The third volume of Bungo Stray Dogs ended with the promise of better things… [but this] this latest installment is so total a bit of backtracking that it’s hard not to feel as if it’s not playing at some greater thematic purpose in the clumsiest manner imaginable.
Because the author does not understand the feelings he’s presenting to us and so relies on a language cobbled together from cliches, trite imagery and banal symbols he’s aped from a million disparate influences he never bothered to understand to convey feelings he’s does not understand.
For three volumes, artist and author Shuzo Oshimi has made it clear that the cast of Happiness struggle with growth; with the fourth, he shows how easily these impulses lead us to seek out paths of regression we mistake, in our confusion, for progression. In Gosho’s case this means befriending vampire hunter Sakurane, a man who, like her, has never been able to make peace with the death of a younger sibling. He may seem like a positive role-model for the doubting teen – constructive, motivated, wise – but anyone with perspective can see that his crusade against Nora and her