• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

Anime Expo 2023
Meet Kafka Asagiri: Creator of Bungo Stray Dogs

by Kalai Chik,

ANN's coverage of Anime Expo 2023 sponsored by Yen Press!


Fans lined up bright and early, forgoing the rush and squeeze of the Dealer's Hall opening, to greet Kafka Asagiri at the JW Marriott. Ahead of Bungo Stray Dogs' fifth season premiere, Yen Press presented the series creator to a passionate audience. The author has always been very private, but he seemed to be in good spirits during his first-ever appearance in the US. Joining alongside him was Kadokawa's Hirotsubo Kato, who has been the series editor since its inception.

Jumping immediately into Asagiri's early beginnings, he credited his childhood love and passion for Yū Yū Hakusho as the reason why he became interested in manga. The characters and their mottos drew him to the iconic series, which he highlights as an aspect he pays close attention to, even in Hollywood movies. Outside of manga and anime, Asagiri also enjoys international film and TV series, particularly The Avengers and The Dark Knight. When asked what exactly he likes about Western media, the writer bluntly answered that its accessibility makes it so attractive. In particular, American media is widely available through different platforms in Japan.

Transitioning to his writing career, he reflected that his interest stemmed from a game called RPG Maker during elementary school. Being able to form the story for the games he created drew him to the art form. Like many adults, Asagiri first worked in an office job before pursuing his dream as a writer. Inspired by a quote from Ibraha, a villain from Black Lagoon, he decided to focus on something he was passionate about. "Our lives aren't defined by work, but how you live it." Those words pushed him to make the leap away from working a job he had no interest in to his current career. Though, Asagiri lampshades Ibraha's occupation as a terrorist.

When asked about the creation of Bungo Stray Dogs, the author explained how he wanted to express the relatability of classical literature in his story. Part of his motivation for writing the series is to pull the reader into the world of these authors, allowing the audience to develop a passion for the original historical literature. A glance at the enthusiastic fans in the room reflects his success in his endeavor. Unsurprisingly, Asagiri's favorite book within the world of Bungo Stray Dogs is Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human. Because of how relatable he found the experience of no longer feeling human and questioning the emotions behind that, he felt drawn to replicate that feeling when reading his own novel.

Turning to the characters of Bungo Stray Dogs, the panel moved onto the topic of how he creates the soul of the character. He calls the process "mysterious" as he can take anywhere from two to four days to decide on a character's background. "In the first chapter, I had already decided to include Atsushi and Dazai, but I couldn't think of the third character." After a long period of deep thought, he delved into how he could make a funny character who would have amazing synergy with Dazai. One day while on a walk, the idea struck him. "The concept of someone who is an obsessive note-taker just came to my mind. I thought about someone who is incredibly serious, studious, and plans out to the very last detail." This character would become Kunikida, with Asagiri describing him as a character that would "suffer next to Dazai."

It's hard to talk about Bungo Stray Dogs without taking a look at the broad expansions of its universe, including the manga adaptation, the anime, Bungo Stray Dogs: Beast, and Bungo Stray Dogs Wan! He straightforwardly stated those stories exist because KADOKAWA merely reached out to him. The themes he wanted to explore were the characters before their character development, particularly Dazai in Osamu Dazai and the Dark Era. "I wanted to go into how he started from being an assassin and made his way to the detective."

Wrapping up the deep dive on Asagiri, he asks the audience to look forward to Sigma in the coming anime season. If it wasn't clear, Sigma is one of Asagiri's favorite characters in the series. After season four's cliffhanger, anime-only watchers have been on the edge of their seats to see what happens next. Manga readers are also waiting with bated breath to see how those same fans will react to the upcoming arc.

Before the end of the panel, there was time left for a fun fan Q&A. Cosplayers ran fast and furiously to the microphone. Diving back and forth between plot and character-related questions, the best question had to be confronting Asagiri's penchant for showing kids and bombs. He laughed but was unapologetic for his choices because he "had to have them explode." Even director Takuya Igarashi yelled at him for doing it so often.

Closing out his panel with a commemorative selfie, fans bid him farewell and turned the page on Asagiri's first time in Los Angeles.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. Yen Press, BookWalker Global, and J-Novel Club are subsidiaries of KWE.

discuss this in the forum (2 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

back to Anime Expo 2023
Convention homepage / archives