Bungo Stray Dogs: 55 Minutes (文豪ストレイドッグス 55Minutes, Bungō Sutorei Doggusu: 55 Minutes?) is the fourth light novel of the series. The novel introduces new characters such as Jules Gabriel Verne and H.G. Wells, as well as the Colonel from France who is possibly linked to the Mimic incident.

Description

The Armed Detective Agency's latest case brings them to a strange island off the coast of Yokohama called "Standard Island," but what awaits them turns out to be far more complicated than expected: a bomb, time travel, a mysterious skill user named H.G. Wells... Will this incident spell the end of Yokohama itself?!

Summary

The book opens with Yokohama immediately obliterated as a maroon film covers the entire city. Everything within the blast radius is melted, turning into nothing more than ashes and a plasmatic substance. Fifty-five minutes prior the catastrophe, the Armed Detective Agency is summoned to a floating, man-made island off of the coast of Yokohama, Standard Island. Doppo Kunikida, Akiko Yosano, Kenji Miyazawa, Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, Naomi Tanizaki, and Atsushi Nakajima ride a ferry to the island without Osamu Dazai. Kunikida informs them that their mission is to apprehend a group of three thieves in the island, which their client – Captain Walston – explains to be after "jewels", a rare type of European white truffle. He also hands each of them a silver coin that shall act as their IDs on the island.

After unpacking in their hotel, Atsushi heads out into the town, where a commotion breaks out after a thief sneaks into the island. While trying to chase the thief, he comes across a garbage can, from where Dazai scares him. He turns out to be the one who sneaked in the island, his separate mission being to investigate a man in a suit with a camera on his neck, who can annihilate Yokohama. Meanwhile, 16 minutes prior to the impending explosion, Ryunosuke Akutagawa and Ichiyō Higuchi covertly arrive in Standard Island to pursue bank robbers.

At that time, Atsushi overhears three suspicious people and contacts Kunikida that they might be their targets. While Atsushi tails them, Kunikida updates him that the trio's leader is Nemo, an ability user who can pass through walls less than two inches thick. The trio encounter Atsushi, who stalls for some time, until Kunikida and armed guards arrive. Nemo escapes with his subordinates Virgo and Gab through a door, but Kunikida and Atsushi are told that they are unauthorized to enter the room.

From inside, a man known as the Colonel and his soldiers order them to head back, but Atsushi's tiger senses enable him to see the dead corpse of Walston inside. The Colonel then shows them the surveillance footage of Walston get shot by a man in a suit with a camera on his neck, a wanted terrorist dubbed as the Foreseer or the "man who can see the future". To their shock, the Colonel finds no formal reports that indicate the Agency's arrival and suspects them as the terrorist's accomplices. Meanwhile, Akutagawa crushes his targets who killed a Mafia accountant, during which he learns about Annihilation (codenamed the Shell), a European-made weapon brought to the island on a briefcase by a man with a camera.

Dazai sneaks in the confinement room holding Kunikida and Atsushi, telling them that he is after the man with the camera. However, the man's briefcase, which possibly contains the Shell, is not with him as shown on the video footage. Dazai uncuffs and instructs Atsushi to chase the man with a camera by luring him with a fake briefcase. Atsushi breaks out and heads to the clocktower, where he tails the man to the top floor. The man finds the fake briefcase and shoots at it; he notices Atsushi and asks why he has left the dangerous briefcase at the spot, upon which the entire island shakes.

Elsewhere, that noon, the weapon in the real briefcase has been activated, and the entire area enveloping the island is engulfed in a bright-red heat shell. The man departs with Atsushi at once, explaining his mission to stop the weapon. He also removes his bowler hat, revealing to be a blond lady who introduces herself as H. G. Wells. Within seconds of the explosion, Standard Island and Yokohama are incinerated in an inferno, killing off 500,000 people including Fukuzawa, Ōgai Mori, Kunikida, Dazai, and Akutagawa. Wells and Atsushi retreat to an underground room, where Wells explains that she is the one who developed the Shell and has originally planned to stop it from exploding.

According to Wells, the weapon is born out of ability singularities, in which a great energy surge that can only be released in a fraction of time was forcibly adjusted with another ability – her time manipulation ability (which can be activated through her camera) – to break the uncertainty principle and allow the explosion to be birthed. Wells proposes to send Atsushi's memory signals 55 minutes in the past to steal the weapon, which she has traced to the fifth basement floor of the top secret zone. She sends him back to the past before getting caught up in the heat shell. Atsushi then awakens at sea, aboard the ferry together with the others, 55 minutes prior the explosion.

