was a decent lead character who had a lot of room to develop, and I was interested in seeing that happen in the second. Nope. He still acts like a bitch all the time--in fact, his bitchiness seems to have increased somehow, because the slightest of mistakes will trigger the Naruto-level repetitive flashback of thirty-five people kicking him out of an orphanage. Yeah, that didn’t stop happening either. I’m not even sure why he’s the main character. Everyone else hypes up his tiger-transforming power as if it’s the most impressive thing in the world, but it’s actually not when he gets his ass kicked by literally everyone, just like how he got kicked out of an orphanage. And although he has the determined, ambitious attitude of a common anime lead, his reduced screentime makes it even more difficult to justify his placement in the series.
Kyouka, who killed thirty-five people, is a gem from the first season that also deserved some more polish. Eh… She develops a little more, which is nice, but I can’t say that anything about her is remarkable aside from her gorgeous character design, but frankly that can be said for basically everyone else. She’s the cute, quiet girl who’s trying to fit in. There’s nothing else to say about her, besides the fact that she got kicked out of thirty-five people, which makes the end of the season pretty hilarious. They try setting up a big emotional moment even though she was almost as useless as Sushiman.
The highlight of Bouncy is the fights, for sure. I wasn’t too interested in the powers from the first season beyond the incredible diversity, but this season introduces a new cast inspired by Western authors with matching abilities. My favorite was probably the last one, ‘The Great Fitzgerald’, which powers up the user depending on how much money they have and are willing to spend. Obviously there’s no real logic behind this or most other powers, but it’s still creative and a lot of fun, and that’s what counts.
Production’s about the same, not much that’s new to comment on. The art is as good as it was from the first season because based Bones, though I don’t know how often they used blank faces back then. For some reason, most scenes will just remove people’s faces entirely when they’re at a distance. I somewhat appreciate the artistic approach here, but it just looks strange.
Taku Iwasaki still remains a mixed bag to me, some of the backing music sounds hype as hell, and some of it sounds like he put a randomizer on some music studio on his computer. The opening song isn’t as good as GRANRODEO’s ‘Trash Candy’, which for me is one of my favorite’s this year, but SCREEN mode did a pretty nice job regardless. The accompanying animation wasn’t very memorable, but still appreciable because there are three different sequences, with the first two only showing up for a single episode. The ED sounds familiar because it’s by the same band who did the first season’s; it’s as good for me because its slow start makes for a great transition, and the moderate energy of the song makes it a good way to end an action-based show. Strong marks for this. Insert joke about Kyouka murdering people for consistency.
Overall, this second season of Gumball improved the show somewhat, but still opened up some new holes. It’s like sitting on a nice boat in the middle of a lake, but then you notice a hole, and now the boat’s sinking. You cover up the hole with your hands, but then another hole opens somewhere else, and it just keeps repeating. You can’t cover them all because you only have two hands and there are thirty-five holes. And the boat’s actually an orphanage.
Story - 5/10
Art - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Characters - 5/10
Enjoyment - 5/10
People killed by Kyouka - 35/10
Overall - 5.0 (Score range: 4.0-6.0)
Recommendation level - Medium
After watching the first season of Bungou Stray Dogs, I have to admit that the author made a rather bold attempt at constructing such a show based on literal characters. At its core, the series has an extraordinary cast of characters. By that, I mean they are able to perform supernatural feats that defies the logic of nature. The second season can also be described as extraordinary in more ways than one.
One of the most unique dynamics about Bungou Stray Dogs is about its characters. There’s such a diverse and colorful cast. The main cast consists of the Armed Detective Agency with each character having
their own unique traits. Most prominently, we learn a lot more about Osamu Dazai. If we take a closer look, it also reveals more about not only Dazai’s past but also the underworld system of where the series takes place. The truth is, there’s actually more than we don’t know from the surface. The first few episodes of the second season establishes Daizai as someone that seems to be easily influenced. His relationships with characters such as Sakaguchi Ango and and Sakunosuke Oda are told from his perspective which is more than enough for the viewers to understand him. At the same time, the show cleverly gives an insight about Oda and his own ideals. Despite being a new character, his moments are memorable through his relationship with Daizai and his nobility. That being said, viewers may take a little bit of time to get accustomed with the background storytelling. They are actually not based on the manga so my initial expectations at watching the first episodes of this season left me somewhat bewildered. But once you take in the story, it may give you a better insight about Daizai and who he really was.
