Posted on 1 July 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Bungou Stray Dogs

Well, we don’t usually give a review on the first cour of anime show, given the fact that the second part will air next autumn season. But since I’m not certain I would cover its second half, plus I don’t think this series will improve itself, I might as well give Bungou Stray Dogs a proper review now.

Bungou Straw Dogs is an action show that follows a story of Atsushi, an abandoned boy who can transform into a tiger unconsciously. He got rescued and later recruited by the Armed Detective Agency, which contains a bunch other gifted characters. But things become more complicated as the Port Mafia – the local mafia – also want to take their hands on Atsushi and towards the end of the series, somehow the Guild – the North American counterpart for gifted people – involves to capture Atsushi as well. The show follows this main storyline, at the same time introduces each and every one of the Agency.

As far as action show goes, in term of production, the show has a lot to recommend on. The art designs, in highlights, feel like an essential component of Bungou Stray Dogs. This show has always put extra effort to create a strong personality for its settings. From under the bridge scene right at the beginning, to the abandoned hospital, to the various sights of the city, all are well-drawn and have an atmosphere of their owns. The last episode set-piece in closed space dimensional, in particular, showcase the art designs at its best as it has a very distinctive feel of dreamy and creepy, like a nightmarish version of Alice in Wonderland. The show goes for more of impressionist visual style, and I would say what they achieve here is impressive. The staffs show us that they have a great flair of shot compositions. This is one of a few anime series that whenever I freeze frame the screen, I can still find great shots for my screensaver. The impressionist visual also means that the color palette changes depend on the mood of the scene, but the show favors the use of strong color in its more ordinary scene: dark red, green, resembles many of classical paintings. The music of the show has always been very consistent, and sometimes it did take a little risk. In a bombing sequence for example, the score goes to unsettling and nausea approach, which in turns very fitting to the chaos and the nausea of the confusing crowd.

But in Bungou Stray Dogs, we don’t only have action. There are also some twists/ flavors mixed in with its action, and the results vary in many degrees. The first ingredient is to make the characters based on real life authors. This adds a little quirk to the characters, which is actually fun to watch, especially if you know the authors they are referencing to. Talking about characters, the cast in the show does have their own voices. Like the cast in shows like Baccano or Cowboy Bebop or directly from Tarantino’s movies, they never feel like a real person, but they’re damn fun to watch nevertheless. I have to point out Dazai and the girl Hyouka as the show’s stand out characters, the way Dazai’s charm his way out (even about suicide) and Hyouka tragic but grounded circumstances. Other characters are vastly over the top and when given a spotlight, they developed quite well but most of the times the cast is unfortunately bland and one dimensional. See, this is a fundamental problem of Bungou Stray Dogs, because the cast is so exaggerated and over the top, leaving them on their own could potentially affects the main storyline. As a result, in order to keep the story going the way the show wants it, the cast has to be as one-dimensional as possible and sometimes as inconsistent as ever. For instance, it’s nice to learn the truth behind Ranpo’s gift or Kanji acts up once in a while, but for the majority of time we will have to see the childish, selfish side of Ranpo or the happy-go-lucky Kanji. Bungou Stray Dogs, you need to constantly shed new lights to your characters, because if you don’t care fleshing out your characters then we won’t feel it either.

The inconsistency of the characters further highlights this issue and most of the times it feels like the characters act certain way just because the show wants them to. Like for example in the first few episodes it was established that the Agency is like a big family; but then Dazai got captured for several episodes and no one seems to care. I believe this supposed to show how Dazai is always ahead of everyone and he can take care of his own, but it feels truly bizarre that after all the trouble he went through, the next episode we have him sitting in a chair like nothing ever happened, and the cast treats him like he was never been captured before. There are also many times that the character Kunikida has a huge leap of personality, like in one episode when the Agency was informed that Atsushi has been abducted, Kunikida was totally oblivious to the news and kept babbling about the Agency’s current “important” ministry job. In the end of the episode, however, we have him rushing out to rescue Atsushi like it’s the most obvious thing in the world and it makes me feel dumped.

The second mix of ingredient is the mix of detective cases in several middle episodes of the show. Those cases are simple enough and they were presented to mostly showcase the cast’s members. But many cases are just plain, with our Detective solve it way too rushed with information we never even heard before (like the fishing tackle store, which if it blows up it could bring down all the big building nearby. How are we supposed to know it? Well, never mind!). Usually the new players introduced will have something to do with the case, and then when they finish their purpose they will get tossed out and we will never hear from them again. This is a minor complain but the number of innocent people who got killed off are jarring to me. I guess this is just me as I think the show doesn’t care much about this issue, but killing people just for the sake of raising stakes is a terrible writing.

All to say, in terms of production and character designs, there is a lot to recommended but writing-wise, the show needs a lot to improve on. As for the score, for me 60 is the line between exceptional and mediocre shows, and Bungou Stray Dogs is a slightly (very slightly!) above average show. This first half set itself up to be a three-way war between the Agency, the Port Mafia and the Guild. I’m interested to see how they handle the war and also curious to see the Guild counterparts and their gifts. Here’s hoping for the second half can deliver what this first half has been promised.

~SuperMario~

Posted on 26 June 2016 with categories: Bungou Stray Dogs, Currently Watching:

And we get to the end of Bungou Stray Dogs, but this last episode doesn’t offer any conclusive ending, instead feel more like a set up episode for the next season. This last episode functions like a typically Bungou Stray Dogs’ episode; there are many good things to say about it, mainly the technical triumphs and the great character designs, but the writing and the new characters are mixed bags.

Let’s get to the good side first. As far as action show goes, Bungou Stray Dogs is at its top form this week. There are new set of enemies introduced, promising a three ways battle between the Armed Detective Agency, the Port Mafia and the Guild (the North American organization of the gifted) in a second season. Thus the main set piece this week happens in the imaginary closed space of Lucy (resembled of L.M Montgomery – the author of Anne of Green Gables) named Anne’s Chamber. I have mentioned that the show always had a very good grip on creating a memorable set pieces that really feel like it breathes by itself, this time in particular the close spaced is just wonderful. It’s so stylish and awe-aspiring, while at the same time dreamy and creepy. The fighting sequence is exciting, with the cat-and-mouse chase that are thrilling from start to finish. Atsushi again proved himself this week that he is capable of fighting for himself, and I can forgive him for wanting to run away calling for help because that’s just who he was. Thankfully he got pulled back by the physician, who soon revealed to be the Port Mafia’s boss. He is one of the more interesting character out of this show, both very mysterious and smart and tricky, and he’s just like Dagai who seems to be one step ahead of everyone else.

The other new characters presented this week, however, are just bland. I’m a bit disappointed that Fitzgerald turns out to be over the top archetypical American villain, the one who thinks money can buy everything and proud himself for that. I originally think he’s one of the tough one to beat but judge from the facts that he’s super one-dimensional, and he got killed off rather easily in the end, all that made me wonder what’s exactly his role in the show. Lucy is also a very one-note character, who appears mostly as a mad, sick little girl who just want to have fun. A bit about her insecurity among the Guild is a nice little touch but other time she functions like a typical villain. Dagai again back to the office and seems like nothing happen further emphasized my complains on the inconsistency of the show.

Looking ahead, I honestly have no idea how they could handle the mega-battles between the Armed Detective Agency, Port Mafia and the Guild. There seems to be a lot more Guild members with more unique skills to fight against next season, but it seems to me that Mori (the Port Mafia leader) is the ultimate boss. I’m a bit keen to check out the second cour just to see how they handle all that, but I’m not sure about covering its second cour, since I don’t think the show will get any better than what it is now.

~SuperMario~

Posted on 18 June 2016 with categories: Bungou Stray Dogs, Currently Watching:

Bungou Stray Dogs strays to another side stories this week, it’s pretty much set up for the second cour, and in that aspect this week is a success one, both gives us a new light to existing characters and makes quite a bit of impression on our new characters. I kind of appreciate how the series spends its first half on a very unusual lead: Higuchi and her insecurities both in her relationship to Akutagawa, but also her place in the Port Mafia. I mean this is Bungou Stray Dogs so I don’t really expect it to spend time focus on minor characters, yet it did. I’ve mentioned before that Higuchi in her last appearance was not well-written character, she seems more like a plot device last time who being there to trapped our main characters and waited for Akuwataga to come. But in this first half she comes off as a character who has her own worries and her own voice. Yes, being insecure is nothing special, and her heroic act is rather stupid more than inspiring, and I have my doubt that she’ll be important in the future; but for once I’m glad at the effort the show makes to flesh out our minor character. Bonus point for shedding new dimension to the Black Lizards members, who appear to be more sensible and dare I say, heart; than our own Detective Agency.

The second part spotlights the remaining member of the Armed Detective Agency, Kenji. All the facial expressions – from the chairman’s cold face, to Atsushi’s naïve reaction to Kenji’s reasons, to Kenji happy-go-lucky attitude reactions – are mostly great this week, something that the show rarely done it right before. The inclusion of Kenji, a country boy who has a very upbeat “If we’re sincere, they’ll response” attitude, further prove that the Armed Detective Agency is a bunch of weirdos who happen to (or because of) be gifted. Kenji, certainly one of the most over the top characters in Bungou Stray Dogs, smiles his way through all the incidents, and apparently solving the cases by his unique approach. This is not a bad thig though because it makes up some of the more hilarious moments in Bungou Stray Dogs. The fighting scenes for example is more comical rather than thrilling, but it fits well with the story. In other notes, I’m more intrigued to the two young female characters here, one is Hyouka who in this episode stands up for herself and asked so she could stay in the Agency (plus she’s just gorgeous in the maid outfit), I like the way she’s developing here as she takes action into her own hands. The other one is the mysterious young girl with red dress and without a single word in this episode, but she already gives off a strong impression. I suspect her to be a kick-ass girl and it’s apparent that her role in the second half will be much more significant. Speaking of this I have an impression that in the latter half it seems more likely that the Armed Detective Agency and the Port Mafia could team up to fight against Fitzgerald team, judging from the way the show focuses on the Port Mafia side this week (they’re not all that bad!) and the way it frames Dagai and Nakahara, Atsushi and Akutagawa relationships (they seems more like rivalry than actual enemy). I might be wrong of course but if it is this gonna be an interesting development for the next season.

~SuperMario~

Posted on 11 June 2016 with categories: Bungou Stray Dogs, Currently Watching:

Last week I mentioned the lack of consistency in characters, despite the more focus and confident pacing of Bungou Stray Dogs. Well this we pretty much have the same issues here. The first part focus on Dazai and Nakahara and reveals a bit more about his past while he was in Port Mafia. While Akutagawa is short-tempered and easily offended by Dazai’s words, Nakahara seems wiser and understands Dazai better, which is not to say that he is not manipulated by the always-several-steps-ahead Dazai. I still can’t put my finger on the way Nakahara behave, because his behaviors don’t add up much. Let’s say he came to the place to harass Dazai (which in the end turns out that Dazai was expecting it), he then broke out the chains, fight with our main character, intended to kill him, but then was “blackmailed” so he would give Dazai information, frees the guy and “walks and talks like little rich girl”. The character of Nakahara has absolutely no consistency here. I understand that he held Dazai in high regards, being his former partner and Nakahara understands the guy more than anyone else in Port Mafia. I would understand why he like to harass Dazai but go as far as killing him? Nah. I don’t believe it one bit (although tips off for nice visual), so there was no stake to raise here, indeed he couldn’t bring himself to kill Dazai which brings me to a next point: Why include that scene in a first place? It just seems like it was included to further demonstrate how awesome Dazai is. Everything falls into his plan (including how he was kidnapped in a first place). This, and the very awkward “walking and talking like a girl” bit, the show surely overplayed the superhuman, almost perfect Dazai and make every actions made by Nakahara incoherent.