Atsushi plans on how to acquire a gold coin to access the fifth basement floor. Walston meets them upon their arrival, who turns out to have his gold coin stolen. Kunikida gets suspicious and worried of Atsushi's unsettled behavior, though he later accompanies him to meet up with Dazai, whom Atsushi scares upon knowing that he is in the garbage can. Soon after, Dazai retorts if Atsushi is the Foreseer himself. Seeing that they seem to be on the same page, Atsushi tells Dazai and Kunikida the entire story.

Meanwhile, as they arrive in the island, Akutagawa tells Higuchi that they are changing targets instead of chasing the four gamblers. It turns out that Akutagawa has also been sent back in time after barely retreating into the forest's underground room during the explosion, hence getting caught up in Wells's ability as well. Having faintly seen Atsushi and thinking that he is responsible for the incident, Akutagawa orders Higuchi that they must search for the mantiger in the island at once.

With four million lives at stake before the impending explosion, Dazai strategizes to have Atsushi meet up with the three thieves, earn their trust, and use Nemo's ability to their favor to sneak into the fifth basement floor. Atsushi introduces himself as Matasaburo, a thief, and successfully befriends the gang. With Nemo's ability, they are able to sneak into a gold-coin area, while Dazai and Kunikida interrogate Walston using Dazai's methods, from whom they discover that the thieves are after the jeweled truffles on the fourth basement floor. He finalizes his instructions to Atsushi to head to the fifth basement floor to retrieve the briefcase.

Along the way, Atsushi senses soldiers heading their way, so he lets the thieves flee, though Gab returns and aids him. In the storage room, Higuchi accesses the island records and finds about a bag transported to the fifth basement floor; thinking it carries the weapon, Akutagawa orders her to use the Mafia's influence to enter said floor immediately. Upon regrouping, Atsushi and the gang wait for Virgo to open the fourth basement floor's vault, during which Atsushi learns more about Gab and his character.

In the middle of their conversation, Atsushi shockingly spots Akutagawa swimming towards them, who attacks him and breaks the structure's glass, allowing seawater to penetrate and emergency shutters to close. Akutagawa engages him amidst Atsushi's attempts to flee from the blockages, until Nemo intervenes and saves Atsushi using his ability. Nemo and Atsushi (who tells him his real name) soon part ways, with Atsushi heading straight to the briefcase.

With 15 minutes left before noon, Atsushi finds himself cornered by a closed shutter with the Colonel's soldiers approaching nearby. To his surprise, the shutter opens, as do the rest of the closed ones along the way to the fifth basement floor, until he soon retrieves the briefcase. On his way back, Atsushi neutralizes some soldiers, but he gets shot by the Colonel's soldiers in an ambush. The Colonel arrives, and Atsushi implores them to stop the weapon. He soon realizes that the Colonel, who soon kills his men, has been targeting the briefcase to detonate the Shell himself.

The Colonel tells Atsushi about his subordinate who died young despite being a hero on the battlefield. Atsushi regenerates from his wounds and chases down the Colonel, but when he catches up to him, a shutter closes where Atsushi's leg gets caught and crushed. The Colonel resumes his story of how his men, labeled as Mimic soldiers, were turned into war criminals and traitors by their country. To atone for their deaths, the Colonel opens the briefcase, only to be enshrouded in knockout gas from inside. As his consciousness wavers, Atsushi hears Dazai from the other side of the smoke; the event turns out to be part of his plan.

When Atsushi awakens, Kunikida tells him that the real briefcase, still within the fifth basement floor, can only be opened with a password and the Colonel's fingerprint, both of which were used by Dazai to his advantage to trap the Colonel. Later, Atsushi visits the thieves in their confinement, only to find Virgo and Nemo dead and Gab fatally wounded until he dies on Atsushi's arms. Kunikida also contacts Atsushi that the Colonel has been killed with his hand cut off and the weapon stolen. Having no one else to suspect, Atsushi attempts to catch Wells, with Dazai accompanying him to corner her. Later, they meet her at the clocktower's top floor, only to find her stabbed to death.

Dazai finally realizes his mistake and admits that there is no third party after the weapon. Before he can finish, Dazai is stabbed from behind by Gab, who has faked his death earlier. Dazai urges Atsushi not to fight Gab, as he himself is an ability; regardless, Atsushi faces Gab using his ability, while a stone arm emerges from the ground as Gab's defense. Gab reveals that he is the island himself, protecting it since the past. He also introduces himself as Jules Gabriel Verne and bids farewell to Atsushi as he submerges himself to the ground.

