Bungo Stray Dogs – Preview
Bungo Stray Dogs:
Original Air Dates: April 6th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Near starvation, Nakajima Atsushi, who’d been kicked out of his orphanage just a few weeks prior, decides to rob the next person he comes across. Unfortunately that happens to be a man drowning. Atsushi instead decides to save the stranger, who actually had been trying to kill himself! As ‘thanks’, suicidal Dazai Osamu, and his annoyed partner, Kunikida Doppo, treat Atsushi to dinner as they explain to him that they’re looking for a man-eating tiger making its way through the city. For both of them are members of the “Armed Detective Agency”, tasked with solving incidents not even the military nor police will touch.
Atsushi freaks upon mention of the tiger, because he claims it’s been after him. But as he explains how the tiger followed him from the orphanage after he was kicked out, Dazai and Kunikida begin to suspect that not everything Atsushi is telling them is the truth….
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Bungo Stray Dogs splashes across the screen with a lot of strong and non traditional background shades like red, pink and orange, lending it a particular look, one that may remind you of shows like Concrete Revolution.
Tom: There’s a powerful use of shading here to really paint Bungo’s world in dark trappings that help to sell the creepy mood and establish this as a strange world where individuals have unusual powers ranging from simple werewolf like transformations to even more bizarre abilities. The visuals really sell what a weird world we’re in for.
Linny: The characters too have unusual features and facial designs which further sell the slightly off world that the story is set in. Think Death Parade characters, but more exaggerated comedy wise, aka a little elongated and slim, with sharp faces and lines. Some of the more action packed scenes had quite a bit of flair, thanks to the use of colours and design. There was a significant use of CGI to depict the monster being hunted, but otherwise, the animation style and quality remains constant and gets the job done just fine.
Tom: Our orphan, Atsushi, is pretty weird in his own right and very very hyper when frightened. I found him a tad annoying, but it’s a pretty minor complaint. The other two characters, our suicidal Dazai and his friend Kunikida remind me a lot of the Get Backers from, well, the Get Backers anime. You’ve got the straight laced competent one and the other one who’s a bit silly. Their designs remind me of the Get Backers as well, but are reversed between who’s silly and who’s straight-laced. The similarities ends there, however, as Dazai is clearly obsessed with all forms of suicide and Kunikida is a purely by the books kind of guy.
Linny: I, on the other hand, quite enjoyed and felt sorry for Atsushi, as he struggled to deal with his intense hunger and desolation, getting into hilarious situations and spouting funny lines. It was only when he turned into a parrot that kept obsessing over his expulsion that he got on my nerves and made me realize how pushy the show could be with its hints and notes. When it comes to Osamu and Kunikida, you’ve probably seen similar characters in other series. You have the quirky and carefree lead, Osamu, being held in check by a flustered and uptight friend, Kunikida. We get a brief introduction of all the other members of the detective agency, but not enough to really get a feel for their characters for now.
Tom: The rest of the cast pops in for about two minutes before Stray Dogs heads to the credits, but we don’t even get to know what their powers are. We get told the names of their powers, but with this show’s absolutely unusual naming scheme, its unclear what most of these powers do. So that’s a mystery going forward. The audience is long kept in the dark as to what exactly is really going on until the final few minutes of the episode, adding another bit of mystery. Bungo isn’t afraid to let the entire first episode act as character introductions, placing the plot on the back burner and letting episode two set up the usual status quo for the series moving forward.
Linny: The first episode served us what felt like a semi-comedic supernatural sleuth show. If that sentence got your interest, then give this a try. It’s clear the show had a lot of fun naming the powers of its characters as they’re mostly undecipherable to the average English speaker, but that makes it fun to find out just what those powers actually mean and do. Especially when right off the bat, one power exhibited is nothing like what its name would suggest.
Tom: It’s clear moving forward Bungo Stray Dogs will be about watching this odd cast of characters perform mission after mission, utilizing their rather strange super powers. But this opening is all about ensuring you understand exactly what kinds of characters you’re in for and Bungo was effective at making me want to see exactly where all these characters are sure to go.
Linny: While the show has sold me on its characters, it seems to be a bit too obvious with its mysteries, basically repeating hints over and over, until the viewer is not only well past enlightened and well into annoyed. If its mysteries keep being this blatantly solvable for the audience, Bungou might lose the mystery fans. Let’s hope the cast keeps being enjoyable and the mysteries get deeper as the show proceeds.
Tom: Bungo is based off an going manga, nine volumes long so far, so it’ll be interesting to see just how far we get through with this series before we’re either treated to a “go read the manga” ending or an anime only ending, and those can be really hit or miss. Ultimately I think Bungo is a solid show for anyone looking for a nice, slightly off its rocker, thriller.
Bungo Stray Dogs is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.