The second part, though, is as entertainment as Bungou Stray Dogs can get. But still I don’t see the point of Kunikida’s rescue here. How the hell would he thinks that yelling out Atsushi name (so all the people in the ship would hear) the best possible action? And he basically helps nothing except being there for Atsushi to jump as well? So why include him again? Well anyway, the fight between Akutagawa and our main character is great, and it’s really great to see Atsushi can perform his gifts at will and gets better and better at fighting. There are many nice visual in a fighting sequences and the choreography is excellent as well. All that and the reveals of a bigger, more bad-ass boss (F. Scott Fitzgerald, can you believe that?) made a nice touch to the series (I would never think they include writers outside of Japan) and set up nicely to the conflict of second season of the series. Anyway, I like to see more on the conflict between Port Mafia and the Agency so here’s hoping the last few episodes can deliver on that.

~SuperMario~

Posted on 3 June 2016 with categories: Bungou Stray Dogs, Currently Watching:

I have a strong mixed feeling towards this week’s episode of Bungou Stray Dogs. While structurally, this presents Bungou Stray Dogs at its best, it has a major flaw, A FATAL BLOW, that could potentially damage the show. The show establishes its most confident pacing ever, by slowing things down on the first half to really focus on the relationship between Atsushi and the new girl, Kyouka. This provides a great break after we had so many explosions and fighting the last couple of weeks. This is a time for a slower, tender moment to flesh out our characters and heighten their relationship. It helps that Kyouka is among one of the best characters the show ever written, the way she’s grounded: she’s well aware of her loneliness and her crimes, yet she strives for someone who could understand her. The art designs, in addition, bright with so much creativity this week. The use of strong color: dark red, green, resembles many of classical painting, but to put them in a modern context – especially this week when they showcase the various attractions of Yokohama – makes it a unique production. This art designs feel like an essential component of Bungou Stray Dogs. I have never seen any other shows that Yumiko Kondo (the art director) contribute apart from this one, but she surely has my full attention now. The music remains strong this week, with a rather unusual choice again, but surprising fitting, in a sequences where Atsushi get attacked by the Port Mafia. Rather than using the thrilling score, in that particular scene the show goes for a much slower, tender score to express the lost feeling of Kyouka. The second half of this episode the show rushes thing off into its action mode and this would be our main climax of the whole first season, especially will be a big fight off between our main lead Atsushi and Akutagawa, both of them connected to Dagai as their upperclassman.

But there is one issue that the show unfortunately stumbles on, and I do think this is a serious issue, that is the inconsistency of the characters. This inconsistency had happened before in Bungou Stray Dogs, in an episode where Dagai, Atsushi and Kunikida witnessed several victims were gassed in an abandon hospital. Now with Kunikida’s personality, a rather self-righteous man who lives by his “ideal”, there is no way he’s not shooting the glass down, regardless if the glass is bulletproof or the gas will spread out. He would not even think about it, just shoot it. Again in this episode, the huge leap of personality happens when the Agency was informed that Atsushi has been abducted, and guess what Kunikida’s acting? He’s babbling about the Agency’s current “important” ministry job, which is strange because in this very morning he still has time to go out for lunch, and worse of all he and Ranpo actually look for reasons no to help Atsushi out. I know that the show has downplayed this part and it seems like this part is a vehicle for the President to involve and shows that the President cares for our rookie member, but the show could do that better without selling out any other characters. Consider Kunikida behaving at that moment with him in the end of the episode where he rushing out to rescue our main lead, this feel almost like a betrayal. Dagai being kidnapped and others don’t seem to care at all strikes as another inconsistency for me, I know he would take good care of himself without any help but I really feel like the cast just don’t care because the show don’t want them too, because it would help to move the story faster or some other rubbish. Another glaring example is when Kunikida raising an unnecessary stake with a remark “Once he’s outside of the country, we can’t touch him”. How the heck outside of the country impossible for them to rescue Atsushi? This is an Armed Detective Agency with gifted people for god shake, and I don’t understand why only him and not the whole Agency going to rescue him? It’s simply just because the show don’t want them too. I can get pass their shaky pacing because as of now it’s kinda Bungou Stray Dogs thingy, but if the characters keep acting so inconsistent like this, I would mark the show down rather harshly.

~SuperMario~

Posted on 27 May 2016 with categories: Bungou Stray Dogs, Currently Watching:

I have to say more than anything this is Bungou Stray Dogs’ special episode, in a sense that in one hand, the show produces one of its most brilliance ever, but on the other hand, there are still many shortcomings along with the greatness, producing an episode that mostly entertainment but uneven. The introduction of the two main antagonists; for example, highlights this unbalance. Kyouka the silent girl might be one of the most interesting character we have for a while, mainly because it has something to do with her not being over the top (compared to other characters of this series of course). Her motives and actions are both mysterious and grounded. Her lines admittedly feel very unnatural, but there is a hint of sadness behind those words. Motojirou the bomber terrorist, on the other side of the spectrum, is just loud and plain. He’s always in the destroy/talking nonsense mode so it’s hard to remember fondly of him. It might come as a cliché but for an action show there must be someone who crazy about bombs huh?

