Bungo Stray Dogs translates to "Literary Stray Dogs" and though the plot doesn’t revolve entirely around literature, almost every character, major and minor, are named after famous deceased authors and poets, with abilities relating to their literary styles and works.
It’s an amazing and creative way to honor and bring attention to these writers as well as put a new twist on their lives and work. There are many more that can be explored, but here are 10 major Bungo Stray Dogs characters whose names and abilities are tied to novelists.
Updated by Brianna Albert on September 9th, 2020: Bungo Stray Dogs is one of the most popular anime in Japan, with two seasons and a movie to its name. Part of the popularity within Japan is how each character, big or minor, is named after either a famous poet or novelist during different periods of time.
This, of course, goes for the main character Atsushi Nakajima and Osamu Dazai, but it also extends to supporting characters and even antagonists. From their names down to their extraordinary abilities, there are a plethora of characters who are inspired by real-life counterpartsーand a broader explanation of who they were as people.
15 Ango Sakaguchi
Ango Sakaguchi is a character that is collectively hated by the Bungo Stray Dogs fandom, and with good reason. However, like all the other characters in the universe, he is based on the real-life novelist Ango Sakaguchi, whose real name was Heigo Sakaguchi, who wrote the book Discourse On Decadence.
This is the same name as his fictional counterparts' ability, which enables him to read the memories let of items such as money, the floor, or even weapons.
14 Sakunosuke Oda
Sakunosuke Oda had a big impact on Dazai. He is based on the real-life author Sakunosuke Oda who wrote contemporary novels.
Flawless is a book written by him, as well as his fictional counterparts' ability that allowed him to see a few seconds into the future. The book was a short story that tells the tale of a woman who married an employee through a matchmaking service and cannot stop complaining about him.
13 Kenji Miyazawa
Kenji Miyazawa is a member of the Armed Detective Agency and has the ability "Be not Defeated by the Rain." He is based on the author Kenji Miyazawa who was a novelist and poet. His most famous poem is named Ame ni mo makezu, which is also his ability in the series.
While it is his most famous poem, the author dismissed its value. The poem lives on as one of the most well-known poems in Japanese history.
12 Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was one of the first antagonists of the Bungo Stray Dogs series. Powerhungry and wealthy, he has the ability "The Great Fitzgerald," based on the book The Great Gatsby.
He is also based on the actual author. F. Scott Fitzgerald was an American novelist who wrote flamboyant characters and short stories. The characters are alike, down to the fact that the real-life version and fictional counterpart were married to a woman named Zelda.
11 Akiko Yosano
Akiko Yosano was a real-life feminist during a tumultuous era in Japan, and her fictional counterpart is a perfect fit for her character. Akiko has the ability "Thou Shalt Not Die," an ability that works only when someone is "half-dead" so she can heal them.
Akiko is also a feminist who hates male chauvinism, which is very alike to her real-life counterpart who was noted as one of the most controversial post-classical poets of Japan.
10 Yumeno Kyuusaku
Yumeno Kyuusaku, known as “Q,” is a member of the criminal organization, the Port Mafia. Q has an unspecified gender and although they are a child, Q has a sadistic personality. Q has the ability “Dogra Magra,” which is a mind control curse. Q curses his targets by bumping into them, causing them to inflict pain upon Q, which allows the curse to manifest.
The curse causes hallucinations, causing targets to attack everyone in sight indiscriminately. In reality, Sugiyama Taidou, better known by his pen name Yumeno Kyuusaku, was an early Showa period Japanese author. His most significant novel, Dogra Magra, is a famous example of Japanese avant-garde gothic literature and revolves around psychosis.
9 Ogai Mori
Ogai Mori is the leader of the Port Mafia. He is an excellent strategist but also has a cruel and merciless personality. His cruelty doesn’t come without reason though, he is always weighing the pros and cons of his choices so that the Port Mafia may flourish. His ability, “Vita Sexualis,” allows him to summon Elise, a young girl. Mori can manipulate Elise’s personality as well as her abilities.
In reality, Lieutenant-General Mori Rintarō, known by his pen name Mori Ōgai, was one of the leading writers during the Meiji period. Vita Sexualis was an erotic novel he wrote that was banned shortly after its release due to its explicit content. The female lead in his famous short story, The Dancing Girl, is named Elise.
8 Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is the leader of another criminal organization, the Rats in the House of the Dead. Fyodor is intelligent, manipulative, and all-around evil. His ability, “Crime and Punishment,” is complex. It’s hinted that it enables Fyodor to kill someone with one touch, however, the full extent of the ability's power and how it works have not been revealed.
