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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AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Nioh is something I am going to get to playing soon. Though first I will be getting through Horizon.
Lenlo
Nioh was phenomenal. Was different from Dark Souls in all the right ways.
Anonymous1335452
Your right, there have been so many great games: Zelda, Nier, Horizon, Nioh, as well as the upcoming Mario are all instant classics, and besides that there have been a bunch of other solid fun games like Sonic, Splatoon, Pyre etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Really just sit down and watch it kind of film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I just got back from Ancien and magic tablet/napping princess/hirune hime/whatever its title. In brief, the fantasy scenes are the highlight and its cute, charming family adventure anime film with alot of heart/endearment, runs on kind of too long and could have had more of a story though.
Vonter
It says something in a year of great videogames when I can really recommend a Sonic game. Sonic Mania is a good platformer, with great control, charming visuals, great music and level design that feels more readable than the last games I've played in this series.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Pres and delinquent girl is my favourite but I still hope the Kuudere couple shows up. This week was hilarious with the little sister trying to get back at her brother's girlfriend only for the girlfriend to know it was her immediately and start screwing around.
SuperMario
Mine is Takurou - Chizuru (the red hair boy and orange hair girl in this week's last segment. Maybe because I have a penchant for weird girl :/
SuperMario
Tsurezure Children... makes my heart melted again. Those who still watch it, who are your favorite couples?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: and I will give you a review on... new spiderman movie or whatever. My friend drags me to watch it with her tonight, and I haven't watched any spiderman installment since the one in 2007. Well, whatever...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I will review Hirune-hime tomorrow night hopefully. Also I have seen all his ghost in the shell work, Moribito and Eden of the east but never Cyborg 009 .
Kaiser-Eoghan
This was a long time ago however.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can remember my dads car got its window smashed then stolen, twice =<
K-Off
@Kaiser Insurance by itself won't hold you back at all, but getting a new car certainly will. The down payment alone will set you back a couple grand and you likely won't pay off the car for about 2-4 years.
K-Off
@Aidan Jeez, my condolences. @Kaiser Auto insurance covers most accidents and the rates won't go up so long as it's not your fault and you have evidence to prove it (like a dashcam).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Financially will it particularly hold you back on things like rent, etcetera?
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, that is one of the big reasons I haven't learned to drive, fear of that kind of thing happening, actually I think that might put me off driving if it happened to me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The car incident is an obvious assassination attempt and conspiracy . Easily avoidable by investing in transport by Dragon .
AidanAK47
@K-Off, Lightly hit the side of a Van coming out of T junction. Left light smashed,front bumper and bonnet damaged. Gotta pay for that and the vans side door.
K-Off
@Aidan Ouch. What happened to it?
AidanAK47
Yep. Crimson red. Maybe I was tempting fate.
SuperMario
@Aidan: you should blame your car because it's new and shiny it's more accident prone than others. Did you mention your car is red??
AidanAK47
Man isn't it great having a new car. It's also great when you crash your new car and now have to pay hefty repair fees. Fantastic. No injuries or anything but it's going to be a pain to repair.
SuperMario
Princess Principal write-up will have to wait this time tomorrow guys. Sorry for those who wait but nothing can stand a chance against my madness for Monogatari now
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still have a bunch of old anime vhs tapes in my attic yes, would take forever to list though.
movies4life
What to say about "one punch man" ?
movies4life
You have still VHS tapes as well in your anime collection ? (me 40)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hard to believe I've been at this anime/manga thing since I was 11 and am now in my 30s.
SuperMario
@Boukensha: for this site specifically most of us are like you. On and off with anime; burnt out, move on with life and back again... this why I believe the readers who read this site are slightly older than your average anime audience there.
