The meaning of sunsetThis is more obvious in the anime than in the manga, but there always seems to be happening something important when it's twilight or sunset (meaning that the air/sky is covered in orange, yellow and red). A number of things that just happened to be at twilight:
- Atsushi meeting Dazai.
- Oda's death.
- Higuchi taking up arms to save Akutagawa.
- The crashing of Moby Dick. The fight between Shin Soukoku and Fitzgerald is actually twilight, but you can't see that due to the dark clouds and rain. Once it clears up, it's shown to be twilight or dawn.
- Dead Apple starts at twilight.
- The fight between Fukuzawa and Mori during the Cannibalism arc.
- Fitzgerald talking with Buchanan and deciding that he doesn't get anything out of him.
- The end of season 3.
Twilight seems to be a time of change of heart, one in which the life of people is drastically changed. Note that Atsushi's eyes are also colored like the twilight/sunset.
The connection between BSD and Real Life writers
Essentially, Bungo Stray Dogs is Mundane Made Awesome. It turns books and their writers into magic, and the creators of the series have Shown Their Work by relating them, how far off they may seem. This is an ongoing list of similarities and references in Bungo Stray Dogs to real life authors.
Now, this Atsushi, being inspired by the author, has the power to, well, turn into a tiger. Atsushi also starts out being nearly driven to madness. He is near death by poverty and considers the oppertunity to steal - more about that in the Rashoumon section. The connection his power has with this book is very direct, as in it being the exact same power. However, Atsushi starts out unable to control it. The real Atsushi was very interested by the oral and written communication, reactive and planned respectively. This is exactly what Atsushi tries to do in his ways to control it. Cited from this page, 'In Nakajima's world, to be literate means to experience agony (...)', which is spot on to Atsushi's initial mentality, as he saw his Ability (Abilities are the equivalent of being literate, remember!) as a curse. It continues describing 'which is made even more acute when the inner literate mentality is contained within an outer oral appearance. The tragedy of Sangetsuki lies not in the transformation of the hero from literate to oral, but in the incompleteness of the transformation; the hero retains his human mentality even after his physical appearance has been transformed.' If we take 'normal' Atsushi as 'literate' and 'tiger' Atsushi as 'oral' in this sentence, it very well describes Atsushi remaining conscious as a tiger, using this power to archieve his goal.
Most of Atsushi's enemies know him as the were-tiger (Akutagawa especially so), and they all target him due to his power - not for his personality, not for who he really is, just because his power is the key to the Reality-Writing Book. This can be likened to the real Atsushi being only known for Sangetsuki and not for the person he was. At one point he references a sentence from Light, Wind and Dreams from the author he's named after - 'Ive never regretted anything Ive done. Ive only ever regretted the things that I didnt do.'
- Atsushi: I wonder who the author was?
The character Akutagawa has, strictly spoken, the power to control his own clothes. This obviously stems from the conclusion of Rashoumon, as usual. It's also obvious that Rashoumon is a Semantic Superpower, as it looks like he can control it in extreme ways - make it as sharp as a blade, make it steady enough so it can lift him up in the air, etc. It is the power of someone who will and can do anything to survive, (just like Atsushi's!) no matter what he needs to do. The protagonist of Rashoumon was ultimately able to answer the question 'Is stealing justified if it's important for my wellbeing' with 'Yes'. In Dead Apple, when the Abilities get split, Beast Beneath The Moonlight and Rashoumon immediately start fighting, because they have a similar drive to survive.
The real Akutagawa had a banal relationship with religion, saying he can believe in the Devil, but not in God. This was the ground on which his fight with Hawthorne was grown. Akutagawa's frequent coughing references the real Akutagawa having pleurisy. Both of them had sisters, and this pose is a hidden reference as well. Both of them like figs and dislike bathouses and dogs.
The Kunikida in BSD has a very strict nature, is a Control Freak and has no time for joking around. This not only reflects them both being a Virgo, this also obviously reflects the naturalism that the real Kunikida started. Naturalism is, like said previously, a branch off realism - as in that character Kunikida's words are so real that they become real. Plus, luckily, Kunikida has the maturity and mind to use it in a right way.
In the anime, Kunikida is seen playing a huge role in the Azure King arc. The character who sets off this entire arc is, ultimately, a girl named Sasaki Nobuko. In real life, Sasaki Nobuko was a woman had a relationship with the real Kunikida.
On the topic of Light Snow, this Ability can be said to show the other side of Tanizaki's writing. Light Snow is called this way because it not only projects illusions, but also snow. In English, the book is translated as The Makioka Sisters because 'Sasameyuki' is a Japanese concept that cannot be translated well in English without captivating the same feeling as it has in Japanese. Light Snow corresponds with the writing style of Tanizaki, being gentle and evocative. Of course, every author wants their readers to get an image based on written word, and Tanizaki happened to succeed in doing that. Thus, Light Snow manifests itself as catching other people in illusions before they know it's happening.
