It’s been a year since I last set eyes on an anime season of Bungou Stray Dogs. The passion I used to have for it, fuelled by the fandom and time trying to deal with the spinoff Bungou Stray Dogs Wan!, has tapered off, but that doesn’t mean the spark’s gone entirely…
Both Dead Apple and Hitori Ayumu were a bit of an interesting experience, since Fyodor and Christie were written out of their original appearance around the time of season 1, only to become much, much more significant later. This probably made anime-only watchers confused at why, suddenly, these characters became of importance in the former.
Hitori Ayumu, as a self-contained chapter about Kunikida and his development as he deals with a girl called Aya (apparently based off author Aya Koda) and a disaffected teen called Katsura (based off one of author Kunikida’s characters), makes for good OVA material and I have elaborated on why that is already here. However, this made it all the more painful that there wasn’t a season 3, because it clearly ends on a note that needs a continuation to feel satisfying…that is, it was painful until the announcement associated with Dead Apple happened.
Likewise, Dead Apple has that “I’m a middle chapter!” feeling to it, although the convoluted plotting and multiple action scenes made it feel like the climax to an arc. However, stories like arcs of Bungou Stray Dogs are best told in digestible pieces…I did say “convoluted plotting” after all, so the chaos was hard to follow. I’d associate the idea of “chaos” to Rie Matsumoto if I had to point in a directorial direction, but Dead Apple manages to create a similar atmosphere in less time…(when I think about the Bungou Stray Dogs director Takuya Igarashi, I’d think of that exaggerated humour that’s such a trademark of the anime, just in case you want to compare notes.)
Interestingly, Dead Apple tied Mizuki Tsujimura (the blue-haired lady who was assisting Ango) into things – and as a light novel character whose strongest connection is to Kyouka, her cooperation with Ango made me hope that maybe someday, she’d make the jump to the small screen beyond this. She’s a great character if she’s capable of bossing around that guy, even if Ango is pretty meek for a double agent…It also was able to tie in information about Chuuya from another light novel called Fifteen, although it was too subtle to discuss (in my opinion, anyway).
I do have a really big criticism for the movie, just before I wrap this post up. The advertising focussed on Tatsuhiko Shibusawa and his motivations – or rather, the lack thereof, since he’s a movie-exclusive character (as of this post) and as such was an unknown entity in regards to ability, both capitalised and not. However, even if he was a legitimate author, anyone with enough Japanese knowledge would know the first kanji in Tatsuhiko means “dragon”, then possibly associated the idea with the concept of tiger vs. dragon (warning: TV Tropes link!), and so would’ve seen the final fight coming. Then again, I can only say that in retrospect, a month after finishing the movie, and the TV Tropes page does point out Akutagawa has a more subtle version of the same concept…so maybe it’s not that big a deal after all.
Eventually – heck, since this is the Cannibalisation Arc that’s coming up, it’ll be soon – the anime will surpass my knowledge of the series, since now I’m waiting to read the Kodansha translations, but I’ll still be a fan of this series through thick and thin.
So what did you think of the Bungou Stray Dogs OVA and movie? Did they exceed your expectations, or were you disappointed?