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Bungo Stray Dogs is kind of a rare gem that you want to keep in your anime vault forever, and it’s not even finished yet. The characters and their dire situations are dark, even mysterious, and very complex in this seinen anime filled with supernatural action. The characters come off as both heartfelt and comedic. Dazai Osamu, the new poster child of bioshounen, seeks to recruit the young Nakajima Atsushi, due to his connection with a man-eating tiger that has entered their city Yokohama. Dazai is a detective at the Armed Detective Agency, but we find the agency is very little “detective” but very much “armed.” The detectives at the agency all have supernatural powers that allow them to take on jobs that the normal police force can’t handle, including handling supernaturally powered criminals, such as the Port Mafia.
Adapted from a popular manga of the same name, anime fans have been eagerly waiting for Bungo Stray Dogs. Bones masterfully delivers this adaptation with amazing light and color effects that really bring the supernatural abilities to animated life. The fight scenes are terrific, but the Bungo Stray Dogs truly hooks us in by promising to reveal the backstories of our new favorite characters. Thankfully, the anime has already been confirmed for two seasons. Unfortunately, because it is currently airing, we have to wait a whole week between episodes. Here’s what to watch in the meantime to hold you over until your next Bungo Stray Dogs fix.
6 Similar Anime to Bungo Stray Dogs
1. Noragami Aragoto
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2015 – Dec. 2014
Noragami is a supernatural anime about Yato, a shrine-less god in modern Japan, looking for loyal followers to fund a fancy place that he can call home. He fulfills odd jobs for a godly five yen—think five cents. For many of these jobs, Yato fights off phantoms with his companion Yukine, who transforms into a katana. Noragami Aragoto is Noragami’s second season, which expands on the basic story of Noragami, presenting more character development for Yato and even delves into the turbulent world of gods and spirits.
Beyond the crisp and clean animation that we’ve come to expect from Bones, Noragami’s second season delivers dark and complex themes of human existence and a need for belonging, intertwined with flashy fight sequences. Dramatic and emotional plot points are interposed with lighthearted humor that makes an overall entertaining experience. This is exactly where it is similar with Bungo Stray Dogs: the presentation. Mixing a modern setting with otherworldly elements, both series can keep us on the edge of our seats while also delivering laughs through interesting characters, dynamically brought to life by great voice actors.
2. Aoi Bungaku Series (Blue Literature)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2009 – Dec. 2009
Bungo Stray Dogs can be translated from Japanese to “Literary Masters Stray Dogs.” With a tiny bit of digging or some intimate knowledge of Japanese literature, you’ll realize that many characters are named after famous, usually Japanese, authors. For example, the charismatic Dazai Osamu is named after a famous author of one of the most popular novels in Japanese history, No Longer Human, which is also the name of the character’s special ability. Even some of his character traits come from the man himself or his semi-autobiographical characters. Dazai, the author, was thought to be obsessed with the theme of suicide, which often appeared in his works and ultimately became the end to his life.
This may bring new light to some of the amazing personalities and even more amazing special talents of the Armed Detective Agency and their territorial rival, the Port Mafia. Yes, the author Nakajima Atsushi wrote about a weretiger, and Kunikida Doppo was indeed a poet famous for naturalism. Similarly, Tanizaki Junichiro, also named after a famous author, wrote Chijin no ai, which became known in English as Naomi, the name of its sexually aggressive titular character. Such leanings are seen in the Bungo Stray Dogs character Tanizaki Naomi, who relentlessly pursues her brother.
Such deep connections to Japanese literature aren’t a first for anime. In 2009, Madhouse produced anime adaptations of some modern classics in Japanese literature, including Dazai Osamu’s No Longer Human. The Aoi Bungaku series also includes works from Akutagawa Ryunosuke, if that name rings a bell. Watching Aoi Bungaku will give you a closer adapted look at the works of these two great authors. With dark but intoxicating storylines, you’ll discover an interesting perspective on these literary masters, who became inspirations of the main men of Bungo Stray Dogs and their supernatural abilities.
Aoi Bungaku Series PV
3. Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2015 – Sept. 2015
Blood Blockade Battlefront will appear very similar to Bungo Stray Dogs straight from its synopsis. Easily excitable but otherwise normal, Leonardo Watch is very much down and out in Hellsalem’s Lot, formally New York City, until he finds himself becoming involved with Libra, a strange crew of supernatural humans who use blood battle techniques, which look just as flashy as the flashy names that describe them. Leonardo Watch also has his own supernatural ability: the “All–seeing Eyes of the Gods.” He joins Libra in their fight against evils that have entered NYC from the Beyond.
Much like Bungo Stray Dogs, each character stands out in his or her own right, with striking personalities and abilities. The leader of Libra, Klaus von Reinherz, could be best buds with Kunikida Doppo in personality and fashion. Klaus has many funny interactions with his more eccentric troublemaker coworker, Zapp Renfro, who becomes somewhat of a mentor to the younger Leonardo. An assertion in Bungo Stray Dogs is absolutely correct for Blood Blockade Battlefront: People with supernatural abilities are a little off. Libra is a much bigger and better funded operation than the Armed Detective Agency, but a fun mix of characters brings a lot of laughs intertwined with the gorgeous action sequences, not surprisingly, also produced by Bones.