As for the book his Ability is called after, there are also some hints as to how the book translated into the power and into his life. It is a quasi-autobiography (as he makes use of an Author Avatar in it) written at the end of Dazai's life. It is a story that makes you feel like there is no hope when you are done reading it. The protagonist is basically an Author Avatar, that resembles BSD Dazai as well. The Ability is a manifestation of this sentiment, by nullifying other abilities. As a bonus, the book references Dostoyevski's book Crime and Punishment at some point, which gave fruit to the two characters being rivals as well.
- They are both feministic, and controversial in their way of work. The poem Thou Shalt Not Die was highly discussed because it was of an anti-war sentiment. And while the character Yosano got in some fights (versus Kajii or Chuuya), she doesn't necessarily like it. Her past may have to do with this.
- They both had connections with Mori Ougai; the real Yosano even asked him to name her twin daughters.
Izumi Kyouka's works are often said to be that of a surrealist sentiment, as it differed greatly from the writing of the other authors of his time. He preferred tales of the supernatural. This can be likened to Kyouka's Ability be the most traditionally supernatural, as it summons a phantom. Summoning ghosts and phantoms is not abnormal in aforementioned tales of the supernatural because it is the most direct link to something not from this world.
Both incarnations of Kyouka lost their mom young (around and about nine years), which left a big blow on their young minds. They both try (or in the real author's version, tried) to honor their mother in their work. They both underwent tutelage of a certain Ozaki Kouyou, and took on their mentor's style of work. The real Kyouka Izumi collected everything that had to do with rabbits (even though he was born in the year of the Rooster, the sign opposite the Rabbit). There is a statue of the real Kyouka with a rabbit in his hands◊.
There went some thought in making his power gravity-related. Quoting from the collaboration with the memorial museum: "Hed surely be rough, but burdened with sorrow, outrageously strong, cool, with a black hat, a little short, driving the story and the readersI thought that hed be a character as described above. However, he did not easily appear so as I wished in the story. The hardest struggle was deciding what type of Ability hed have. Not flames, nor ice. Not lightning, nor water. Having said so, it wouldnt be a quiet Ability either, such as mind-reading or clairvoyance. Destroying his enemies with violent force, yet tranquil in some way, with a weight that settled in the heart, merciless, passing through all defenses to pierce into his opponenthe should have such an Ability. After an extremely long, immense struggle and examination, I reached the conclusion of Gravity. It could only be gravity. The Manipulator of Gravity cloaked in black, Nakahara Chuuya. In the work, he drew the story forward with his rich personality and advanced as I wished. The joint fight with the genius Ability user Dazai Osamu, whom hes at loggerheads with, has become an eminent battle within the work. He will continue playing an active part from now on". This was because the poet he is named after, wrote poems that spoke to the heart of people. In the same link, there is a comment made about how the gravity is from the weight of words. 'Being able to control the heaviness or lightness of words at will perhaps we can say that is the connecting point between the real poet Nakahara Chuuya and the manipulator of gravity Nakahara Chuuya.'
- She is named after the main character in Akutagawa's story O-Gin. In that story, the Christian note O-Gin throws away an afterlife in heaven to join her brother in hell. This can be likened to Gin doing anything to stay with her family, even if it means joining the mafia.
- The team of special ops he leads, the Black Lizards, references The Black Lizard.
- In Golden Demon, a beautiful young woman named Miya tells her fiance, Kanichi, that she is breaking off their engagement so she can marry a bankers son who has wooed her with a big diamond ring. Enraged, Kanichi kicks Miya to the ground and vows to forsake humanity. Kanichi goes on to become a cold-hearted moneylender and Miyas marriage to the rich man does not go well. Sound familiar?
- The original writer wrote a Doorstopper about science-fiction themes, a protagonist in an asylum having a Ontological Mystery called Dogra Magra. It's the source of Q's...bizarre nature.
- The real Fyodor liked mind games in his works as well, the plot of many stories being 'gambits upon gambits'.
- They both seem to have a lot of knowledge about human psychology.
- They both have a connection to Gogol, Pushkin and Poe.
- They are both good at gambling (the real life Fyodor had a gambling addiction).
- He is anaemic, and the real Dostoevsky died from an internal lung bleeding.
- Both of them got arrested and detained once.
- Both were regarded as extremely dangerous at some point.
- The real author was also a censorist (one who censors stuff unfit for public), mirroring his animesona being unable to feel unhappiness.
- His ability and name is a reference to "The Scarlet Letter: A Romance", an 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting, written by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt. This likely inspired the character's religious nature and him becoming Fyodor's assassin over his guilt over Mitchell's condition.
- The works of the author he's named after deal with Youkai, Onmyouji, demons and posessions.
- BSD Lucy is able to create an imaginary world of her own, ruled by her "friend" Anne. Said ability left her shunned and ostracized by everyone she knew, so she had an unhappy childhood. The real life L. M. Montgomery also grew up friendless and lonely. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was 21 months old, and her father was too overcome with grief to cope with her, so she was sent to live with her strict grandparents in Cavendish. In that time period, it was frowned upon to openly shower your child with love and affection, as the Victorian notion of parenting of the time was to ensure that children were taught to be unquestioningly respectful and obedient to the point of being completely self-effacing. Lucy often created imaginary friends and worlds in order to cope with her loneliness, which she claims to have played a part in cultivating her writing and creativity.