Genre: Action, Comedy, Mystery, Seinen, Supernatural
Plot: Nakajima Atsushi was kicked out of his orphanage, and now he has no place to go and no food. While he is standing by a river, on the brink of starvation, he rescues a man whimsically attempting suicide. That man is Dazai Osamu, and he and his partner Kunikida are members of a very special detective agency. They have supernatural powers and deal with cases that are too dangerous for the police or the military. They’re tracking down a tiger that has appeared in the area recently, around the time Atsushi came to the area. The tiger seems to have a connection to Atsushi, and by the time the case is solved, it is clear that Atsushi’s future will involve much more of Dazai and the rest of the detectives!
Impression: Bungou Stray Dogs is this season’s supernatural anime, similar to Kekkai Sensen, which is from the same studio as Bongou Stray Dogs; that is, Bones. Bones is an amazing studio having made fan favorite anime like the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise, Noragami, Darker than Black and Soul Eater. So expecting something big can’t possibly be too much. And Bones has already promised that excellence, as a second season and an OVA are already confirmed.
With four episodes out for grabbing, we now know quite a lot about the world this anime dwells in. For starters, some humans in this world are born with a “gift”, but for some that gift turns out to be a curse instead. Such is the case with our protagonist Nakajima Atsushi. His gift, as revealed later in the first episode, is turning into a huge tiger under a full moon. With Dazai and Kunikida, the two main supporting characters after the tiger, Atsushi is caught and must now join the team. He goes through a test to qualify for the team and passes with sheer bravery. But the fun is just about to begin, as our antagonists have been revealed, the Port Mafia. They are a large gang with similarly gifted humans who don’t like using their powers to help people. With that being said, Atsushi has a huge bounty on his head; so why wouldn’t the Port Mafia be after him? But the worst possible case wasn’t as bad as Atsushi expected, which was really funny. But explaining this any further would ruin an entire episode’s fun.
The anime shows off quite a lot of comedy here and there, almost everywhere; Dazai being at the center of it most of the time. This suicidal maniac reminds me of Brock (Pokémon), with him proposing girls at random. Only difference being that he proposes for a double suicide instead. Kunikida is a serious person keeping notes all the time in his notebook of ‘Ideals’ and following his schedule. Along with Atsushi, the three of them form an interesting team indeed.
This anime shows off good art style and flashy battles. The unique powers and even more unique names of powers that the characters showcase were thrilling. I was really pulled in by this anime and just had to see more episodes, like some addiction formed in me. The anime is really promising and is definitely one of the top of this season. A must watch indeed. I’ll have to give these four episodes an 8 out of 10.
Some Interesting Facts: Bungou Stray Dogs literally meaning ‘Literary Stray Dogs’, almost all the characters of the anime are named after 19th or 20th century Japanese authors or writers. Not only that their abilities also stem from their famous literary words. Some examples are given below:
- Nakajima Atsushi (1909 – 1942): Primarily a writer of short stories and novels. His most famous work was ‘Sangetsuki’ which is a rewrite of a Chinese fable where a scholar goes crazy and turns into a white tiger. This is where Atsushi’s ability in the anime comes from.
- Dazai Osamu (1909 – 1948): His writings were focused around darker themes of loss, destruction and suicide. His most famous work was ‘Ningen Shikkaku’ or ‘No Longer Human’ which is a book about a suicidal/self-destructive person who is no longer able to relate to the society around him. ‘No Longer Human’ is also the name of Dazai’s ability in the anime.
- Doppo Kunikida (1871 – 1908): A Japanese writers of novels and romantic poetry. In 1892 Kunikida began writing his personal diary called ‘Azamukazaru no ki’ or ‘An Honest Record’ which is portrayed in the anime by Kinikida’s record keeping notebook that he carries around all the time. He’s ability is called ‘Doppo Poetry’, a tribute to his romantic pomes.
- Rampo Edogawa (1894 – 1965): He was a Japanese writer and critic who played and indispensable role in the development of Japanese mystery fiction literature. Most of his works revolved around detective novels which contained the character ‘Kogoro Akechi’ who is a genius detective. Hence in the anime Rampo’s ability is ‘Super Deduction’.
- Akiko Yasano (1878 – 1942): She is well known feminist author famous for her support for woman’s education rights in 19th /Early 20th century Japan. Her famous work was ‘Kimi Shinitamou Koto Nakare’ or ‘Thou Shalt Not Die’ aimed towards her wishes for her brother’s safe return from the Japan-Russia war in 1904. Her ability ‘Thou shalt not Die’ is named after this poem.
Here is the promotional video for Bungou Stray Dogs:
Here are some screenshots from Bungou Stray Dogs: