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Manga / Bungo Stray Dogs
aka: Bungou Stray Dogs

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The pen is mightier than the sword.
Bungo Stray Dogs (Literary Master Stray Dogs) is a Seinen manga by Kafka Asagiri and Harukawa 35 (pronounced "Sango") which began serialization in 2012. The manga has also received an official ongoing English translation by Yen Press. An anime adaptation began airing in April 2016, followed by a second season in October that year and a third season in April 2019. Its official anime website is here. In addition, the series is popular enough to spawn multiple light novel spinoffs, several stageplays, a movie in 2018 and an on-going smartphone game that has also received an English localization.

Atsushi Nakajima is kicked out of his orphanage. To make matters worse, there are rumors of a tiger on the loose and when he gets to a river, starving and with nowhere to go, there's a guy committing suicide.

Well, trying to commit suicide.

The man attempting suicide is Osamu Dazai, a member of the Armed Detective Agency. He and Doppo Kunikida are out to find the tiger before anything (casualties, damage or the large bounties for said tiger) gets worse. These two, along with all the people at the Agency, have supernatural powers and Doppo has a sneaking suspicion that Atsushi's part of the big picture.

Not only that, but every single character has a name that corresponds to an author of (a) famous literary work(s) and their powers are based around the works they're known work, at the minimum.


The character design has a vibe of The Roaring '20s, but the story is set in present day Japan, Yokohama.

It has absolutely nothing to do with Bungo to Alchemist, Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark, or Stray Dog.

Literary stray tropes:

