Power users around the world are suddenly committing suicide one after another, in all cases after a strange fog appears at the scene. At a request from Ango Sakaguchi, the Armed Detective Agency head out to investigate Tatsuhiko Shibusawa, a power user who calls himself "collector," and a man suspected of being tied to the incident.
This is coming from someone who absolutely adores the Bungou Stray Dogs series. Needless to say, Takuya Igarashi might as well be my pallbearer so that when I die, he can let me down one last time.
I'll start with some positives--the animation was pretty good (although that's to be expected for a feature length anime film), the voice actors did their jobs well, the music, while not exactly noteworthy, was decent, and there were a few interesting elements and events relating to the protagonist that I found to be genuinely interesting. The film, however, puts them to waste with
a confusing plot, a seizure inducing climax, and probably the dumbest and most contrived antagonist to come out of BSD.
The story is about a series of (presumed to be) suicides by ability users using their own abilities. The reality is that a fog causes their abilities to manifest into this ghost of sorts that attacks their own user. Defeating this manifestation will return the original user's ability. This isn't a bad plot device in it of itself, if only it were an actual plot device at all. Instead, this predicament (which is made out to be this serious and daunting problem) serves as a mere triviality as the heroes of the movie take care of it in a matter of a few minutes, save for the main protagonist, which I'll get to later.
The cause of this entire conflict is the new character that is introduced, Shibusawa Tatsuhiko. BSD's strongest point is easily the lovable and empathy inducing characters. Kafka Asagiri lovingly crafted the entire life stories of each and every single character, and it shows without even needing a tragic flashback for most of them, even making a literal PEDOPHILE likable. The fact that no character, not even the villains, are tied to the good and evil binary is one of my favorite things about the series. That said, the new villain is absolutely dreadful. His motives are unclear--he wants to die? He wants to attain the perfect ability? What in God's name does he want?! The movie shoves down your throat that this character is simply too complex a person to understand and that only two other people (Dazai <3333 and Fyodor) match his wit, but from a writing standpoint, it sounds like a poor excuse. If the audience is unable to fathom the sheer complexity of a character, there's no point in having him be that complex in the first place. You cannot write a complex character if you yourself are not that complex. It's simply impossible. It's not artistic or poetic or thought provoking. It's just plain stupid.
By the climax, the movie had completely lost me. With all the information being thrown at your face, it's damn near impossible to piece together what the hell is going on, much less enjoy it. The movie's lack of exposition only makes the confusion worse--none of what happens is ever explained, and none of the information from the main series explains it either. The entire time, I was thinking, "Why and how is this happening? Is that even possible?" The film tries to surprise you by pulling a completely unnecessary move (for the sake of not spoiling, I won't say what) that leads to no consequence whatsoever and was so obviously only included for shock value, and it didn't even do a good job because it's a freaking anime movie, and nothing that happens in anime movies ever matter or affect the main series. The final battle against Shibusawa wasn't anything interesting either; just a generic shounen mindless punchout where Atsushi believes in himself enough to defeat him.
Speaking of Atsushi, his character arc was very poorly handled in the film. The anime watchers know all too well of the tragic past he's had to endure and carefully watched him move past his insecurities. So that's it right? No more of him screeching about how he isn't good enough? Nope! The movie needlessly brings back what was already resolved in the anime by making Atsushi 90% less sweet and lovable and 200% more annoying. I cannot wrap my head around why the hell they would touch this internal conflict when it was so phenomenally handled in the manga. As a matter of fact, this was a common complaint of the original anime, that Atsushi was a whiner, so why, dear God WHY would you bring it back??
And lastly, the little to no screentime from the supporting cast. They were discarded as quickly as they were introduced. I would've liked to see more of them working together for more group dynamic material like in the manga, but they were never to be seen again after the fog settled and at the very end where they pop out of nowhere to remind the audience of their existence.
All in all, disappointing. I'm honestly surprised at how many stellar reviews there are for this movie when picking apart would show how bad and rushed it really is. It's a shame, I was hoping they'd put the money towards a third season.
I went to see this movie on the day it came out. Despite it being 8:30 in the morning, the cinema was absolutely packed with fans (mostly young women) showing just how high the expectations were.
I'm happy to say it didn't disappoint, and kept me hooked from beginning to end! Although the developments are not necessarily shocking, it kept my attention for the whole movie.
The movie focuses mostly on Shubusawa, Atsushi, Akutagawa, Kyoko (the real MVP), Dazai and, to a lesser extent, Chuya. If your favorite character is one of the other members of the Armed Detective Agency, please understand that they may not
get as much screen-time as you'd like, which is perfectly reasonable considering how much they tried to squeeze into the movie.
The artwork is stunning, although not particularly a step-up from the TV series. The action is well-done and I absolutely loved Chuya's fighting scenes!
