You have been aching to join a fitting after-school club for a while when your Childhood Friend Atsushi invites you to join the newly-found literature club. He offhandedly mentions a member brought sake, drawing your interest. Although you've never raised a pen yourself, you end up becoming a member of this literature club and meet the other members: Chuuya, a Fiery Redhead aspiring dadaist poet, Ryuu, an Emo Teen writing deep stories with a moral meaning, and Dazai, the president of the literature club.
Yeah, it's one of those stories.
This story contains examples of:
- Animal Motifs: At the end of the first chapter, the animal you write about decides who you will spend the day after school with. Cat refers to Atsushi, Dog refers to Ryuu, and Sheep refers to Chuuya.
- Ambiguously Human: Ryuu suspects that Chuuya is actually a god called Arahabaki and that his 'father' is a cover-up for Arahabaki. Dazai later clarifies that Ryuu wasn't entirely right; Arahabaki is Sealed In A Human Shaped Vessel.
- Even then, it's deliberately left ambiguous whether Arahabaki is an actual god sealed in Chuuya or if Arahabaki is just a construct in Chuuya's mind. Dazai comments on this, not even he knows the truth, but he knows that the author left it ambiguous due to not wanting to seek Refuge in Audacity.
- Bittersweet Ending: Dazai is dead, but his ghost speaks to you at the ending. The gem that is implied to give the characters Medium Awareness and makes them crazy is ripped away from Chuuya, Chuuya's fate is unsure and who knows what happens to you?
- Black Humor: The name of the song Dazai gives you when Ryuu performs suicide? "The Suicide of Virginia Woolf". Ha ha.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Dazai gives you tips and comments on the narrative from time to time in the notes.
- Emo Teen: Akutagawa Ryuunosuke. He's mentioned to be very pale, too.
- Featureless Protagonist: The protagonist (you as reader) doesn't even have set pronouns.
- Fiery Redhead: One of the first impressions Chuuya makes on you.
- Flanderization: Another invoked example set up by Dazai. He is influencing the fictional characters until they break, often exaggerating their issues. Atsushi, who was a little behind on PE and had a little bit of an average condition, gets turned into an extreme shortness of breath and ends up dying of bronchial asthma (like the original author did). Ryuu, who was similarly a little pale and a bit of an Emo Teen, gets a lot of illnesses including insomnia and various mental illnesses, and ends up overdosing on Veronal (like the original author did). Chuuya's "Arahabaki" turns from simply strict to abusive, and he starts to harm himself as a result.
- Has Two Mommies: Gender-inverted for both Atsushi and Ryuu.
- Hostile Show Takeover: You are 'trapped' in a monologue with Dazai near the end.
- The Illegible: The poem in act 2 supposedly written by Chuuya isn't written in his usual font, Ink Free, but is written in a very small, barely legible font called Brush Script MT.
- Ill Boy: Ryuu. It doesn't seem to be impacting much besides his light skin, though. This is one of the things that get tweaked a little by Dazai. It ends in him suffering from the same illnesses as his counterpart.
- Interface Screw: The chapter titles aren't preceded by 'Chapter [x]:'. In-universe, this is because it's a sign Dazai has already started messing with the story, hence why it returns when he isn't there. In reality, it is just a script in the skin.
- Leitmotif: Multiple:
- Magical Accessory: The blue charm Dazai wears is heavily implied to be this. When the ghosts of Atsushi and Ryuu talk to you, they tell you to aim for it when stabbing Dazai with the pen. It's unknown if you shattered it, but if you did, it is in a seemingly perfect state when Chuuya wears it. As Chuuya says he knows everything, it is possible that it gives the characters Medium Awareness, and said Medium Awareness makes them crazy as a result. At the end, Dazai tells you it's the fault of the charm.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Bungo Stray Dogs is already infamous for basing characters off their namesakes; this fic takes it up a notch in the sense that almost everything is a reference to the real authors, including the way they died.
- Pun: The name of the club and the title. 'Bungou Stray Dogs' is Japanese for 'Literary Master Stray Dogs'. So, a 'Bungou Stray Dogs Club'.
- Second Person Viewpoint: As to mimic a Visual Novel nature.
- Wham Line: Multiple.
- After Chuuya's route: 'Ugh. Chuuya...what a liar.' by Dazai.
- After 'chapter 3': 'There is quite enough of that.'.
- In the third act: 'Well, at least I'm human.' by Ryuu.