  • Abandoned Area: The old hospital and the ruins featured in the Azure Messenger arc.
  • The Ace: Fukuzawa. An excellent leader, useful power, and not even Kunikida can beat him in combat thanks to his sword-fighting skills. When he's handcuffed and Ouchi attacks him, he manages to block the blade with the chain holding the handcuffs together.
  • Action Girl: All girls are as just as competent as the guys - for example Akiko Yosano (see Combat Medic below), Kyouka Izumi (Little Miss Badass) and Ichiyou Higuchi (Dark Action Girl). Even characters who you don't expect it from (such as the Agency's two clerks) turn out to be this.
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  • Adapted Out: Agatha Christie, Fitzgerald and Dostoevsky all comment on the fight between Akutagawa and Atsushi in the manga, but in the anime only Fitzgerald is shown. The anime tends to do this a lot, especially when it comes to several characters' backstories like with Randou and the Headmaster.
  • Adult Fear:
    • What Kyouka's parents had to face: killing their daughter by a forced blood-controlling ability. Kyouka's mum orders Demon Snow to kill her before any harm comes to Kyouka.
    • The parents of the original Chuuya were told their young son had died to prevent them from saving him from the real horror of being kidnapped and used as a test subject by the government, with the experiments either resulting in him either forgetting about them and escaping into the streets or dying.
  • Advertised Extra: A bunch of characters, due to Loads and Loads of Characters happening.
  • Alliance with an Abomination: Lovecraft is heavily implied to be a shape-shifting eldritch abomination who works under contract for one of the main villains. It's never made clear what the terms of this contract are, but he returns to the sea after the villain's defeat.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The café that is seated in the Agency building's ground floor gets overturned in chapter 38. The causers were a group of criminals who wanted to know where the Guild's fortune was. Luckily, the Agency themselves wasn't present when it happened, and they get their revenge soon enough.
  • Alternate Universe: There are definitely signs that this is the case. Aside from the supernatural abilities most of the characters have, there are multiple references to a "Great War". The light novel that describes Dazai's entrance exam into the Armed Detective Agency features a former defense facility that was abandoned after the Great War, while the light novel describing the events that led to Dazai leaving the Port Mafia featured a group of ex-soldiers who fought in the last Great War, suggesting that it happened at least a few decades before the series began, at most.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Edgar Allan Poe's obsession with Ranpo could easily be interpreted as romantic and Edgar hasn't shown any interest in women thus far.
  • Ambiguous Gender: It's not officially been stated for Q. While the real life writer was male, Q's ambiguous gender is lampshaded in a BSD Wan! chapter where the Black Lizard try to investigate which Q is a girl or guy, before deciding in the end it doesn't matter if they're happy.
  • Anime Accent Absence: Everyone in the Guild, an American-based organization, seems to be able to communicate in flawless Japanese. This is never commented on.
  • Animorphism: Atsushi can transform into a tiger.
    • Natsume Souseki, as revealed in chapter 50.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The characters are based on Japanese, Russian, and Western writers and their superpower names are based on the books that they wrote. Other than that, fictional characters like Tanizaki Naomi are also based on the writer's published books.
  • Artistic License – Biology
    • Dazai manages to send messages to his informant outside prison by controlling his heartrate, a skill he apparently learnt in 55 minutes.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis:
    • Ranpo Edogawa has the ability to instantly solve any crime.
    • When the author designed a version of Dan Brown as part of a promotion for Dan's latest book, the character was also given this ability. (Though to everyone else that "awesomeness" is gibberish.)
  • Bait-and-Switch Character Intro: Chuuya Nakahara is introduced as a scary Port Mafia executive whose presence unnerves a captive Dazai, who isn't afraid of anyone. However, the situation quickly changes as Dazai reveals he was actually making fun of Chuuya's hat, and proceeds to blackmail and humiliate the other man. Played with later on as it turns out that Chuuya really is terrifying and dangerous so long as Dazai isn't actively trying to get on his nerves.
  • Berserk Button: Mentioning Dazai when Chuuya is within range is the easiest way to get him pissed off.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The spin offs have several.
    • In Dark Era, Oda dies from his wounds after avenging the children, however his last words to Dazai convince Dazai to leave the Mafia and do work that helps people.
    • In BEAST which takes place in an alternative universe from the canon setting, Oda is alive, Atsushi and Kyouka are fired from the mafia and told to join the Agency, however Dazai commits suicide after informing Akutagawa and Atsushi about the Book. In addition, Gin has gone missing and Akutagawa has to continue to search for her.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: In manga vol. 5 artist Harukawa 35 confirms that evil characters in Bungo Stray Dogs have darker eyes than the good ones.
    • Interestingly, Dazai displays them here when talking about Mori being afraid Dazai'd kill him and subsequently take the seat.
    • The Hunting Dogs are also a weird example. They antagonize the Agency, but have very bright eyes (except for Jouno) because they technically aren't bad guys. They only antagonize the Agency because they have been tricked.
  • Blinding Bangs: Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: The interactions between Dazai and Kunikida when they're not working on a case often play out like this.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Oda to some Elite Mooks once he goes on a revenge mission against Mimic.
  • Brains Versus Brawn: Dazai and Chuuya were partnered together as teenagers as part of the duo, Double Black, and have always loathed each other. Chuuya is a massively powerful Gravity Master and an excellent martial artist responsible for carrying out the physical aspect of their missions, usually by killing people. Dazai, on the other hand, is absurdly intelligent and manipulative, able to unfailingly come up with the perfect plans Chuuya executes. However, despite his strength, Chuuya always finds himself under Dazai's thumb and begrudgingly admits his intellect is indispensable.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Junichirou and Naomi Tanizaki. Quite onesided on Naomi's part.
