Bungo Stray Dogs Vol. 2 Review

Title: Bungo Stray Dogs Vol. 2
Author: Kafka Asagiri (Story), Sango Harukawa (Art)
Publisher: Yen Press
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Publication Date: March 21, 2017

The Story

The second volume of Bungo Stray Dogs is divided into two major arcs and one little miniature arc. First, in the miniature arc, the Armed Detective Agency becomes the target of a square in the mafia known as the Black Lizard. Atsushi believes they would be targeted because of him so he runs away from the agency. His running away lasts for about the length of a cup of coffee because the Black Lizard squad attacked headquarters anyway. Atsushi runs back to help, but by the time he gets there, Black Lizard was already disposed of. Normally, I would complain about wasting characters, but this was just a filler comedy bit and I had a pretty good laugh at it.

Once we move past that, we enter our first real story arc of the volume. Ranpo is sent out to a crime scene to use his skill to deduce a murder. Atsushi tags along and even Daizai shows up once he is discovered floating in the river after another failed suicide attempt. The officer in charge is highly doubtful of Ranpo’s detective skills, but when Ranpo solves the case almost instantly, he changes his mind. I won’t spoil the outcome of the case, but I will offer a slight spoiler in the fact that it was a nice nod to Edogawa Ranpo when it was revealed that Ranpo himself has no skill or powers. He’s just very observant and extremely good at figuring things out.

The final major arc involves introducing us to Yosano, the Armed Detective Agency’s physician. Atsushi is, once again, elected to tag along, but not on a mission, per se. Yosano wants to go shopping and he’s being treated as her personal pack mule.

Poor Atsushi.

They board a train and are about to head back when the train is hijacked by the mafia. There are bombs on board and if Atsushi doesn’t show himself, the cars will explode. Yosano goes after the bomber, who is a criminal known as Motojirou Kaji. He is one of the few members of the mafia who are known to everyone. While the two of them battle it out, Atsushi runs into Kyouka, a girl who has the bomb strapped to her. She cannot activate her powers on her own so someone is doing it remotely using a cell phone. While under this person’s control, she attempts to suicide bomb the car Atsushi is in, but Atsushi ends up saving her. Once everything is safe and sound, we learn the identity of the person on the phone who has Daizai held captive and that is where volume two of Bungo Stray Dogs comes to an end.

I loved the first volume and felt the second volume was equally as thrilling. I enjoyed the little comedy bit, even if it did paint Black Lizard in a rather weak light. The detective story arc was a nice nod to macabre author Edogawa Ranpo while the final arc reintroduces us to the main overarching story and shows that one particular person isn’t going away anytime soon!

Characters

Atsushi gets little to no development from the first volume. He is still the same kind of character as he was before. The volume takes the time to build up some of the secondary characters and introduce us to a new character in Kyouka, who may be sticking around for a bit longer.

Yosano is a character I like. She’s a trope you have seen before, but the difference here is that she’s on the hero’s side rather than the villain’s. If you’ve seen one medical character who loves to experiment and dismember their “patients,” then you’ve see Yosano already, but the twist here is she only come to enjoy doing that to people because her power requires it. She can heal any external injury to full, but the prerequisite for doing so is that her patient needs to be close to death before her power activates. God help you if you go to see her for a sprained ankle as she would have to almost kill you before she can treat the sprain!

Motojiro was kind of a nutcase for the short time we got to know him. He was a more demented version of Deidara from Naruto. He loved explosives, but he took a more scientific approach to them. He wanted to know what it was like to experience death and as a scholar, he wants to use explosives to study death and therefore became a maniacal bomber. The career path makes total sense, if you ask me!

Kyouka is someone you actually felt sorry for. She doesn’t want to kill anyone anymore, but when she’s being manipulated, she loses all of her emotions and becomes, essentially, a drone. You can tell she has a personality and when it shines through, you want to see her get saved. Now that Atsushi has saved her and freed her from the Mafia’s control, one must wonder if she will end up joining the Armed Detective Agency? We know she’s an orphan just like Atsushi so hey, we have a ship in progress! Atsushi x Kyouka anyone?

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this volume of Bungo Stray Dogs. It had a nice balance between beefing up its secondary characters, introducing a new character and moving the plot forward. Volume three may be a bit of a cooldown as we need to let things simmer, but then again, after how volume two ended, I believe we will be entering an arc where the ADA will have to rescue Daizai. Then again, Daizai may be on his own since each time he goes missing, the rest of the crew just write him off as trying to attempt suicide again. Either way it should be a great volume!

This series had two great volumes in a row. If you haven’t read Bungo Stray Dogs by now, then now would be a good time to pick it up and start reading. It has been worth it so far!

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This item was provided for review by Yen Press

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.