Atsushi informs Kunikida – engaged in battle at his end – of Dazai's dire situation and prepares to resuscitate him using their emergency procedure for Dazai; Kunikida also instructs him to defeat the mastermind. With Atsushi clueless on how to get past Gab by himself, Wells suddenly grabs him and offers to extend Dazai's life for 20 minutes like what she did to herself. With Dazai dead, his nullifying ability also disappears; the plan, therefore, is to resuscitate Dazai from being dead to being on the brink of death – when Yosano can then heal him – within a 0.5-second window before the blood reaches his brain and his nullifying ability reactivates. Wells asks Atsushi to defeat Gab and bring the doctor within 20 minutes.

Gab leisurely walks along the island with Annihilation, upon which Akutagawa confronts and battles him. Meanwhile, Wells activates her ability on Dazai, and the 20 minutes begin. Atsushi heads to the battlefield between Gab and Akutagawa, who is greatly overpowered by Gab's attacks. Gab erects walls to prevent Atsushi from getting to Yosano, leaving Atsushi no choice but to defeat him to save Dazai. When Gab gains the upper hand, Atsushi sinks into a dream where he is awakened by Verne: the island guardian, one of the Seven Traitors who ended the war through forceful tactics, and Gab's older self. He explains that Gab is an ability and shows Atsushi his past memories as Jules Gabriel Verne.

Verne's relationship with the Seven Traitors mirrored that of Atsushi and the Agency, which became a turning point in his lonely life when he was 14 years old. After the seven kidnapped and forced government officials to sign a peace treaty, the war ended, but Verne found himself alone once more. Nevertheless, Verne decided to protect Standard Island until he could reunite with his friends. One day, Annihilation was brought to the island, and he took the persona Gab to make contact with Wells to earn her cooperation. Verne eventually retrieved the weapon, but Wells was shot and died, with which he decided to absorb her skill and send himself 55 minutes into the past to save her. While his plan succeeded, Verne realized that he could trap the island in a time loop and create the best possible future from then on.

Throughout this experiment, Verne soon noticed that the time limit began lengthening beyond 55 minutes, to the point that he thought of stopping the war from even happening. Subsequently, the island's ability rid itself of Verne's personality and humanity, giving birth to the living ability Gab. Knowing that he would disappear should Verne stop returning to the past, Gab decided to continue the time loop himself and avoid death. Over the course of the loop, rumors about the weapon reached the Special Division for Unusual Powers, compelling them to send the Agency to the island. Since Dazai's nullification ability is Gab's natural weakness, he ensured killing Dazai to remove the threat, thus allowing him by then to reset the loop and live immortally.

The dream ends, and Gab has Atsushi and Akutagawa buried into pillars before him. Despite affirming their mutual hate towards each other, Atsushi reluctantly asks for Akutagawa's aid with Dazai's life on the line. Upon being forced by Akutagawa's Rashōmon blade, Atsushi transforms into a tiger and lashes out at Gab's body, almost dismembering him. Atsushi reverts to his human form, but Gab replaces all his body organs and parts with all sorts of mechanisms from the island, leaving his head and heart as his only human parts. Atsushi and Akutagawa subtly collaborate against the evolved yet weakened Gab, and Atsushi eventually defeats him.

Regaining consciousness after the battle, Atsushi is told by Kunikida that Yosano, Kenji, and Tanizaki are now en route to Wells's underground room. With Gab gone, Walston contacts them that the wharf suddenly exploded, risking the island to sink within approximately eight minutes. Ranpo arrives on the Special Division's aircraft, having deduced the case after Dazai sent a video on the situation and bringing with him the coast guard's rescue boat that is enough to evacuate everyone from the island. Kyōka Izumi also accompanies Ranpo and rushes towards Atsushi in relief, while a resuscitated Dazai returns with the other detectives.

In the aftermath, Atsushi finds among the post-findings of the investigation a picture of the black briefcase with its mechanism destroyed. Dazai surmises that Gab never intended on using the weapon and stole it to destroy it for good. Atsushi's investigation on the Colonel's past also yields no records and history, which Dazai notes might have already been covered up by the Special Division. Later, outside the Agency office, Wells thanks Atsushi for his efforts and bids farewell as she prepares to head to the next catastrophe. Atsushi directs her to the other detectives, but, as he turns back to Wells, he curiously finds no one with him.