  • Bungled Suicide: Dazai is notorious for this, constantly attempting various methods of suicide only to end up getting interrupted or messing them up himself.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Some Ability Users like to do this. However, it isn't needed.
  • Cast Herd: It starts out with the Armed Detective Agency, the Port Mafia, the Guild( that eventually splinters into two small groups) and the Government's Special Abilities Division. The story has since grown to include many, many side groups, such as the Rats, the Decay of Angels and the Hunting Dogs. Now to take a breath.
  • Casting a Shadow: Rashomon, which is controlled by Akutagawa's jacket...cloak...thing.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Invoked. In an interview, Asagiri revealed that they made sure everyone looked different, and that if two people were walking next to each other, none of them would have a cliche hairstyle, for example.
  • Character Tics: Akutagawa coughs a lot and covers his mouth after that. Half of the time you see him speaking his mouth will be covered.
  • The Chessmaster: Dazai, Ougai, and Fyodor are the most notable throughout the series (Dazai is quite notorious for this in universe, while Ougai plays the Obfuscating Stupidity card at times), plus Gide and Oda in Dark Era due to their abilities.
  • Combat Medic: Akiko Yosano, who has to make sure the person she's healing is half dead first. She can even heal herself which is extremely handy, but painful.
  • Comfort Food: Chazuke (tea on rice) for Atsushi.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Most characters, but notably Atsushi, Kyouka, and Lucy.
  • Creepy Doll: Q's and Lucy's Ability's manifested form can be seen this way.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The terrorist organization Decay of Angels murders several government officials in extremely gruesome ways, based on the signs indicating the imminent death of angels in Buddhism:
    • A legislator was skinned alive then had his skin back sewn on inside-out.
    • A deputy commander in the coast guard had his face melted by an extremely corrosive poison; the cause of death was shock due to the intense pain.
    • A secretary had an air compressor stuck into their mouth, causing their blood and nerves to burst from their pores.
    • A first-class official for the military police and abilities secret service was injected with a drug that drives its victims to suicide then locked inside an empty room, driving them to kill themselves by bashing their head against a wall.
    • Finally, several government agents are captured and restrained in a device that uses chainsaws to slowly cut them in half. The Armed Detective Agency are given a chance to stop this, but it was a trap and they ended up being framed for the murder by Fyodor.
  • Cutting the Knot: There is a large loophole in the plan of the Decay of Angels: while the One Order will arrive on the airport and will be received by Fukuchi - during the vampire infestation - the Agency can just kill Bram. Fukuchi is aware of this and proposes that Jouno is there to keep them from.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: The Guild. A bunch of international people named after real life authors who have awesome powers, live swanky lifestyles and kick tonnes of ass. The Port Mafia qualifies as well, with many of its higher-ranking members even dressing like Roaring Twenties gangsters, most notably Chuya.
    • However, averted by Kyouka, who once was a pawn of the Port Mafia and at present still lives in fear of them despite her Heel–Face Turn, Dazai, who used to be a Mafia executive but now wants nothing to do with them, and in the Dark Era, Oda, who worked for the Mafia mostly for the paycheck, and Ango, who was a sleeper agent keeping tabs on the Mafia for the government.
  • Dan Browned: The author designed a character based on Dan Brown, as part of a promotion for Dan's latest book. The character's power relies on reasoning just as bad as his books' reasoning, with the only difference being that everyone can actually see through the hogwash.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Chuuya's true ability, Corruption, which will kill him and heavily damage surroundings unless Dazai is nearby to cancel its effect.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dazai is the master of this. Ranpo, too, to an extent.
  • Death Glare: Akutagawa and Chuuya practice it a lot, Dazai and Ogai also have their moments.
  • Death Is Such an Odd Thing: Atsushi is genuinely unsure how to feel when he learns the details behind the death of his former headmaster. On the one hand, the headmaster was the one responsible for the years of abuse that Atsushi suggered as a child. But on the other, he was the only father figure Atsushi had ever known.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Deconstructed. Ranpo defeated Edgar Allan Poe in the past and Ranpo's egotistical sore winner showboating made Edgar hate the man he had admired until that moment. It wasn't until Ranpo defeated him a second time and treated him kindly in the aftermath that Edgar began to like him again.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune:
    • Kishow Taniyama (Chuya Nakahara) with his band GRANRODEO does the first ("TRASH CANDY") and third ("Setsuna No Ai") openings along with the theme song Deadly Drive for Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple.
    • Yu Hayashi (Michizou Tachihara) with his band SCREEN Mode does the second opening "Reason Living" along with the season 3 insert theme "Wright Left".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the orphanage, whenever Atsushi turned into the tiger, he lost his memory of doing so. He was also a very young boy who was frequently bullied and abused, both physically (the Headmaster injecting him with various fluids and hammering a nail through his foot) and mental (him constantly hearing the mantra of 'you don't belong here' and 'it would be better for us all if you died'). All of it is more than a little reminiscent of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
  • Enemy Mine: The confrontation with The Guild has two big fights, which involve this trope. Dazai and Chuuya vs. Lovecraft and Steinbeck; Atsushi and Akutagawa vs. Fitzgerald.
