Bungo Stray Dogs is back on our screens as Season 4 of the popular anime adaptation begins airing, so what better time than now for Yen Press to release Volume 2 of the spin-off manga Bungo Stray Dogs: Another Story!
When Volume 1 debuted in English at the end of 2019, we met protagonist Yukito Ayatsuji – a fearsome detective with skills as formidable as Sherlock Holmes. Due to Yukito being considered a high-risk skill user, his activities are under observation by the military police and he’s accompanied on his cases by Mizuki Tsujimura.
Of course, you don’t become as famous a detective as Yukito without making a few enemies along the way, one of whom being Natsuhiko Kyougoku. In Volume 1 we saw Yukito and Mizuki face off against the criminal, in a confrontation that led to Natsuhiko taking what seemed like a deadly fall.
However, it quickly becomes apparent here in Volume 2 that Natsuhiko is not dead and a new spree of murders shows he’s baiting Yukito into solving a dangerous new challenge, one he hopes will bring an end to the detective’s life for good. To save hundreds of innocent lives, Yukito and Mizuko face a race against time to get to the bottom of things, but that’s only made more difficult when it becomes apparent the culprit of their current case may be connected to the death of Mizuko’s mother…
A lot is happening in this volume, despite only comprising three chapters. We’re starting to get a better sense of the relationship between Yukito and Natsuhiko, as well as how it ties back into a gruesome case involving Mizuko. This would be perfectly fine on its own but while there is an active investigation to solve as well as exploring Yukito’s Skill (something that seems to protect her and also has a mind of its own?), I have to say it proves overwhelming at points.
I imagine this flowed better in the original novel than it does here, largely because in manga form it feels crammed together with no room to breathe. Every page is accompanied by so much dialogue that it overwhelms everything else and fails to take advantage of what being a manga could have brought to the story.
Looking back at my review for Volume 1, I find my biggest criticism was with the artwork, which was difficult to follow. There are some small improvements in these chapters, but by and large, the artwork still doesn’t flow well. It’s easier to make out what’s happening this time around, but still just as difficult to work out how one panel connects to the next. It’s unfortunate it hasn’t improved more than this, given the story does seem interesting when the whole thing is coherent for a few pages.
Bungo Stray Dogs: Another Story Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press where it has been translated by Kevin Gifford with lettering by Bianca Pistillo. The translation reads well with no problems of note. This release brings us up to date with the Japanese releases, so we’ll be in for another long wait to continue the story if you are interested in carrying on.
Overall, Bungo Stray Dogs: Another Story shows some small improvements compared to its initial outing but is still a difficult recommendation on the whole. Sadly, with Yen Press having still not released the original novel in English, this is the only way to experience this story and diehard fans of the franchise may still value this manga for that reason. For anyone else, it’s better avoided.