Bungou Stray Dogs – Watching Before Reading

This post should’ve been published weeks ago (along with Kiznaiver’s) but I was so busy and tired, the new season demanded my attention, Pokemon Go came out, then the Olympics were on and the weather drove me so crazy that I kept pushing it off.


Well, anyways…

Ok, so we’ve all been through that ever present debate on which story format is ‘superior’. Original (usually the manga or novel) or the adaptation (usually the anime). And sometimes it’s the other way around (anime first, then manga/novel adaptation) but that’s not what I really wanted to talk about.

I made Bungou Stray Dogs the series for me to ‘experiment’ on. To see if first impressions really do matter in how I take interest in a new series.

Because on rare occasions, I end up liking the adaptation more than I like the original work.

That is, if I have enough will power to stop myself from searching for spoilers or reading/watching ahead cuz doing that can totally ruin the rest of the adaptation, too.

Frankly, there’s too many possible outcomes for me to list so I’ll just focus on how I approached BSD:

  • I watched the anime first.
  • I read the manga at the same time but only up to the part where the anime stopped. So if the first episode of the second cour stops at chapter whatever, that’s where I’ll read up to. Then I do the same for all the following episodes.

Straightforward, right?

Now for my impressions…

Since I had no idea what the source material was like when I went into this, I was expecting the story to take on a darker tone as it progressed, with a few bits of comic relief sprinkled here and there (courtesy of Dazai). Given what I do know about the authors the characters were based on and what I’ve seen in the action-packed trailer, it was only natural for me to expect that.

Then the first episode threw all that out the window.

Seriously, all those butt shots


Hmm…I wouldn’t say I was shocked. The more I settled in into the first episode, the more I figured that all the humor, which I initially thought was quite lame, was just BONES’ way of differentiating their adaptation from the original.

So I was mostly annoyed because of my own disappointment. After the first three weeks, I’ve already gotten used to how much sillier the anime was in comparison to the manga.

In fact, I think I’ve gotten so used to it that I can no longer picture BSD without its crazy antics.

Which is why the manga felt bit dry when I read it.

The anime didn’t ruin the manga for me by any means and several of the more important scenes did seem to have more an impact in the manga than they did in the anime.

But I guess since I was pretty okay, pretty satisfied, with the adaptation that I had little room to fit in any new appreciation for the manga?

In other words, I couldn’t become quite as attached to the series through the manga as I did through the anime.

I think that’s the best way I can sum it up.

Plus, the anime had that little something the manga didn’t which was more expression.

I mean, it’s not like I couldn’t imagine the manga scenes to be more epic or emotional when the animation was only ‘very good’ at best but…

Like I said before, the anime already fulfilled the conditions for my approval. So it’s very rare that I would replace one version for another, especially when the former has been animated and voice-acted out while the latter is more static in terms of story-telling.

It’s hard to describe what I’m trying to say but I guess it’s all about how you view the packages you receive. They both contain the same basic content, each having different extras that set it apart from the other, so it’s just a matter of preference.

And my preference happened to be influenced by the order in how I went through BSD’s plot, that’s all.

One thing I wanted to comment on, though, is how Atsushi’s inner monologues were handled.

I think those were done better in the manga because in the anime, as he was speaking his thoughts in his head, it didn’t seem dramatic enough. Rather, it sounded very narmy?

Atsushi is very desperate to find a reason to live so I understand why his thought process would go in that direction but hearing him trying to convince himself out loud was just very weird.

I dunno. Maybe it’s the wording or maybe it’s just me.

But I’m positive that the manga is superior to anime regarding this specific area.

With that out of the way, one question remains. If I had read the manga first before watching, would I have preferred it over than the anime?

Hmm…I think so. As you can tell by this particular case, first impressions do matter (for me, anyways) so had I actually gone and read ahead, there’s a good chance I would’ve thought poorly of the adaptation.

There’s no way I can view this in a completely objective perspective since this is just the way how I think but at least, both versions are quite good in their own respects. The anime has the music, the actors, the flashy action and follows the original plot very closely while the manga is more conscious about the story it wants to tell…and also, well, it’s the manga. I’m sorry, this is the best I can give when I’m biased.

Most importantly, I think BSD has one of the better comparisons I’ve come across because I seldom encounter a series where I like both the manga/novel and anime almost equally. So that’s saying something.

Ehhh, this post should’ve been written better but so much time has passed since the first cour ended that I lost a good chunk of what I really wanted to say and analyze so I can only manage a very meh post at best.

Ah, well. There will be other opportunities to go deeper into BSD. Maybe I’ll even write another impressions after the second cour is done so let’s hope it’ll be better than the first.



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