Bungo Stray Dogs Chapter 1 TL Notes


Welcome back to the blog!

Months ago, I’ve been regularly getting issues of Young Ace, mostly due to my current reading addiction to the series Nanamaru Sanbatsu. Since it’s a full magazine, I also decided to check out the other series. Well, aside from Young Ace staples such as Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu (which will have an anime soon), Blood Lad, Fate/Zero and Evangelion, there are also other standouts from this magazine, including Boku dake ga Inai Machi, the aformentioned Nanamaru Sanbatsu, Inari Konkon Koi Iroha, World Gaze Clips (which will have a live-action movie soon) and this series I’m introducing, Bungo Stray Dogs.

I’ve been reading BSD for a few months now (with the exception of the second chapter, which I lacked at that time). Then I found a post on Psylocke Scans  about wanting to scanlating it. Seems like they have the raws, so I approached jagman1x3, the group’s leader. I’ve been doing the first chapter, then Shoujo Sense came out with their version. I’m not that much a fan of what they’ve done, so jag and I are still going to release our version, and will plan to continue it too. I’m putting my translation notes out here on the blog as well as on the manga chapter.

Series Summary:  Strange cases have been happening in the city of Yokohama–cases that even the police or the military can’t handle. For these cases, they call on the Armed Detective Company, a group of detectives with unusual abilities! Join them as they battle and wit their way into solving them!

Series Title: The series title literally means “Stray Dogs of the Literary Masters”. This means that this series will rely mostly on literature references.

Chapter 1: All Human Affairs are Like Saiou’s Tiger

Chapter Title: This comes from the Japanese proverb “Ningen banji Saiou ga uma”, which literally says “all human affairs are like Saiou’s horse”, and means “inscrutable are the ways of heaven”. This proverb states that one can never truly prove whether he is lucky or not. There’s a story of its coinage:

During the Kan dynasty there was an old man in Sai (at the border to the country of the Mongols) whose horse had run away to the bordering country. Everyone felt sorry for the old man, yet he replied: “It is not certain that this will not turn out to become a fortune.” A little later, the horse returned, accompanied by another beautiful horse. The people were filled with joy, yet the old man replied: “How can one know that this is not the source of misfortune?” These horses gave birth to a beautiful, young horse. The son of the old man would play with this young horse, fell off it and was lame due to that accident. Everyone felt pity for the old man, yet he replied: “How can you say that this is not the source of great fortune?” Soon after this a war broke out and all the young men had to go to fight. Yet since the son of the old man was lame and could not even work for himself, he could stay home. Many sons from other families died during this war, yet the son and the old man were safe in each other´s company.

-Shodo Harada, OneDropZen.org

Since the chapter title has been altered with a different animal, I’ve used the literal translation of the proverb.

Page 01

Chazuke is a popular Japanese dish made by pouring tea on cooked rice. Well, you can already figure that out on the next panel…

Nori – Japanese seaweed

Umeboshi – pickled plums

Konbu/Kombu – kelp

Page 04

TL Note: Their Kanji for annoying (urusai) is 五月蝿い,which literally translates to ‘May (the month) Fly’.

Page 48

Kimo ga hieru: It’s a Japanese idiom meaning ‘to be frightened’. It literally says ‘the liver will get cold’.

Page 51

Yosano Akiko  (1878-1942) – A renowned Japanese poet and social reformer. The BSD character’s power is named Kimi Shinitamou koto nakare (or Thou Shalt Not Die), which was her most notable work and is addressed to her younger brother. It was a controversial poem due to the fact that it was published during the Russo-Japanese war.

Edogawa Ranpo (1894-1965) – This might ring a bell to some non-Japanese literature enthusiasts. He is famous Japanese mystery fiction author, known for his stories involving Kogoro Akechi and the Shonen Tantei Dan. Of course, his name, along with the famous things in his stories, are used as references in other popular mystery series, including Detective Conan/Cased Closed.

Page 52

Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933) – A known poet and author of children’s literature. Some of his famous works are The Restaurant of Many Orders and the poem defining his personal ideal: Ame ni mo Makezu (Not Defeated by the Rain), which is used as the BSD character’s ability.

Kunikida Doppo (1871-1908) – Author of novels and romantic poetry in Japan’s Meiji period, and regarded one of the inventors of Japanese naturalism. His works include River Mist & Other Stories and Doppo Gin (Doppo Poetry), a collection of poems. Doppo Poetry is used as the BSD character’s power, which will most certainly include his notebook of ideals.

Page 53

Dazai Osamu (1909-1948) – One of the most foremost fiction writers of 20th-century Japan. He’s the author of Run, Melos! and Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human), which was considered as Dazai’s masterpiece. The latter is the BSD character’s ability name.

Page 55

Nakajima Atsushi (1909-1942) – He is a Japanese author known for his poetic short stories featuring settings from distant history. He created a collection of short stories named The Moon Over the Mountain, which is probably the reference for his BSD counterpart’s ability, which is Moonlight Beast.


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