Edogawa Ranpo has done the one thing that is, perhaps, hardest to do in the world of Bungou Stray Dogs. And that is standing out in a cast of characters that are gifted with so many amazing powers, despite not having any of his own. And at this point, the OP characters are kind of a given. I mean, just look at someone like Osamu Dazai. But that’s what makes Edogawa Ranpo such an interesting character. It’s because his powers are very much inherent skills he’s sharpened over the years.
Bungou Stray Dogs is no stranger to putting characters in unbelievable situations and having them emerge on top, even when against the odds. And no one feels more unbelievable in a setting of superpowered individuals, than someone who technically has no powers. Which is exactly what Edogawa Ranpo entails. And yet somehow, he might just be one of the weirder characters in the entire series! But that makes sense when your character is named after a literary icon known for its zany and psychoanalytic writing styles.
Because, yes, much like his peers, Edogawa Ranpo is also based loosely on the Japanese novelist, who was known for furthering the rise of mystery and thriller writing in Japan. However, Edogawa Ranpo was his pen name, and his real-life identity is Hirai Tarou. His novel, The Case of the Murder on D. Hill, is monumental in Japanese mystery novels, even inspiring a character in the hit JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game) series, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5. When you look at it that way, of course, Edogawa Ranpo would be an extremely talented Detective who got recruited to solve violent crimes at age 14. Like, that’s insane.
But it is pretty on-brand for him, right? However, there is so much more that we have learned about the character from the various releases of Bungou Stray Dogs media, and we really should be discussing it more. So, if you’re a newbie to the fandom, and have been curious about Edogawa Ranpo, you’re in the right place. Let’s see what we know so far about the ‘greatest detective in the world’.
Table of contents
Who Is Edogawa Ranpo?
So, the Armed Detective Agency is known for being the premiere organization for handling those cases that the regular Metropolitan Police can’t. And those cases are usually the ones rooted in the supernatural, under extremely violent circumstances. Therefore, they need to be handled by people that can counter those powers.
So, Edogawa Ranpo doesn’t make a lot of sense in that regard. Solely because he is one of the few people in the main story that has no Ability aka the special powers granted to certain individuals that can manifest in a host of different ways. Sure, he touts his intelligence as an Ability, but that’s him doing himself a disservice. Because his uncanny ability to solve crimes isn’t some miraculous gift, but a skill he learned over time. It’s exactly why he’s so sought after by police officials everywhere.
This is only natural once you consider his family background. Edogawa Ranpo is the son of the famous detective known as Clairvoyant. He was known for his genius-level intellect but Edogawa Ranpo insists it was his mother who was the real brains, considering her father could never win against her when it came to solving mysteries or even making deductions. His entire family is extremely intelligent, with IQs ranging in the higher ranges. And growing up with a childhood immersed in the field, he picked up things from his parents.
Born in the countryside, he ended up moving to Yokohama after both his parents died in an accident and enrolled in the Yokohama Police Academy. But the rules were too strict, and he would regularly get into trouble with his superiors, so he got kicked out for exposing one of them. The same thing happened when he joined the military and put their embezzlement out into the public eye. And then the president of the company he applied for got assassinated. Safe to say, Edogawa Ranpo could not stay put.
Eventually, Edogawa Ranpo did find his way to Sōseki Natsume and together, they formed the foundation of the Armed Detective Agency, where they went on to recruit more Ability owners.
The Downside Of Being A Genius Detective?
But his intelligence had an adverse effect as well, where he grew so accustomed to people as smart as him that he forgot normal people exist. So now if someone is slower, it confuses him immensely. But just because he knows that he’s a genius and brags about it, doesn’t mean that Edogawa Ranpo is some sociopath with no people skills. O
n the contrary, he shows great restraint and care for the people in the Armed Detective Agency, regarding the members as his friends. And the trust between him and the Armed Detective Agency is mutual, because of how much one respects the other. And this is why he takes the brunt of a lot of cases upon himself, to ensure he’s pulling his weight and helping to the best of his extent. Despite his demeanor, he is extremely responsible when it comes to solving major-level crimes and can even be brutal towards himself on the rare chance that he gets blindsided by a foe.
And this doesn’t mention how Edogawa Ranpo seems like he fails at the most basic of tasks. For all his boy genius traits, simple things like pouring out tea baffle him. The Armed Detective Agency purposefully makes him sit out most of his everyday tasks because they want him up and running for the more important things, such as solving crimes. This is reminiscent of another genius detective with strange quirks, L Lawliet from Death Note. Though Edogawa Ranpo doesn’t seem like he has much of a sweet tooth.
A Closed Off Face And A Quirky Sense Of Style!
You can’t be a super-skilled detective without the perfect fit. History is filled with quirky leads in mystery novels, and Edogawa Rampo’s character design pulls a lot from his predecessors. In line with the general Academia-Meets-Noir fashion of Bungou Stray Dogs, Edogawa Ranpo can be found in beiges and browns.
Born with a fair complexion and messy black hair, he pulls a slightly off-kilter look with his brown Inverness cape and page boy hat. Underneath he wears your typical pants and shirt combo and has a brown satchel by his side. To anyone else, he’d look like fits that stereotypical Detective looks almost too perfectly. However, it also looks youthful enough that you can see just how young Edogawa Ranpo is compared to his countless successful solved cases.
Childish Until Pushed Too Far?
The thing about Bungou Stray Dogs is that even a character like Edogawa Ranpo, who feels so unhinged all the time, can get serious when the need arises. Just because he’s a little flighty and caught up in his world, doesn’t mean he doesn’t pull his weight when the going gets tough.
Because of all his antics, it’s easy to forget that Edogawa Ranpo is a serious opponent. His title isn’t just an exaggeration, he truly is the greatest detective in the world. And no matter how bratty he may act, or how helpless he might seem in doing mundane tasks, his true talents lie in the art of deduction, where he is rivaled by none. He was the founding member of the Armed Detective Agency and is the oldest member there, at 26 years old.
Especially when it comes to the well-being of people he cares about. Like when Yuichi Fukuzawa got sick. During that time, many people noticed how Edogawa Ranpo’s demeanor changed immediately and he became much more somber. Just because he acts like a child, doesn’t mean he has no sense of the circumstances of situations when they happen. He knows exactly when he needs to shift gears, speaking volumes about his maturity.
And you do need to be mature if you’re going to be an investigator at Edogawa Ranpo’s degree. While he doesn’t have a traditional ability, his high intellect is commended throughout the series. Why? Because he can solve any mystery within mere seconds. It takes him no time to investigate, assess and deduce a situation and come out with a solution.
Sure, he might get lazy or spiteful and not do it at all. But when push comes to shove, you know that Edogawa Ranpo has got your back!