Kekkai Sensen PV2
Any Anime Like Bungo Stray Dogs?
4. Zetsuen no Tempest (Blast of Tempest)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2012 – Mar. 2013
Okay, we swear this is the last Bones produced anime for this list, but they really know what their doing with this kind of story. Takigawa Yoshino is an average high school boy, but one day his world is turned black. His girlfriend Aika is murdered. His girlfriend’s brother Fuwa Mahiro disappears, only to literally pop back into his life, now wielding magical power granted to him by a sorceress. Yoshino is ready to leave his town behind, as Mahiro embarks on a path of vengeance over his sister’s death. Yet, Yoshino just can’t leave Mahiro be. He turns back to help his friend and also uncover the truth around Aika’s death.
There is a lot of beautiful action and beautiful boys, but it would be a shame to say that’s all that these two have in common. Bungo Stray Dogs and Zetsuen no Tempest are worlds that are inexplicably ruled by the supernatural. Nonetheless, there is also a strong logical framework in which the characters live. Nakajima Atsushi feels abandoned by the world and often feels undeserving of companionship due to his unfortunate past. Likewise, Yoshino is haunted by feelings of loss and futility. Will both of these tragic characters be able to resolve their pasts? O, if such a destiny comes to pass!
Zetsuen no Tempest PV
5. Kyousou Giga
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Oct. 2013 – Dec. 2013
Unlike most on this list, Kyousou Giga is not necessarily similar to Bungo Stray Dogs in plot, in which a young male protagonist joins a personality-diverse team of almost crazies with supernatural powers. The main character of Kyousou Giga is a teenage girl named Koto, who crash-lands into a world inside a picture while chasing a black rabbit. Koto is an orphan, similar to Atsushi-kun, and she eventually finds a family within the picture. Here, Kyousou Giga is an opposing reflection of Bungo Stray Dogs, because Koto is the eccentric one and ends up having her pseudo-caretaker getting mixed up in her own group of crazies.
You’ll find a particular stylistic similarity with Bungo Stray Dogs, namely the use of title cards used as captions in the first episode. In Bungo Stray Dogs, these name cards are similar to writing grids that Japanese students use for composition. In Kyousou Giga, the name cards are in the style of traditional calligraphy. Where Bungo Stray Dogs pays homage to modern Japanese literature, Kyousou Giga pays homage instead to Japanese folklore and stories in the Buddhist tradition.
The similarities don’t stop there! The series has a lot of heavy and entertaining fight scenes, mixed in with deep personal conflicts of heart, and topped off with giant helpings of humor. Now, which does that sentence describe, Bungo Stray Dogs or Kyousou Giga? That’s right! It describes both! Kyousou Giga is a good series to help you with your Bungo Stray Dogs withdrawal and give you all the giddy feels you’re dying for.
Kyousougiga PV 30sec.
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jan. 2010 – Jun. 2010
Durarara is a fan favorite here at Honey’s, just like Bungo Stray Dogs! Seriously though, they have more similarities than that little superficial fact. In the modern Japanese town of Ikebukuro, there are strange supernatural happenings getting all the kiddies excited. With rumors of growing gangs and a headless female biker, Ryuugamine Mikado finds himself moving to the big city in search for a more exciting life. This, of course, is different from Atsushi in Bungo Stray Dogs, who only wishes for a calm life and a comfortable amount of money to live on. Yet, both of these protagonists find themselves getting involved in the supernatural and having a much bigger role than they imagined in the happenings of their respective cities.
While we peek into the lives of a headless horseman turned biker or an unreasonably strong bouncer, who really needs anger management, we are met with some pretty eye-enticing action scenes; but, much like Bungo Stray Dogs, Durarara really shines in its comedic attitude. We can’t help but laugh with and root for all of the many interesting characters in this anime.
As an added bonus, if you’ve found yourself the newest fan of Dazai Osamu’s voice actor, Miyano Mamoru, we have some great news for you! Miyano is also the voice of Mikado’s best friend, Kida Misaomi. In a similar fashion to Dazai, Kida-kun introduces Mikado to all the interesting things and people in his new home.
But I really want more Bungo Stray Dogs.
There is truly nothing we can do with how fast time can past, but these anime will definitely help while you wait for the next episode to be broadcast. With series like Noragami, Blood Blockade Battlefront, and Zetsuen no Tempest, Bungo Stray Dogs is the result of Bones’ hard-earned experience in these kinds of stories. Checking out all of them, you can really watch the development of the Bones’ style up until now. If you want the same feeling but not the exact same situation, Kyousou Giga and Durarara!! are here for you! Of course, if you want to geek out and dig into the background of the famous names of the Bungo Stray Dogs, look no further than Aoi Bungaku. Enjoy!