Well, I got to give it to them, it’s not perfect but Bungo Stray Dogs did manage to tie up most of the loose ends. Not only that but they found a way t make use of all those background episodes, even brought back Francis. His episode remains my favourite in what has been a consistently strong season. I still want more and this ending felt abrupt, but the story doesn’t seem as unfinished as I would have thought a week ago. You win this time! That’s 2 for me and 2937761 for you…
You probably did not see this coming at all, but you can find my gallery for this final Bungo Stray Dogs SEason 3 episode by following his here link to my blog! But first. let’s talk finale!
We hit the ground running as the episode completely skips over the OP to plunge us right back into the heart of the action. Atsushi and a now stricken but impressively lively Akutagawa are chasing after Pushkin to force him to cancel his ability. As the action ramps up, we get a beautiful classical music score to drowns out all other noise. Admittedly I really love Tchaikovsky so I may be biased, but I thought this score really added a lot to the scene. Not for the first time this season, I was impressed by the use of music, which is definitely not something I could say for previous seasons. (Aside from the great EDs).
As fun as the chase was, it turned out to be a bait and switch as the main antagonist of the episode soon showed up and Akutagawa and Atsushi were forced to turn their attention to him, letting Pushkin escape. It took me a while to figure out this guy was supposed to be Goncharov. In classic Bungo Stray Dogs style, the character completely subverts his namesake.
Ivan Goncharov was by all accounts a dour and bitter man. He had a very public feud with Ivan Turgenev (another Russian author) who he accused of plagiarism and defamation, both of which have so far not been substantiated. And bear in mind this was the mid to late 1800s when it was very difficult to have a very public anything. You had to put an effort in. Stick around not moving for like 5 minutes just to get a photograph… This man was dedicated to his discontent! Also, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who was about a decade younger, considered him one of the great Russian authors of the time and had a lot of respect for the man, while I’m not sure Goncharev ever even mentioned him at all.
Most of the episode is dedicated to the fight between these three men. It’s very well animated and fun to watch, but as we have never really met Goncharov before this moment, there’s little to no emotional connection there. He’s not particularly threatening like Fyodor (ok but who is? good point me) I mean we don’t know anything other than h seems to have a pretty powerful gift. His character could have been replaced by an earthquake with relatively little impact on the plot.
On the upside, we did get a chance to see the two upstarts bond a little. I have to say, unlike a lot of characters this season, Akutagawa did not get much in the way of development. I found this very surprising. mean, we learned a bit about his family and that was great, but he was really secondary in that story. Instead what the narrative did is give him a few very brief but significant interactions with key characters. Key for him at least. First Gin, then Kyouka and Dazai. In all of these exchanges, Ryo reacted in unexpectedly relatable ways and by the time this episode rolled around he had been so humanized that it was believable that he would put himself in danger to protect Atsushi. If it meant victory of course. Not just cause it’s the right thing to d. Let’s not go crazy!
I have to admit, on its own the whole Atsutagawa fusion bit was pretty silly. Dare I say even a touch stupid. However, by now, the season had built up enough good will in my book, that I really didn’t care. I just saw it as fun. I also really like the Ying Yang motif they put in that tar pit scene!
it’s not perfect, but I see it
Despite the fact that the Goncharov confrontation probably took up most of the episode in terms of screentime, it’s the final at that really stuck in my mind. Pushkin escapes the tunnels only to be greeted by pretty much the entire Port Mafia and Armed Detective Agency front lines. Let’s just say that pesky cannibalism virus was expediently dealt with. Meanwhile, we find out that Fyodor has been peacefully enjoying his tea in a completely different part of town and normally, that would be it. A traditional cliffhanger to bait us into watching another season as our heroes are out of immediate danger but the real villain rides off into the sunset.
Except this isn’t a normal show and we still don’t know if one of the main protagonists isn’t the real villain. Dazai is a constant wrench in the works. So who better to be waiting for Fyodor in that caffe? Awww, don’t worry about it, I’ll tell you who. Francis, that’s who! Not only did they bring him back (not the young programmer though), but they even gave him a logical reason to be there. That was a very good…what’s the opposite of a plot hole? A plot hill?
It was a good ending. Heck, I’m impressed they managed to pull off anything resembling an ending at all. There was action, we got to see all our favourite characters and even a mega happy ending with everyone dressed in fancy clothes. A rare smile from Fukuzawa became my favourite gif of the season. There were a couple of nice Chuuya ones as well…
But you know, even with Dostoyevsky seemingly outwitted at the last minute and being escorted out by an entire swat team of government agents, h didn’t seem particularly defeated. Just momentarily thrown off. When I said they pulled off an ending what I mean is that they created a natural break in what is obviously a larger narrative. There is clearly more to this story. And if the quality in direction and production keeps up, I desperately want to see the rest. I think I want to see the rest either way, actually.
As the end scene played over that wonderful closing music. It really is fantastic! I immediately started to miss the series. I guess it’s yet another manga I have to buy now. Please Bones, make another season!
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!