  • Episode of the Dead: During the Guild arc, Fitzgerald uses Q's ability to curse the citizens of Yokohama. Since the curse causes everyone to mindlessly attack anyone they see, the city quickly degenerates into chaos. The main characters are left having to defend themselves and the few civilians who were left unaffected, while Atsushi rushes Q's doll to Dazai, who can nullify the curse.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Applied to an entire organization- the Port Mafia doesn't seem to have a proper name, they're referred to as the Port Mafia because they're a mafia that controls the ports.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Port Mafia's headquarters is a complex of five black skyscrapers that glow red at night.
  • Evil Wears Black: Port Mafia, with few exceptions. Also Lovecraft.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Ranpo Edogawa. Usually his eyes can be seen only when he is using Super Deduction or is greatly surprised. Also Jouno.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Atsushi gets kicked out of the orphanage, saves Dazai, succeeds his admission test and gets banged up by the mafia all on the same day. Also, the entirety of the Dark Era takes place over five days.
    • Day one: Odasaku, Dazai and Ango meet up in Lupin for the last time as friends and take the photo.
    • Day two: Ango disappears. Odasaku sets out to find him and retrieves the Mimic gun from his apartment. Dazai has a confrontation with the sniper who targeted Odasaku.
    • Day three: Dazai meets Odasaku in the western restaurant. Odasaku goes to visit the money-lending company's archive and finds Ango. He is poisoned and Ango reveals himself as a spy.
    • Day four: Odasaku recovers in the hospital. He walks out and confronts Gide. That evening, the Buraiha breaks up.
    • Day five: The orphans are killed early in the morning, and Odasaku rushes towards the Mimic base. He dies at twilight.
  • Expy: Strange invoked case bordering on in-universe Serial Numbers Filed Off. The characters that Chuuya and Dazai are playing in one of the earlier episodes in season 3 in an arcade game, were expies of the Agency members.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: It's a seinen published in a shonen magazine, so violence is to be expected. Yet there are some people who are surprised by how graphic said violence is - look at Cruel and Unusual Death just how wild it can get.
    • A lot of fans were surprised by the amount of gore present in the first chapter BEAST manga.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Atsushi's bangs are cut at an angle with a long thin lock on one side. One of the bonus comics has Naomi point it out, saying that "It would be a problem if he wore his hair that way because he thought it was fashionable."
  • Fighting Spirit: The abilities Rashoumon and Demon Snow manifest as these, resembling a shadowy serpent and a humanoid entity with a katana, respectively.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Several characters, including Dazai, Kunikida, Yosano, and Fukuzawa, due to their abilities not directly applying to combat or enhancing their combat skills. Dazai's ability also forces this on other people.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Ranpo's Ability does not reference a work of the author he's named after. Subtle foreshadowing to the fact that it isn't an Ability at all.
    • Chuuya is always seen with his hat, which doesn't seem very strange until you realize other hat-wearing characters will at least put theirs down once in a while, whereas he will make a conscious effort to keep his on during battle. This is due to the fact that Chuuya's hat is tied to his Ability, allowing him to initiate Corruption.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The old and new Double Black teams make one up. Dazai is sanguine, being (outwardly) cheerful and lazy; Chuuya is choleric, being diligent and hot-tempered; Atsushi is phlegmatic, being weak-willed and kind and Akutagawa is melancholic, being rigid and emotionally distant.
  • Fugitive Arc: In the Decay of Angels arc, the villains use the power of the Book to frame the Armed Detective Agency as terrorists. Most of the arc is the Agency trying to avoid arrest while looking for a way to prove their innocence.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The mobile game, Mayoi, is a fairly faithful recreation of the characters. For example, the main Akutagawa is an attacker through and through, with his attack stat growing faster than his hp.
  • Group-Identifying Feature: Downplayed. The vast majority of characters look as though they're from The Roaring '20s in suits and old-fashioned attire, most Port Mafia members are differentiated by being exceedingly well-dressed in dark colors. Dazai originally wore a black suit before opting for a lighter color palette upon leaving the mafia, while Chuuya originally wore standard civilian clothes and switched to dark formal wear when he joined. Word of God says the mafia was intentionally designed to convey the feeling of a group.
  • Guardian Entity: Kyouka's, Kouyou's, Lucy's, and Mori's abilities all manifest some form of this.
  • Harmless Luminescence: From magical effects:
    • The anime portrays Dazai's Ability as emitting a bright, white light upon initially nullifying another Ability. No one ever seems to have any issues seeing whenever this occurs.
    • Poe's books emit a brilliant, yellow light whenever a victim is being drawn into the story by his Ability. At one point, Chuuya ends up staring directly into the light with his eyes wide open, long enough to have a short conversation with Ranpo, without any apparent discomfort.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Dazai in the first episode/chapter, when he holds Atsushi in his arms.
  • Height Insult: Chuuya is the shortest adult in the series, at 160 cm, and as a teenager he demonstrated some Height Angst, getting particularly mad when Dazai called him a "very small" child when the two were calling each other children, and later massacring a group of soldiers after one made the mistake of calling him a shrimp. It's unknown if he still has a problem with his size at the moment, as the only times it's brought up are when Dazai insults him, which is often.
  • Historical In-Joke: There are plenty of scattered references to the characters' namesake writers' lives and works, but the most prominent is that Tanizaki and Akutagawa both have younger sisters and Mori has a young girl in his care, all three of whom are named after the title characters of stories by the writers that the three men are named after.