Now let’s get to the great parts of the show. The first thing that stands out in this episode is the music. The music of the show has always been very consistent, but this week it takes a step further. In a bombing sequence, the score goes to unsettling and nausea territories, which actually very fitting to the chaos and the nausea of the crowd. The visual, especially in the action scenes, are pretty amazing to watch. Furthermore, this show has always put extra effort to create a feel for its settings, and this week’s train setting surely doesn’t disappointed. It has a very distinctive feel and a lot of personality. The writing this week takes a rather new approach as well. They don’t go for their usual crime investigating, there is no usual gags about suicide attempts and there is even no interaction between Dagai and Atsushi. All that actually helps to make the story much leaner this week. For once I like the way Atsushi acts this week as he really stands up for himself and fight, and comes out of his own to try saving a girl. This is a kind of development I like to see from him, so I expect more of that in the future episodes.

But not all of this episode is in rose color though. The story runs so fast that more often than not it feels forced, the way our main leads were in the train when all of this incidents happened. Even many of innocent people had to die to “prove the point”. Bungou Stray Dogs, you have to care more about people, they don’t just die for the shake of dying ya get it? Our character this week, Dr. Yosano, comes out as a mixed bag too. When she’s not being creepy by telling how she enjoys “curing” people, she possesses a more attentive side (like when she checks out Atsushi’s leg), but sadly she’s over the top most of the time. Her gift “Thou Shalt Not Die” was revealed to heal a person, but with a condition that the wounds have to be lethal, which comes to a rather illogical part, where she healed herself after a ton of bombs were dropped on her. The way I see it her body would explored well before she has a chance to use her ability. The bomber terrorist as mentioned earlier come off as very one dimensional. In all, I’d say I’m happy with the direction the show heading for now, hopefully it can overcome its shortcoming, especially in its character-writing, because when they do it right, we have a bunch of really solid character’s development.

~SuperMario~

Posted on 21 May 2016 with categories: Bungou Stray Dogs, Currently Watching:

This week the plot revolving the Azure King was resolved and it raises the conflict of sense of justice between Dazai and Kunikida. Like what I suspected last week, all the new characters are in play in this episode and now I get the hang of Bungou Stray Dogs storytelling now. The new characters will get introduced, have a little bit of introduction, serve to move the plot or supporting the cast, and then get discarded very quickly and I doubt that we would hear from them again. Case in point, in this episode, Rokuzou the hacker and Sasaki the victim appear in the climax, when both of them manage to shoot each other and die, and “it was the only possible outcome”. How ridiculous is that? There are many ways where they can resolve the problem without any single one dying, or maybe I’m not that deep to understand that bit. These new characters, sadly function like a plot device to move the story forward than a real person. I will put that aside for now, because after all, their very existence is just to advance the plot and put more depth into our main characters.

But judging on advancing the plot, the action moves very fast to the point we don’t have time to process all the plot development. There will be few hints but either it’s too obvious (like when Sasaki mentions her soulmate), or too inconsistent (remember that Sasaki is the mastermind behind planting the bomb, so when the agency found out about the location of the bomb in front of her, common sense would be her tries to prevent or slow down the process, right?). Moreover, some elements just appear so randomly, like the usb that luckily contains all the necessary information, or Rokuzou shows up to the scene, or the fishing tackle store (how on earth would WE figure that out?). No this plot development moves so hurriedly that it becomes, quite frankly, a mess.

In the character’s development area, it is interesting to raise the difference of how Dazai and Kunikia view of justice. They are both have very different personalities and I believe Dazai does all that out of worry that Kunikida’s ideal and sense of justice, and a bit of guilt over the Azure King case would one day consume him. But that in itself is not the right way to treat Kunikida. For all thing, Kunikida has to learn it by himself. He has a lot more to prove and I expect to see more of this angle in the next episodes. Next week look to be more interesting as it is now Yosano’s turn, along with a new girl in red. Sounds like a promising episode to me.

~SuperMario~

Posted on 13 May 2016 with categories: Bungou Stray Dogs, Currently Watching:

This week Bungou Stray Dogs spends its time to focus on another side character, this time it is Kunikida that has a chance to shine. Out of all of our supporting characters, Kunikida is the one that has the most screen time. He appears in every single episode so far, but sadly, he was also one of the most one-note character.  Before this week all we know from him was he’s a very uptight, self-serious person. He obsessed with his book “ordeal” because he believes his future, his plan… are all written down there. He was also very fond of Dazai, despite they having a completely opposing personalities. All these straits are fine on its owns, but they were mostly played for laugh. This week, however, we learn an interesting backstory that shed a new light into his character. He believed he was responsible for the death of five detectives in a bombing known as the Azure Flag Terrorist Incident, so he still takes his time to look over for Taguchi, a hacker genius type and one the detective’s son. This is a nice development for Kunikida and I really hope the show keeps digging into that direction. On side note I actually think the joke on Dazai worked this time, maybe because he is not rambling about any of suicide method, but just gets so high and talks nonsense. But what a whimsical nonsense.

The actual case for this week is uneven at best. The case was set up until the stakes got so high, and then things were resolved rather quickly and quite unconvincing. I still think the set up part is impressive though. We got introduced to the missing case, and then found our way up to the abandoned hospital. The setting itself has a creepy and tense atmosphere, which is a nice touch from the show. We then witness a girl who nearly drowned in a fish tank, and then a bunch of other victims were gassed right in front of them. This was a nice set up with so much tension, unfortunately the other half was very inconsistent. In process of investigating the case, there are only two characters that have a role in the case: one is the female victim Sasaki, and the other is the taxi driver. And guess what, turns out the taxi driver is the kidnapper. This conclusion is jumpy, there are very little clues to actually figuring out the true culprit here. And worse the case turned out to be just a setup for next episode, and the kidnapper turns out to be controlled by the Port Mafia, which all are ridiculous. But at least we then have an amazing fight so I’ll complain no more. Now when I think about that maybe miss Sasaki will have a role in the next episode as well, because why not?

