Bungou Stray Dogs 04 – 09


Who threw the dogs out? Who, who, who, who?!

spring15-irenesWell, the last time we were in the world of our heroes, we opened the door to Pandora’ Box by introducing our principal antagonists, the Port Mafia. We got to see darkness extraordinaire, Ryuunosuke Akutagawa, and his lovely blond assistant, as well as learn a bit of Dazai’s past. So where does the series go from there? Well, it would make sense I guess, to continue with the path they’ve given and get to know who exactly our heroes are and why they do what they do. Who exactly are the Armed Detectives and what makes them tick?


Bad to the bone…in name only.

Starting with episode 4, we get to see who the detective agency is as a whole, and you can see from just that episode alone, that not only are these gifted people good at what they do, but they also are definitely not ones to mess around with either. We see that while the Port Mafia are indeed deadly and dangerous, they are also not to be trifled with by anyone. We meet the Black Lizard gang, headed by the monocled Ryuurou Hirotsu. But we find out that as much as infamous as their reputation and as many people as they’ve massacred, being the mafia’s personal death squad, it was a little….weird to see that they don’t even hold a candle to our heroes.

I guess that’s why it was the novice who sent them rather than any of the more powerful baddies, since all the more experiences members knew better. I’ve heard quite a few complaints about that episode’s anti-climactic ending. And I honestly won’t refute or go against what any of those people are saying. There is something to say about subverting expectations, and yet, I also think that if you go off too far in left field it might not make the particular impression you seek. BSD has quite a few issues in the writing and plot departments, but I’ll get to that a little bit later. 

Beware the shrooms

When it happens, you can definitely feel a character like Dazai’s absence. While Atsushi is the main character, he really serves as the straight man for others to bounce off of. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have enough charisma or personality to sustain a show on his own. So far he seems to not have a large variety of character traits other than to be the naive fill-in for the audience. Dazai is the life of this series and heart of the agency, and it took only one episode to figure that out. Even when there are other episodes where other agency members are the focus, it’s Dazai’s presence that usually makes it work.

But we’ve seen enough of the other Dazai and Atsushi, so we’re now it’s time to get to see a little bit of the rest of the hero cast. The next few episodes we go through getting to know each member of the Armed detective agency. We first get to know more about the man who is the life’s blood of the business of this agency in Rampo Edogawa and his “ability”: Ultra-Deduction. 

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Sherlock wishes he were this cool.

This guy is my favorite character thus far, and it’s for the same reason that everyone at the agency respects him and let’s him do whatever he wants. At only 26, he possesses a power of deduction and such awesomeness by analysis that he would give Sherlock a run for his money! And then to find out that he’s the only member of the group who does NOT have a superpower? I just can only love and admire him, and you can forgive him his arrogance and his sociopathic tendencies, because you feel like a guy that who can do what he can, can have his eccentricities. As Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy says,

“Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride — where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.”

Dude, you picked the wroooong girl…

My second favorite of the agency members has to be our feminist doctor, Akiko Yosano, who we discover is a sadist by necessity. I find her attitude cool and the surprise about the nature of her powers was also pretty cool to see. For her to be able to heal, she has to have her patients on the edge of death is some condition. But then I guess, it allows her to not be too powerful.

Yosano might not be your average woman, or your average doctor for that matter (I literally think she spit in Hippocrates’ face), but that just makes her even cooler to watch. From seeing her take out a chauvinistic masher, to teaching a psychotic bomber with a penchant for lemons a thing or two, it’s all rather fun.


And fun is what I’d simply have to classify this series. There’s really not much else to it. The plot…well, the plot isn’t that good. Not really. We have two super powered teams, but there’s not really much done with them. The majority of the characters aren’t that deep and the mysteries they solve are so easy even a kid who’s seen a few episodes of Scooby-Doo can figure them out. Everything really dwindles down to: Superpowered bad guys want MC because he’s worth a lot of money and will do whatever it takes to get him. Superpowered good guys stop them. It really is that simple.


Of the book, by the book, for the book.