  • Immaturity Insult: During Dazai and Chuuya's first meeting as teenagers, Chuuya kicked Dazai into a wall and threatened to murder him for being affiliated with the Port Mafia. The situation then quickly devolved into the two calling each other variations of the word brat, and they later picked up the exact same argument when Chuuya was kidnapped, in the middle of a hostage negotiation no less. It's especially funny to see the sullen and stoic, Teen Genius Dazai participate in such a hypocritical, childish squabble.
  • Innocent Bystander: Subverted. That funny man who gets in trouble with Atsushi and Junichirou turns out to be mafia boss Mori Ougai.
  • In Medias Res: Look at the timeline to get an idea how really In Medias Res the story actually is.
  • Instant Sedation: Averted. Chuuya and Shirase are injected with poison under the pretense of getting a blood test. After a long while, Chuuya is hit in full force with the effects and passes out in short order due to him being vulnerable to poison, while Shirase only feels dizzy.
  • Intentional Mess Making: Chuuya's powers enable him to manipulate the gravity of whatever he touches, which even applies to the ground at his feet, so he'll often shatter it to intimidate his opponents and easily create numerous projectiles to hurl at them. Chuuya will also take advantage of his mindless and wildly destructive state while using Corruption, intentionally activating it to take out extra tough enemies as long as Dazai is around to nullify it as soon as he's done.
  • Ironic Echo: When Oda touches a ball that is covered in poison, the inside of his hand is covered in blood. When Oda dies, Dazai's hand is exactly that.
  • Ironic Name: Applied to the Armed Detective Agency, who are armed with superpowers but aren't exactly detectivesnote . The only aversion to this would be Ranpo Edogawa whose "power" is just his awesome intellect. Yeah, that Ranpo Edogawa, listed under Awesomeness by Analysis.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Fyodor pulls this off against the ADA. After Fyodor instigates a war between the ADA and the Port Mafia, Ranpo finds the only way to avoid facilitating the Rats' destruction of Yokohama is to not play by his rules, and has everyone seek out the Ability user responsible for the virus in lieu of fighting the mafia. Unfortunately, Fyodor planned for this and set up a horrific trap trap to break the ADA, ending with the meaningless death of a young girl as it turns out the supposed culprit was only a decoy who manipulated children to defend him, demonstrating to the ADA they cannot break the rules, and attempting to will end badly.
  • Karmic Butt-Monkey: Any time Chuuya tries anything considered bad or underhanded, he is almost guaranteed to be humiliated in short order, usually by Dazai. This is even how he debuts, as Chuuya tries killing Dazai only to be immediately blackmailed and emasculated by his ex-partner. However, it feels less deserved after it's revealed that Dazai had not been a nice partner and was often responsible for causing Chuuya suffering, yet never really received any comeuppance.
  • Lack of Imagination: Akutagawa suffers from this and has been often reprimanded by Dazai for his rigid mindset. His Ability, Rashomon, has massive potential as it enables him to control the clothes he wears to the point of practically obliterating the laws of physics, but Akutagawa's inability to come up with creative uses for it greatly impacts its effectiveness.
  • Lighter and Softer: The anime heavily plays up the comedic aspect of the series and downplays the grim nature of the manga.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Several chapters use the exact or modified title of the works by famous Japanese and Western authors. If it is the case, then the character named after this particular author will play an important role in the chapter.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Given the Cast Herds by organization the cast is split into. The series seems to use pretty much every character that isn't part of the main cast or Chucked out as either a background character or in a minor role, or both.
  • Logical Weakness: With a rare exception or two (usually involving those who's powers are always active), all of the empowered characters need to manually summon/invoke their powers before it kicks in, meaning anyone clever or quick enough to attack before a power is summoned is likely to defeat or outright kill their target. This is what makes Oda's seemingly useless ability 'Flawless' so deadly, as the Combat Clairvoyance it grants him whenever his life is in danger means he'll always be able to strike first and strike true (and failing that, still be able to quickly suss out a way to win).
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Lovecraft, obviously. It manifests as Combat Tentacles.
  • Mad Bomber: Kajii Motojirou. He also qualifies for Mad Scientist.
  • Master of Illusion: Junichirou Tanizaki, with his power Light Snow. He seems most comfortable using it for sneak attacks and reconnaissance, but has been known to make tactical use of it during combat.
  • Meganekko: Louisa May Alcott.
  • Mexican Standoff: Happens between Odasaku and Gide in the conclusion of the Dark Era. The exact moment is described in the Light Novel here.
  • Mistaken for Superpowered: Edogawa Ranpo has an ability called "Ultra Deduction", which allows him to instantly figure out the answer to a mystery simply by putting on his glasses. Or at least, that's what he believes. The truth is, he's just insanely observant, and can put together every detail at a crime scene in seconds. He's deluded himself into believing he has a supernatural ability so he can fit in with his teammates at the Armed Detective Agency.
  • Mood Whiplash: Happens in Wan!. One episode features several hilarious of the ADA sharing a meal, Atsushi and Chuuya trapped in an elevator and the ADA having fun on a summer night. However, right at the end while the characters are admiring the fireworks, Dazai talks about suicide. Atsushi laughs that he would rather Dazai live, but is ignored and realizes Dazai isn't joking. The end credits roll and instead of happily skipping as usual, Atsushi sits and stares into space as it gets darker, becoming more visibly distressed until he holds his head in his lap. It cuts back to festival where he tells Dazai very seriously not to ever talk about killing himself, only for Dazai to completely ignore him once again. The otherwise purely comedic episode then ends on this extremely depressing note.