So in the end, in terms of plot development, this episode is a mess. The pacing is never a strong suit of Bungou Stray Dogs and it again shows in this episode. The character development, on the other hand, was on point and I really much hope for the show to follow that direction. Next week we get to the actual bombing case and we might learn who the Azure King is.

~SuperMario~

Posted on 6 May 2016 with categories: Bungou Stray Dogs, Currently Watching:

Bungou Stray Dogs once again goes sidetrack this week, which means that this episode is a filler one and doesn’t advance the plot at all. The main rivalry between the Armed Detective Agency and Port Mafia; which I originally thought to be 4, 5-episodes arc, seems to stretch out until the end of this season, or the fall season for that matter, now that they announced that the second part will premier in this October. But with all that said, this is one of the best episode Bungou Stray Dogs have ever pulled off. Look, I’m a sucker of shows that care about characters. As long as a show can take their time to focus on character’s development and character’s interactions, I will be content with it. Back in previous few weeks, I had my concerns of the supporting characters being flat with some over the top traits, well this episode is an answer to that. In fact, I am fine if the rest of Bungou Stray Dogs go with this direction.

This week is all about Ranpo with his gift Ultra-Deduction, and he makes the best out of it. The murder case is simple enough to not distract the flow of the episode. Although the case itself isn’t really coherent when you think about it (like if the two were really couple, she should have realized sooner that the guy being controlled by Port Mafia), it makes up by its emotion core and further showcase the ability of Ranpo. Atsushi becomes a sidekick this week and this is for the better. In fact, Atsushi and Dagai interactions are not the strong part of the show (mainly because they would go to the usual banters of Atsushi feeling useless and Dagai bragging about suicide), but this week it’s working since they discuss about someone else, and give more lights about that character in the process. All of the usual gags are absent, and even the part about Dagai being stuck in the net and still going on about double suicide seems funnier this week.

Now into the best revelation of this week: Out of all the characters from Armed Detective Agency, Ranpo is the only one who doesn’t possess natural gifted. The word “gifted” in fact always baffled me. Gifted means that the person have an exceptional talent, but isn’t it matter if one who does not have it to begin with turns out to be talented? People with gifted usually take their ability for granted, so they just don’t know or care that other people have to try hard to reach that level. This is demonstrated well in Ranpo. Because he is not a natural gifted, he had to try harder to become what he is now and his skill now is far more powerful than any natural gifted peers. Another thing is that “gifted” alone is not what makes them great, it is really a combination of:

”Ten percent luck, twenty percent skill.

Fifteen percent concentrated power of will.

Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain.

And a hundred percent reason to remember the name”

~SuperMario~

Posted on 29 April 2016 with categories: Bungou Stray Dogs, Currently Watching:

Bungou Stray Dogs sure never get tired to showcase more new characters every week, and judging from the OP I’m certain that there are more to come. This week there are 3 more new faces and each of them is over the top in their own ways, but that turns out to be for good reason. I feel the pacing in this episode is very unstable, it was too slow at first (mostly because of the dialogues and the overused flashbacks), and then way too fast in the climax scene (we just got introduced with the villains, and then they proceeded to have a big fight with the Agency, who we didn’t have enough time to care about to begin with), but that turns out to be for good reason as well. See, because there is a twist: The Agency are all overpower human being who can easily take down the raids like a piece of cake. The twist works and for once I liked the way they built things up for that climax.

Atsushi, however, has been in an “I’m a burden to everyone” mode for 4 weeks in a row. I don’t see the point the series keep making that Atsushi truly belongs to the Agency. We already know that at the end of the first episode. Here we are now, in its 4th episode, still stuck with that same note (Atsushi cried because he felt he is in the right place). We need to move on man! I will keep this aside for now, but if in the next episodes we still see Atsushi being insecure or that orphanage’s flashbacks again, it will truly drag the show down. I would love for our main character to grow but he will need to be more substantial in order for us to care for him. Being in the same mode will not help of course.

Now this is clear that Bungou Stray Dogs going to be an action comedy show (forget about the supernatural stuffs, they feel more like an action ability anyway) and that lays many problems within Bungou Stray Dogs: the comedy is not funny at all, the action is nice but is few and far between, the transition between comedy and action is awkward and unfortunately slows the show down. The main issue with the comedy, as I mentioned in previous weeks, is because of the repetition as they do nothing to flesh out the characters. Even good joke will get pale if it was told too many times. I hope the show can learn this lesson. It might not be an issue when the main storyline kick in but boys it sure takes its time. I would say Bungou Stray Dogs is at its best when the show focuses on action, with a bit of comedy on top.

In addition, I’m not quite fond with the real-life writers references as well. Sure it’s nice to catch some humors and personality traits based on their real-life counterparts, but the way I see it, it adds nothing to the story and the series could have been the same without all those literary references. In other words, there is no reason for it to be there (except perhaps for being STYLISH). On the last note, I originally thought Yosano would become a compelling character but the healing scene totally killed it for me. Well done Bungou Stray Dogs!!

