Bungou Stray Dogs is coming back for its 4th season, and that means the Chuuya X Dazai train is full steam ahead! Bungou Stray Dogs is known for its multi-faceted characters and perfect comedic timing for an anime that is pretty dark when you get into it. However, fans of the series have another reason they keep coming back to it, and that is the many, many ships between the characters. Canon or not, it doesn’t stop enthusiasts from squealing over every little interaction, with Chuuya X Dazai being a popular one.
But is Chuuya X Dazai canon? Sadly, no. Bungou Stray Dogs is not a romance anime, nor is a love story even part of the subplot. However, it’s easy to see why people end up shipping Chuuya Nakahara and Osamu Dazai together. After all, the author has said they were meant to be each other’s foils, and they used to be partners during Dazai’s days with the Port Mafia. The two share a lot of history, with their chemistry being off the charts. And of course, there is the Dead Apple scene in the anime which really doesn’t help them beat the ‘lovers’ allegations.
However, they are just that: Allegations. I.e., there is barely any truth to them. Chuuya X Dazai is not canon, at least so far. And the likelihood of it becoming a reality is not very high. However, their dynamic is undeniable, nor can you ignore how the two react to each other. It’s clear that, despite being on opposing sides now, the two still care about each other a lot. Even if they do go at each other’s throats half the time.
So, maybe it’s better to call Chuuya X Dazai frenemies, rather than a canon ship. But that’s just the M.O. for Bungou Stray Dogs, which is surprisingly popular amongst both fanfiction writers and fan artists solely because of its character dynamics. However, the Chuuya X Dazai ship? It won’t be sailing anytime soon. Let’s discuss why in another segment of Lore Analysis!
Chuuya X Dazai: Canon Enemies To Lovers?
Dazai is already such an elusive character in Bungou Stray Dogs, so when Chuuya shows up from his past, it’s kind of fascinating to see. Because, for all intents and purposes, Dazai is supposed to be this comedic character, lighthearted and never taking things too seriously. It feels like nothing can get under his skin.
But Chuuya does. Chuuya X Dazai is your prime example of an Opposites Attract trope if we talk fanfiction tropes. Maybe even a little bit of ‘Childhood Friends’. Though that might be a stretch, considering those two met each other through working in the Mafia Underground rather than as toddlers in Kindergarten. The two were so infamous together as partners that they earned the name Soukoku or Double Black.
And it’s easy to see why Chuuya X Dazai has skyrocketed, despite not being canon. It’s the most famous ship in the Bungou Stray Dogs fandom, after all. Even during their initial character design, Chuuya was created as a counterpart for Dazai, which the director of the anime said was on purpose. In their words, Chuuya and Dazai are ‘more than friends’, leading to an immense amount of trust between them, despite being on opposing sides.
And they are really compatible, playing off each other in every way. Even their Ability powers complement each other. Even their official art pushes that narrative, with the two always being accompanied by Red Camelias, which is a noted symbol of romantic love and desire.
Queer Baiting In Anime:
So, with all that being said, why isn’t Chuuya X Dazai canon? Well, because that’s not what Bungou Stray Dogs is about, it’s easy to sideline any romance easily. But there’s also the fact that while Boy’s Love, and Queer anime in general, have become substantially more popular as time has gone by, it’s still something that isn’t mainstream.
So, to bypass any outcry, a lot of anime turn to queer baiting instead where characters are shown to be extremely intense about each other without giving it the label of romantic love. Sure, they might be a ton of fanservice, like with Chuuya X Dazai, but it won’t be canon. And, honestly, that’s fine.
I’m going, to be honest, I love the ship as much as the next fangirl, but I also like how Bungou Stray Dogs is more about the characters and their story, instead of any relationships. Sometimes, all you need is a cool Supernatural Mystery anime with really charismatic characters, and you can ship on the side. And hey, if it works? It works!