Characters Involved

Character Description


She is a member and the in-house physician of the Armed Detective Agency. She heads to Standard Island together with other detectives for a mission.


He is a member of the Armed Detective Agency, who heads to Standard Island together with other detectives for a mission. He soon adopts the alias Matasaburo posing as a thief during the operation.


He was an eponymous colonel from France, who is implied to have possible ties with Mimic during the war. As atonement for his past subordinates' deaths, he intended to detonate the Shell in an attempt to expose the truth behind their demise. He was soon killed, presumably by Gab.


He is the captain of Standard Island and the Agency's client requesting to apprehend a band of thieves who are after the jeweled truffles.


He is a member of the Armed Detective Agency, who heads to Standard Island together with other detectives for a mission.


She is an ability user who can manipulate time and an engineer who developed Annihilation, an extinction weapon codenamed the Shell. She is wanted by various governments for being seemingly involved in major global disasters and accidents. As such, she is dubbed as the Foreseer for apparently being able to "see the future".


She is a member of the Port Mafia and Akutagawa's adjutant. She heads to Standard Island with Akutagawa to hunt down four men who stole from one of their bank branches and killed a Mafia accountant.


He was a member of a band of thieves and asserted himself as the boss's number one disciple. In truth, Verne was one of the Seven Traitors and the so-called "guardian" of Standard Island. His ability allowed him to absorb the abilities of users who died on the island. This trait eventually rid him of his personality and gave birth to the persona Gab, a sentient ability bent on living as an immortal.


He is a member of the Armed Detective Agency, who heads to Standard Island together with other detectives for a mission.


He is a former member of the Armed Detective Agency. He makes an unseen appearance in the story by helping crack a 12-digit password during Atsushi's infiltration in the band of thieves.


He is a member of the Armed Detective Agency, who heads to Standard Island together with other detectives for a mission.


She is a member of the Armed Detective Agency.


She is a member of the Armed Detective Agency, who heads to Standard Island together with other detectives for a mission.


He was the leader of his band of thieves and an ability user who could pass through walls less than two inches thick. He highly admired the Phantom Thief Arsène Lupin, claiming to be the latter's reincarnation. He was later killed by Gab and his ability absorbed by the latter's ability.


He is the boss of the Port Mafia. He makes a minor appearance getting caught up in the heat shell at the beginning of the story.


He is a member of the Armed Detective Agency and one of their two sharpest detectives together with Ranpo. He heads to Standard Island independently from the other detectives for his separate mission.


He is a member of the Armed Detective Agency and one of their two sharpest detectives together with Dazai.


He is a member of the Port Mafia and an ability user in charge of the Mafia's mobile forces. He heads to Standard Island with Higuchi to hunt down four men who stole from one of their bank branches and killed a Mafia accountant.


He was a middle-aged engineer among the band of thieves, responsible for the technical aspects during their robberies, such as disabling security cameras and extracting passwords. He was later killed by Gab.


He is the President of the Armed Detective Agency. He sends seven detectives to Standard Island for what appears to be a twofold operation.

Gallery

Promotional Videos

Trivia

  • According to Asagiri's afterword:[1]
    • 55 Minutes is the first light novel to feature Atsushi as the protagonist and to not be set in the past. As such, Asagiri states that it is set sometime after the tenth volume of the manga.
    • The season being explicitly stated to be summer is intentional, as Asagiri notes how a certain ability in the story, when activated, apparently fits being during the hot season.
    • Asagiri's editor suggested using a Japanese subtitle for the novel, but Asagiri remarked how they randomly switched between English and Japanese subtitles in the manga, hence settling with 55 Minutes as the light novel's subtitle.
  • Atsushi adopts the alias Matasaburo of the Wind as chosen by Dazai who claims it to be a traveler from Kenji's village, albeit soon admitting having made the character up for kicks. In reality, "Matasaburo of the Wind" (風の又三郎, Kaze no Matasaburō?) is a short story by the actual Kenji Miyazawa in 1934 that was adapted into a 1940 film of the same name.[2]
  • Nemo's primary inspiration, Arsène Lupin, is a fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise created by French writer Maurice Leblanc in 1905.[3] Meanwhile, Matasaburo greatly "admires" Goemon Ishikawa, who was a legendary outlaw hero who stole valuables to give to the poor.[4]

References

  1. Bungo Stray Dogs: 55 Minutes, Afterword.
  2. Kaze no Matasaburo. Wikipedia.
  3. Arsène Lupin. Wikipedia.
  4. Ishikawa Goemon. Wikipedia.

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