Title: Bungo Stray Dogs: Another Story Vol. 1
Author: Kafka Asagiri (Story), Sango Harukawa (Character Art), Oyoyo (Art)
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Publication Date: November 19, 2019
It’s time for our main characters to take a break as a new story in the Bungo Stray Dogs universe has begun. While the Armed Detective Agency is mentioned a couple of times, they are far removed from this story.
Another Story focuses on a detective named Ayatsuji. His skill is the ability to deduct and solve most cases… much like Ranpo. However, Ranpo does not possess a skill and merely just has amazing deduction. The twist with Ayatsuji’s skill is that once someone is found guilty, it causes them to die in an accident.
Ayatsuji is hired by the government when they have complex murder cases that need solving. One of them was tied to a man named Kyougoku. Ayatsuji corners him on a waterfall; however, Kyougoku throws himself off the falls, dying in the process. Later, he solves a case involving a school teacher murdering a student. It leads him to a mysterious well which is said to have the power to turn people evil if they confront it, giving them the ability to pull off the perfect crime and not get caught. This leads Ayatsuji down of proverbial well of twists and turns that end up revealing a bit of a shocking revelation. Just when they feel they have it figured out, Ayatsuhi, Asukai, and Tsujimura (two detectives that often watch Ayatsuji’s movements as well as aid him in cases) come under unfamiliar gunfire.
This is a rather interesting side story. I like the fact that they reference our main cast from time to time to show that this is set in the same world and/or that the world of Bungo Stray Dogs is bigger than the main series lets on. Of course, when we were in The Guild arc, it proved that skill users are all over the world. While this also takes place in Japan, it’s nice to see something other than the Mafia or the ADA being focused on.
Ayatsuji is a great main character, plain and simple. I don’t know if I want to call him cocky, arrogant, or just confident, but he seems to look down on others for not using their brains. It is pretty clear that he values intelligence and this is even proven further when Tsujimura was able to cite the author of a science book’s Japanese counterpart and Ayatsuji was moderately impressed by it. Still, Ayatsuji seems extremely laid back and calm in every situation as he prefers to use his head to examine his surroundings and formulate strategies that will get them out of situations. His ability of observation combined with his knowledge makes him a master detective but due to his skill, he’s also viewed as an A-Level threat by the very same government that employs him from time to time. Talk about irony!
Tsujimura is a fun character. She wants to be a super-serious detective but she often acts like a little child playing the role of detective. She wraps wrapped up in the fantasy of her work but still takes it seriously. It’s a nice little quirk that makes her more than just a pretty sidekick in all of this. She can be serious or she can say something dumb and make you laugh. A well-balanced character that I’m enjoying.
Asukai came in rather late and is used sparsely. He seems like your run-of-the-mill detective that doesn’t really have much personality to him. He’s rather straight-forward in his dialect but he’s not a strict man by any means. He just seems like a consummate professional through and through although he does come across as a little bland.
Then we have Kyougoku, our main antagonist. While his fate is revealed, he does seem like a crazed and maniacal super villain but he also seems cool and collected. I like to refer to this as controlled chaos. His intentions are evil; however, he seems to be in full control and aware of his deeds. All the makings of a calculated mastermind with a bit of eccentricity mixed in. I’m enjoying him as a villain as he seems to be pretty well-balanced!
Bungo Stray Dogs is an amazing story in its own right. More often than not, spinoffs like this are often seen as generic material in an attempt to be a quick cash grab. I can say that Another Story is not one of those spinoffs. There is great intrigue happening here with a story that really pulls you in. While the cast of characters is rather small, it doesn’t need to be anything more than that. It allows you to take in these new characters, get attached to them, learn their personalities, and watch the story unfold. Even though it’s just a spinoff, they don’t explain skills in super detail as it assumes that readers have read the main series. Instead, it introduces the characters and jumps right into the story, wasting no time.
While the volume is rather short at just over 130 pages, it still entertained while providing a nice and quick read. I believe that the quality of the spinoff is on par with that of the main series. While the main series is considered seinin, there seem to be some shounen tendencies about it. Another Story abandons all of that and goes for a pure seinin feel, making it feel even more mature. I like this approach because it offers something different yet familiar at the same time.
I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy this as should you if you’re a Bungo Stray Dogs fan!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press