In reality, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was a Russian novelist and philosopher. Mainly, his works explore human psychology in 19th-century Russia, involving a variety of philosophical and religious themes. One of his most acclaimed works, Crime and Punishment, focuses on the moral and mental stability of a poor ex-student in Saint Petersburg who hatches a plan to kill a corrupt pawnbroker and steal her money.
7 Edogawa Ranpo
Ranpo is a member of the Armed Detective Agency and is known to be one of the best detectives in the world. Although Ranpo claims to have an ability he calls “Super Deduction,” he is actually just extraordinarily intelligent and doesn’t possess an ability. Ranpo denies this though and continues to believe that he is an ability user.
In reality, Tarō Hirai, better known by his pseudonym Edogawa Ranpo, was a Japanese writer who was an integral part of the development of Japanese mystery fiction. Many of his novels involve a detective hero and he drew inspiration from Western mystery writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
6 Kyouka Izumi
Kyouka is the newest member of the Armed Detective Agency and previously worked for the Port Mafia. She always wears a kimono and though she is learning to be more in control, she still lacks empathy and will kill if she deems it necessary. She has the ability “Demon Snow,” which allows her to materialize a sword-wielding phantom known as Demon Snow.
In reality, Izumi Kyōka, whose real name was Kyoutarou Izumi, was a Japanese writer during the prewar period. His works include novels, short stories, and kabuki plays. He was superstitious, something that came through in his work as he was best known for supernatural tales.
5 Chuuya Nakahara
Chuuya is one of the five Executives of the Port Mafia and Dazai's former partner. He is an incredibly skilled martial artist and loves fighting. His basic ability, “For The Tainted Sorrow,” allows Chūya to manipulate the gravity of anything he touches. However, his true ability is “Corruption,” which permits him to further manipulate gravity, although he cannot control it.
In reality, Chūya Nakahara was a Japanese poet during the early Showa period. There is a chant required to activate “Corruption” and it comes from a stanza in "Sheep Song," a poem by the real Chūya Nakahara.
4 Ryuunosuke Akutagawa
Akutagawa is a member of the Port Mafia and has the ability "Rashoumon." He is one of the most powerful and dangerous members of the Port Mafia. Akutagawa has a “Social Darwinist” view of the world, meaning he strongly feels that weak people should die and give way to the stronger ones, which feeds into his ruthless behavior.
In reality, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa was a Japanese writer during the Taishō period in Japan. He is known as “the Father of the Japanese short story.” One of his most famous short stories, Rashoumon, tells the tale of a meeting between a servant and an old woman in Rashōmon, a place where corpses were dumped.
3 Doppo Kunikida
Kunikida is a member of the Armed Detective Agency. He takes his job seriously, holding the reputation of the agency above all else. He values all human life, even that of criminals, and will do his best to avoid killing anyone. His ability, “Doppo Poet,” allows Kunikida to manifest objects written on the pages in his notebook. This ability has limitations and doesn’t work if an object is larger than the notebook.
In reality, Doppo Kunikida was a Japanese novelist and poet during the Meiji period. He is considered to be one of the inventors of Japanese naturalism, though he also dabbled in the romance genre.
2 Osamu Dazai
Dazai is a member of the Armed Detective Agency but was formerly an Executive of the Port Mafia. He’s quick-witted and highly intelligent despite his lackadaisical demeanor. In the Port Mafia, Dazai was sadistic and cold, but joining the ADA brought out his happier side. That said, he still often tries and fails to commit suicide in ridiculous ways, often asking beautiful women to die with him.
Dazai's ability, “No Longer Human,” allows him to nullify the abilities of others by touching them. In reality, Osamu Dazai was one of the foremost fiction writers of 20th-century Japan. His novel, No Longer Human, is a modern-day classic in Japan and considered to be his masterpiece. He and his mistress, Tomie Yamazaki, committed suicide together.
1 Atsushi Nakajima
Though there are many important characters, Atsushi serves as the main protagonist of the anime and is a member of the Armed Detective Agency. Though Atsushi still struggles with low self-esteem due to his years of childhood abuse, joining the ADA gave him a major confidence boost. He wants to save everyone and hates death and killing.
Atsushi's ability, “Beast Beneath the Moonlight,” allows him to transform into a white tiger, which he learns to control and apply to different parts of his body. In reality, Atsushi Nakajima was a Japanese author most famous for his short story, Tiger Poet, where a man takes the form of a tiger, changing from animal to human states while maintaining his humanity and ability to speak.