  • More Insulting than Intended: In the Fifteen Arc, when Chuuya and Dazai face the GSS, one of the men correctly recognizes Chuuya as a feared Gravity Master, but unfortunately makes the mistake of calling him short, resulting in the boy massacring the entire group in a fit of rage.
    Soldier: That shrimp is Chuuya Nakahara!
    Chuuya: What did you just call me, asshole? I'm only fifteen years old, I'm still growing, damnit!
He then proceeds to kill every single soldier in the area.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Akutagawa introduces himself to Atsushi.
    Akutagawa: It is a pleasure to meet you. I am Akutagawa.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Everyone, from the protagonists to the one note characters, is named after a famous author or a character from an important literary work.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Man Eating Tiger which is the initial name for Moonlight Beast, Golden Demon, Anne of Abyssal Red... some of the ability names can be really scary, even the ones inspired by harmless-sounding books. The nicknames Akutagawa gets are also scary: Silent Rabid Dog, the Rabid Dog of the Mafia... and Atsushi's nickname in the BEAST universe is 'The White Reaper'.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Chuuya Nakahara. The poet he's named after also wore a similar hat. The hat also serves the purpose of allowing the wearer to initiate Corruption in Chuuya by speaking the phrase 'Oh grantors of dark disgrace, you need not wake me again'.
    • Also Natsume Soseki.
  • Non-Indicative Title: While characters are based on real writers or poets, few of them can be called "stray". None of the characters of Bungo Stray Dogs are described as dog-lovers, some of them actually hate dogs or are credited as cat-lovers.
    • At the end of Storm Bringer, Verlaine implies the storm is still yet to occur.
  • One Degree of Separation: Due to the Loads and Loads of Characters this story features, it's very prone to this. Notably, this happens with Oguri.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Exagerrated. In a Wan! short, Atsushi switches bodies with Dazai and runs into Chuuya. When Atsushi asks how he's doing, Chuuya instantly identifies him as an imposter and freaks out.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Happens at least once with Chuuya and Akutagawa.
  • Power Incontinence: Atsushi at the beginning of the story and Chuuya when he unleashes his true ability. Kyouka can only control her ability through very specific means until she properly joins the Agency and Fukuzawa is able to use his ability to give her full control over it.
  • Power Limiter: Fukuzawa's ability allows him to limit the effectiveness of his subordinates' abilities, including outright nullifying them.
  • Power Nullifier: Dazai's power, No Longer Human, is the temporary version. Fukuzawa's also allows him to do this to his subordinates.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime adaptation of Bungo Stray Dogs: Wan! rearranges the scenes from the Wan! manga, usually making it so the shorts within an episode fit a certain theme, rather than showing them in order. This is fine as the manga's chapters were each standalone sketches, so reordering them for each episode did not detract from any kind of plot.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Kyouka does this once, asking if she can be accepted into the Agency.
  • Purple Is Powerful: In particular summoning powers such as Demon Snow, Golden Demon, Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn and Vita Sexualis are of a purple color.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Agency. An orphan who can become a tiger, a mafia runaway, a suicide-lover, the list goes on...
  • Reality-Writing Book: The MacGuffin Fitzgerald is seeking. Atsushi's ability is supposedly the ticket to finding it.
    • Kunikida's notebook is a minor type 3 example, his ability allows him to create small objects by writing in it.
  • Real-Place Background: It's based in Yokohama, and especially the anime shows Scenery Porn. Virtually every place the characters are seen in, can be visited in real life.
  • Retcon: A few of Dazai's lines during Chuuya's introduction make far less sense after the Fifteen arc and Storm Bringer. He mentions that Chuuya bought his trademark hat and wonders if he uses it to hide a bald spot, despite the light novels revealing the hat was actually a gift Chuuya received upon joining the mafia that he wears to maintain control over Corruption, which Dazai knows. (He could of course be saying that on purpose to toy around with Chuuya).
  • Rewriting Reality: Kunikida's Ability, Doppo's Poetry. His notebook is a type 3 Reality-Writing Book that can be used to create physical objects.
  • Role Swap AU: The BEAST spin off tells the story of a timeline where Akutagawa works for the Armed Detective Agency and Atsushi is in Port Mafia, an inversion of their roles in the main series.
  • Rule 63: Kyouka Izumi and Ozaki Kouyou were male in real life. Here they are female characters.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Lampshaded for the Guild, and kind of exaggerated in case of Fitzgerald's ability. He can spend money to increase his combat strength.
  • Screw the Rules, They're Not Real!:
    • During the Cannibalism arc, Fyodor has Fukuzawa and Mori infected with an Ability-created virus that will kill both of them unless one is killed within two days, saving the other, effectively forcing the ADA and Port Mafia into an all-out war. Ranpo decides to subvert the obligation to fight the other faction by using his deduction skills to go after the creator of the virus and avoid Fyodor's sick game. Unfortunately, Fyodor planned for this, and causes a conflict ending in the death of a little girl just to prove his rules cannot be broken.
    • Dazai is completely liable to do this, typically going for the most effective and efficient methods to get what he wants regardless of morality. In the Fifteen arc, he challenges Chuuya to see who can find the culprit behind the old boss sightings first, with the winner getting to order the loser around like a dog. However, Dazai omits the fact that he'd already solved the mystery and therefore Chuuya has no chance of winning.
