While it is not uncommon to see a depiction of a real-life personality in an anime series, Kafka Asagiri takes it a level extra with his Bungo Stray Dogs. When the manga enjoyed an ‘underrated gem’ status following its publication, the release of the anime gradually made it popular to make it mainstream. Especially with the release of season 4, and now season 5, of Bungo Stray Dogs, the series is one of the biggest releases of the year.
However, coming back to the point of depiction, Bungo Stray Dogs is famous for basing, if not inspired, its characters on famous real-life authors or personalities. If characters like Fyodor Dostoevsky or Louisa May Alcott ring a bell, then it is time to look into some of the Bungo Stray Dogs characters that share the same name (and maybe even some personality traits?) with real-life authors.
Margaret Mitchell, Natsume Soseki, and 28 iconic characters from Bungo Stray Dogs that everyone needs to know about
1. Ryuunosuke Akutagawa
The Bungo Stray Dogs character Ryuunosuke Akutagawa belongs to Port Mafia and is based on the famed Japanese writer of the same name from the Taisho period. His ability, Rashoumon, has been inspired from real-life Akutagawa’s short story Rashoumon. The anime character’s ability lets his coat turn into a beast, which is a reference from the short where the homeless servant steals a piece of clothing from a woman. In fact, Gin, Ryunosuke’s sister, has been written keeping in mind the real-life author’s work titled Ogin.
2. Atsushi Nakajima
The anime character from Armed Detective Agency shares his name with real-life author Atsushi Nakajima, a modern Japanese writer. The latter’s most famous work, The Moon Over the Mountain, or Tiger-Poet, has inspired the ability name of Bungo Stray Dogs’ character – Beast Beneath the Moonlight.
3. Lucy Maud Montgomery
Based on Canadian novelist Lucy Maud Montgomery, the former Guild member’s ability, Anne of Abyssal Red, is based on the real-life author’s magnum opus, Anne of Green Gables. Similar to the orphan girl in the story who gets sent to a wrong home, Bungo Stray Dogs’ Lucy was also part of Fitzgerald’s The Guild until she later chose to leave it to live her life in Yokohama by her terms.
4. Kyoka Izumi
Although the BSD Kyoka is a 14-year-old girl, the real-life author, Kyoka Izumi, she has been based on was a man. The Japanese author was known for creating a sense of gothic atmosphere and using supernatural elements in his story, and his Demon Pond likewise served as an inspiration behind Bungo Stray Dogs’ Kyoka’s ability, Demon Snow. The latter was earlier part of Port Mafia but left the organization to become a member of Armed Detective Agency.
5. Osamu Dazai
Earlier an executive at Port Mafia, Dazai defected from it to start a new life as a detective at ADA. He is based on modern Japanese writer Osamu Dazai, one of the leading pioneers of the I-novel genre. His magnum opus, No Longer Human, served as an inspiration behind BSD’s Dazai. Interestingly, just like his real-life counterpart, the anime character likes to entertain the idea of taking his own life and has attempted to do the same. Moreover, the two share another similarity – that is being a womanizer.
6. Chuuya Nakahara
Port Mafia executive Chuuya Nakahara shares the same name as Japanese poet Chuuya Nakahara, whose poem Upon the Tainted Sorrow suggests the hopelessness of life and its fleeting nature. The BSD Chuuya’s ability name is also the same, but since he is the host of Arahabaki, it lets him use another power called Corruption. Given its destructive nature, it is subdued and needs to activated using a chanting phrase, which is from a stanza of the real-life author’s poem, Sheep Song:
“O grantors of dark disgrace, do not wake me again”
7. Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Russian mafioso Fyodor Dostoevsky is part of the terrorist group Decay of the Angels while being the leader of Rats in the House of Dead. Although the true nature of his ability, Crime and Punishment, remains unknown, the name comes from the Russian novelist’s famed work, Crime and Punishment. As such, his organization’s name is an allusion to the real-life author’s work, The House of Dead.
8. Nikolai Gogol
Named after the Ukranian novelist and playwright Nikolai Gogol, the BSD character has an interesting ability called The Overcoat. This name of this ability is derived from Gogol’s short story, The Overcoat. As for his eccentric nature, it is attributed to his real-life counterpart’s reputation as a literary figure. Moreover, it is speculated that the writer’s use of grotesque description of gore likewise inspired BSD Nikolai’s creative ways of murder. He is a member of Decay of the Angels.
