I tell you, Friday could not come soon enough this week. Well, that’s true of pretty much every week but this week had the added thrill of me looking forward to Bungo Stray Dogs with bated breath. Not only did last week’s episode end on a pretty great cliffhanger but I’ve also been listening to the fantastic ED all week. It’s Lily by Luck Life. Turns out the band is behind most of Bungo Stray Dogs’ EDs and they’re all very good. I recommend you give them a listen.
And before we start, for those of you who are more picture type people than word type people, you can find my gallery of screencaps for this week’s episode over HERE, on my blog.
For those of you who don’t remember, or unknown reason Fyodor has maneuvered another gifted to use his power to infect both Fukuzawa and Mori with a virus that will kill both of them unless one dies first. When episode 8 left off, the Mafia was getting ready to invade Fukuzawa’s hospital room and destroy the Agency members standing in their way.
So far I have only recapped episode 8 a bit for context but now we are getting into the disturbingly named Cannibalism pt1 episode and there will be spoilers. All the spoilers! I’m just going to describe everything that happened! Ok, not EVERYTHING. But close.
and so, the Mafia members are gearing up for the attack when Psych! Turns out it was all an illusion of Tanazaki’s Light Snow. All the other actual Agency detectives(?) actually managed to escape with Fukuzawa through the world’s quietest gaping hole in a concrete wall. Of course, Ranpo has a full proof plan and that plan is to leave Tanizaki behind as a hostage and security, buying the rest of them time to find the virus gift user and neutralize him. Poor Tanizaki, he seems to get a lot of these thankless jobs. In season 1 he was constantly put in harms way over the flimsiest reason and in season 2 he barely made an appearance. Once again here he is, being a pawn. It’s a little mean.
The Agency team split up, leaving Doppo and Atsushi to hunt down Pushkin n the city slums. Oh boy…Pushkin! Dostoyevsky is one thing but Puskin is a whole other bag of worms. Before you think I’m being dismissive, let me make this clear, Fydor Dostoyevsky, both the author and the character is tremendous and more than just a little frightening. An excellent choice for an antagonist. However, Pushkin just fits in so well with the Japanese authors. His writing is no dissimilar to Doppo’s earlier works before his switch to naturalism. As for his life, well let’s just say there are a few tragic patterns that come up disturbingly often if you read the biographies of the Port Mafia and Armed detective Agency namesakes. And Pushkin’s own pattern is quite similar. Just a touch more Russian.
We also hear the name of Fydor’s organization, if you could call it that. Fyodor doesn’t strike me as a man who has partners or associates. He doesn’t quite have the personality to even have lackeys. But it does seem like he did at least use a few other gifted and bring them together under the name The Rats in The House of the Dead. I think we may have heard the name before but it’s the first time I paid attention to it and I loved it! For those who may not know The House of the Dead is an autobiographical novel by Dostoyevsky, which makes this name just so whimsical. I wish it was the name of my high school band.
Oh boy, we are barely 5 minutes into the episode. Am I getting worse at this? Ok…Top Speedo! Doppo and Atsushi find Pushkin quickly but it turns out the dude has a horde of little brothers and sisters armed to the teeth, who are all protecting him. Good news: little kids can’t aim automatic weapons at all! Star trooper levels of firearm proficiency. Bad News: shooting little kids makes you feel kinda bad about yourself.
We also get our first glimpse of Dostoyevsky’s powers when Doppo and Atsushi come across a little girl in a tunnel, wearing grenades as jewellery and ready to blow herself up to stop them. Doppo stays behind to talk the girl down as Atsushi races ahead to catch up with Pushkin. As Doppo and the girl talk we see her have a vision of Fydor, or maybe a memory, urging her to protect her brother. It’s still rather vague but it would seem that Fyodor has some mind control or manipulation power. Maybe some memory alteration as well. I’m not entirely sure all those kids were really related. Whatever the details though, the true threat lies in his prodigious strategist skills. At one point, Ranpo states that going against him is like what it would be to go against Dazai. Scary.
I slowed down again! Uhhh…o.k…there’s some tragedy, some sad, this creepy cello music that really suits the mood and gets extra points when it turns out it’s actually being played by Fyodor. The bam! Atsushi catches up to Pushkin except it turns out it isn’t Pushkin and they have all been royally played. With time running to and their backs against the wall, they have no other choice but to give up on Pushkin for the moment and try to retrieve Tanizaki unharmed. Well reasonably harmed. Poor Tanizaki.
This is where the episode switches to his point of view and makes me eat my words. I’ve always seen Tanizaki as one of the more docile members of the Agency and for lack of a better word, one of the weaker ones, at least in combat. He’s more of an infiltration guy not so much of a warrior. And boy did I eat my words. It was great to see Tanazaki finally get some glory. The fight scenes were fun and lively and his gift was finally shown as the powerful tool it is. I was cheering for him.
All the way to Mori’s room. I was conflicted as he stood over one of my favourite characters. Mori lying there helpless in that big bed with a knife poised over him. Perfectly mirroring the scene of the end of the last Port Mafia boss that we’ve seen so many times by now. Fortunately for Mori, a bit of Koyou ex machina saved his hide. Less fortunately for Tanizaki and I’m just going to say that at this point, the Armed Detective Agency members are getting suspiciously resilient.
However, the show said I see your Koyou ex Machina and I raise you a Kyouka ex machina! Yay, everybody’s saved well not really. Tanizaki is seriously hurt, Dazai is still in the hospital, both Mori and Fukuzawa are still set to die in about a day and I think Doppo might not be ok at all… My yay may have been premature!
We close out on Fyodor and Shousaku Katsura who he has taken hostage for some reason. That was the kid with the huge grudge against Doppo who put the bombs in the subway. And this guy asks Fyodr what we all want to know “What is your goal?”.
Despite my occasionally snippy comments, I did like this episode. It was fast-paced and unnerving. Hearing that child cry was very affecting and I am more attached to the characters and eager to see what comes next. I do wonder why we bothered with that fantastic return episode for Francis if we’re just not going to see him again. It really feels like BSD is just banking big time on a season 4.
Narratively, this was one of the weaker episodes. There were some holes in there, a few things got seriously glossed over and it just seemed sloppier than what we’ve seen s far. But it was still very fun to watch. Hopefully, this will be the case again next week!
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!