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Bungo Stray Dogs Season 4
Episode 48

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 48 of
Bungo Stray Dogs (TV 4) ?
Community score: 4.5

©Kafka ASAGIRI, Sango HARUKAWA/KADOKAWA/Bungo Stray Dogs Partners

When writing a picture book, there's a lot to consider, but the major thing to remember is that every page has two sides. Obviously, that's a consideration no matter what you're writing, but in picture books – and graphic novels, or any other illustration-reliant media form – it's a big deal because turning the page can reveal the next important plot point. When you turn the page to look at its other side, what you discover can change the entire story. We could make a whole metaphor out of pages have two sides, but in the case of Bungo Stray Dogs, it's important for the same reason it is in picture books: flipping a page from The Book means a clean chance to make substantial changes to the story thus far.

When I said last week that a minute's thought could tell certain characters that something weird is going on with the framing of the Armed Detective Agency, this is what I was talking about. The Book's existence is an open secret in the story's world; the fact that it really exists is perhaps more closely guarded than the fact that it's a thing at all. Most of those who could be reasonably expected to know about it are currently after the detectives, and Ango Sakaguchi's role in pursuing them has been the most frustrating. The Guild came to Yokohama looking for The Book in the first place, something Ango (and others) plainly knew about, so while it's possible that the frame-up was written in such a way that it would negate people's knowledge of it, subsequent mentions of that dangerous bit of paper indicates that such is not the case. The public can be excused. The myriad organizations that have been tussling over control of Yokohama? Not so much.

Thankfully, this week we learn that Ango is, in fact, fully aware of what's going on, and once again, it all comes back to Odasaku. Everything seems to, in the end: his death is the one thing that has shaped more characters' actions than anything else in the series. Now another dead character is doing the same – the loss of his friend haunts Mushitaro, and it is in communicating with his memory that he can begin to move forward. Mushitaro is justifiably conflicted and angry, and turning down Kyoka's and Atsushi's offer of escape shows that a piece of him prefers to stay imprisoned based on his inner turmoil. If he remains locked up, he doesn't have to face a world where his friend no longer truly exists. The minute he leaves, it becomes irrefutable reality. Like Ango and Dazai, Mushitaro begins to use his loss to inform his actions, though unlike them, it doesn't seem to be out of any sense of what is owed the dead. Mushitaro uses his friend's memory to push him forward, not because of a deathbed promise, but because he wants to. We all cope with loss differently (another theme of this series), but the first step is acknowledging the loss in the first place. Mushitaro seems to be dealing with loss in this episode, and it's fitting that he does so after hearing Ango's reasons for his own actions.

Really, though, the best thing about this episode is that it brings some much-needed levity to what has been a bleak season. Mushitaro's interactions with Atsushi and Kyoka are the right kind of silly. The image of Lucy Maud Montgomery charging into Ango's office to scream at him that he's being a moron is exactly what's been missing here. Adding Lucy to the team is a good plan, especially because Atsushi could use the backup, and every new person not under Decay of Angels' sway is vital. Their rot needs to be stopped, and now the good guys know exactly how much time they have to do so.

All they need to do is flip the page.


Bungo Stray Dogs Season 4 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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