I don’t know what’s going on this week. I’ve watched a few anime that I’ve really enjoyed but also made me cry. It’s been a very bittersweet sort of week. And Bungo Stray Dogs fits right in!
This week it seems we are continuing on the foundational work of developing characters which really should have been better established in earlier seasons. More specifically, we are looking at Kyouka and Atsushi with a little side of Lucy.
On paper this worries me. I have nothing against Kyouka But I always figured she was the token gap more character. The adorable lethal girl with the lethal skills for those that enjoy that sort of thing. Through 2 season and a movie she’s pretty much only been an attractive archetype with nothing much to bring other than a slight twist on the damsel in distress. The bad**s in distress, I suppose.
As for Atsushi, in many ways I feel he’s the weak link in the series. He’s sort of dull and annoyingly emotional. If he has to makepeace with his gift and accept the tiger one more time, I might need some Pepto. I know it sounds harsh but the only two modes this kid has is expositional wallflower or super angsty weretiger. It gets grating, or worse, boring.
How am I doing selling this episode so far?
Maybe I’m just predisposed to this season, but I think there’s been a net improvement in Atsushi’s character. I’m not about to call him my favourite or anything but we’ve been focusing on him for two episodes now and I’ve yet t be annoyed by him. He got a bit emotional in the second half of this one, but it was pretty justified.
We start off by being reintroduced to Lucy and neatly tying off a loose end from season 2 in the process. Well done guys! Lucy is a great choice as a character to bring back. She’s shifty enough that her allegiances could go either way. Her gift is powerful but inconvenient. I might have prefered to see a little more of Twain or Poe, but she’s a solid choice.
The arc then quickly shifts to show us finally what happened to Kyouka’s parents and it’s not exactly what we’ve been led to believe. In fact, it was considerably more interesting in my opinion. And it fundamentally changes a lot of what Kyouka has held as truth and has been influenced by all her life. She must now figure out how to shift her anger and her guilt. This revelation changes everything.
But by far the best part, was how this revelation came to light. There are still people in this world that love Kyouka very much. I teared up a little.
The second half tok yet another stab at Atsushi’s les misérable orphanage past but for the first time we get a bit of moderation. It’s still awful but with space and perspective it becomes nuanced. People do terrible things with the best of intentions.
We don’t get that much in the way of new information but the episode did tell us one very important things. Atsushi led a difficult and painful childhood. One that was unfair and that no child deserves. But he was also loved. And the man who raised him, truly did want him to grow up to be a good and happy man. That’s a gift that cannot be overestimated.
It throws your whole world astray. When you believed yourself to have been completely alone and reviled your entire life, to suddenly find out that someone out there was trying their best for you. And then to just as quickly find out that that person is now gone. That’s a pretty trying emotional roller coaster for anyone o put up with. Especially little Atsushi.
So what are we left with after having our two young heroes face their mommy and daddy issues and completely upend their understanding of the world. Well, we do have two important but so far very flat characters finally gain some depth. It was also smart to keep the stories fairly short. No time for overblown melodrama or annoying contrivances.
It was probably the weakest episode of the season when taken by itself but you can tell that it’s foundational and I appreciate seeing that effort is being put into the groundwork. It’s a good sign.
I’m looking forward to the next episode and I’m starting to miss Fyodor just a smidge.
As usual, in order not to clutter Karandi’s media library I’ve stored the rest of the screencaps on my blog. If you’d like, you can go see them HERE .
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!