Title: Bungo Stray Dogs Vol. 6
Author: Kafka Asagiri (Story), Sango Harukawa (Art)
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Volume six of Bungo Stray Dogs start off with a battle between Akutagawa from the Mafia and Nathaniel Hawthorne from the guild. Both of them are pretty powerful skill users and even Akutagawa states that whoever has advanced their skill the furthest would win the battle. Looks like that Akutagawa was the one who did so because he ended up defeating Hawthorne.
With the battle out of the way, the story shifts focus to another member of the Mafia, Chuuya Nakahara. Chuuya pays a visit to the A.D.A’s secret headquarters, but not to fight. He delivers to them a tip about where two members of the guild will be. Knowing full well that it’s a trap, they have no choice but to head there as two of the A.D.A.’s secretaries, Haruno and Naomi, were the ones being targeted. The Mafia set up the encounter between the two by deliberately handing out information to both the guild and the A.D.A. Kunikida and Tanizaki are the two closest members so they are sent to intercept the guild.
Naomi and Haruno try to escape, but they are caught by the two guild members known as Lovecraft and Steinbeck. Kunikida and Tanizaki arrive and a battle between the two of them ensues while Naomi and Haruno make their escape. The two of them board a train where they run into an odd child with dual-colored hair and a rather unorthodox-looking doll. Seems that Naomi and Haruno are not out of the woods just yet (get it? Because Steinbeck uses plants and… oh nevermind).
Meanwhile, Dazai and Atushi are waiting for the train to arrive so they can escort Naomi and Haruno, but Dazai’s stomach is at odds with him so he excuses himself. Of course, Dazai knew he was being watched and called out his assailants who have a message for him from the Mafia boss. They want to know whether or not Dazai wants to rejoin their commanding ranks!
I don’t really see this as much of a cliffhanger ending. I just don’t see Dazai agreeing to return to the Mafia. He’s pretty rooted in the Armed Detective Agency at this point and, on top of that, his attitude doesn’t strike me as the kind of person that would just up and leave to rejoin the Mafia like that. Then again, maybe Dazai has something up his sleeve? Who knows?
Not really much in the way of character development here. We did get introduced to three of the guild members in Hawthorne, Lovecraft, and Steinbeck, though.
Hawthorne was your typical holier than thou who believes the light is justice and will smite anyone he deems evil. If you’ve seen the archetype before, you know what to expect with him. The only difference here is that his power, The Scarlet Letter, transforms his blood into runic words which forms his abilities. I guess with a religious tone, using one’s own life as an offering for power fits right in. His character was pretty short-lived for us to get any kind of attachment to, though. Thanks for that, Akutagawa!
Lovecraft is an odd fellow, I’d say. Growing tentacles out of his arm fits the C’thulu motif so I can’t say that he doesn’t live up to his namesake. Interesting to note that bullets don’t really affect him which makes you wonder if he’s some sort of immortal?
Steinbeck, on the other hand, seems to be an “I’m just doing this for my family” type of character. He doesn’t care whether the guild’s actions are right or wrong. He just cares about getting the job done because he does everything for his family, namely his little sister back home. I guess he believes that his reasons justify all of his actions as being in the right. He even goes as far to say that he doesn’t consider himself as a villain. He kind of seems a lot like Hawthorne minus the religious overtones.
The story crept a bit on this one, but that’s because volume six of Bungo Stray Dogs was a pretty action-packed volume. We were treated to two full battles with a bit of a nice twist at the end. Again, I don’t see Dazai just up and leaving the A.D.A. for the Mafia, but who knows what is going through Dazai’s mind. He said he had about 300 plans just in case one failed. Was this what he was referring to?
Either way, another great volume from this series! The battles were entertaining and showed some flashes of intelligence which is something that always makes for a good fight. There are still some remnant questions left over from this volume such as who that child was that Haruno and Naomi encountered on the train? If someone was watching Dazai, was there someone else watching Atsushi as well? Where is my beloved Kyouka!? I miss her!
Hopefully, we’ll get these answers (and maybe a Kyouka appearance) in the next volume!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press