There are moments here and there where it seems like they want to take things a little more seriously. Kunikida’s short two-parter had a darker, grim tone and fit his nature as a character who has to have everything just so and can never bend from his set moral code. We see an interesting dynamic between him and Dazai who, while laid-back, is a genius in a jester’s skin. The mystery there was just as paper thin as all the rest, but the ending was still rather bittersweet.

It’s interesting that there are plenty of stakes in this series. People die and the danger and blood is quite real. And yet…it still seems meaningless. If I had to really describe this series so far, it feels like it’s going through the motions, but with no real goal in mind. There’s nothing more than what’s on the surface.


Ghost in the Loli

I do have an interest in this newest arc, where we are introduced to the tragic girl assassin, Kyouka Izumi and see how her presence begins to put Atsushi on a path to man up. Their cute maybe-romance is cute as well, and I’m interested in seeing how her story will end up. Akutagawa has been doing his best to remain threatening during the series, but honestly, we don’t really see enough of him for it to amount to him. That, plus Dazai’s undercutting and degradation of his former pupil, tells me that the shadow-monster wielding killer is going to soon join the ranks of his other ineffectual mafia brethren.  

This leaves our newest character, Dazai’s former partner, Chuuyu Nakahara, to create some new momentum  to the series. We’ll have to see how long that lasts.


Hey partner, long time no see.


This series was already slated as a split cour, and so will have another season in the Fall. Yet, I can’t see how much more story you can really tell. The series as it is, is sort of episodic with no real end goal that will hold the audience’s interest over the summer. The idea of these literary superheroes has lost the gloss that it once had, and yet, despite all this, I still have fun at each episode. It’s not a series I’m gushing to see every week, and yet, I still take time to watch it when I can. If just for Dazai’s antics alone. 😛


A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
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4 Responses to “Bungou Stray Dogs 04 – 09”

  1. zztop says:

    The series as it is, is sort of episodic with no real end goal.

    I think it is too. Reading the manga, my impression is
    that it’s your typical superpowered people battle series, with the usage of literary references as the central gimmick to attract readers. That said it’s quite interesting how the writer plays with the real life relationships for the manga (ie. the real life Dazai was inspired by Akutagawa, whilst it’s the reverse for the anime). Plus Bungou’s the writer’s longest running series to date (other works lasted 3-4 volumes).

    Kunikida’s short two-parter had a darker, grim tone.
    The 2-parter was adapted from a light novel spinoff also written by Bungou’s writer, which is canon to the manga story.

    Overall the manga has a serious, grimmer feel to it. The anime-original humour elements may not be for everyone though.

    • IreneSharda says:

      The thing is, I like the humor but I just find the plot to be a little lacking. It really feels like it’s not going anywhere.

      Finding out about the writers is fun and informative. I’m interested in why the little girl assassin is named after a male writer, though I guess maybe the connection is that the original writer used to be a kabuki actor?

      I’ll be interested to see how this show will continue on into the next season.

    • BlackBriar says:

      The anime-original humour elements may not be for everyone though.

      Well, one can’t expect everyone to like the same thing. I find the humor good, though. Especially when Dazai and Kunikida keep butting heads.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Once again, you and I are in different camps. Bungou Stray Dogs is one of my most anticipated shows this season and I always eagerly await the following episode after the recent one because it’s pure fun.

    True, that without a doubt Dazai is the series’ “tour de force” but I’m not one bit as harsh on Atsushi as you seem to be. He’s likable in his own way and is simply portraying how a novice usually is: Stumbling and growing while learning. It already shows through the following entries that he’s stepping up. Doing so greatly, in my opinion. Especially when he took charge of Kyouka.

    In the 9th episode, it irked me to see how Kunikida and Rampo hardly gave a care that one of their own suddenly got abducted. When Atsushi joined the Agency, Kunikida told him not to do anything or behave in a manner that would drag the Agency’s good name through the mud but I’d definitely declare that disregard for a comrade’s well-being, a newcomer’s especially, to be such a penalty. For that, I’ve lost some respect for him.

    One thing I’ve noticed among others. He was not long after his first appearance but lately, it’s come to my attention that Akutagawa hasn’t been coughing these past few episodes. I thought he was designed after his real world counterpart as one stricken with a terminal illness.

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