OldManBoukensha
I think I'll call myself OldManBoukensha. Hope the name sticks (this is the anonyperson)
OldManBoukensha
Thanks for the recommendations @SuperMario and @Kaiser-Eoghan san! Sometimes feels surreal how time has flown, started watching anime and discovered psgels in uni... fast forward 12 years and I hit 30 this year. lots of great memories, eagerly waiting for blog posts for favourite animes like mushishi, seirei no moribito, FMA. ah good times. Thank you for taking the baton and keeping it lively :)
SuperMario
... and it's never too late to set up your permanent username now :)
SuperMario
@Anon1329673: if you had to pick up 1 show this season, then yes Made in Abyss. I'd also recommend Princess Principal as well. For slice of life office, Shirobako? There's a show running this season from the creators of Shirobako, not neccessary set in an office place but they are about adult working as well; the name is Sakura Quest
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Hataraki man perhaps?
Anonymous1329673
whenever I visit here I wish I had picked a permanent username. been reading psgels since 2005 :)
Anonymous1329673
and do you know of any slice of life office life anime to recommend? I loved fune wo amu from last season. melancholic yet intimate, bittersweet anime
Anonymous1329673
Hey guys, what's the best show running this season? Seems to me Made in Abyss ? If I had to pick up one show, which one would you recommend?
K-Off
@Mario That's the most common method of getting compromised nowadays, even a lot of youtubers got their channels hacked because of vulnerabilities with the phone carriers.
Lenlo
So naturally, Reflection and Ranbu will be delayed tomorrow because of a move. Last for abit. I promise. Hectic time :P
SuperMario
alright, 18if down. Now's the time that I've been looking for this season. Go watch Owari nowwww
AidanAK47
Yep, the author laid out how he wanted it to end before he died. Can't say how the new guy did as the English translation of the novels has not caught up that far.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: These were presumably written from notes left behind by the author? Is there a disconnect in quality between the non-original author novels and the ones he wrote?
AidanAK47
Also the Familiar of Zero novels are better than the anime. Now, not shakespeare but the anime did not really adapt them well. The novels took the plot a little more seriously while the anime went full slapstick with it.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, I was talking about the novels, not the anime. Someone jumped in to write the last two novels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course things have changed, its been so many years since I saw the initial seasons, I couldn't tell if I'd still care.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Didn't really work in familiar of zeros case though , third and fourth seasons were a decline.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A famous example was Itazura na kiss, author died from having stuff collapse on her , anime finished the story.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Likely not now that the author is dead. There are some occasions where people jump in to complete the work like Familer of Zero but in most cases it is just left unfinished.
AidanAK47
@Movies, Watched about ten episodes and then just never got back to it. I thought it was alright.
@Amagi, Indeed. Hopefully they won't be around that much.
Amagi
Apocrypha is pretty good when the MCs aren't around
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Movies: Yes, stopped after he got the powerup and then the manga went on a long hiatus, I liked the art though, the anime was tedious though, filler-y and censored.
movies4life
You guys remember d.Gray-man ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
...I think one of the two working on highschool of the deads manga died/
SuperMario
@anon1327403: funny that you mentioned Highschool of the Dead because I'm planning to watch that one real soon. But to answer your question, as far as I am aware of, no, there isn't any announcement regarding the new adaptation.
Anonymous1327403
Does anyone know if High School of the Dead will ever be picked up by another person
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm still watching stuff though, just finished the Cobra ovas last night, fun camp in the flash gordon/Barbarella vein, though it misses the soundtrack from the old 80s version.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love a good Bond type spy thingnow and then but I'd LOVE to see a more serious anime take on the genre.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If kakegurui is enjoyable in the same way a trash-exploitation film is I could see myself watching .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Count me in for those who weren't happy with the progress of abyss' manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then again my gaming days are long long in the past for the most part. The humour in gamers would just turn me off now, I've lost interested in most anime comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was aware of ANN being down, for the most part I really only skimmed their articles. I wish sega would just put Sonic down, its been on decline for so long.
SuperMario
@KTravlos: have fun with whatever you doing in the next 10 days mates. And if you have time, sample Princess Principal as well
KTravlos
I will be off the net the next 10 days, so sorry if I do not answer any replies etc. Have a good time all! See you later.
