Is Dazai dead in ‘Bungo Stray Dogs?’

Warning: the following article contains spoilers for chapter 109 of the Bungo Stray Dogs manga.

The original Japanese version of Bungo Stray Dogs‘ 109th chapter has been released, and it’s safe to say that it took a toll on fans’ emotional health. Titled “In The Small Room, Part 5,” this is the painful latest installment in Kafka Asagiri and Sango Harukawa’s popular manga series.

It was unquestionably an interesting chapter but, out of everything that happened, Osamu Dazai and Chuuya Nakahara’s confrontation takes the cake for the most emotional moment. With Chuuya infested with vampirism and following Fyodor’s commands, he doesn’t seem to hesitate when ordered to shoot his former partner. In spite of Dazai’s obvious attempt to use his ability to nullify the vampirism, and his laments, Chuuya ends up pressing a gun to his head.

Readers were understandably shocked by this turn of events, especially when we consider the past the two characters share. While Dazai and Chuuya constantly claim to dislike or even hate each other, it’s hard to ignore their history, which over time has led many to enjoy seeing the pair interact. The tragedy of the situation becomes even more apparent when Dazai claims that “our destiny cannot end in such a place, because we are destined to…” before Chuuya pulls the trigger.

Dazai’s unfinished thought is crushing fans, who have now been left to either cope with the devastating chapter or analyze whether or not Dazai is actually dead. Bungo Stray Dogs wouldn’t just kill off such an integral character in the story, would it? Not to mention the fact that he’s also a clear fan favorite… Let’s hold off on the despair for now, as there is still hope for this character.

Did Dazai actually die in Bungo Stray Dogs?

It certainly seems like Dazai died in chapter 109. After all, taking a bullet to the forehead is not the type of injury one can usually recover from. That said, the circumstances of this apparent death leave some room for questioning. Firstly, we’ve seen Dazai survive death more times than any human should be capable of. He has a disturbing knack for that sort of thing, despite his wishes. Then there’s also the fact that evidence suggests that the bullet may not have entered his skull at all.

Before aiming his gun at Dazai’s head, Chuuya fired it at him three times, and each time that happened, the bullets’ impact was so huge that it pierced Dazai’s body to land on the wall behind him. He was struck in both shoulders and the abdomen, and for all of those injuries, we can see a matching hole in the wall. What we can’t see, though, is any wall damage from the bullet that supposedly went through his brain, despite the blood running down Dazai’s forehead.

As some fans theorize online, this may be the result of Chuuya’s gravity manipulation ability. How would that be possible? Well, it would all depend on Chuuya regaining his consciousness sometime before the bullet hit its target. This way, he could’ve prevented it from piercing Dazai. The blood and wound on his forehead are a little bit harder to explain away, though, but there is a chance that the bullet merely grazed Dazai — just enough to leave a convincing mark and allow Dazai to play dead for the time being.

Dazai pretending to be dead could be essential to get both him and Chuuya out of the situation they find themselves in, under Fyodor’s watchful gaze. And if that is indeed the case, it seems to have worked, since the antagonist wasted no time bidding Dazai farewell through the monitor screen.

All that said, there is always the possibility that the bullet simply got lodged in Dazai’s head and that he is indeed dead. With all this room for speculation, fans will have to wait for the next few chapters to get a confirmation of Dazai’s status.

Chapter 110 is scheduled to release in early September, so only one month separates us from the answers we need. Until then, we’re free to come up with as many explanations as we want for this scene and live in blissful denial.