~SuperMario~

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Anonymous1198985
No, Im said if you dont like nisekoi dont read it
AidanAK47
@Anon, How do you know you don't like it if you don't read it?
Anonymous1196967
Don't like it don't read it.
AidanAK47
I went and read Double Arts. This really was a great manga with tons of potentail and truly didn't deserve the axe. It's so depressing that this was cut off so soon and the author went on to make the most generic Harem ever Nisekoi, and that got over 200 chapters.
Lenlo
All of the important dance scenes for Yuri were fantastic, its just some minor one off characters and some reused ones that were an issue, so no they are better than the CGI
Anonymous1190387
Is it worse than those CGI dance scenes in some anime?
AidanAK47
@Puran, It is pretty surprising how well that story turns out. I say IG might do the job even if there animation isn't the most consistent. The one thing I am worried about is those necks though. In the PV those things were ridiculously long.
Puran
Fair enough, recycling the animation was bad, agreed. But the animation itself was really good.
Lenlo
See, I found the repeated dances in Yuri one of the worse parts. Alot of it was recycled animation and certain characters were obviously rushed/not done. Some were amazing, cause they took their time, but others looked terrible.
Puran
I kinda wish Mappa was doing the anime though. Yuri on Ice had really nicely animated dances (and was more or less the only actually good quality of that show :P )
Puran
Reading the Ballroom e Youkoso manga has made me really excited about the Anime.
Kaiser_Eoghan
@Aidan: I'm particularly turned off by bully/bullying cliches these days. I've only read the first two volumes to see how awful she was but I ended up simply losing track of the series and stopped reading.
Kaiser_Eoghan
@Mario: Actually that has changed, I had to pick a different day to see it given changes in schedule, I've booked it for NEXT Wednesday now. I've watched Akira about four times.
AidanAK47
Oh, Rising of the Shield Hero is getting an anime adaption. Hmmm...honestly after finishing the series and looking over it as a whole I am not sure I even want that. Plus seeing Bitch Animated...would fill me with rage.
SuperMario
I intend to re-watch Akira soon, probably this weekend. It has been almost 10 years since my first watch and now I don't remember much about that one. Thought it was intriguing and complex but not as acclaimed as people hyped it to be (I'll pick Ghost in the Shell anytime). Wonder how I'd feel now after re-watching it.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I remember you mentioned that you were going to watch In this Corner of the World today right? How was the movie Kaiser?
Lenlo
Oh cool, food wars is getting a 3rd season
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ballroom youkoso appears to be leading the polls.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Fumiko is a female mangaka yes. Also I found bokura no hentai worth reading.
SuperMario
yep, I finished that manga too and I have conflicted feeling about it. Yuri(!) part and fanservice are to blatant but they have a purpose. This mangaka (not sure but I think she's a girl) has some unique voice.
AidanAK47
....well I skimmed that manga. And it was weird
SuperMario
By all appearances,Sakura is normal,albeit sheltered junior high school girl who enjoy talking about love and walking home from school together.However,they also happen to inhabit a strange and supernatural world populated by mysterious,gigantic beings and unusual plant and animal life.Amid their peaceful lives,Sakura becomes very interested in something only alluded to exist in old books: dicks
SuperMario
Here's a synopsis of other manga from the same author, I think you'll have a better idea of his theme -
Sakura no Sono
AidanAK47
Pretty much what Masky said. I am not really praising it. Anyway I plan to read one or two more chapters to see where it's going. But if it's going in the direction I think it's going then I am dropping this one fast.
Kaiser_Eoghan
There is of course the underlying concern that it will go a very ugly route with that development or it could become edgy/horribly minipulative, but for now it is as mario said, a hook.
SuperMario
Well. overall I don't dislike what I read there. It has good hook and I'm intrigued to know more what the hell will happen. Good set-up for me. I'm in
SuperMario
@Masky: it's fine Masky, since I will chec itk out any way and see it for myself ^^
Masky
So since you guys started being interested, I checked it out and uh.. Yeah, not reading. I think ye guys misunderstood Aidans warnings since that was just fucked up and not in the interesting way.
Lenlo
@Aidan: Berserk will never again go more than 3-4 months without a hiatus.
SuperMario
Hmmm, that manga Cutie Mutie sounds good to me. I might check it out later today
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: But had you not alluded to that scene, I may have seen the cover of that manga and skipped over it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I had a feeling, sort of, sad, I am intrigued to read more.
AidanAK47
Hyping and warning are not the same thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well with Aidan hyping up the horrors of cutie mutie I may as well glance at it to see what he' on about.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There are three manga with the name rec.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am familiar with the artist for cutie mutie, she did that manga about the three kids dealing with gender/orientation issues.
AidanAK47
Oh look Berserk is on Haitus again....
.....the sad thing is that it comes as expected now.
AidanAK47
For reference the two I read were Cutie Mutie and Rec. Be warned, the first one goes to a rather uncomfortable level.
AidanAK47
@Masky, Read two manga. One started lighthearted and then went to really dark territory. The other one looks like it's about a really dark subject but turned out to be something more lighthearted.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Alright. Tested it now so it such be fixed. Try again.
Masky
@Aidan: Huh? What you read that turned dark/didn't turn dark? .-.
SuperMario
"too many answers selected for question 1! only 3 answers allowed!"
SuperMario
@Aidan: I still have the same issues. Weird
AidanAK47
@Mario, Wasn't my intent. Try it now and you should be able to pick as many as you want.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I'm not allowed to vote more than 3 votes. Is it your intention Aidan?
AidanAK47
Well that was weird. I read something that looked innocent but turned out to be really dark. Then something that looked really dark only to become innocent.
Masky
Yeah, nothing that interests me I see :D Like my strongest reaction to season preview was "Someone made isekai with smartphone? Really? REALLY? Thats best idea you had"
Masky
Ah Knighs and Magic, found that manga. It was boring enough for me to forget its name. Also besides being boring, I kinda find MC unlikeable since their only personality is that they like mechas and were a programmer before renicarnating as short bishie kid
Masky
Woo, time to vote stuff
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that movie In this Corner just getting more and more acclaimed huh? Thou I think it'a a type of movie that if you have high expectation for it you will likely be disappointed. It works best as a sleeper hit
SuperMario
As for cute monster girls, most of the time I don't find them cute at all. I know I'm being racist, but...
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I'm guilty with that cute girls genre, as i enjoyed K-On tremedously for example. Or If I have more time I'd follow Hinako Note this season ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
They don't always adapt all that well or work as well outside of manga format, especially 4-komas.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*three
Kaiser-Eoghan
The only two of any interest were hidamari sketch, azumanga daioh and yuru yuri and that was largely down to being in the mood for them a few years ago.
Lenlo
@Mario: Personally, I have 0 interest in this Monster girls doing cute things subgenre, just like I have very little interest in the cute girls doing cute things major genre.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: As it turns out I DID read in this corner of the world. I'll also be seeing it next thursday.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: at this moment I'm very skeptical with the whole Monster girls doing cute girl subgenre, so I'm approachig Centaur with a caution. Of course, it all depends on how I feel after the first episode
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Happy End isn't as bleak aa his other works. But it's certainly Hanake's films, as it explores many of his favorite themes: the voyeurist of camera in his Benny's video, the detachment to the world and the underlying violence. Not his best thou but it's still very good
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I'd be up for watching jigoku shojo, its been a long time since I watched the original two seasons and this one won't be as long, so it won't get as repetitive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I voted centaur no nanami on the poll, think Mario could cover it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: How did did you get on with Happy end? I heard its like a mix of his best works. Is it as dark and depressing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have vague memories of in the corner of the worlds manga, unless I'm mixing it up with something else.
SuperMario
Some news, Lu Over the Wall won the best prize at this year's Annecy (the 1st anime won the award since 1995's Pom Poko), with In the Corner of the World took the Jury Prize. Quite a good showing for anime this year.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Hello.
SuperMario
Really, still no vote for Kakegurui?? I thought it would take the top poll for sure
SuperMario
That 18if, even the poster doesn't make much sense, but it looks dazzling ^^
Lenlo
go-go licensed products!
SuperMario
@Lenlo: and Madhouse is the studio behind that Marvel rip-off. Are they really going that low for profits?
Lenlo
Lookin forward to Kakeguri next season, but thats the only thing thats really caught my eye
Lenlo
Well, you have to watch Marvel next season right?
AidanAK47
And done. I swear these previews take a lot out of me.
AidanAK47
Almost done....almost done...
KT
Attack of Titan, ended ok. But man the production values had gone down.