  • Secret Test of Character: Passing one is a requirement for joining the Agency.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Sort of inverted. The Port Mafia has a knack for wearing professional suits that cover the entire body as well as longcoats trailing like a cape behind them. The mafia women usually follow suit, with the exception of the long kimono-wearing Kouyou. The Agency perfers casual clothing loose around the shoulders. Word of God says that this was intentional, and it is likely this was put in due to the mafia's need to show off their status, while the Agency isn't really that known to the public and, as such, don't need to do that.
    • Fanart depicting Agency members as mafia members usually incorporates this, including a darker color scheme and longer clothing.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Many of the characters dress like they just walked out of the 1920s, even though the series is set in modern times. That means that many of the men sport longcoats, waistcoats, and suits, while the women wear fashionable skirts and kimonos.
    • Majority of the authors the characters were inspired by were writing around the 20s, which could explain the outdated attire.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Literally. The Hunting Dogs arc signifies its dark approach by the gruesome apparent death of Nikolai Gogol, a clown-themed assassin.
  • Shout-Out: What does Fitzgerald do upon entering the courtroom? Dramatically point and yell "OBJECTION!" Additionally, the same episode is chock-full of shout-outs to The Great Gatsby, from characters' names to "Eyes of God" facial recognition system.
  • Signature Sound Effect: Curiously, every Akutagawa appearance is accompanied not by an Evil Laugh, but by coughing. It isn't pointed out yet if he is seriously ill, it could be asthma or something worse.
    • It's probably pleurisy.
    • Chapter 87 confirms that he suffers from an unspecified lung disease, which is likely the cause of the coughing.
  • Significant Birth Date: Everyone shares a birthdate with the author they're named after. This has become such a consistent gimmick that characters who don't have their birthday officially stated but are named after a writer, are often assumed to have their birthdate shared by their original referenced author. For example, Andre Gide is assumed to have his birthdate at November 22.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Does a job at subverting this by giving Kyouka Izumi and Ozaki Kouyou, originally male writers a female counterpart. And even when they don't have abilities, they still kick lots of ass by making up for it in firepower and skill. It's true that the ratio male characters/female characters is skewed towards the male character side, but all female characters play an important role, at least at some point.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: A moment in season 3, when Atsushi is having a mental breakdown when upbeat music plays.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Many characters whose names include the Japanese long o- or u- sound are often spelled with the extra u and sometimes not (for example, "Junichirou" and "Chuuya" versus "Junichiro" and "Chuya," with both spellings being technically correct). This also applies to the title, which is sometimes spelled "Bungou" despite the official spelling used by Crunchyroll being "Bungo".
    • Elise's name is in katakana in such a way that it could also be rendered as Erisu or even Alis. However, the character in Mori's work was consistently named Elise in the translations, so her name is read like Elise. Several, somewhat rarer occasions exist, like reading Atsushi as Atushi and reading Chuuya as Tyuya.
  • Spin-Off: Multiple ones.
    • Osamu Dazai's Entrance Exam – A light novel prequel, loosely adapted as episodes 6-7 of the anime's first season.
    • Osamu Dazai and the Dark Era – A light novel prequel, adapted as episodes 1-4 of the anime's second season.
    • Origin of the Detective Agency: Untold Story – A light novel prequel.
    • Bungo Stray Dogs Gaiden: Ayatsuji Yukito vs. Kyougoku Natsuhiko – A light novel side-story about a different set of characters. Has its own manga adaptation.
    • 55 Minutes – A light novel set around the Guild Aftermath Arc.
    • Bungo Stray Dogs Wan! – A chibi comedy manga starring the BSD characters, currently with eight volumes. Has its own anime adaptation.
    • Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple – An anime movie set between the second and third seasons, or between the Guild Arc and the Cannibalism Arc of the manga. Has its own light novel and manga adaptations.
    • Dazai, Chuuya, Fifteen Years Old – A light novel prequel, adapted as episodes 1-3 of the anime's third season.
    • BEAST - White Akutagawa, Black Atsushi – A light novel set in a Mirror Universe. Has a manga adaptation. Is due to be adapted into a live-action movie.
    • Bungo Stray Dogs: Mayoi Inu Kaikitan/Tales of the Lost – a smartphone game
    • Several stage play spinoffs
    • Storm Bringer — a light novel prequel continuing the story from Dazai, Chuuya, Fifteen Years Old.
  • Stealth Pun: The chapter in which Kouyou (紅葉) is introduced, ends on 'red leaves' (紅葉).
  • Suicide as Comedy: Dazai's morbid fascination with suicide and frequent bungled or interrupted attempts are almost always played for Black Comedy.
  • Super Strength: Kenji Miyazawa, but he has to be running on an empty stomach first. Fitzgerald as well, with his strength proportional to the amount of money he's spent. Atsushi has a more limited version based on partial tiger transformations.
  • Support Party Member: Among the Agency, Dazai, Ranpo, and Junichiro all fill this role, due to their skill sets and abilities being oriented more towards tactics or reconnaissance than combat. Yosano fits as well, as a Combat Medic.
  • Strapped to a Bomb: A voluntary version is used by Atsushi in chapter 2. He encounters a 'suicide bomber' who threatens to blow the Agency into shreds if the bomb isn't covered. While Kunikida takes him out, Atsushi covers the bomb with his body, which, it turns out, was exactly the sort of thing he needed to do to pass.
  • Take That!: It's pretty obvious the writer isn't very fond of Dan Brown; Brown's fictional equivalent thinks he has Awesomeness by Analysis, but it comes off more like Insane Troll Logic.
  • Taunting the Unconscious: After defeating Lovecraft, Chuuya has Dazai promise to bring him back to the base when he faints from the strain Corruption puts on his body. However, instead of just heading back alone like in the manga, in the stage play, Dazai makes fun of Chuuya by dragging his unconscious body around while singing an insulting song and putting him in a humiliating pose before leaving the other man passed out in the woods.
