Bungo Stray Dogs Vol. 11 Review 2Title: Bungo Stray Dogs Vol. 11
Author: Kafka Asagiri (Story), Sango Harukawa (Art)
Publisher: Yen Press
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Publication Date: March 19, 2019

The Story

Volume eleven of Bungo Stray Dogs opens up with a job for Kyouka in which Atsushi tags along. They need to find a briefcase on a boat; however, they are missing a page from the request and have no idea what boat it’s on. The person who gave them the request was Lucy, formerly of The Guild. She ends up showing up and giving Atsushi the missing paper. Because of this, we end up learning a bit about Kyouka’s backstory!

After this, the volume shifts gears to Alcott, wandering the streets of a slum. A bum asks her for 50 cents and reveals himself to be the former Guild leader Fitzgerald! After a reluctant and harsh conversation with Alcott, Fitzgerald reforms The Guild with the two of them and resumes their search for The Book.

Meanwhile, someone is going around and targeting the leader of the A.D.A. as well as the Port Mafia. They injected them with a skill poison that will end up causing the two factions to collide with one another, bringing the series back to its roots; however, with a twist. I won’t reveal who the masked assassin is, but let’s say that they are after the same thing as Fitzgerald: The Book.

A new arc has begun and I like how this arc is mixing the base story of Bungo Stray Dogs in with one of their biggest arcs. The intertwining of the two arcs is meshing pretty well together and it bringing that hype fact back into it. While I think it’s a little on the soon side to bring The Guild back, it’s obviously much different this time around. Fitzgerald doesn’t have his loyal followers and there’s even a scene in there involving a former Guild member which confirms just that.

Seems like we’re heading to another big battle between the A.D.A. and The Mafia but that’s just fine with me. With all of the time they’ve spent mutually helping one another, another clash was inevitable. This time, there’s a bigger reason as to why they will be clashing which makes me wonder if they’ll just end up helping each other again. I hope not because that would just make for a boring conclusion!

The Characters

Starting the volume off with Kyouka’s backstory was really nice. We got to see into what happened with the death of her parents and it ended up being a bit of foreshadowing for what the back half of the volume was setting up. Still, there were some misunderstandings on Kyouka’s part about Demon Snow which adds even more intrigue to it. The only issue I had with her backstory was that there seemed to be a few obvious Deus Ex Machina moments to explain how she got Demon Snow. No build-up to the reasoning, just something stated in an effort to have it make sense. It was a bit of an eye-roll moment.

We got to spend a lot of time with Fitzgerald in this volume and I loved it! Fitzgerald is a changed character…. Somewhat. Sure, he’s still greedy as all hell and wants and cares about nothing more than pure profit but he’s actually learning how to stretch his money! Before, he would just buy an entire store… now he actually looks through coupons for sales and deals! It’s like a yin/yang situation with him now. On one hand, he’s learned the value of money and how it should be respected. On the other hand, he just wants more and more of it to get his power and status back. A little mixture of old and new went a long way because it only enhanced his personality even more. What came off as just some rich snob is now a deep and entertaining character. Fitzgerald is becoming one of my favorite villains because of it!

We also got to spend some time with Alcott. She still thinks she’s pretty worthless but all of that is renewed when Fitzgerald reforms the Guild. It was like she was given a second chance at life and actually felt useful for once. The stark difference in her personality between times where she’s needed and times she is not is pretty night and day but that duality adds flavor to her character. Still, I feel like they are holding back with her just a little bit. There needs to be a shining moment for her… personality wise…. To fully round her out. Right now, it’s her plans that are speaking for her which makes her come off as an analytical genius. I’d love to see her go head to head to Ranpo in a battle of wits!

Outside of that, we have our masked assassin and some detractors from the original Guild which are plotting some things. When they are not so newish plot points, I’ll dive into them further but for now, to avoid spoilers, I’ll refrain from doing so. All I will say is that there are now a couple of X factors for all three factions roaming around doing as they please. This will add a lot of interest and intrigue to the story!

Final Thoughts

If there is one thing that Bungo Stray Dogs knows how to do, it’s to kick off a story arc the right way! Everything flowed together nicely and we got enough big intrigue and mystery to keep us reading. While the reveal of the assassin came a little too early, their desires and what they want to do with The Book made for a good cliffhanger.

The Book is certainly getting more attention. I feel like this is the end goal for this series. The Book is to Bungo Stray Dogs as The Philosopher’s Stone was to Fullmetal Alchemist, becoming Hokage for Naruto, or finding the One Piece for… well… One Piece. It seems like that ultimate end but instead of being a mystery, we know what The Book is and we know the goals of those who seek it. It’s more akin to the Holy Grail from the Fate series. We know what the Holy Grail is but all of the heroes and summoners each have their own goal when they obtain it. That’s what I’m viewing The Book as and it makes it more exciting because it creates this race between all of the characters to see who will get to it first.

Great start for the new arc! Bring on the A.D.A vs Port Mafia battle! Some classic fights are sure to come and I can’t wait to see them!

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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.