The show does eventually re-enter the main story again. From this season, we also meet The Guild, an American organization led by Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. They are very influential and possesses a great amount of power and authority. As such, expect them to take over the show as the series’ main antagonists. Of course, Port Mafia still remains relevant with its core members such as Ryunnosuke Akutagawa. Somewhere in between, there’s also Kyouka. Remember her? She’s the girl that killed 35 people and became lost in the world of her purpose until Atsushi took her under the Armed Detective Agency. The problem now is that there are also others that wants her back, namely Port Mafia. Kyouka’s struggle with her own personal demons are further amplified this season and she finds it difficult to get close to others. In the meantime, we are also introduced to other new members of The Guild such as John Steinback and H.P. Lovecraft. It’s also no surprise that the characters of this series are based on their literature figures. A good example would be Margaret Mitchell, author of “Gone of the Wind” with an ability that is named as such. Back to what I mentioned before, Bungou Stray Dogs excels at its diverse range of characters. Whether you’re a fan of literature or not, the series is able to find ways to capitalize on each character. For their roles, personality, or abilities, many of them will likely remain memorable because of the show is able to push them as figures larger than life.
A main major story conflict that develops seems to be a triple threat conflict between the Armed Detective Agency, Port Mafia, and The Guild. Each one wants to remain the last group standing while their members make key moves to ensure their successes. If you remember from season 1, Akutagawa had some major issues with Atsushi while the latter seems to have developed a personal rivalry with him. As such, expect their rivalry to escalate more into this sequel. The Armed Detective Agency also realizes the threat of The Guild and as such takes steps to counter against their influences. Other rivalries throughout the show between the three factions are also explored including the very cleverly crafted Ranpo Edogawa/Edgar Allen Poe feud. When you realize that imaginations can blend between fiction and reality, that’s where the show really shines. Indeed, Bungou Stray Dogs is no stranger to exploring supernatural phenomenon whether they are abilities to cause malevolence, utility to help others, or means of influencing the world. The sequel brings out that to a very unique form with abilities such as the Black Cat in the Rue Mogue, Moby Dick, The Grapes of Wrath, among others. It’s what makes the show that damn special.
In terms of technicality, the sequel remains generally the same by retaining its strong visual dynamics. Characters expressions are what draws the viewers’ attention the most especially with Kyouka’s inner struggles and Atsushi’s determination to prove himself to others. Akutagawa’s personality becomes darker as attempts to fulfill his own goals. Character designs revolving around The Guild also gives them the impression of authority and aristocracy such as Margaret and Francis. In addition, we get memorable battles that takes the characters’ abilities to their limits all thanks to Bones’ talented staff and cast. The voice acting has always been impressive from this show that defines characters’ personalities. It retains that level of credibility in season 2 and definitely not something to forget about. Oh and do I need to remind you of that stellar soundtrack? Don’t forget your headphones!
When it comes to sequels, fans are often expecting something that hopefully excels the first season. Bungou Stray Dogs’ first few episodes may feel more like a prologue rather than expansion but the way it crafts its story structure ultimately works well in the end. As a show with a lot of creativity, there’s a lot to take in at times. The storytelling and the characters all serves a meaningful purpose in one way or another. Now, do be aware that the manga is still ongoing as this is an incomplete adaptation. Yet somehow, it still manages to pull off a hard-boiled supernatural thriller with literature figures and a story that meets expectations.
Let me begin by saying I wish I could rate this show a 12/10 in all categories except Art that can stay at 10.
This show was the anime of the year for me, and that's coming from a huge dragonball fanboy and huge Food wars fan.
What this show did so well, particularly in the 2nd season, was taking the time to highlight and make full use out of its large cast of characters. Amazing story and great battle sequences aside, the show in its 2nd season did a much better job with explaining plot concepts and the characters all improved
with the introduction of Dazai's story and the Guild. Some (myself included) would be reasonably annoyed with the beginning of this season as it decided to tell Dazai's past instead of keeping with the current events of the present story line (especially considering the suspense that 1st season left off with). This ended up being a small issue as, the backstory was awesome, and the main story that resumed was improved because of it. From the point the show resumed the present plotline it just got better with each episode, from 3-way conflict giving way to an unlikely partnership to a final fight worthy of the show's 2 season long buildup finishing with a peace tainted by the juicy plot-hook of yet another more menacing foe, this is how i like my anime, 12/10 would recommend to anyone.
Sometimes when you look at a new season you find yourself despairing because all you see are a bunch of sequels to anime you've never seen. However I'm here to tell you that you should view this as a fantastic opportunity to catch up on all these anime you haven't seen before the new season begins!