Yet another anime by Studio Bones I couldn’t help but fall in love with almost immediately. This studio is by far my favorite, every anime I’ve watched of theirs has been a masterpiece. This one is no exception.
This had been on my radar for a while, so when I finished an anime, I decided to give this a go. And it was one of the few I fell for within the first five minutes.
It was especially easy for me to get into this, when the concept involves both super powers and detectives. I don’t watch as many crime/mystery shows as I would like to, so this was a way for me to watch a show of that genre. I finished Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens not too long ago, another show in the crime/mystery genre, and I absolutely loved it, so I was really excited to start this one. They have completely different atmospheres, but I like them about the same amount. I’ve seen people compare them, but I’ll be looking at this as it is alone.
Nakajima Atsushi is an orphan, but has been cast away from his orphanage. In a hunt to find food, he comes across a man who’s seemingly drowning in a river near where he’s walking. He saves the man, and in return, he agrees to provide Atsushi with a meal, and a place to stay. This man is Dazai Osamu, a member of the Armed Detective Agency. Atsushi is requested to join the Agency, a group of people with supernatural abilities who are tasked with solving difficult mysteries that the police and military can’t be bothered with. Not long after, Atsushi learns he has a powerful ability: to turn into a massive white tiger at night, which is the reason he was kicked out of the orphanage. He wasn’t in control of his power and caused damage, but in the Agency, he’ll be able to learn how to control himself and use his power to help.
The main group the Agency is after is the Port Mafia, whose leader is Akutagawa Ryunosuke. They cause many of the crimes that the Agency has to investigate, and are also after Atsushi for his unique and powerful Ability.
The characters are a driving force of this show, as goes for most stories. Unlike most people, my favorite character is Atsushi. I really resonate with him at times. He often questions his worth, and what he can possibly bring to this world. He was put down by those who looked after him in the orphanage, and has a flashback of what they said in nearly every episode. He’s been told that he’s worthless, and he should just die. He finds the strength to continue through the Armed Detective Agency.
From looking around the Internet, everyone seems to like Dazai the most. I definitely like him. He’s a fun character, who seems to have a deep past. I’m just getting into it now, at the beginning of season two. He’s one of those characters that you have to ask why they would even think of doing some of the things they do. The kind of character that’s fun to watch, but would be hell if they were real. He brushes things off so easily, and is sometimes a bit too confident in his abilities. But really, I can’t blame him, his powers are quite impressive. He can cancel out anyone else’s power with ease.
This leads to the other characters. The Agency has a slew of bizarre and interesting characters. Kunikida Doppo, who has a notebook full of all of the “ideals” he has in all sorts of situations. He tends to be the voice of reason, and is good at keeping everyone else in check during serious situations.
Yosano Akiko, a doctor who is interested in men and women having equal rights, and is getting quite sick of being assumed to be a secretary. She wants to be acknowledged as a skilled doctor, not just a pretty face. All in all, she’s a pretty badass character. She’s intelligent, and strong, and just wants to help other people.
Ranpo Edogawa, an adult who acts a bit childish, and is excellent at deduction. Plus, he’s played by one of my favorite dub actors, Vic Mignogna, which was a pleasant surprise. Any scene he’s in is entertaining, to say the least.
Miyazawa Kenji, a young member of the Agency, who’s adorable in features, but terrifying in strength and ability. He reminds me a bit of Finny from Black Butler, with the straw hat and youthful appearance coupled with super strength.
Tanizaki Jun’ichirou, probably the most normal person in the Agency. He’s the same age as Atsushi, and is a kind, hardworking boy, who cares for his sister and friends. But, I don’t like his sister, Naomi, at all. She’s just creepy, to be blunt. It’s that borderline incest that’s sometimes thrown in anime for comedy, but just comes off as gross and unnecessary to me. He has nothing to do with it, and just suffers through it, sometimes letting her know to stop, but she just doesn’t. She’s a boring, cardboard character, who doesn’t offer much of anything to story. Just when she gets injured, it triggers a reaction from Jun’ichirou.
The art style is gorgeous, as goes for all of Bones works (from what I’ve watched, besides maybe Mob Psycho 100. Unpopular opinion: I’m not fond of the art style or the show itself all that much). I know that this is a personal opinion, as some people don’t like Bones as much as I do. I’ve always liked the clean, crisp lineart and color that I don’t see in other studios’ works. Though all of their works have differing styles, there’s always something about the color palette that gives it away to me.
