"Extremely Beautiful, Shockingly Versatile and Diverse!"
Warning: This review contains typographical and grammatical errors waiting to be criticized. Do not proceed if bothered. Anyways, this is purely my opinion about the show. I let my review speak for itself.
Bungou Stray Dogs centers a story about a poor, unemployed, orphan named Nakajima Atsushi who was recklessly kicked out of the orphanage. Mid the series of unfortunate events, he met an eccentric man named Dazai Osamu who is a suicidal maniac and is a current partner of a hot-tempered, organized, idealist, Kunikida Doppo. One second, Atsushi was very thankful of how thoughtful the two are for saving him on a brink of death and starvation but after learning that they are from the Armed Detective Agency, an elite known for solving impossible cases beyond military police can handle and helping citizens of Yokohama from danger, and are in the works to find a man-eating tiger, his expression drastically changed. Caught by his suspiscious act, he is forced to help Dazai and Kunikida capture the creature who's wrecking havoc in the city. From then on, several occasions changed his life forever involving him and the tiger.
And now that we are done with the synopsis, 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.
SO STAN LEGENDS, STAN BUNGOU STRAY DOGS!