One of the biggest highlights for me was the soundtrack. I was a big fan of the TV series OST, but the new tracks for the movie are just as good, if not better. (I was listening to the movie OST on repeat for a few days after seeing the movie...)
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie to the extent that I went to see it twice. However, I do want to give a warning to all BSD fans before they give this a watch. This movie is going to tire you out. It's almost only serious conversation or action, and is very low on the comic relief. Although there are lots of little funny moments scattered here and there, they are pretty subtle. When the movie finished, the other people in the audience were saying the same thing to each other: 'wow, that was great but it tired me out'.
In general, I recommend this for all BSD fans! It's fast-paced, action-packed and has a brilliant soundtrack. Unfortunately it is a little hard to follow if you are not familiar with the series and characters, so I don't really recommend it as a stand-alone work.
(Originally posted on my blog, moetology. Includes a teeny tiny bit of spoilers)
I'm not exactly your typical Bungou Stray Dogs fan; I rather disliked season one due to the stories being short and weak, but season two dived into longer arcs, and the opening backstory nailed the emotional component and turned me into a fan. And if I had to pick a favorite character, it'd be Kyouka first and Osamu second, instead of fan favorites like Chuuya.
Bungou Stray Dogs: Dead Apple is the latest installment in the franchise. It's a brand new story in the Bungou Stray Dogs universe, much like the Ordinal Scale movie in the Sword Art Online
world. But even though it's a brand new story, Dead Apple nevertheless is built on season two as it references characters introduced then, and one should definitely watch the TV seasons before watching Dead Apple.
As far as the movie itself goes, Dead Apple offers plenty for the fans. The plot is tried and true; the Armed Detective Agency is called upon to solve another problem arising from a gifted user, much like how the stories in season one are structured. This time, the gang has to fight a villain who's able to pit gifted users against their own abilities. It plays right into the theme of characters accepting themselves for who they are, even if their abilities may have caused grief in the past.
If you are like me and want to watch more of your favorite characters, don't worry; every Yokohama character gets screen time in Dead Apple, from the good guys, the Armed Detective Agency, to the frenemy, the Port Mafia folks, and even the government guy from season two. We also get teases of new characters who might show up in a sequel. Some characters, like Kyouka and the lead character Nakajima Atsushi, also receive a bit more backstory, and Atsushi in particular has a past with the villain.
Dead Apple isn't without its flaws, however. The biggest issue is its lack of clarity around motivations, especially for the villain. The movie opens with a flashback story from six years ago as Dazai and Chuuya fights the villain for the first time, but exactly what this flashback had to do with the plot in Dead Apple beyond showing that Dazai knows about the villain isn't clear.
Bungou Stray Dogs: Dead Apple is a movie made for the series' fans. It offers plenty of action, and the plot, while typical and safe, doesn't detract from the series. And it even manages to endear some characters to fans even more. The only question for fans now is: when is season three?
I think the most selling feature here is definitely the hype. It's a great movie to watch in a group and if you're a BSD fan, but not if you're looking for a top quality movie. Still, I think it accomplishes its job pretty well and it was still very enjoyable overall.
I got to watch the premiere at anime boston 2018. Going in, I had watched season 1 and 2 of bsd. You definitely need to have watched both seasons before this movie.
The story is probably one of the weakest parts of the movie but was still overall enjoyable. There are some things
are rather confusing and could've been explained better. There are some small plot holes that show that it wasn't the main focus here. It's rather predictable but it makes an effort not to be so as long as you don't consciously try analysing what comes next it isn't too much of a problem. 8/10
The art is absolutely stunning! It's the same art you've seen in the past (I don't remember s1 specifics but s2 has really great art and this movie's art is just as great) The colors are beautiful and there's many scenes with really nice and diverse color schemes. The animation for the fight scenes are full of hype and keep you at the edge of your seat. It really just enhances the overall watching experience. 10/10
The opening and ending are great. Past BSD soundtrack comes up which increases the hype. Only thing is sometimes the background music is a little odd but I still think it's very fitting. 9/10
I don't really expect much character development in a movie based on an already well-developed series. That said, they still tried but it was nothing special. It was very explicit but I don't expect much more given the short time span. The characters are still the same as the ones from the past seasons though and I think that was conveyed very well. It was especially exciting seeing all them again after all this time. Character dynamics were also very well done and definitely a major part of the movie as well since their interactions fueled the plot and just made things more entertaining overall. 8/10
Maybe I enjoyed it more than others because of the hype in the auditorium but I did very much enjoy it nonetheless. If you're a fan of BSD you will too. The only thing is some small confusions that I felt like could be explained better but it ultimately didn't take too much away from the experience. I may have also missed it because I watched it in such a public space. I would have to wait until I can stream it online to say anything more. 9/10
Overall this is definitely worth watching!! It may not be a movie you'll remember 10 years for now but it brings back the hype that may have died down since the ending of season 2 and I believe it's executed very well. 9/10