Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 35: A secret duel to decide it all

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Ranpo chooses to fight

I guess the fight between the Port Mafia and the Armed Detective Agency wasn’t a lie after all. This week’s episode had some surprisingly entertaining interactions despite being mostly action-focused. I’m curious to see where this plot line is headed, since it’s looking grim.

Ranpo asks Atsushi to find Katai

It’s kind of weird for Ranpo to be the one gearing for a fight. I’m also not sure I like the fact that he conveniently gives Atsushi an out from the decision. Sure, it doesn’t necessarily go anywhere, but it seems like a quick way to cut off the conversation.

Katai is shot

Given the fact that he appears in the opening, I have a hard time believing that Katai is dead. I’m going to guess that Fyodor has him captured to keep him out of the fight.

Ranpo tricks Chuuya

Seeing Ranpo trick Chuuya was pretty awesome. Despite having no real combat effectiveness, Ranpo manages to neutralize a large threat from the Port Mafia with some help from Poe. It definitely took me a while to remember that Ranpo has no abilities, but it’s a cool scene.

Akutagawa sees himself in Kyouka

I definitely didn’t expect it, but this is a nice moment between Akutagawa and Kyouka. Akutagawa in particular seems to be softening with his interactions with Atsushi, so it’s nice to see him acknowledging that Kyouka has found her place. I like the idea that he sees himself in her and wishes her the best, even if she chose the other side.

The president meets with Mori

I was expecting the virus to fully incapacitate the two leaders, but it looks like we’re getting an epic fight instead. I’m curious to see the president in action a bit more, to be honest, but I look forward to seeing the fight overall.

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Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 34: Staving off the inevitable

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Tanizaki faces off against the Port Mafia

Wow, Fyodor really doesn’t mess around. While this episode didn’t end up being the massive fight it was hyped to be, I still liked what we got. There’s a good sense of pacing in the episode, which works to emphasize the fact that the Armed Detective Agency is racing against the clock. However, I’m having trouble making sense of where some of the story is headed, so I’ll have to wait to find out.

Kunikida is forced to fight kids

I thought that the focus on Kunikida was interesting, but part of me wonders why kids are so often used against him. That being said, I like the reference back to the OVA’s story, and it’s somewhat funny that Kunikida is somehow explosion-proof. What bothers me a bit is that I’m not sure what Fyodor’s trying to get at by bringing Katsura back into the story.

Fyodor plays in front of Katsura

The reference is fine, and I got the sense that the ultimate goal was to show that Fyodor is more ruthlessly trying to break Kunikida. However, he’s not exactly attacking Kunikida’s ideals like Katsura did. It’s more of a parlor trick, coldly killing a kid in front of Kunikida. I wonder how it will affect him going forward, but it’s not exactly related to Katsura.

The target is a trap

I’m curious about the fact that Fyodor uses a non-gifted person for his deception here. Who exactly are the gifted people in his organization? Does he even have any? Given that his ultimate goal is to wipe out the gifted, it’s not surprising that he doesn’t rely on them. So, I wonder if he even has any gifted allies.

Rampo discovers the fake document

Fyodor’s heavy use of misdirection in the series makes him a cool villain. It definitely makes you wonder how the Armed Detective Agency is going to avoid war if their only lead is a wild goose chase. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fyodor later reveals that the virus doesn’t even work the way he described it. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s outright lied about how a power works.

Tanizaki stands over Mori

I liked seeing Tanizaki in action in this episode. He has a great power, so it’s nice to see it take center stage. It’s clear that he could do some terrible things with his ability, but he largely holds back for the benefit of his sister.

Kouka saves Tanizaki

I’m a little sad that we didn’t get to see Kouka face off against Ozaki. I don’t remember how much it’s been set up before this season, but there’s a clear connection between the two. Is this season gearing towards a face-off between the Port Mafia and the Armed Detective Agency? That’s the only way I see that connection being explored.

Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 33: Let them fight

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The president is attacked at night

It looks like it’s finally time for Fyodor to make his move, and it was a big one. He seems to bring an interesting mental aspect to the series, which really allows Dazai to shine. He’s engineered a massive battle between the Armed Detective Agency and the Port Mafia, which I’m looking forward to seeing (if it actually happens). It’s been a long time since I’ve seen many of these characters in action, so it should be fun.

A string of attacks on gifted people

I think the idea of having the leaders of each organization attacked to spark conflict between them is great, but I did have a thought on it. Specifically with the president of the Armed Detective Agency, he generally doesn’t contribute to the story anyway. So, it’s like the story is taking out a character that wouldn’t otherwise do anything, and I don’t know how I feel about that.

