One of the most unique dynamics about Bungou Stray Dogs is about its characters. There’s such a diverse and colorful cast. The main cast consists of the Armed Detective Agency with each character having their own unique traits. Most prominently, we learn a lot more about Osamu Dazai. If we take a closer look, it also reveals more about not only Dazai’s past but also the underworld system of where the series takes place. The truth is, there’s actually more than we don’t know from the surface. The first few episodes of the second season establishes Daizai as someone that seems to be easily influenced.
His relationships with characters such as Sakaguchi Ango and and Sakunosuke Oda are told from his perspective which is more than enough for the viewers to understand him. At the same time, the show cleverly gives an insight about Oda and his own ideals. Despite being a new character, his moments are memorable through his relationship with Daizai and his nobility. That being said, viewers may take a little bit of time to get accustomed with the background storytelling. They are actually not based on the manga so my initial expectations at watching the first episodes of this season left me somewhat bewildered. But once you take in the story, it may give you a better insight about Daizai and who he really was.
The show does eventually re-enter the main story again. From this season, we also meet The Guild, an American organization led by Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. They are very influential and possesses a great amount of power and authority. As such, expect them to take over the show as the series’ main antagonists. Of course, Port Mafia still remains relevant with its core members such as Ryunnosuke Akutagawa. Somewhere in between, there’s also Kyouka. Remember her? She’s the girl that killed 35 people and became lost in the world of her purpose until Atsushi took her under the Armed Detective Agency. The problem now is that there are also others that wants her back, namely Port Mafia. Kyouka’s struggle with her own personal demons are further amplified this season and she finds it difficult to get close to others. In the meantime, we are also introduced to other new members of The Guild such as John Steinback and H.P. Lovecraft. It’s also no surprise that the characters of this series are based on their literature figures.
A main major story conflict that develops seems to be a triple threat conflict between the Armed Detective Agency, Port Mafia, and The Guild. Each one wants to remain the last group standing while their members make key moves to ensure their successes. If you remember from season 1, Akutagawa had some major issues with Atsushi while the latter seems to have developed a personal rivalry with him. As such, expect their rivalry to escalate more into this sequel. The Armed Detective Agency also realizes the threat of The Guild and as such takes steps to counter against their influences. When you realize that imaginations can blend between fiction and reality, that’s where the show really shines. Indeed, Bungou Stray Dogs is no stranger to exploring supernatural phenomenon whether they are abilities to cause malevolence, utility to help others, or means of influencing the world.
In terms of technicality, the sequel remains generally the same by retaining its strong visual dynamics. Characters expressions are what draws the viewers’ attention the most especially with Kyouka’s inner struggles and Atsushi’s determination to prove himself to others. Akutagawa’s personality becomes darker as attempts to fulfill his own goals. Character designs revolving around The Guild also gives them the impression of authority and aristocracy such as Margaret and Francis. In addition, we get memorable battles that takes the characters’ abilities to their limits all thanks to Bones’ talented staff and cast.