Episode 1 Rundown
Atsushi Nakajima has been chased out of an orphanage, and is wandering the streets of Yokohama. “Am I to die here like a dog?” he wonders. “No. I have to find a way to go on living.” He is just about determined to steal in order to get some food, when he sees a strange man being dragged by the river. The odd suicidal maniac goes by the name Osamu Dazai, and belongs to the Armed Detective Agency, a group rumored to have secret powers. Atsushi is shaken when he learns that Dazai and his colleague Doppo Kunikida are hunting a man-eating tiger. That tiger just so happens the source of all of Atsushi’s problems. The two mysterious agents ask Atsushi to help them in their hunt…
This series is based on some real-life Japanese literary masters. It is a very unique concept, and so it has been greatly anticipated. The characters in question have written some works that to this day remain important masterpieces in Japanese literature, and so this series may be hard to get into for foreigners. Then again, some of the more famous names, like Osamu Dazai and Akiko Yosano are somewhat known outside of Japan, so foreigners may yet be able to enjoy this anime by coming into it through those connections.
The original manga itself is beautiful, but the coloring for the characters and landscapes is also amazing. The colors are not too bright, and all the artwork has an old, classic feel to it. The scenery and a lot of the items that appear throughout are also reminiscent of old Japan, and paying attention to those little details can improve your appreciation of this series! Another stellar aspect of this series is the way manuscript paper sometimes appears and shows textual information. It’s a different method of expression unique to this series. The manuscripts tell us about the characters’ feelings, or the names of their special abilities.
Each of the characters has a strong personality, and the actors who portray them do a great job so that there is no sense of incongruity between the characters’ personalities and their voices. The light comedy in the script is great, almost to the point of information overload. The dialogue between Osamu Dazai and Doppo Kunikida (played by Mamoru Miyano and Yoshimasa Hosoya, respectively) promises to be one of the highlights of this series going forward.
There are both comedy scenes and serious scenes, and the balance draws in the viewer’s attention. Alas, in this first episode, we only got to see some of Osamu Dazai’s and Atsushi Nakajima’s special abilities, but toward the end we got to see some of the other main characters who will play prominent roles. What abilities do they possess?
Another interesting point about this series is that the various characters’ special abilities are named after major literary works written by their namesakes in real life. I’m looking forward to seeing some battles between superpower-wielding characters!
The opening shows some battle scenes, and the fast-paced imagery matches well with the opening theme song by GRANRODEO. I have high expectations for upcoming battles!
The writing in this series uses turns of phrase and special expressions particular to the classic Japanese literature that it references. I hope many foreigners take this series as an opportunity to get acquainted with contemporary Japanese literature!
© 2016 朝霧カフカ・春河35/ＫＡＤＯＫＡＷＡ/文豪ストレイドッグス製作委員会