I wonder if it is due to the sheer amount of anime I see, not only throughout the course of the year, but at any given time. It’s just because I see shows that I have seen. Well, more to the point, I see shows that have a similar idea to one that I have seen recently, so I end up comparing how they tell their tale to each other, rather than allowing it to stand alone. But why would you want to watch something that you have already seen? Thus, the concern regarding “Bungo Stray Dogs” (“Bungō Sutorei Doggusu”, “Literary Stray Dogs”). (Note #1: I also have seen in as “Bungou”, so you may want to check both spellings if you wish to track down this series). It’s just that a lot of it smells like “Blood Blockade Battlefront”. Now, to the story:
Our tales center on individuals who are gifted with supernatural powers and who use them for different purposes, including founding a business, solving mysteries, and carrying out missions assigned by the mafia. The story mainly follows the members of the “Armed Detective Agency” and their everyday lives. Although ‘everyday’ lives is a bit of a stretch.
We start off with Nakajima Atsushi (bag in the middle). His ability is named Beast Beneath the Moon and he transforms into a white tiger, however, he has no control over this ability. Because his whole life he was called useless, he suffers from a lack of confidence that only changes when he joins the Agency.
The agency does battle with the Port Mafia, as bad and as dangerous as they come. The Port Mafia wants Atsushi, because of his ability, and sends their forces out to obtain him. This is the main reason the Agency ‘hired’ him, as to offer better protection for him from the PM Head, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa.
His ability is Rashomon, an ability that turns his coat into a savage beast, and formidable at that. (Note #2: Everyone in the series is named after a famous Japanese Author or Poet. Unless you are aware of that, this will wash over you.) We follow the adventures (or misadventures, as it were) of the Agency and their struggles to keep one step ahead of the Port Mafia while trying to keep law and order in this seaport town.
It’s just that at its core, it is no different that “BBB”, in the fact that you have this tyro showing up with powers they do not fully understand and a kind-hearted person (Osamu Dazai, to Atsushi’s lower left) who just happens to run a business that could benefit from those talents, takes him under his wing to give him the hands-on experience he needs to survive in this rough-and-tumble world. And here is my conundrum: is it a good series? Yes, but………
I might have a different feel for it, if “BBB” wasn’t seen first. Yes, they cover the same territory in a different manner and the stakes are completely separated from one another. They are two divergent shows, but they have more in common than initially realized. I am going to ask you to split them. They are both good shows, worthy of your time, but watch one this year and the other next year. You need that time gap to appreciate them both. (Personally, I feel “BBB” is the better show, but someone has to lose in the Super Bowl, OK?)
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Better approach to a standard format)
Plot 7 (Holding its own)
Pacing 8 (Moves along with zeal)
Effectiveness 7 (Mixed purposes)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (Despite its plusses, still a clone series for me)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Why do they want me?