This week has been pretty crazy for me. I’ve hardly had time to watch any anime at all. In fact, I haven’t watched anything since Monday. I was a little anime starved and as I have been enjoying Bungo Stray Dogs so much lately, I was really looking forward to this episode for many reasons. You should know, there’s going to be spoilers, I can’t avoid it. Lot’s happened!
As I said last week, I am loving the solid build up we’ve been seeing but I worry with the season being only 12 episodes, we will either get a very rushed conclusion or, more likely, no conclusion at all. That’s really the only thing that I can fault the season with. If it was 26 episodes I would be happily watching also without a care in the world. That’s also the only reason I’ve been urging the plot to start in earnest.
However, as soon as I saw the opening scenes, I changed my mind. It was Fukuzawa. Aside from Mori, Fukuawa has to be my favourite character. At least potentially. We really know next to nothing about the man and I have been desperate to now more ever since the first season. It should be noted that Fukuzawa Yukichi, the real-life inspiration for the character was also a fascinating and admirable figure. I really need to write about the actual authors someday…
As I was saying, Mori and Fukuzawa are my favourites. I’ve been lucky to catch up with Mori a bit this season so the thought of spending an episode with Fukuzawa, to even things out, was wonderful. If they can make his as entertaining as Fitz was last week, this will be one to remember.
Yeah, that was not fun to watch. It seems someone is dispatching gifted (sounds like a certain Dead Apples movie) and Fukuzawa has just become the next victim. For a second I almost dropped everything and went on google to make sure he survives but I resisted the urge. Fukuzawa does, in fact, survive the initial attack, but he’s left in critical condition with an array of unexplained symptoms.
What struck me in these scenes was how calm Doppo was. Everyone else is understandably frazzled, while Ranpo is downright devastated but Kunikida is thinking things through, as rationally as possible. He’s stepping up to his role as second in command of the Armed Detective Agency quite admirably.
I was a little bummed about this turn of events. Thankfully I got Mori just in time to distract me with his scruffy bumbling act. Dishevelled Mori is best Mori. When that explosion happened I almost gave up. But of course, Mori was fine. It was all part of the plan. How could I think that Mori would be taken in so easily…
I got my hopes up. We know that the two bosses have a shared history but we’ve never really delved into it. This would be the episode that showed us where it all started. Mori would hunt down the gifted killer as Fukuzawa was fighting for his life and at the last second, the Port Mafia would share some crucial information to save the life of the Agency president. The episode would be intercut with flashbacks of when the two were best friends and how they had a falling out.
In case you think I have some insight, I’m making all of this up. It’s quite possible that Fukuzawa and Mori were never friends at all. Nevertheless, that was the split second headcanon I created while watching Elise drop Mori on his hiney in the middle of the street.
And then it all came crashing down. Not just Mori. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Fyodor as a character. He is an envigorating villain that has revitalized the franchise. As much as I am enjoying Demon Slayer and Kibutsuji in particular, Fyodor is my pick for the top antagonist of the season. His delivery is just so chilling to me. At first, I thought his open attack on Mori seemed just a little too plain for such a character but on second thought, it fits him so well, especially when you find out the twist.
At this point, we finally see the return of Dazai. This season did something weird with who was arguably the main character or at least deuteragonist of the franchise. Unlike everyone else, the third season of Bungo Stray Dogs set about dehumanizing Dazai in the opening arc by really insisting on the more unpleasant and unsettling aspects of his personality, and then help him back in all subsequent episodes. As a result, I feel like I know this Dazai less than I did before and I’m never sure if I can trust him at all.
This makes for a much more interesting character. Rather than the smart mouth anti-hero archetype we see everywhere, we now have a viable compromised hero. Someone who can keep the audience on their toes and has enough history to make a heel turn completely believable. As much as I want Dazai to be a good guy, he just isn’t. And that’s kind of amazing.
What followed was one of those genius on genius conversations that are so hard to write without ending up sounding quite stupid. This one was o.k. as far as they go. The discussion itself wasn’t special but it was elevated by Fydor’s consistently spectacular voice acting and one really great twist.
It seems that the actual plan was to infect both Mori and Fukuzawa with a gifted parasite. An invader that incubated within a host for 8 hours then kills them. But this parasite is actually linked. It needs two hosts and if one of the hosts dies, the parasite dies as well, leaving the other host home free. In other words, for Fukuzawa to live Mori must die or vice versa.
And now, both the Armed Detective Agency and the Port Mafia know this!
See, it’s a great twist. Simple enough for me to explain with a few sentences. It has the potential to create a huge conflict but at the same time completely changes the nature of the two entities’ relationship. They are at each other’s throats more than ever but are also in the exact same situation and sympathize with one another like never before.
And just as everything was coming to ahead, that fantastic opening riff of the ED rang through. Man, I love that song. I’m not sure how my heart made it through this rollercoaster. I’ve absolutely no clue how I’m supposed to wait an entire week to find out what happens!
One quick side note, Chuuya seems to be second in command for the Port Mafia. Considering how badly his last leadership role went, I wonder if he’s really up to it…
My screencap addiction may actually be starting to pay off. I’m picking up on things in the stills I would never have seen otherwise. You can see for yourself HERE if you like.
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!