KTravlos
took the hiatus of my shows as a chance to sample the current season. Saw first episodes of Kakeguiri, Abyss, and Altair. Kakeguiri and Abyss really did have great first episodes, that grab you. Altair was a bit too old-fashioned, but I will probably continue watching it. Kakeguiri had excellent OP and ED, while Abyss had in general great music. And yeah, you guys were not kidding about beauty
SuperMario
And I still enjoy Gamers thoroughly. Not sure if it can keep up with the misunderstanding mess about relationships from the main cast but so far the show is hilarious
KTravlos
so now I know about why ANN did not work. @Holystockings yes, again I should detest it for many things it has, but they pulled it off and I like it.
Holystockings
I'll be honest here. I would have never guessed that Kakegurui would have been this good.
Vonter
@AidanAK47 This year there have been a lot of good games. Too many to play seriously. I do wonder how deliberations would be since more than scores or genres I don't feel a all out winner, more than different games excelling at different things.
Lenlo
So finally finished Kado, and I have to say I am not a fan of the shark jump.
Lenlo
Really? Had no idea about the news network site
AidanAK47
Also too many games coming this month. SubaHibi, Sonic Mania and Ys Seven. Not to mention cold steel now out. I still need to get blood orange complete and in comes a small, medium and two extra large time sinks.
AidanAK47
And in other news Voltorn season three is out but only seven episodes long. With another fourth season coming in October which is 6 episodes long. I wonder why Netflix are spilting up seasons like this?
AidanAK47
So, not sure if anyone has heard this or not but the Anime News Network site has been hacked. Hence why you can no longer access it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: blancanieves was modern silent take on snow white, a different spin on the story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Fun fact, Mitchum appears in a cameo in the cape fear remake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
ha, I wouldn't mind seeing a gag in a comedy manga series where they did a silent throwback episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The expressionist visuals of some of those silent films appeal to me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My only issue with maddin is that he is hard to marathon, that style as unique and funny as it is only works in small doses.
Kaiser-Eoghan
La Antenna was another good example of modern silent filmaking. Annnnd, this one is SUPER obscure/rare: http://hawkmenblues.blogspot.ie/2013/11/yumemiru-yoni-nemuritai-kaizo-hayashi.html
SuperMario
It's like this: The Artist gets the "look" of silent film, but Guy Maddin's works get the "feel" of it
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can remember Mitchum was in an underated remake of the big sleep...
...though you could really tell even just from listening to him speak he was a pothead.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I agree with you that Guy Maddin's works are more of a representative of neo-silent than the Artist (the Artist is just so... wide-appealing for my taste. It tries to please everyone). I always feel that Maddin is born in a wrong era. Had he born in the silent era he'd definately be a legend.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I don't blame the audience from the 50s who didn't get the film. I didn't quite get it the first time either but the film just keep growing on me. I remembet Robert Mitchum in his noir detective role as well, most notably his role in Out of the Past. The lead girl in that movie has a very typical femme fatale look as well, which mean she's gorgeous
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I've been looking into Guy Maddin's work, its occasionally funny in an absurdist way and alot of the appeal comes from how strange his films are, while I think that film the artist was a good take on silent films, Maddins tributes to silent film are far more successful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: People weren't ready for night of the hunter in the 50s, one of those baffling situations that it flopped when originally released, frustratingly that director never got to work again. For me I think that was one of Robert Mitchum's best roles, along with his one in Cape fear.
SuperMario
Ahhh, clumsy finger. Whatever...
SuperMario
*Diary kf the Country Priest of course
SuperMario
Should get into Diry of the Countey Priest soon, but consider it's Bresson's movie I have no doubt it'll be hard to swallow. Also the priest in The Night of the Hunter
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: =) All priest films quiver before the might of Diary of the country priest, Nazerin and Winter light.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: in the same vein with Spotlight, right? 2016 wasn't a good year for priest in movies it seems
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh, that guy also directed El Club, I liked that one, seriously grim story about exiled priests.
SuperMario
@movies4life: Gin no Guardian is a bif meh for me.
