Bungo Stray Dogs: A Review of the Latest Season

Bungo Stray DogsThe main cast of Bungo Stray Dogs facing away | Source: Wallpapercave.com

Imagine a world where a percent of the population is born with something called a “gift”. Where these “gifted beings” use their powers to save average civilians, or choose to create destruction. If this sounds appealing to you, then fear not! Instead of imagining it, you can watch (or read) it, since the show I just described is called Bungo Stray Dogs. The anime follows a young boy, Atsushi Nakajima, who has just been exiled from his former orphanage. He is saved by Osamu Dazai, who offers him a job at the Armed Detective Agency, an organization made up of gifted beings who protect the city of Yokohama from the mafia, and later, malicious external organizations. Bungo Stray Dogs has five seasons, with the fifth one being the most recent release. Here’s my review of the fifth season, which aired from July 12 to September 20 of this year.

This season was probably the best in terms of plot twists and thrill. There were a lot of shocking revelations, elite fights, and highly anticipated character interactions. Over the course of 11 episodes, we see Atsushi and his friends planning on how to retrieve The Page, a piece of paper that will carry out anything that is written on it, from Kamui. The brain behind their entire operation is Dazai, an employee at the Armed Detective Agency who is being imprisoned in Mersault for his past crimes. There, Dazai faces off with Dostoyevsky, the mastermind behind The Decay of Angels–the organization that Kamui is affiliated with. The two are shown multiple times in their individual prison cells(golden spheres that float in a space), exchanging banter that might seem like they’re old friends catching up, but really they’re trying to out-thwart each other. In my opinion, what really sets this season apart from the rest is that there are multiple sequences of events going on simultaneously. The anime keeps the watchers wanting more by leaving every scene on a cliffhanger. The dialogue, character interactions, and settings all have their own distinguishing factor that intrigued me, and I’m sure many others. While it can get confusing at times, with the pace at which the scenes switch, it all culminates in a very unexpected ending.

Throughout the season, we see many old faces that help progress the plot, as well as many new faces that add a layer of mystery. What does their purpose serve in the grand scheme of things? Why have they been introduced? All of these dying questions are resolved once the viewer reaches the last episode, which is pretty epic. The introduction of many more characters provides the opportunity for more character interaction, something that, in my opinion, can easily beat a good plot. Because without outstanding character interactions, how will a story become real? In this anime’s case, the characters truly bring the story to life.

As season five progresses, we learn more about what kind of a person Dazai is, and we learn more about the background of some of the main characters. Plot twists are strategically placed in a way that will make you gasp when something is finally revealed. Overall, Bungo Stray Dogs as a whole has aspects of murder mystery and action, two that complement each other very well in this case. With the addition of “gifts”, viewers can get a feel of the perplexities and ways that this characteristic is interwoven into each of the fights, crime deductions, and plot twists.

I’d give this season a 9.6/10, and I highly recommend the anime to anyone who is a fan of The Case Study of VanitasUndead Murder Farce, and Moriarty the Patriot.

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