Every Friday after I finish the latest episode of Bungo Stray Dogs’ season 3, I think the exact same thing to myself: Gowsh – I can’t wait to see the next one! This should give you a clue about how this review is going to go!
Let me just say right off the bat, the writing this season has gone up a considerable notch! You hear about animation boosts as budgets get increased for later seasons of popular shows, well this time we have a narration boost and it is hugely welcomed.
The episode starts off by catching us up with the Armed Detective Agency. This is pure nostalgia fanservice but I have to admit, I got a huge kick out of seeing them all together again. Even Atsushi was great and I usually find him rather dull. We got some friendly and fun little banter in a coffee shop that established a much lighter mood than we’ve seen so far and reminded us that BSD is often a comedy. But a shadow was lurking, dum dum DUM.
One scene later that lovely café where they had enjoyed such a pleasant afternoon, lay in tatters and the owner was holding an injured hand with his fingernails ripped off. As I looked at our heroes’ horrified faces I though, whoa – they are wasting no time. Attacking straight on the agency’s home turf and violently at that. This is epic. Does Fyodor really move that fast? why? The scene was such a 108 from the previous one, it made me dizzy in the best way.
We quickly find out it was the doing of some new criminal organization called the Park but their affiliations are uncertain. At this point I thought to myself, well this is a little weak. The new leader was carefully detailing the organization and flexing in what was a rather ungraceful straightforward info dump. Not to mention that yet another criminal organization in this occasionally overstuffed plot seemed lazy. Dostoyevsky is much more interesting as a lone gunman villain and brings something new. If we wash him down with some two bit gang, the character loses some of his appeal and mystic.
And I should really learn some patience some day. Not only did the Armed Detective Agency track down this supposedly uncatchable group in seconds, they also disposed of them in roughly the same span of time. We even got to see Akiko have some fun which is always a reat. Not only that but the next intant the café was back in sparkling form and the apparently unharmed owner seemed no worse for wear.
the entire opening act was one big slapstick subversion of every trope we’ve come to expect from the show. It was wry, funny with just a bit of bite and reintroduced us to the characters in the best way possible. I don’t think past seasons managed this level of charm or wits in the writing and it set the bar rather high, in a season that has been impressive on that front.
The rest of the episode took a turn as it split focus between Atsushi and Doppo trying to get help from a former Armed Detective Agency member called Katai Tayama and Higuchi trying to figure out what Akutagawa is up to.
Katai has a gift which allows him to control computers and Doppo is hoping this will help them figure out something about the microchip that almost caused the Moby Dick to crash into the city last season. Unfortunately the man is lovestruck, having fallen for an elegant black haired beauty, and currently useless until he can track down the lady and confess.
Meanwhile, Higuchi accidentally runs into Akutagawa outside Mafia headquarters for once but he is with an elegant black haired beauty, which leads Higuchi to fear the worst. Namely that he has gotten himself a girlfriend! Hilarity and hijinks abound as the two groups cross paths and rce to find out the truth. I,m not gonna tell you what it is. There’s a few good twists. You should watch this episode!
The second half unfold like a lighthearted romantic comedy. Complete with misunderstandings and comical overreaction but that smart writing still come through. First it’s just plain fun but mostly, it sets up a lot of things without making obvious at all.
Throughout the episode we are reminded of the season two finale and they are starting to tie both season’s together, making a larger arc rather than throwing out past seasons like a lot of shonen. Second, the episode served as a huge character development (even a touch of backfill) for a lot of important players.
Most notably the stoic Higuchi just became my favourite character, showing an adorably hopeless side and just plain fun personality. But we also got a lot of background information and establishment on important Port Mafia characters we hardly saw in the episode. Not to mention that it was a pretty in depth introduction for Katai which might turn out to be a major player (or sacrificial pawn) this season.
If this keeps up, season 3 is set to eclipse the previous ones in my mind and I’m already a little bummed out that it only gets 12 episodes. This story had potential to grow and it seems to be in the hands of a very skilled team. This will likely be the season that finally pushes me to buy all the manga.
As a side note, I’m really enjoying both the OP and ED. The OP is fun with a good beat to and great animation to get you in the mood, while the ED is a smooth wind down after the excitement of the episode with just a hint of melancholy in the imagery. I think I like the visuals of the OP a little better and the song of the ED a bit more. Do you have a preference?
Since Karandi doesn’t have unlimited storage space, I’ve dumped all the screencaps on my blog so you can go see them HERE if you like. Yes there is an unreasonable number of them.
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!