SuperMario
I watched No at the time of its release. Good watch although I don't remember much of it now. Not only they have the same actors as Neruda, those films are directed from the same director. This fude also directed Jackie last year that star Nayalie Portman as the First Lady
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Movies: The other Chinese anime attempts aren't any better I hear.
movies4life
Watch in a day the whole season of Gin no Guardian. Is have so much potential in story and animation but somehow something missing. maybe is just for growing up Kids
AidanAK47
@Anon, Like SAO season 2 then. Myself and a friend tried to watch that for the sole reason of taking the piss out of it. Ended up not finishing it because there wasn't anything to take the piss out of because barely anything happened each episode and it was so boring that we couldn't take it anymore.
KTravlos
I have seen "The Secret in their Eyes". A good film. I do recommend "Neruda", and the film "No" which as some of the same actors.
Anonymous1324414
People thought they were 'ironically' watching a bad movie until they realized the movie's so bad it can't even be enjoyed on an ironic level.
AidanAK47
I am not surprised that the Emoji movie is bad. But I am quite astonished that people seem to be surprised that it's bad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gah, I would hate that, having to put up with a kid in cinemas, having to see , having to financially benefit some anti-art film like that.
movies4life
and i watch Emoji with my daughter....I fall asleep
Kaiser-Eoghan
Secret in the eyes remake was pretty much pointless.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Anon-The virgin witch
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am entirely too old to place any care or importance on whether I sleep with someone or not/ever.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I am entirely too far behind to catch up on monogatari.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoy the surrealism that is present in some Latin filmaking. As for secret in their eyes, its got that great stadium scene and twist later on, though some of the exchanges between actors/characters seemed awkward, overall while I liked it, it felt like an extended tv episode.
SuperMario
I'm also looking forwards to listen to their new OPs. Mnogatari's soundtrack is the only anime soundtrack that I bought a physical CD. Still listen to all those songs quite frequently
SuperMario
Since it is confirmed that there'll be 7 episodes, I think it'll be: Mayoi Hell (2 episodes), Hitagi Rendezvous (2), Ougi Dark (3)
SuperMario
So Owarimonogatari will air in 2 days. I honestly don''t know how I should review it (by episode? by each arc? by day? Rating or not?) but dang I'm gonna review it.
SuperMario
You can try another Latin American film, The Secret in Their Eyes (not the REMAKE one). There was a 10 minutes unbroken (CGI) shot that follow the leads in the football stadium to look for their suspect. Quite impressive
SuperMario
@KTravlos: I missed my chance to watch Neruda when it was screening in my local cinema; but I've heard good things about the film. People said it's an unconventional but effective biopic film. The more I watch Latin American cinema, the more I feel the unique charm from the area that I don't feel anywhere else.
Masky
Still, weird manga because its kind of increasingly obvious that the people behind Nana are the bad guys .-. They are just overly sinister.
Masky
So skipped third chapter and just read fourth chapter of Talentless Nana. Ok, seems like it might have more of hook now? Villain protagonist vs hero antagonist?(who also can't be killed off first because they are immortal, so she would need to figure out how to deal with him first)
KTravlos
@Anon. Nobody cares mate.

@SuperMario. Hey I watched Neruda last week. It was interesting. Have you seen it?
AidanAK47
@Anon, Well we can all make up imaginary sexploits, it's not really something worth bragging about. Perhaps fanfiction would be a better outlet?
Anonymous1323777
I enjoy posting on obscure anime blog chat boxes about my sexploits. ᕕ( ⏒ ロ ⏒ )ᕗ
movies4life
Just watch Ajin both seasons and not sure ...good or just ok
Anonymous1323481
Just watch Ajin both seasons and not sure ...good or just ok
Vonter
I'm also as of now noticing this Isekai trend. And to be honest the most disappointing aspect for me, is how formulaic the worlds are. This is also a complain in RPGs. But I don't get how like 7 or more of this, feels like the setting could be the same world. I don't know, I just think there should be ways to make each feel more unique.
