Did you know that Crunchyroll got the Bungou Stray Dogs OVA? No?
Well, once you finish watching it…let me tell you: the Walking Alone OVA reminded me why I love Bungou Stray Dogs so much, writing-wise.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my love of Bungou Stray Dogs on the Spellbook yet. It sort of died after the anime ended a few years back and people started causing a ruckus about Dead Apple, but nothing brings me back more than an OVA, and it’s an adaption of manga material at that! The OVA’s about reaffirming the pedestal Kunikida puts his ideals on, much like season 1, episode 7. The series has a few pedestal-breaking moments though, so let’s take a look at some of them.
Since we’re on the topic of Kunikida, let’s start with him. Season 1 episode 7 – adapted from the first side novel Dazai Osamu’s Entrance Exam – and the OVA – adapted from manga chapter 40 – both involve Kunikida risking the ideals he loves so much for others’ sake. Regardless of whether the outcome is good or bad, Kunikida’s parts tend to be some of the most serious in the anime, and for good reason – because Kunikida’s raison d’être of “ideals” (with “justice” to a lesser extent) align very well with what the Detective Agency stands for, stories involving Kunikida tend to build on both the Agency’s goals and Kunikida’s characterisation at the same time.
Dazai was played as his “joke character” self in the OVA, but season 2 episodes 1 to 4 – adapted from the Dazai Osamu and the Dark Era side novel – shows a more conventional case of the broken pedestal with Sakunosuke Oda. After discovering what Oda’s plan was, Dazai lost a friend and in exchange gained enough resolve to leave the Port Mafia. By having the oddly-unwilling-to-kill Oda juxtaposed against the at-the-time ruthless Dazai, it proves even the worst of bad guys have motivations and the ability to be redeemed. However, since Oda and Dazai are two sides of the same coin in the same organisation, it’s shown in a way that’s not as black and white as it is in shonen (even though Bungou Stray Dogs is very reminiscent of a shonen series…).
Of course, if you’re going to mention Dazai, it would be remiss to not mention Akutagawa. It is the same incident which turns Dazai towards the Agency that turns Akutagawa into the raging monster that he is at the start of the series (both manga and anime). It’s because his faith in his idol was shattered that he is the way he is to Higuchi and everyone else in the Port Mafia, as well as how he treats Atsushi, throughout the course of the first season. However, it’s the deep mutual understanding the two protégés come to afterwards that allow them to be such a good team (in the anime’s second season and in later parts of the manga).
You’ll notice I’ve put down what each of these storylines were adapted from. From that, it turns out a lot of this information comes from the side novels and not the original manga, which does say something about the priorities of both, even though they come from the same author and illustrator team.
So, do you think it would be better to have all the information in the main manga, or is it better to have it splintered into a manga/novel divide like Bungou Stray Dogs has it? Also, do you think there are any other examples of broken pedestals in Bungou Stray Dogs?