The masked figure is revealed

I probably should have remembered Nathaniel from the last season, but I had another small nitpick to add here. We established in Fyodor’s introduction that his ability doesn’t allow him to control his target’s mind. Instead, he does that naturally. So, I think it would have been more impactful if Nathaniel had been truly convinced to help get rid of the gifted users. It could still be the case, but I don’t like how mind-broken he looks in this episode.

Fyodor is searching for the book

I’ll be honest. I’m a little skeptical about Fyodor’s plan here. Don’t get me wrong. His personality makes complete sense given the author he’s based on, but his ultimate vision could use some work. The whole “purge the gifted” thing isn’t the most inspiring goal. How big was his organization again?

Fyodor uses a virus to infect the leaders

Watching Dazai and Fyodor play chess with each other was great, but the episode could have given a little bit more explanation for this virus bit. Fyodor mysteriously says that it would end poorly if Dazai touched the virus, but that doesn’t really add up given what we know. Why wouldn’t it just work? Sure, it’s probably almost impossible to find them, but Fyodor makes it sound like there would be some backlash.

The Armed Detective Agency mobilizes

This fight is looking pretty epic so far. I think it’s funny that they cut the episode after Chuuya asks whether the fight will be one-on-one or all-out. I’m kind of wondering that myself.

Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 32: The power of money remains strong

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Louisa tries to find Francis

For a story entirely focused on the Guild, I thought that this week’s episode was fun. I wouldn’t say I like Francis more as a character after seeing this, but I think his actions make a lot more sense now. I’m curious to see what the implications of the Guild’s return will be. I think it would be cool if they allied themselves with the Armed Detective Agency in the same way the Port Mafia did for the previous season. Alternatively, they could just throw a wrench into the larger battle by acting as an independent faction.

Francis loses all of his value

I honestly don’t remember too much about the characterization that Francis got in the previous season (my apologies for my weak memory). I do remember that his power derives from sacrificing his monetary holdings, which is a neat concept. All of that aside, I liked that episode used monetary values to give a sense of his progress. It’s not something you can do often, and we get to see Francis go from 50 cents to 400 million dollars.

Louisa is captured by some thugs

One thing that did bother me about this episode was that I couldn’t get a sense of why Francis decided to come back. After giving a speech about how he no longer has the motivation to continue his efforts, he immediately reverses his entire decision after seeing Louisa in danger. Is that just meant to show that he cares for her? I would have understood it if he just came back to help, but he basically goes back on everything he said.

Francis is surprised to not own the entire building

Watching Francis deal with poverty was my favorite part of the episode. His implicit assumptions about owning the building and his obsession with cookery sales are hilarious. He’s adapting well.

Francis gives Louisa a hint

This comment was a bit leading for my taste, but I do like how the episode loops in the Armed Detective Agency. They effectively trick Ranpo into helping them. It does seem to set the groundwork for a future alliance, though. Maybe it makes more sense for Francis to act on his own, but I still like the idea of having him work together with the main cast.

Francis objects

I think Francis might be in the wrong series here. I probably would have been more impressed with his plan if I hadn’t already seen it before in Western dramas (the idea of short selling stock before immediately tanking a company). That being said, Francis is meant to be an American character, so you could even argue that it makes it more impressive that he’d use a tactic that’s often used in his supposed home country.

Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 31: The trials of parenthood

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Kyouka admonishes Demon Snow

It looks like the story is still on standby, but I did like the thematic style of this episode. On its own, it’s a combination of two side stories to explore the pasts of Atsushi and Kyouka some more. However, I like the idea that they share the same basic idea of a child being unable to understand the actions of their parents. I did think that the stories suffered a bit from being cobbled together, but I think it worked fine as a sense of emotional backstory.

Lucy appears with the missing page

On a completely unrelated noted, I think Lucy’s a fun addition to the cast. She seems to play the role of the jealous ex well. To be fair, her introduction is probably part of the reason why this episode felt a bit rushed, but I think she becomes better as a character from it. Her power makes for a funny interaction with Atsushi, especially when he tries to use it to dry their clothes.

Kyouka finds out about her parents

Kyouka’s story felt the most awkward for me in this episode. I was glad to see her return to the series, and I liked hearing the truth behind her parents’ death. The fact that Demon Snow originally belonged to her mother explains why she can’t control it well. Additionally, I feel like the story does a good job of explaining why she might have believed that she killed her parents, despite it being far from the truth.

Atsushi investigates a dead body

On the other hand, Atsushi’s side of the story ends up being relatively mundane, but I think the conclusion is built up better than Kyouka’s story. My first guess when I saw this scene was that the accident would be related to the blood control from Kyouka’s story, but it ended up being completely Atsushi-focused.

Atsushi struggles with how to react

I thought that Atsushi’s struggle with the death of the headmaster was interesting. It reasonable that he’d be upset with the headmaster for mistreating him, but it’s nice to see him overcoming that instinctive reaction. With everything he’s learned about his power, he’s come to see the world from the headmaster’s perspective in some sense, which I think is a great indicator of character growth.

Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 30: The mysterious girl

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The gang is feeling lethargic

Compared to last week’s episode, this week’s episode ended up being fairly light despite the explosive opener. It felt like a bit of a refresher to me, which I greatly appreciated given the gap from season two. Other than that, it was a fun episode overall, and it was cool to learn that Gin was Akutagawa’s sister.

The cafe is attacked

While I think the attack on the cafe was a bit excessive, it was an entertaining bit of mini-development. It makes sense that the detective agency members would need some time to chill after the Moby Dick incident, so the attack is a chance to shock them back into action. It became pretty obvious when the gang leader started bragging about his defenses that this group was destined to die.

Kunikida and Atsushi track down a hacker

The flashback in this scene is well-timed. Given that tracking down Katai as the hacker is actually a legitimate plot point, it’s nice that the episode refreshes the context of that search from the previous season’s climax. I know I certainly forgot about it. I wonder if this hacker will be the inevitable link to Fyodor (or if that’s just something else I’ve forgotten).

Higuchi offers to join the search

I think it’s a testament to how much anime I watch that my first thought when hearing about the “black-haired beauty” was that she was going to be a guy in disguise. I feel like that’s a problem.

Gin is caught

In general, I think it’s funny when the Port Mafia and the Armed Detective Agency have to work together, so this episode had an unexpected lightness to it. In the end, not much of the story really progresses, but it’s entertaining. If anything, this just proves that I have a lot to remember from this show.

Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 29: A veil of confidence

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Fyodor is captured

This episode was a pretty solid opening for the present day story. I liked how Fyodor was presented in this episode, and he’s shaping up to be a formidable foe. I’m looking forward to seeing how he interacts with the Armed Detective Agency, since he seems to be less focused on raw power. I definitely wasn’t expecting the characters introduced in this episode to get killed off, though.

Ace plans to overthrow Mori

I’m starting to wonder how the Port Mafia operates at any level with how many members want to kill Mori. It’s seeming like a common trait amongst the stronger members of the organization at this point.

Fyodor declares his power

I think the best part of the episode was the fact that Fyodor both lies and tells the truth about his power. He truly does have the ability to mess with people’s minds, but it’s not his supernatural power. I think it’s a nice distinction to make because of perception. In this series, we get a flashy effect whenever a power is used, but presumably not all abilities are that showy. Can a normal person even tell if a power is being activated?

Ace figures out Fyodor's power

Even if the ending is a bit grim, I liked the concept behind the episode. As Fyodor explains later in the episode, he essentially takes advantage of the confidence people feel when they’ve figured something out. This might just be the neuroscience background in me talking, but I thought that aspect was really cool. He describes a cognitive bias that actually happens, and he uses it to trick Ace into killing himself.

Fyodor steals the list of powers

In the end, Fyodor was fighting an information battle, which gives him a lot of potential as a character. He might end up being a good match for Dazai, who tends to handle the strategic thinking for the Armed Detective Agency. I’m honestly surprised that the collared lackey we met in this episode died as well. I would have expected him to join up with Fyodor. It was a bit sad.

Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 28: Space and gravity

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Randou kept his memories

This story ended up being cool, but I thought that the episode did a lot in the end to kind of tie things up with a bow. I liked how Chuuya’s story end up going, but I would have liked to see a bit more of his thought process when he decides to devote himself to the Port Mafia. Also, I’m a bit sad that the resolution of the Arahabaki piece is a different story.

Dazai enjoys himself

Dazai’s mentality here is a bit strange, but I suppose he’s younger in this story. It is interesting, though. He seems to like the idea of being in the Port Mafia because death will surround him more than he’d see in the normal world. I like that he mentions that it would also be more realistic, since it helps to supplement his typical suicidal tendencies.

Dazai confers with Chuuya

Watching Dazai and Chuuya work together was really cool. I like how the series has come to give just cause for the two to understand each other. Also, the fight itself looked great. When Chuuya attacked Randou within the subspace, Randou’s reactions were grounded in realism despite the supernatural nature of the fight.

Chuuya blows up everything

This episode did a great job of making me more curious about the Arahabaki incident, since it doesn’t add up with Chuuya’s current powers at all. Randou mentions that Chuuya is mostly a vessel, which makes me wonder what makes his powers so drastically different in the past. However, I guess we won’t be seeing that story any time soon. Maybe it will be the precursor for season four?

Chuuya gets Randou's hat

Well, I definitely wasn’t expecting Chuuya’s hat to be explained in this story too, but I’ll take it. We’ve seen Chuuya question his role as a leader, so his reaction to Mori’s steadfast mentality as a leader isn’t super surprising. I just wish it had been set up more. I’m guessing the story needed a fairly quick resolution. His recognition of his own shortcoming makes sense, but I’m not sure I believe him immediately swearing fealty.

Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 27: The real god

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Dazai chastises Chuuya for using brute force

This story doesn’t really have any brakes, does it? This week’s episode basically blazes forward from the setup in the first episode. I like how this arc is shining the spotlight on how broken Dazai while he was in the Port Mafia. He makes jokes, but he doesn’t have the goofy attitude we see in the present. I also like Chuuya’s addition into the story, since it would probably be less interesting if it was just another prequel arc solely devoted to Dazai.

Dazai is annoyed at doing more work

The episode starts off from where it left off last week with Chuuya and Dazai facing off against some armed mercenaries. I do like how the fight acts to contrast the two. Chuuya takes a more direct approach, relying on his overwhelming strong abilities to take out multiple foes. On the other hand, Dazai’s power only works against those with abilities, so he tends to avoid combat when necessary.

Dazai confronts Chuuya

However, I think it’s more than just a brains and brawn scenario. As we see later in the episode, Chuuya is perfectly capable of piecing together the evidence. It seems more like he prefers the direct approach, which is likely aided by his ability. So, he isn’t just dumb. I think that’s why he’s able to work well Dazai, and it explains why Dazai calls him lazy.

Dazai cruelly kills the soldier

The episode also reveals a more sadistically cruel side to Dazai, which I think is interesting. He goes through the effort of asking for permission to finish off the dying soldier, but he also displays a sick sense of pleasure while shooting him.

Randou is busted

Given how few characters were introduced in this arc so far, it wasn’t particularly hard to guess that Randou was the one behind the recent attacks. The whole thing with the sea was a nice touch, but I wasn’t too surprised. I’m much more curious about the fact that Chuuya claims to be Arahabaki.

Chuuya talks about Arahabaki

Again, there aren’t too many characters in this arc, so there are only so many options for this Arahabaki thing, but I’m looking forward to seeing how Dazai reacts to it. He seems a bit taken aback in this episode, but I’m guessing he had some kind of suspicion. After all, he asked the other Sheep members for more details about Arahabaki after already deducing that Randou was behind the recent attacks.

Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 26: This is starting to feel like a trend

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Chuuya walks across an airplane wing

It sure has been a while, but it seems like we’re back with another prequel arc. I suppose that’s just the typical pattern for this series. I’m sure I’ve forgotten nearly everything from the first two seasons, but this arc still seems interesting. It seems to introduce the Port Mafia’s boss while focusing on the feud between Dazai and Chuuya.

Dazai tries to kill himself with some drugs

I want to make a quick note about episode 25 (the one called “Dead Apple”), since it came out as well. It’s technically an OVA that’s meant to follow the second season, so I didn’t think it was appropriate to split it off into a separate post. It’s a story that focuses more on Kunikida in the present, pitting him against a serial bomber with a grudge against him.

It was a fun episode, especially with its literal reference to the trolley problem (a well-known moral test). I don’t remember whether Aya is a character that’s been introduced before, but it would be cool to see her play more of a role whenever the third season returns to the present day.

Dazai witnesses the death of the old boss

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t remember how much of this stuff has been said before, but I do like how this episode goes into Port Mafia boss’s past. It explains why Dazai was so surprisingly influential within the organization, since he knows the secret of the boss’s rise to power. Additionally, I liked that Dazai pointed out how advantageous he was as a witness given his suicidal tendencies. He could be easily silenced without drawing suspicion, because people are used to him trying to die.

Dazai attempts to stop Chuuya

I also think it’s cool to see how Chuuya and Dazai are portrayed in this episode. The previous prequel arc explored the reason Dazai chose to leave the Port Mafia, so he was clearly a more seasoned fighter at that time. In this arc, he seems more fresh-faced, and the fight in this episode demonstrates it. Dazai has the forethought to hide his power until he finds an opening, but his surprise at Chuuya’s reaction ultimately forces him to waste his chance.

Dazai meets the old boss

The fact that Hirotsu is also an old man made the revelation about the old boss a little hard for me in this episode. When the old boss appears, I just assumed that Hirotsu was unleashing some kind of additional power. Maybe he’s still a part of this, but it definitely took me some time to understand that the old boss truly had come back. I was under the impression that Dazai was squashing out some sympathizers for the old boss or something.

Chuuya and Dazai team up

I think it’s a bit funny that the episode puts a lot of effort into explaining why the old boss’s death was a secret, and yet the secret seems to get revealed fairly easily. I don’t know how to feel. I liked how the episode portrayed the disconnect between Chuuya and Dazai, though. They clearly see themselves as polar opposites, but they complement each other well.