  • Teens Are Short: Kyouka and Kenji are both much shorter than the adult cast, and the thirteen-year-old Q practically resembles a kindergartener. It's more prevalent in the Fifteen arc where there are more teenaged characters, all of whom are dwarfed by the adults and are shown to be around Chuuya's height, who cannot be taller than 5’3.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: During the conflict with the Guild, Dazai and Chuya team up to fight Lovecraft and Steinbeck (and argue with each other the entire time), and Atsushi and Akutagawa team up to fight Fitzgerald (but only after a fight that culminates in them realizing that they understand each other better than they thought they did).
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: We start with the Detective Agency (The Good) vs. Port Mafia (The Bad), and then The Guild (The Evil) arrives. Interestingly, The Guild arc doesn't seem to lead to Friendly Enemy status, despite attempts to forge an alliance between the Agency and Mafia. After the Guild largely disbands, the Rats in the House of the Dead arrive to take their place as The Evil.
  • The Napoleon: Among the adult characters Chuuya Nakahara is the shortest one and extremely hot-tempered. It is hard to tell though if he does have Height Angst because of this, as only Dazai jokes about his height and they clearly can't stand each other.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Every time Akutagawa meets Atsushi, he delivers variations of his 'Weaklings should die' speech. It deeply affects Atsushi at first, but he manages to overcome it later. The two effectively give each other one before teaming up to fight Fitzgerald.
  • Title Drop: In episode 13, Dazai, Ango, and Oda toast "to the stray dogs".
  • Took a Level in Badass: Atsushi clearly goes through Character Development during the course of the story from a humble orphan to a valuable member of the Agency.
  • Trademark Favourite Food:
    • Crepes for Kyouka, specifically with strawberries and cream. Atsushi's gotten crepes for her twice. She's also extremely fond of boiled tofu.
    • Atsushi's is ochazuke, a Japanese dish made with rice, tea, and savory toppings.
    • Ranpo loves candy and soda, and is rarely seen at the office without something sweet close at hand.
    • Chuuya likes alcohol, particularly expensive wine.
  • Translation Trainwreck (or lack of knowledge): Why Dazai's and Kunikida's abilities end up translated as "human elimination" and "lone poet" (or "the matchless poet" in the official Yen Press translation of the manga) sometimes. note 
  • Tricked to Death: Port Mafia executive A is confronted by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and believes that dying in the illusion is the only way to break the latter's ability. Unfortunately for A, he ends up just killing himself since Dostoyevsky doesn't have an illusionary ability. He was simply playing mind games with A the whole time.
  • Unintentional Final Message: Shortly after Atsushi resolves his first major incident as a member of the Armed Detective Agency, he learns that the abusive director of his former orphanage was killed in a car accident. The revelation that the man died while intending to congratulate Atsushi for his success - he was found holding a newspaper clipping about the incident, and had made a reservation for a bouquet at a nearby flower shop - leaves Atsushi with genuinely conflicted feelings about the death of the father figure who he also deeply hated.
  • Visual Pun: The art for New Year's 2020 featured Fyodor, Ivan and Hawthorne, all who are part of the Rats in the House of the Dead. In 2020, the Year of the Rat would be initiated.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Played with. Dazai and Chuuya unquestionably share a mutual loathing and frequently talk about how they'd prefer it if one of them died, yet hold immense trust in one another and often go out of their way to save each other from death. In Storm Bringer it's revealed that while they understand each other perfectly, it's impossible for any outsider to comprehend them.
  • Volleying Insults: Several duos of characters can be named, but Osamu Dazai and Chuuya Nakahara's relationship truly stands out. They can't spend a minute without insulting each other. At times their dynamic can be seen as variation of Like an Old Married Couple.
  • Voices Are Not Mental: In a Wan! short, Dazai, Atsushi, Kunikida and Ranpo swap bodies, and the voice actors take turns playing the different characters as their consciousnesses are transferred around. It's especially hilarious to hear Dazai messing around as Kunikida.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: This trope is going crazy in case of Motojirou Kajii's ability. First you were made aware that his ability is making lemon-shaped bombs, that is quite handy, but later you learn that it isn't his real power. The real one is not being harmed by lemon-shaped bombs, which could make him a loser in the Superpower Lottery if he wasn't using exactly this kind of bombs.
  • We Meet Again: Atsushi and Akutagawa gets one (by the end of chapter 33.)
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 78 - To Threaten God, Part 1: Things seem hopeless, as Kunikida has both been captured and lost his hands, Yosono's execution has been scheduled for today. But, it turns out that Sigma survived his fall, and was saved by Gogol (who used his Ability to fake his death) and asks Sigma to help him kill Fyodor. And finally, Atsushi tells Kyouka, Lucy, and Ango that he knows where the page they need is.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The very first episode/chapter is one to Rashoumon, with the main character having nowhere to go, and contemplating whether they should pursue a dishonest life to sustain themselves.
  • Word Salad Title: Bungo is Japanese written language, Stray Dogs is self-explanatory. The author said that they wanted a title that sounded like the name of a rock band.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Mostly in the form of Improbable Age, Kunikida is the biggest victim of this (he used to be a math teacher before joining the Agency, despite being only 22 years old and one of the Agency's earlier members, looking like he's reaching thirty), but the timeline of the also 22-year-old Dazai's backstory (or what's known of it at least) is inconsistent and improbable as well.

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Bungou Stray Dogs


Akutagawa's "help".

Akutagawa (grudgingly) agrees to help Atsushi.

How well does it match the trope?

4.17 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / MathematiciansAnswer

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