Virgin Soul had a okish episde

Re:Creators continues to rock for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I liked the 70s version ending, it was mean spirited =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The original used its one room location quite well and dim lighting in parts, very closed in/claustrophobic.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: just finished the Beguiled and it was much better than I expected. Like, I didn't expect it to be that well shot. The guy was put in a passive role than active here, which help the theme imo. Also, the ending admitedly isn't for everyone but I liked it just fine
SuperMario
@Kaiser: using a black girl? The girls in this one are all white :(
AidanAK47
Sato in Re:Creators isn't doing himself any favors is he? Honestly the more I learn about him, the less likable he becomes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It was a good film though, one of scarjos better moments.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: As for Sofia, I'm only familiar with lost in translation, which I haven't seen since it originally came out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Everyone goes on about Francis' for the Godfather, the conversation is massively underated and apocalypse now is better, but it has to be the theatrical cut.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I guess it was probably seen as progressive in its day by way of using the black girl.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Very very cynically 70s of course.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Actually just happened to finish it there, I felt it stood out for its somewhat successful gothic feel and aesthetic and Eastwood's performance which shows how well he can command the audiences attention even when he isn't shooting people. Kind of liked how it got slightly grisly later on. It makes a small effort in giving one line backstories .
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the original movie isn't that well-received. It's more like an exotica film where the main guy (Clint Eastwood) hooks up girls of all ages. This one I heard has a good spin on feminist angle. I'm sure is intrigued but Sofia Coppola's filmography has been mixed for me
Kaiser-Eoghan
....I doubt any one has ever heard of this....I know I didn't, I haven't read it either but I came across some weird old Blacksploitation manga, probably from the 90s, Blast knuckle or something...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Still remaking the beguiled might be good, we need more modern westerns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I suppose I can busy myself with the original 70s version of beguiled. At the moment I've been focusing on old Japanese films, they had such a good film industry, it makes it hurt so much more now knowing that all they do now is shit live action adaptations.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: gonna be a long day for me with the screenings of The Beguiled, Wind River, The Other Side of Hope and Happy End
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now I need to re-watch 08th ms team.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I watched 4 hours straight of Gundam the origin, hit me with a hard punch of nostalgia, actually seeing his backstory rather than hearing about it is a good thing, I enjoyed the action scenes, it was high-melodrama but well used and more Char is always a good thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I'll just put Kado on hold for now and see whats being said about future episodes of it, I'm too unsure of it being worth it or not at the moment.
Vonter
I want to comment on a humble indie game called Sakuna of Rice and Ruin. Is a simple hack and slash similar to Muramasa and Dust: Elysian Trail. The game has a scarf mechanic that is very fun to use to evade attacks and throwing stuff. It kind of reminded me of those Mickey games from the Snes and the visuals reminded me of Pocky and Rocky. Its a game to play on a sunday, simple, fun and relaxing.
Vonter
From the stuff I played Dragon Ball FigtherZ seems legit at capturing the speed of the battle and feel of the action.
Vonter
Back from E3. Nintendo is still my main jam. The Rabbids game seems better than I think anyone could imagine. Odyssey seems like a good time. Xenoblade and Metroid 2 remake look like hype.
KT
On Gundam OG, the new Origin Manga, and the movies based on it are very good. Recommended.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember reading the first chapter of that manga, but it was a long time ago and the updates were slow.
AidanAK47
A manga about Ballroom dancing? Yeah there's no way I am into this.
(Starts reading)
(Reads ten chapters)
Crap...I am into this.
Anonymous1166615
Feel I need to re-visit gundam again through 08th MS team, unicorn and Origin as I'd enjoyed the 70s series, its sequel and chars counterattack. Seed turned me off the franchise for ridiculously long and 00s movie and second season wern't as good as the first .
Anonymous1166615
Looks like I have another Yuasa work to look forward to, he's doing his own take off on Nagai's devilman , hopefully he can reign in Valvraves writer though.
Masky
*first manga in couple last weeks I've seen
Masky
Da fuq. Found manga called Kemono Jihen, but it somehow already has tv tropes page(I tend to check randomly whether works have tv tropes page to see how notable they are) O_o I mean this is first manga with 1-3 chapters that has that, so I guess author is really popular or something in some circles?
Lenlo
Huh. Guess they figured out rewriting a story for Re:Creators.
Masky
Ya know, even if i hadn't heard that Suka Suka is based on one of more tragic light novels, the death flags, all of the death flags :D
HelghastKillzone
I'm a patron of someone who is writing mass effect fanfiction at 2 million+ words. It combines games, writing and fan creativity. So there is that....
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, while I listened to some Lovecraft audiobooked, I felt as if I was copping out by listening instead of reading.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A horror manga often works well episodically in a short story format.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Had a flick through Shibito, of what I read I liked how ridiculously camp and gleefully, proudfully nutso it was combined with the silliness of the violence. While not my favourite chapter, the one about the actress stood out for me because she was clearly a reference to Setsuko Hara, one of Japans most famous actresses lol
