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Bungou Stray Dogs

Bungou Stray Dogs is a creative mix of ideas that introduces characters with names of reknowned authors, Japanese and of other countries. I've only seen the anime, but I think it is a pretty good series one should check out, especially if you're into literary works. The reference game is strong with this one.

In the series, they are from different associations that for some reason don’t get along to the extent the members always have to battle it out - as if the chaotic world there are born in isn’t chaotic enough. Adding on to that, almost all of the members have unique abilities for combat, named after some of the real-life authors’ famous works.

Season 1 touched on various events that are not exactly connected, but it is mostly centred on happenings when Nakajima Atsushi escaped from his orphanage and meets Dazai Osamu (who had been attempting to drown… But that’s just how Dazai is, obsessed with suicide ever since he joined the detective agency, or maybe even before that). The Detective Agency is where Atsushi ended up in and he helps out in the investigation of various odd events around town, most of them turning out to be quite sinister.

From the start, Port Mafia was the Agency’s most troublesome adversity they have to overcome. While aiding the Agency in defending against them, Atsushi meets new enemies, friends, and also finds out more about why these two groups just don’t get along. In addition, he also has to face his inner demons which was nailed into him from his horrifying experiences at the orphanage he was at.

Season 1 then ends with some sort of premonition to events that will occur later in the timeline. The last episode starts off with yet another battle to be conquered by Atsushi, but with the introduction of new characters and new fears, viewers might hope for more information about where the plot will take the story to.

Season 2 does that, but the anime starts off with Dazai’s past involvement with Port Mafia which explains the events leading up to Dazai’s decision to join the Agency in the first few episodes.

If you’ve got a glimpse of Dazai’s character in season 1, Season 2’s first few episodes give quite a fresh insight on what Dazai had been like and other sides of Dazai one may not often see when he’s currently with the agency. And after that the anime jumps back to the current timeline, where Atsushi and gang faces even more complicated troubles from before, to the point they even had to evacuate the headquarters.

Season 2 also shows many other things: unexpected enemies and alliances, introduction of more characters, the different sides to each character etc. All were made possible with a new association entering the scene and declaring war on the area where the detective agency and port mafia reside.

For the plot, my friend described it as a two-way battle turned three-way battle and then it was revealed the manga is now having some sort of four-way battle… Well. To me the plot does not particularly stand out, the settings and the characters however fascinates me more. Also I am not up-to-date on the latest events in the manga so I cannot really comment much here.

The individual personalities, and interactions is something that one should watch out for. Besides Atsushi's background, there was also further insight into Kyoka's, Odasaku's and the past of various members from Port Mafia. If I recall correctly, Dazai was one of the characters where the plot focused on the most. Season 2 revealed he was not always the Dazai I saw in season 1, and that he actually has a different, maybe even compassionate side to him.

Even Dazai's relationships with Atsushi, Akutagawa and Chuuya are quite different as well. He sees Atsushi as a great potential, Akutagawa as someone he’d rather leave in the past (but I don’t think he quite can….) and Chuuya as someone he would very much rather stay far, far away from even though they had previously joined forces before to form the most terrifying combination around, dubbed as soukoku.

I like this series, though it only really held my attention when I started on season 2, because it is where things get really interesting as it is where the plot started going places. The various twists in the course of the story are quite fascinating where many things are not what is made out to be, and one can even take some life lessons away from the story. It's something I'd recommend if you're a literary enthusiast or someone who likes shows that make use of supernatural forces!

Do you watch Bungou Stray Dogs? I would love to hear your thoughts about this series. My favourite characters are Chuuya, Q, Kyoka. In my circle of friends, one likes Tanizaki and the other is an avid collector of Chuuya merchandises. I will just look forward to reading the manga. :)

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