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.

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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.

Random Impressions Summer 2018 (Week 12): Frankenstein Family

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It’s been a few episodes since I last talked about this series, and I think the series has been going in an interesting direction. The family’s return to the lab was done in an interesting way, showing the fond memories that each family member has of the place despite being guinea pigs the entire time. It’s a strange dichotomy that I’m hoping to see expanded upon as the series progresses.

I like the landlord’s introduction into the series, as he provides that much-needed outside perspective. I’ll be curious to see how he reacts to the family’s true nature (or how they hide it from him). And though everyone warms up to him quickly, I like the idea of Tanisu being the only one to vent his frustrations at the landlord, which makes sense given Tanisu’s recent interaction with his tutor.

The idea that Tanisu is the group’s leader despite being the youngest actually interests me greatly. There’s a scene before the family infiltrates the lab in which Tanisu notes that his siblings don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation surrounding the lab. To me, that has nothing to do with genius. His siblings should have the maturity to understand what’s happening, so the fact that they don’t makes me curious.

I don’t really know what to make of the Sumire love triangle. Her character seemed to become standard pretty quickly.

You know, I was wondering about the side effects of the medicine that the girls kept complaining about, but I definitely didn’t expect this. Given that they were at the house when the medicine wore off the first time, how did Aisuri not completely destroy the house in this form? Honestly, this revelation makes me take Aisuri’s side here. If the side effects of the medicine are such a danger to society, Tanisu really shouldn’t be making them take the pills so easily.

Summer 2018 Grab Bag Week 10: Frankenstein Family

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With the second episode, the series seems to have gone back into slice of life mode. It’s not necessarily bad, as I like watching shows like that anyway. I do think that there’s a unique dark undertone that this series could have, so I kind of want to see that, but we’ll have to see where things go. It’s still too early to fully judge.

Not sure what’s going on with this girl. I totally expected her to be a classmate, but Tanisu didn’t seem to know her. I guess this is just a casual introduction for a side character?

The fact that Tanisu’s actually a genius is pretty interesting. I guess his parents didn’t experiment on him because they wanted him to succeed them or something. I think it would be cool if that was something Tanisu had to grapple with in this series, since he wants his family to be normal. I think it’s fine that his scientific curiosity is tied into his tendency to get lost, but you’d think he’d be smart enough to remember his way out.

I’m sure there’s some symbolism going on with the spider hovering over the family here, but it feels too vague for me to really get it.

I approve of these disguises. Still, I kind of want to see what the mystery medicine does. Presumably, it suppresses the family’s side traits, but the series never directly says it. I thought they had taken the medicine last week, but it really doesn’t seem to be the case.

Frankenstein Family First Impressions (1): Kind of late in the game, huh?

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this series, but it seemed okay from the first episode. I’m curious to see whether the show will have some kind of gimmick for itself, as it just seems like another slice of life show so far. As far as I can see, it’s just going to be daily life with scientifically altered siblings. There were a couple of moments in the episode that made me wonder if it would go past that, but that remains to be seen.

For the most part, the episode looked better than I was expecting. If I had to complain about anything, I’d say that some of the scenes transition a bit too quickly, but it’s not a big deal.

I’m definitely curious to see if the lab experiment part of the premise is explored any more. As it stands, the episode seems to take a pretty carefree stance on something that should be pretty messed up.

The Chinese culture aspects of the episode certainly appealed to me. I remember the first time I visited my family in China and learned about this whole thing with washing the tea cup. I was equally confused when I saw it myself, so it’s easy to relate to.

It’s pretty easy to relate to Tanisu, but this is line is still a legitimate point. I can understand Tanisu’s desire to have a loving family that supports each other, but the other siblings have a right to be annoyed at the fact that he’s trying to force them into normalcy.

Blasphemer!

I’m a little disappointed about the lab explosion reveal. Earlier in the episode, there’s a news article about a “mysterious explosion” in the past few days, which could have foreshadowed some darker moments for the series. Instead, this final scene suggests that it’s referring to whatever incident allowed the family to be freed from experimentation, which is a bit of a letdown. Oh well…

Kokkoku Final Episode (12): Could have been a worse ending

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This final episode felt like a bit of an improvement over last week’s episode, but I still had plenty of issues with it. I thought that Juri’s progression into becoming “stir crazy” was fine, but the ending didn’t feel satisfying for me. The characters in this series felt like they were being set up for something special, but none of them really got a chance to shine in the end. I’m having trouble thinking back to what many of these characters contributed.

This line from Majima illustrates one of my problems with this series. I have a problem with her stating with certainty something she has very light justification to say. Sure, it makes sense that Sagawa would have no memories if he’s been reconstructed as a baby from his DNA, but when has the Stasis world been so logical?

This sure does take a while, but it’s generally fine. I’m honestly surprised Juri lasts as long as she does without becoming a Herald.

Look, I think it’s great that the Founder appears in the first episode. I really do. It’s a mechanic that takes advantage of the time stop aspect of the show. The events of episode 12 and episode 1 are literally occuring on the same day. So, bringing things back full circle just works with the premise.