9. Akiko Yosano
Japanese poet and feminist Akiko Yosano has inspired the Bungo Stray Dogs who shares the same name as hers. Her anti-war poem Thou Shalt Not Die, addressed to her brother, asks him to not die for the sake of his country during World War II. Although the BSD Akiko was part of a fictional Great War, her ability, Thou Shalt Not Die, enables her to cure any kind of external injuries as long as they are fatal. Hence, if the injury is minor, she needs to make the person achieve a “half-dead” state by hurting them. She is currently the doctor of the Armed Detective Agency under Yukichi Fukuzawa.
10. Kouyou Ozaki
Similar to Kyoka, this Bungo Stray Dogs character is female while their real-life counterparts were male. As an executive of Port Mafia, Koyou exercises the ability Golden Demon, the name of which is derived from the real-life author’s The Golden Demon. Interestingly, Kyoka Izumi was Kouyou Ozaki’s pupil in real-life as well.
11. Edogawa Ranpo
The earliest member of the Armed Detective Agency is a non-ability user, but still he likes to maintain that he has an ability called Super Deduction. His real-life counterpart, Edogawa Ranpo, a Japanese mystery fiction writer, was a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, whose Japanized name he used in his pen name using a pun. Since Ranpo doesn’t have a real ability, his self-proclaimed ability is based on the common trope that is found in detective fiction.
12. Edgar Allan Poe
The former member of the Guild, Edgar Allan Poe is based on the American author of the same name. His ability, Black Cat in Rue Morgue, comes from the real-life author’s works, namely The Black Cat and The Murders in the Rue Morgue. As for his raccoon Karl, the original Poe had a cat that he liked to keep on his shoulder, but after his depiction in the 2012 film The Raven, the image of Poe with a raccoon became popular. As such, this fact was translated into the BSD-verse as well.
13. Ichiyo Higuchi
Japanese short story writer Ichiyo Higuchi inspired the characterization of this Bungo Stray Dogs character. Working for Port Mafia under Akutagawa, Higuchi has not been seen with an ability in BSD. However, just like the real-life author, the anime character too lives with her sister.
14. Doppo Kunikida
Currently a detective working for ADA under the leadership of Yukichi Fukuzawa, Kunikida used to be a maths teacher like his real-life counterpart. Sharing his name with author Doppo Kunikida, he has an ability called The Matchless Poet. Although it is not based on any original work, the ability’s power reflects the author’s use of naturalism in his works. As a result, the BSD character can summon realistic objects by writing them on a special notebook’s page.
15. Louisa May Alcott
While she’s a former member of the Guild, Louisa continues to work for Fitzgerald even today. The character is based on the real-life American novelist, Louisa May Alcott, whose most popular work, The Little Women, inspires her ability. The power is unlike anything in the novel as it requires the BSD character to make time pass at a speed of 1/8000 so that she can come up with strategies. However, to activate it, she needs to be alone in a room.
16. Junichiro Tanizaki
Armed Detective Agency member Junichiro Tanizaki has a real-life counterpart of the same name. His ability, Light Snow, is also based on the Japanese writer’s work, The Makioka Sisters. Interestingly, his sister, Naomi, doesn’t have a real-life counterpart but is based on the titular character of Tanizaki’s novel, titled Naomi. One similarity he has with the real-life author is his fear of earthquakes.
17. H.P. Lovecraft
Former Guild member Howard Phillips Lovecraft doesn’t have an ability, as noted by Osamu Dazai and Chuuya Nakahara during their fight. However, the power Great Old One allows him to transform either a part of his whole body to that of a hideous monster, with the destruction of his inside being his only weakness. HE is based on American author H.P. Lovecraft, who became famous for stories on Cthulu’s origins, which is alluded in the BSD character’s ability.
18. Yukichi Fukuzawa
The president of the Armed Detective Agency, Fukuzawa’s All Men Are Equal ability allows him to control the powers of his subordinates after they give an “entrance exam.” Based on the real-life Japanese educator and journalist of the same name, Fukuzawa’s ability is a reference to An Encouragement of Learning, a seventeen volume series on equal opportunities in education that should be extended to everyone.
19. Ogai Mori
Just like the real-life Japanese novelist and IJA surgeon, Ogai Mori is a doctor by profession in the BSD-verse. He is the current leader of the Port Mafia but has a history of serving as a surgeon in the military during the Great War. His original name, which is also the real name of the author, is Rintaro Mori, as called out by Elise. His ability is called Vita Sexualis, but Elise, his ability, is based on one of the protagonists in Ogai’s The Dancing Girl.
20. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald
Having the same name as the American novelist and short story writer, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, he is the former leader of the Guild. His ability, The Great Fitzgerald, is a reference to the real-life fiction called The Great Gatsby, and it lets him gain physical strength based on how much money he spends. Like the original author, here too his wife’s name is Zelda Fitzgerald. He is currently the leader of The Renewed Guild.
21. Kenji Miyazawa
The young and cheerful Kenji is one of the youngest members of the Armed Detective Agency. Inspired by the real-life author Kenji Miyazawa, a Japanese children’s writer and poet, his ability is a reference to the author’s poem, Undefeated by the Rain. Moreover, the Bungo Stray Dogs character refers to his hometown as Ihatovo, which is a fictionalized term used by the author to refer to Iwate.
22. Nathaniel Hawthorne
American novelist and short story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne serves as the inspiration behind the characterization of this BSD character. In fact, his magnum opus, The Scarlet Letter, is the name of Bungo Stray Dogs‘ Nathaniel Hawthorne. Earlier associated with the Guild, he was later brainwashed and now works for Fyodor’s Rats in the House of the Dead, making him a minor antagonist in the narrative.
23. Margaret Mitchell
The love interest of Hawthorne, Margaret Mitchell also used to be a member of the Guild. She is currently in a comatose state under the care of Fitzgerald. Mitchell is based on American novelist and journalist Margaret Mitchell, and the latter’s famed work, Gone With the Wind, has inspired her ability. It is a weathering ability that allows her to break down materials with the power of wind.
24. Natsume Soseki
The mentor of Fukuzawa and Mori, this BSD character is based on the influential Japanese writer Natsume Soseki. His ability is called I am a Cat and is a reference to Soseki’s popular novel I am a Cat, which tells the story of several humans through the perspective of the cat. In Bungo Stray Dogs, Soseki transforms into a cat and observes the life of the various characters.
25. Motojiro Kajii
The Port Mafia mafioso, Motojiro Kajii has an eccentric personality, seeking pleasure in the creation of lemon-shaped bombs and using them. As such, this explosives expert’s ability is called Lemonade, which is an allusion to real-life Japanese short story writer’s anthology, Lemon. In one of the short stories, titled Lemon, the protagonist imagines the lemon he bought to be a time bomb. This could’ve thus inspired Asagiri to employ it as Kajii’s ability.
26. John Steinbeck
American novelist John Steinbeck serves as the inspiration behind this Bungo Stray Dogs character. One of his most famous works, The Grapes of Wrath, has inspired the BSD Steinbeck’s ability, which has the same name as the novel. Moreover, some of the characters that are seen in the original fiction are also seen in Asagiri’s story as John Steinbeck’s siblings.
27. Ango Sakaguchi
As one of the leading figures of Japanese fiction, the real-life author Ango Sakaguchi inspired this Bungo Stray Dogs character. Currently working for the Special Division of Unusual Powers, Ango once used to be a double agent and was a member of Port Mafia, which is how he became friends with Dazai and Oda. His ability is Discourse on Decadence, which is named after the 1946 essay of the same name.
28. Michizo Tachihara
Tachihara is currently a former member of the Hunting Dogs, who had worked as a double agent and spied on the Port Mafia. However, he came back to fight for Mori once again. Like other Japanese authors on this list, he is based on the poet and architect of the modern literary period – Michizo Tachihara. His ability of metal manipulation is called Midwinter Momento, which is not based on any work of the real-life author.
29. Mark Twain
Former Guild member Mark Twain has an interesting ability called Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. It is a reference to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by American novelist Mark Twain. The ability enables him to summon two miniature doll-like figures, using which he can shoot bullets with accuracy and conduct long-distance surveillance.
30. Sakunosuke Oda
Dazai’s best friend in Bungo Stray Dogs, Sakunosuke Oda was associated with Port Mafia but didn’t engage in killing anybody, despite having had a past in assassination business. He was killed during his fight with André Gide. Aside from having the same love for curry rice as his real-life counterpart, Oda shares the same name as real-life Japanese novelist Sakunosuke Oda. His ability Flawless is not based on any of the author’s work. Interestingly, the real-life author was also friends with Dazai and Sakaguchi and frequented Bar Lupin like his BSD counterpart.