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Osamu Dazai from Bungo Stray Dogs.
Image via Studio Bones

‘Bungo Stray Dogs’: Why does Dazai wear bandages?

He doesn't do it for style, that's for sure.

Bungo Stray Dogs has a wide variety of quirky and complelling characters. The story itself is great, of course, but it’s the cast of characters we meet along the way that keep us engaged. Many of them are unforgettable, and Osamu Dazai more than most.

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This member of the Armed Detective Agency is a clear fan-favorite, known for his dramatic and jokey personality, which initially distract viewers from the darkness that lurks beneath. In reality, Dazai is one of the most mysterious characters in the Bungo Stray Dogs anime, with intentions that are never clear until he states them. Perhaps the biggest mystery surrounding this character, though, relates to the bandages that wrap around almost his entire body. Dazai is never seen without them, so there must be a meaning to it, right?

Does Dazai wear bandages because of his ability?

Osamu Dazai from Bungo Stray Dogs.
Image via Studio Bones

A popular theory is that Dazai wears bandages to avoid using his ability, No Longer Human, on his allies. Because this power is always active and relies on physical contact, it would be a hassle if Dazai were to nulify his allies’ abilities as soon as they touch him. Sadly, this theory falls short when you notice the character never wears gloves. If his bandage use was tied to No Longer Human, it would make little sense for Dazai to wrap almost his entire body in them but leave his hands bare. Plus, if this really was the case, there would be no need for him to bandage his legs and torso, as clothes would do the job of avoiding skin contact.

Considering how Dazai’s power works, it seems safe to assume that it also nullifies Akiko Yosano’s healing ability. With this in mind, some people speculate that Dazai gets frequently battle injuries, and because Yosano can’t heal him, he has to wear bandages for his wounds. This theory feels a little far-fetched, though, as it implies that Dazai’s entire body is injured often and/or that it heals super slowly. Usually, when we have to jump through hoops to explain something, it means we’re going in the wrong direction.

Dazai’s bandages are likely tied to his desire to die

Osamu Dazai in the Bungo Stray Dogs anime.
Image via Studio Bones

By far, the most widely spread theory for the bandages relates to Dazai’s suicidal tendencies. From the moment we meet this character, it becomes clear that he wishes to die, preferably with someone else at his side. Throughout Bungo Stray Dogs, we see him attempt to take his own life a few times, so it’s not outlandish to assume that he also practices self-harm. Thus, many fans speculate that Dazai wears bandages to conceal self-inflicted wounds and scars. This remains to be confirmed in canon or by the Bungo Stray Dogs author, Kafka Asagiri. The manga’s illustrator, however, had something to say about it in 2017.

In conversation with Hitomi Wada, Sango Harukawa shared the creative process behind this series’ characters. “For Dazai, I wrapped him up in bandages because of his suicide mania,” she said, implying that this was just a design choice meant to symbolize the character’s suicidal ideation. “The special thing about this series was that (…) the characters probably should have certain aspects of the authors they were based on,” Harukawa claims, referencing the real-life Osamu Dazai. For those who don’t know, the Japanese novelist tried to take his own life a few times, and eventually died by suicide in 1948. Thus, it makes sense for the character to visually reflect the person that inspired it.

To conclude, fans are always free to interpret the material in any way they choose, so it’s fair for them to attribute Dazai’s bandage usage to one or more of theories mentioned. Ultimately, though, it seems like it simply comes down to symbolism and a character design choice.

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Image of Rafaela Coimbra
Rafaela Coimbra
Rafaela is a freelance writer for We Got This Covered. Writing professionally since 2022, she loves sharing her knowledge and opinions about all things anime, manga, TV shows, and movies. When she’s not working, though, you can easily find Rafaela with a fantasy book in hand, or consuming some other form of entertainment — you know, lest a thought occur.