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.
Thank you for reading.