Vonter
I went to Chicago and bought a Switch and lots of manga. I was happy with my choices. Murcielago is a violent buddy cop. Delicious Dungeon is a creative take on a dungeon crawler setting and funny. The 7th garden is a well composed manga, if anything a good example for sequential art reference. I also read several chapters of Mushoku Tensei, which is Isekai but heck it did made me care.
AidanAK47
It's like the difference between reading Konosuba and watching Konosuba. I read the novels up to date and while it's fine it's like reading the script to a comedy skit. It's not nearly as entertaining as seeing it in action. The animation and actors just added so much more to it.
AidanAK47
@Puran, I actually agree with you on that. I read the manga before watching the anime and couldn't really get into it. However I felt that things would change when seeing it animated and indeed it did. Currently I would place the anime adaption above it's source material.
Anonymous1321546
3000 Leagues in Search of Mother
Puran
@Anon, thank you for the update on your sex life.

In other news, I read the manga for Made in Abyss and I didn't really like it...? Felt kinda boring and soulless? While the anime seemed to have some sort of magic and wonder. It kinda spoiled my enjoyment of the Anime. I think I'll drop it for a while and marathon it later to let the bad taste from my mouth subside.
AidanAK47
@Anon, That's virgin talk.
Anonymous1320940
my girlfriend is coming back home and I am so looking forward to getting my cock sucked again. Sex starved since Wednesday
Kaiser-Eoghan
@K-off: Genuinely missed Tsugumi when her character got the axe.
AidanAK47
Getting the made in abyss post up tonight but it looks like the other two are going to have to wait. Kakegurui's sixth episode will be airing this week and Fate's episode won't be subbed until friday. I will see if I can get secondhand subs to do a writeup but I would prefer to watch it with UTW subs.
K-Off
The spin-offs are actually a good read because it's essentially similar to the opening few chapters of the main story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah seoul station, that director (or at least the animator) has done some other animated films that I've yet to get round to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@K-off: Maybe a sequel or more spinoffs planned? I've not read any of the spinoff come to think of it.
K-Off
The film was interesting, but I remember I watched it after Train to Busan and its animated prequel so I found it lacking in comparison.
K-Off
I'll just say that the manga does not end climatically nor in any interesting way. It ends up focusing on a new set of characters near the end (what kind of writer thinks that's a good idea?) and rushes the MC's story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The film adaptation of I am a hero is better than it has any right to be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*sci-fi
Kaiser-Eoghan
@K-off: Everything after the sci-twist started going downhill. I haven't read the final chapter yet.
K-Off
@Kaiser Did you catch up on I am a Hero? Just finished it and...I feel like the series seriously fizzled out halfway through. I'd like to talk about the ending if you have.
Anonymous1318603
That is the best Anime site I can find.it let me not register.
Lenlo
Apologies, The Reflection for this week should be up tomorrow. Rather busy is all because I have a 4 month long project presentation tomorrow.
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I think there may be about three of them in my county. I tried a Hybrid but it just didn't do anything for me. If it was out yet and if I was rich I would buy a Faraday FFzero1.
K-Off
@Aidan Right, forgot about that. I guess it really would be a problem out in the sticks, that's what hybrids are for I suppose. I don't know about urban areas in Ireland, but in NYC and LA electric charging stations are everywhere.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I'm having fun with it now; don't spoil it man :)
AidanAK47
@K-Off, I wanted to buy an electric car originally but was talked out of it because we don't have gas stations with chargers for one.
@Supermario, Ho boy. I often joke about fan-service series being porn but that show quite literally is porn. The story isn't deep either as it's omnibus format so the story resets every four episodes or so.
SuperMario
I am in the mood today so I finally checking out that controversial Yosuga no Sora - to see if it has any deeper, more intimate message or it's just a harem setting for soft-incest-porn that despise everyone. Wish me luck guys
K-Off
Yeah, that's a shame. But I think it's bound to happen, now that shot put got one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think I would find it quite difficult to find a storyline that made mathematics enjoyable. Not a numbers guy, more on the arty side.
Anonymous1312485
I don't think I know anything Japanese young people hate more than math.
Total users: 23

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