That being said, I still think that the Founder’s introduction fails to solve any mysteries while providing a very convenient out for Juri. As I said last week, this kind of development just screams of a show that isn’t really interested in presenting a consistent world. Magic is just used to explain whatever random development is needed.

Final Score: 6/10 – Pretty intriguing in the beginning, but the series never really goes anywhere with it.

Kokkoku Episode 11: Pretty random

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What…did I just watch? Am I the only one who thought this episode was a special kind of nonsense? From what I saw, it seemed like this episode was just making things up out of nowhere. Sure, I guess that gives points for being unpredictable, but most of these developments felt like they had no relationship to established story points.

I was happy to see Juri ignore Sagawa’s story and go straight for the kill. It’s too bad nothing came of it. Why didn’t Juri just keep using her power? She states that she could expel Sagawa if she used her power on his a few more times and decides to switch to using a knife. That kind of change is just begging for Sagawa to escape his death somehow.

Takafumi also gets a pretty good moment here when he demonstrates his resolve to kill Sagawa. However, he also feels like he’s wasted when the following scene shows Juri removing him from Stasis.

It’s the same with Makoto. His awakened power seems squandered when he only contributes slightly to the battle in the previous episode. Now, he’s just gone. I guess this episode was trying to tie up loose ends, but you could at least make it look thought out.

I think I can sum my problem with this episode up pretty simply. The developments in this episode seem to rely way too much on the fact that the Stasis world is a mysterious world of magic. When very little has been done to set up the rules of the world, it’s very easy to make up whatever development you want because you can explain it away with “magic”. It’s a style of explanation that I don’t like seeing, so I have a pretty low opinion of the series going into the next episode (which is presumably the final episode). Will the series make up for it in the finale?

At this point, Sagawa has done nothing to convince me that he deserves a second chance, but he’ll get one anyway. It makes the ending feel forced and sucks away any meaning.

Kokkoku Episode 10: The epic fight?

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Well, this week’s episode took kind of a strange turn. Too many points felt like they were really fizzling in this week’s episode, like Makoto’s power and the random dude who turned into a Herald. The main fight itself also felt really awkward to watch. It really didn’t seem consistent that Juri was acting reckless overall but left so many opportunities for Sagawa to get away from her attacks.

Majima brings up a really good question about the range of Makoto’s power here that just…disappears. The conversation is steered away from it and it’s never brought up again. All they would need to do is let the Herald walk really far ahead to see if “Takafumi” could still control it.

Am I the only one really curious about how the physics works in the Stasis world? I’m wondering what determines how quickly the baseball slows down after it’s hit by someone who can move. Is there just some arbitrary deceleration?

Given that Majima has some control over the physics in this world, I’m disappointed that her power isn’t related to how these baseballs work.

This scene really makes me think that there was no ultimate point to hiding Makoto’s power. It doesn’t really do much to establish that Takafumi’s a sleazy character because other scenes have done a pretty good job at that. Sagawa also isn’t fooled by it, so it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose other than…comic relief?

I’m not at all surprised by this development, but it still makes me sigh internally. We need to pad the run time some more, I guess…

Ugh, this line doesn’t bode well. I’m reserving judgment on Sagawa until I hear the rest of his story. So far, he’s just the son of a stereotypically corrupt priest who has decided that he wants to time travel. It doesn’t really seem that believable yet.

Kokkoku Episode 9: So many new things

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This week’s episode really felt like the series was trying to shove a number of story elements in without really explaining them. For example, the dying delinquent who turns into a Herald felt super random. I guess Sagawa’s motivations are explained a bit more, but I still don’t fully “believe” them without a little explanation on why he’s aiming for that goal.

I was quite surprised with Juri’s decision to destroy the stone. I’m sure it’s just meant to set up some drama to get her out, but the series might be interesting if it ends with her guarding over the Stasis world or something.

I have mixed feelings about Shiomi’s decision to switch sides. I liked the scene. Sagawa is part Herald, so his reaction makes sense since he would be able to read Shiomi’s intentions to an extent. And Sagawa immediately turns on Shiomi without any kind of mental dialogue to bog down the scene. It was also established that Shiomi was the type of person who would change sides easily. I just wish there was more explanation on why he decided to do it. He probably felt like things weren’t going in his favor when he saw the destroyed stone, but I wanted more than that.

I give Sagawa points for a unique plan. He feels less like a generic bad guy. However, the plan seems a bit sketchy. From what I could gather, he’s trying to figure out the Stasis world to the point where he can use the jellyfish to stall his body while moving time forward. Is that even possible? Am I just supposed to accept that it is? I also want to know what caused Sagawa to come up with this plan, but I’m sure that’s coming.

I’m willing to stay curious about where they go with Makoto’s power. Takafumi still seems like he’s being set up as the ultimate villain in this series, but I’ll hold judgment until I see where this is going.

That being said, Juri’s reaction to her father’s “power” was pretty spectacular.