Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 1: Fortune is Unpredictable and Mutable (First Impression)

Studio Bones is very busy. They had Shirayuki season 2 last season, and in just this Spring season they’re tackling the second season of Concrete Revolutio, big name show Boku no Hero Academia, and another popular series, which is this. Bungou Stray Dogs. And they still have other projects this year, which is ridiculous. But let me tell you, they’re doing well.

I was hoping shows I wanted to review would not come out on Mondays and Wednesdays. I have three classes back to back on those days, and I don’t come home until nighttime. And I go to class early, so basically I’m out of the house the whole day. Come back home, really tired, go shower, eat, do homework, sleep. So I said I would not take any shows that would fall on those days. BUT HEY SURPRISE, THIS SHOW DID. I thought Bungou Stray Dogs would come out Thursday…it does, but in Japan time. Where I live it comes out 10:35 am. I said I wouldn’t, but…ohhhh I really liked this episode.

bsd1.2The episode opens up with a young boy named Atsushi Nakajima. He collapses in front of a river, slowly dying of starvation. We learn that he used to be in an orphanage, but he was suddenly kicked out by them because the orphanage was having money issues. To save some money, they kicked him out to feed one less mouth. From the flashbacks we saw and some monologue from Atsushi, those at the orphanage didn’t seem to like him at all. Having not eaten in days, Atsushi finally musters up the courage to rob the next person he sees. And this part was unusually funny, because the first person he saw was someone blazing through on a motorcycle. Then a group of military men marching. And then when turning around, he sees someone floating down the river, legs sticking out. Atsushi says he won’t help the person, but it really gets to him and he jumps in and drags the man out.

And then we meet Dazai Osamu, a really strange character. Atsushi saved his life, but he’s upset he did because he had purposely tried killing himself. Because for some reason this guy is totally obsessed with suicide, and he wants to commit a suicide that would not trouble others. But since this attempt did, he says he’ll treat Atsushi to something. Since he’s hungry, it’s food. And then all of a sudden we meet another character, Dazai’s partner, Kunikida, who is very angry at his partner for ruining his perfect schedule for the day. The two men take Atsushi to a restaurant to treat him to food.

bsd1.12We learn about the Armed Detective Agency when Atsushi asks about their jobs. The Armed Detective Agency is what it sounds like, a detective agency. But the people that work there possess some sort of supernatural power, and they handle special cases that regular police and detectives can’t handle on their own. They take all kinds of job, but the job that Kunikida and Dazai are in charge of is a dangerous one. They’re in search of a man-eating tiger that’s been spotted causing problems, and at this information Atsushi reacts. He’s forced to tell them that wherever he goes, that tiger follows him. The tiger is also responsible for destroying the already poor orphanage he had stayed in. He thinks the tiger has targeted him and is coming to kill him. Coming up with an idea, Dazai asks Atsushi for his help becoming bait for the tiger so they can capture it. Atsushi freaks out and refuses, but when seeing the cash reward, he changes his mind.

bsd1.21Atsushi and Dazai are sitting in a warehouse, waiting for the tiger to arrive. Funnily enough, Dazai is reading a suicide book in the dark. But he stops, saying something is about to begin. The moon comes into view out of the windows of the warehouse and the moonlight shines inside. Dazai starts reciting the clues Atsushi had given him, such as when and where he and the tiger were, noting the coincidences of it all. It’s then that under the moonlight, Atsushi undergoes a transformation, and he turns into a tiger! Resulting that, he was the tiger all along. The problem is that Atsushi doesn’t even know this and can’t even control his power, as with many people with supernatural powers. In his tiger form he attacks at Dazai, but Dazai easily restrained him because his power is a type that can make another person’s power null just by touching them. Just with a touch of his finger, Atsushi turns back into his human self. WHAT AN OP POWER!

Knowing all this, It’s obvious that the reason why Atsushi was kicked out of the orphanage was because the people knew he was the tiger, but they never told him. It also explains the hurtful things they shouted at him, such as being a good for nothing. When he comes to, Dazai makes the decision to invite Atsushi to join him, and the rest of the Armed Detective Agency.

Berry’s First Impression

I loved this episode! It was unusually very funny. Dazai is certainly a strange man, being obsessed with killing himself. I laughed when he called the suicide book he was reading a “good” book. And the way he pointed out the beam in the restaurant a good spot to hang himself. But he’s weird because he can act silly, but the scene in the end with him fending off Atsushi, he was very serious and cool! He’s so entertaining. I felt the comedy to have a good balance with everything else so I very much enjoyed it’s silliness. It was funny when it needed to be, and it was serious when it needed to be, so I was very entertained the whole time.

bsd1.23I’m so excited to learn more about this Armed Detective Agency. It sounds like having supernatural powers is common, so I’d like to know why. I heard somewhere that the names of the characters take names from Japanese authors, and I don’t know if I’ll be missing references. The only one I knew was Edogawa Ranpo. I think it’s pretty cool. Also, I love the names of their abilities such as No Longer Human, Thou Shalt Not Die, Be Not Defeated by the Rain. They’re really unique! And I’m sure the names are actually titles of books, or chapters, or short stories, or poems written by the author they’re named after. I’m really loving this atmosphere! And of course I’m curious to see what their abilities are.

I had a feeling I would love this show, and so far I really do. Fun characters, good action, good humor, fantastic animation, and I loved the songs of the OP and ED. So far, I can’t find any faults…except for the fact that THIS COMES OUT ON A WEDNESDAY. But still, I really wanted this show and I sure as hell am going to take it. This show gave us a great first impression, so I’m expecting a memorable watch.

Possibility of watching: Of course.

Possibility of blogging: Definitely!

3 thoughts on “Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 1: Fortune is Unpredictable and Mutable (First Impression)”

  1. The character’s names ARE based on actual 20th century Japanese authors, and their abilities ARE named after their most famous works!

  2. 1) The real Nakajima Atsushi (1909-1942) primarily wrote short stories based on Classical Chinese literature. His most famous work was “Sangetsuki”, a rewrite of an ancient Chinese fable where a scholar goes mad in his quest to become a great poet, and then literally transforms into a tiger. The rewrite emphasizes the poet’s self-examination and inner moral growth. Anime Atsushi’s weretiger powers are likely based on Sangetsuki’s plot.

  3. 2)Dazai Osamu’s (1909-1948) writing revolved around themes of loss, suicide, and decadence. No Longer Human/Ningen Shikkaku was his most famous, being translated in English, other languages, and got a movie adaptation in 2009. The book revolved around the self-destruction of a man unable to relate to the world around him, hiding his alienation behind a mask of joviality. The real Dazai also attempted to kill himself several times over the course of his life; he finally succeeded in drowning himself in 1948 with his recent lover, a beautician/war widow. Anime Dazai’s suicide attempt in a canal’s a flashback to the real one’s death.

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