The Spring 2019 Anime Preview Guide
Bungo Stray Dogs Season 3
How would you rate episode 26 of
Bungo Stray Dogs (TV 3) ?
Community score: 3.8
What is this?
How was the first episode?
I'm not entirely sure why the third season of Bungo Stray Dogs opted to start back in the past, but it's not like there's no precedent for this within the show – a later period of Dazai's life with the Port Mafia covered in a separate novel (coming out in English soon!) was inserted into the storyline of an earlier season. My only issue with it is that anime-only viewers have presumably been waiting to see what the hell is going on with Fyodor Dostoyevsky as was teased in the final episode of season two, and this is far from answering that question. (In fact, it looks like we'll have two-to-three weeks to wait for it.)
All of that aside, this is an interesting episode. We've seen that Dazai and Chuuya have a difficult relationship before, and now this is our chance to understand how it all started. It's not quite as simple as Dazai is more laid-back than hot-headed Chuuya; Chuuya was actually forced to join the Port Mafia by Mori since he was causing problems as an Ability user going after mafia members. Since he and Dazai have relatively complimentary powers and are both fifteen, Mori decides to put them both on the case of whether or not the previous boss (whom Mori killed) has actually returned from the dead or not. While there's an argument to be made that Mori was just carrying out the previous boss' wishes by killing “those against the Port Mafia” since the boss' orders would likely have caused the group's demise, he's still justifiably nervous about the truth of his power grab coming to light. Since Dazai was his only witness, that means that he's able to use the boy as he wishes. (Remembering of course that Dazai wants to kill himself, not be killed by someone else.)
The highlight here is seeing Dazai and Chuuya as young teens not yet fully formed into who they'll become. Dazai's more morose in general, but the way he skips around is a nice indication of the more carefree spirit he'll become, and the way he grumbles at Chuuya feels very true to his age. Chuuya, meanwhile, hasn't yet developed his natty style of dress and is slinking around like some sort of bad boy wannabe, with his instinct still being to let his temper get the best of him. To say that both of these kids are ripe for Mori to use them as he wants might be an understatement – they're both so caught up in who they think they need to be that they're amazingly manipulatable. Doubtless this episode will be a major one in terms of their becoming the characters we know from stories set in the present. Watching that develop over however many episodes this past arc gets will be fascinating, no matter how anxious I am to learn more about the Rats in the House of the Dead and what they're up to as we speak.
After all the major shifts in the Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple film and second season, I was a little disappointed to spend the entire premiere (and presumably the next episode) on a flashback story focusing on Dazai's time at Port Mafia. That said, I'm always happy when they trim down the cast a bit. The Arms Detective Company and the Port Mafia casts have grown large over the last two seasons so honing in on just Mori, Dazai, and the newly introduced Chuuya helps keep things from getting too confusing. Well, almost.
Most of this episode is a big ol' exposition dump that will require even those familiar with the series to take out a pen and paper. The narrative is already laying the groundwork for potential backstabbing and heel turns. Chuuya agrees to an allegiance with the Port Mafia under duress as Mori holds his fellow Sheep as hostage. Mori himself could be undone if other members of the mob find out he murdered their leader and assumed power under false pretenses. Dazai is always in it for himself and his allegiance to Mori is tenuous at best. There's also a monster roaming around that summons dead, causing giant explosions in its wake. This leads to a government cover-up of said explosions and casualties.
All in the span of 23 minutes and I'm still wondering what happened to Hirotsu? The old guy faces off against Chuuya alongside Dazai mid-episode but the fight is stopped by an explosion. I guess he lived based on his appearance in past seasons but his entire place in the story is just left hanging.
When the info dumping stops is when the episode really shines. Bungo Stray Dogs is first and foremost an action show series and BONES always satisfies in that regard. The highlight is Chuuya's skirmish on an airplane when he kicks a bullet midair back into the head of his opponent. The series always knows how to choreograph a unique fight sequence that leaves me satisfied.
Bungo Stray Dogs has never managed to escape its convoluted plotting and all the exposition really weighed this episode down in between its kinetic fight sequences. I wish they could figure out a way to streamline the plot threads for a tighter narrative.
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