It’s a new week, with a new Otaku Review, and I’m still trying to catch up on the spring season anime. There was a shocking amount of anime worth watching, so the excitement is already mounting for the upcoming summer season. There seems to be a number of upcoming titles that will be very interesting and exciting.
Coming back to this week’s Otaku Review we will be looking at another series which I actually managed to stick with for the most part week by week Bungoe Stray Dogs.
Bungoe Stray Dogs is another anime that I previewed in a previous Otaku Digest. However, we will be giving a refresher to those who might have missed it back them.
First airing back on April 7 we are introduced to orphan Nakajima Atsushi. He has been recently kicked out of orphanage leaving to him with no place to go and he winds up starving on the streets.
As he is lying starving to death of the edge of a river bank he comes across a man who it seems was trying to commit suicide. The man’s name is Dazai Osamu. Nakajima discovers that this mysterious man and his partner Kunikida are members of a special detective agency. It is special as all the members possess distinct supernatural powers thus they take on cases which are deemed too dangerous for the regular police to take on.
Currently they are on the tail of a mysterious tiger, that has been seen around the area, where coincidently Nakajima also arrived. Putting two and two together the agency made the connection that there was a tie between this tiger and Nakajima. Even when the tiger case is solved it is obvious that Nakajima’s life has been changed forever, it was now entwined with the detectives and their cases.
No matter how hard I try to not look up and get excited about upcoming titles it is a near impossibility since there is always hype around some titles. I tend to get turned off by that hype, and lean towards titles that do not have a huge push behind them. One of those titles was Bungoe Stray Dogs. From the moment I saw a preview to this anime I was excited for what was to come, an interesting concept, eccentric characters and a comedic but effective animation style.
The concept is definitely one we have had before, in droves. A detective agency full of people with special supernatural powers who solve mysteries and take on cases that are too difficult for the regular police. Been there and done that. But what stood out about this series was the flow to each episode and the interactions between the characters.
The narrative of the series is told episode by episode through the different characters and that is something that was really well done. Although not every character gets a dedicated episode they are highlighted in some way. The main characters are focused on more. This made the series a lot more enjoyable since there was no random character thrown in from time to time just so you knew who they were. The story of the series although basic at times flows into a complicated web where you really need to pay attention to each scene and specifically little titbits the characters might give. No spoilers here as it really is worth watching, the story literally focuses on the agencies movements and the constant over shoulder watching in case the Port Mafia come knocking.
That might seem like a very basic storyline but combined with these characters and that blend of comedy and action it works really well. You tend to focus less on what the basis of the story is and get involved in the characters and what they get up to.
Saying that there is no way to go into all these characters individually but we will look at a few that stuck out to me. It is no surprise who did either. The main protagonist Atsushi, who really is a hairline away from a full emotional breakdown was actually a really well developed character. Although it did at times seem like all we were going to have was his tragic backstory we actually see him grow as a person. His life has been tragic it is no lie but we also see him begin to accept others and understand himself better. However, this series would be nothing without Dazai and Kunikida, the two seniors of the agency.
The interactions between these two was were some of the best moments of the series. They manage to bring an ease to the comedy they are bringing to the mix but also bring some of the best drama the series has. Kunikida is your typical leader type. Always seems bothered by the things he must do and especially by Dazai. Yet he always answers the call when he is needed or is always willing to help. Dazai on the other hand is far more mysterious, we do not really know anything about him except he is obsessed with suicide. Slowly as the episodes go by we learn more about him and how really everything he touches is a pawn in his own little game.
If you were looking for a dark and depressing anime you are barking up the wrong tree here. Bungou Stray Dogs although action filled with some dark and very violent elements. it is light hearted and fun to watch. The second part to the anime is set to release in October and I cannot wait.