Recommend : 100% YES!
Gifted individuals, crazy characters, lots of laughs and lots of tears…
Bungou Stray Dogs seems to have a little bit of everything for just about everyone in it if you just dig long enough.
I guess I can only start by giving advice.
Go into every episode with a open mind.
Also a piece of news that might make you happy is that every member of the Guild IS important. Remember that the whole of the first season seems to be a introduction to the world, the people inhabiting it and the craziness that they get up to. Each episode is like a mini-introduction to someone important and in this series there seems to be no-one that isn’t important.
So go into every episode with a open mind.
I say this because too often I’ve read or been told that they watched the first episode and got bored with the overly long explanations so didn’t bother with the second episode. The thing is every episode is different. Each episode is geared to show you something new and wonderful. The first episode is rather slow because it has to introduce the difficult concept of the main character plus EVERYTHING ELSE you need to know. The second episode is full of action as you meet the Agency and get to know their stupid little ways. Then there are episodes that make you cry, episodes that make you laugh and there is always episodes with Rampo in them which is the best kind of episode you can have.
Don’t give up on episode one and go into the others with a open mind.
Funny thing was that this anime got missed in our first run of watching stuff if you remember. I actually only caught up on it after it had been on for three or four weeks already. We don’t very often get caught up with what we’ve missed so usually you get stuck with us reviewing three or four things and only finishing one or two, I’m so happy I went back and caught up with this one because it by far became my favourite thing ever.
I said in the episode 12 review that its biggest strength is its ability to make you care for even the smallest of bit part characters but its biggest weakness is that it had to explain everything in the smallest of detail.
Strength wise it opens up a world of characters that you just fall in love with. It doesn’t matter who they are they all have their own personality and their own quirks which is great because it means there probably is a character that you’ll fall in love with and become attached too. And it isn’t just the good guys, there are plenty of characters you bond with in the Mafia too.
The weakness plays into this because whilst you can find yourself having to rewind to relisten to a long speech about someone’s feelings or their past or whatever else it is, at the same time it makes them all human. It would be so easy to paint the Agency as good guys, the Mafia as bad guys and only focus on developing the good guys personalities and backstories whilst keeping the bad guys as faceless evil people. They don’t. Each member has a reason why they are in the group they are in, usually they’ve just been picked up when they’ve hit rock bottom and the side that picked them up first are the ones that they stay with. That doesn’t mean that the Mafia guys are all bad guys, it just means the bad side picked them up and they are doing what is best for their family. It also doesn’t mean the good guys are all wonderful, in fact the Agency are full of some of the most selfish and dangerous characters in the whole anime!
The fact that they didn’t bother drawing a line, one side being black and the other white, and instead stayed in the grey area makes it so much more interesting.
It makes you WANT to see other characters again. It makes you WANT to learn more about them all. It opens up the world of possibilities.
For me the strength out ways the weakness ten fold. The characters in this show are worth every 10 minute explanation we had to endure.
Personal favourites being Dazai, Rampo and Chuuya. OK my favourite was Rampo and I’m in love with him. He’s also the only one that isn’t Gifted, well apart from Naomi but she’s only as important a character she is because of her brother really and their odd relationship. Rampo is the perfect example of the above grey area thing as well, when time comes for the Agency to find Atsushi, and baring in mind that Rampo is a genius who can solve any mystery in seconds, he refuses to help finding it boring to do so until the President promises to give him praise. I just found his childlike personality adorable.
With this series feeling much more like a introduction to all the characters it also therefore didn’t feel like it had much of a purpose story wise. There wasn’t really a underlying mystery other then who wants to capture the Weretiger and even though that was in your face 99% of the time it also just kind of pushed the introductions harder instead of being the be all and end all of the episodes.
We ended the season going into full out war between three mega powered groups. All it did was make me want more now.
Everything about the season I would recommend.
It was extremely well paced, had interesting characters, could go from funny to dramatic extremely fast and very well done. The stories made sense, there was only one thing I personally didn’t like the whole season long and that was Kyouka but I feel like you aren’t meant to be able to connect with her or understand her anyway, everything else ticked away perfectly and just made you love the world it was set in.
Whilst Mayoiga and Kiznaiver I did my best to avoid their final episodes because I knew it would disappoint me, Stray Dogs I avoided because I didn’t want it to end. Now that its over I can relive it all I want but I have to wait till October to get more and that is a sad prospect.