Short Anime Review: Bungou Stray Dogs – Dead Apple

Apologies: no screenshots because I watched this at the theater.

 

English: Bungou Stray Dogs: Dead Apple
Japanese: 文豪ストレイドッグス DEAD APPLE
Year: 2018
Length: 90 min.
Studio: Bones

I’m not exactly your typical Bungou Stray Dogs fan; I rather disliked season one due to the stories being short and weak, but season two dived into longer arcs, and the opening backstory nailed the emotional component and turned me into a fan. And if I had to pick a favorite character, it’d be Izumi Kyouka first and Dazai Osamu second, instead of fan favorites like Nakahara Chuuya.

Review

Bungou Stray Dogs: Dead Apple is the latest installment in the franchise. It’s a brand new story in the Bungou Stray Dogs universe, much like the Ordinal Scale movie in the Sword Art Online world. But even though it’s a brand new story, Dead Apple nevertheless is built on season two as it references characters introduced then, and one should definitely watch the TV seasons before watching Dead Apple.

As far as the movie itself goes, Dead Apple offers plenty for the fans. The plot is tried and true; the protagonists, Armed Detective Agency, is called upon to solve another problem arising from a gifted user, much like how the stories in season one are structured. This time, the gang has to fight a villain who’s able to pit gifted users against their own abilities. It plays right into the theme of characters accepting themselves for who they are, even if their abilities may have caused grief in the past.

If you are like me and want to watch more of your favorite characters, don’t worry; every Yokohama character gets screen time in Dead Apple, from the good guys, the Armed Detective Agency, to the frenemy, the Port Mafia folks, and even the government guy from season two. We also get teases of new characters who might show up in a sequel. Some characters, like Kyouka and the lead character Nakajima Atsushi, also receive a bit more backstory, and Atsushi in particular has a past with the movie’s antagonist.

Dead Apple isn’t without its flaws, however. The biggest issue may be its lack of clarity around motivations, especially for the villain. The movie opens with a flashback story from six years ago as Dazai and Chuuya fights the villain for (presumably) the first time, but exactly what this story had to do with the plot in Dead Apple beyond showing that Dazai knows about the villain isn’t clear.

TL;DR

Bungou Stray Dogs: Dead Apple is a movie made for the series’ fans. It offers plenty of action, and the plot, while typical and safe, doesn’t detract from the series. And it even manages to endear some characters to fans even more. The only question for fans now is: when is season three?

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