AidanAK47
I try out a number of things from time to time. Books, movies, music, comics and the like. But I always come back to anime.
AidanAK47
I have dabbled in quite a few mediums myself. My recent experiment is audiobooks which I am currently using to get through Moby Dick. And Jesus H Christ is this book padded to hell and back. It may be well written but it is an awful story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But what this film venture has shown me is that while I've gotten much out of it, it shows just how STRONGER the connection I have to anime/manga is.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: And definately, I don't get the "people focus on only one media thing". One of the reasons I started branching out was because I felt "Fuck, I'm in my 30s and I've neglected a whole medium by being too focused on cartoons"
Kaiser-Eoghan
The sign you're at something too long is when the suspense of waiting for the next part to come out isn't there or when you find yourself not picking up on whats going on!
Kaiser-Eoghan
Manga/visual novels/anime I've noticed especially now are much much easier to stay awake during when you're wrecked tired.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: And to be honest, I've gotten busier and more tired lately, getting home on a weekday later after a new job, I'm not alert enough to watch art films, just started leaving them till the weekend.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I know exactly what you mean. That is one of the reason why I like to mix up what I watch: sometimes books, other time manga and even music to get me away from burning out from 1 medium
Kaiser-Eoghan
*eventually get back
Kaiser-Eoghan
The short of that is, I think a good scale back with ANY hobby is a good thing because it can feel special all over again when you get back on it more mainly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But now that after three years of mainly focusing on films moreso than anime/manga as much, because I'm now incredibly burnt out from watching films 4 times a day, I feel now I can watch ANY anime or read any manga and get that fresh feeling/some of that old passion back.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Remember that feeling you got when you first really got into anime/manga and pretty much excitedly/panic watched EVERYTHING and almost everything felt great? I've been thinking how a few years back now, I sort of re-lived that feeling again...however for films.
AidanAK47
(Finished watching SukaSuka 10)
Awwww...that was a sweet episode end....
.....
.....They are all gonna die.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Kids off school pressumably in Japan with more time to watch stuff and more shows.
AidanAK47
God why is there so many anime during the summer season.
AidanAK47
Of course there are the really obvious recommendations of Grand Blue and Kaguya wants to be confessed to.
AidanAK47
I say the only other recommendations I got are Jagaaaaaan, Maou no Hisho, Ore wo Suki Nano wa Omae Dake ka yo and Yuuutsu-kun to Succubus-san. Though I still think Shibito no Koe o Kiku ga Yoi would be up your alley.
Kaiser-Eoghan
By all means keep posting random manga you've all come across, I will read them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I thought route end did a good job on the protagonist's feelings regarding his mothers death.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though my interest in Route is largely due to it was the most lurid of the selection.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I felt route end holds the most interest of that selection of recommendations, although before reading it I thought it would be an episodic manga, similar to a series called death sweeper.
Lenlo
@K-Off, well I think both the manga got handed down to the assistant, and the anime got handed down as well. The original author/director for both arnt working on Boruto
K-Off
@Lenlo Probably, haven't checked. But the manga and anime are completely different so I don't know.
AidanAK47
The Streisand effect in full force.
SuperMario
*Now the media...
SuperMario
No the media storms over it and eventually want to check out this film. It has gain more publicity after this shameless incident
SuperMario
oh god, really? Chinese government tried their best to force Annecy (Animation film Fest) to remove a Chinese animated film name Have A Nice Day from screening there because of its "sensitive content"
AidanAK47
Still think Sawano needs to lay off the vocals. It can get really distracting in Re:Creators.
KT
oh my the RE:Creators OST is all I wanted.
Lenlo
Well, Boruto isnt being run by the original manga author is it? I thought he handed the series off after Naruto to his chief assistant.
K-Off
The contrast between wanting to do something different yet using the same character traits is just too jarring.
K-Off
Gave Boruto a shot, and while it isn't bad, it's so detached from the original series that it might as well have been unrelated. I appreciate that the plot is different, but the modern setting, and lack of any clear character motivations (for now) makes it such a chore to watch. If they were going for something different, why did they use the same character designs and archetypes?
SuperMario
Sorry guys for the delay of Eccentric Family post, just can't bring myself to finish the post. Not that many of you following the show but Yeah, I will plget it done later today. Also, hell yeah for Pluto. Urasawa is my God
SuperMario
@Aidan: I kinda imagine Isekai Shokudou would be like Time of Eve upon reading the synopsis. Like each week about some peculiar customers. Well, if they focus more on food, then... *heartbroken*
AidanAK47
Two Metroid Game announcements and an anime of Pluto.
Today was a good day.
Anonymous1161527
KT here:YES!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: One of his better works, despite reading it twice I've forgotten too much as its been too long since reading it, good though as when I watch the anime the manga won't be as fresh in my mind.
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