In specifics to Bungo Stray Dogs, however, the unique trait about it that I really love is the way the eyes are designed. They’re not perfectly round, they’re more like a rounded off diamond. It’s just a little detail that is only in this show. The lighting in certain scenes is also gorgeous, and the way the powers are used is very pretty to look at, like in this gif.
The style of comedic expressions is reminiscent of Soul Eater, one of my very favorites, which made me feel a sense of nostalgia that overwhelmed me as I set forth to experience this show. That alone was enough to hook me. I sometimes miss Soul Eater, and want something like it again. There’s never going to be anything quite like it, but this is something to work with.
The soundtrack is incredible as well, but well, most anime soundtracks are amazing to me. There’s very few that aren’t. The only examples that come to mind are ReLIFE and No. 6. I love both of those shows, but geez, their music is atrocious. That just shows how lenient I am with music, I guess.
But really, I need to discuss the opening and ending. The opening is very upbeat and engaging, while the ending is relaxing and somewhat melancholy. This is really the best combination for OP and ED, to me, at least. Start with something strong and end with something soft to ease the watcher away from the episode. Much like the new season of My Hero Academia’s OP and ED.
The opening, “Trash Candy” is performed by GRANRODEO, the same band to do some of the Kuroko no Basuke openings and endings. I’ve only heard the first opening and ending of that show, but I quickly recognized the band when this opening started. Also, the lead singer also plays a character, Nakahara Chuuya, a member of the Port Mafia. Another character everyone seems to love a lot, but he was in only like two episodes of season one, so I just don’t understand it. Maybe I’ll love him soon, who knows.
I love the ending a whole lot. It’s Namae wo yobu yo by Luck Life. It’s soothing, but not too soft. It’s a nice, relaxing song to listen to when the episode is over. The visuals show a bit of the trust that Atsushi has in Dazai, which is just sweet. There aren’t any videos on YouTube for the ending, so this screencap will have to do.
Something that’s really cool to me about this dub is that I don’t recognize a majority of the actors. They all play their characters well, and it’s cool to be introduced to new talent. Unfortunately, only season one has been dubbed, so I have to watch season two subbed. I’ll likely rewatch season two when it’s dubbed, since each version has a different feel to it.
How Does Everything Work Together?
This show doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it will when it has to. It doesn’t stay too grim, which is nice. I’m not a fan of dark shows, and this pleasantly surprised me with its lighthearted nature.
The mysteries sometimes only last one episode, but they’re paced well. I’m horrible at predicting outcomes of mysteries, so I’m usually shocked in the resolution of each.
It’s not overly violent, something that often makes me forget about watching some shows. It’s not that I’m sensitive to it, I just don’t like it. Some people enjoy watching fictional people get their heads cut off and guts spill out, it’s just not my thing. This show isn’t very graphic. There’s some blood, and people die, but it isn’t overdone.
I’m excited to watch season two. I watched the first episode last night, and it looks interesting. I’m also excited to see the movie in May, Dead Apple. I’m hoping to get through season two before it comes out, as long as it comes to a location near me. I got lucky that both Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic and A Silent Voice were shown at a theater half an hour from me. I’m right in the middle of two large cities, but as of now, there are no theaters close from what I can tell on the list Crunchyroll has posted.
Also, by episode two or three, I decided I absolutely had to cosplay from this show. I chose Atsushi, since I’ve never seen cosplay of him, and he’s my favorite, and he’s also the same age and height as me. I won’t be making it until late summer/early fall, since I want to use it for Youmacon at the beginning of November. And I have two others I’m making for myself.
I apologize that this week has been so barren for this blog. I had testing and orientation for work, and I’ve just been exhausted overall. I finally got some sleep, so I’m hoping to get some writing prepared for next week. I’ll try to get three posts out to make up for this sad week. I also have been playing with the idea of doing a podcast. I have a lot of free time after my college classes, and it may be easier for me to get more content out. Or just better to talk about some things verbally rather than in text. I’ll play around with some things before I decide. If I do this, it may turn into only one post here, and one episode on Anchor every week. But, like I said, I’m unsure right now.