Yet another lousy setup for an episode, and it seems to be a reoccurring theme. Bungo Stray Dogs just doesn’t seem to know how to make a good trap. First a client leads them to an alley. Trap. Then they investigate an abandoned hospital. Another trap. And now this. They’re on a train…that’s it. Akiko and Atsushi just happen to be on a train and the mafia decide to attack it. Quite frankly, this setup is actually a little better than the alley way trap, because at least they didn’t walk right into this and make themselves look incredibly stupid for trusting a random stranger. It’s still a weak plot however, and perhaps only goes to show how brash and incapable Port Mafia is at the coming up with even a decent evil plot. Instead it’s just another bomb thing, something this series just can’t seem to move on from. Seriously, there’s been like three bomb threats so far. How about a fire or something?
Point is, the mafia is Team Rocket if Team Rocket just straight up killed people and didn’t spout mad rhymes. Or maybe I’m not giving them enough credit, but more on that later.
Actually, scratch that. All I really wanted to say was that the cliffhanger was interesting. There’s really nothing else pertaining to the mafia that I wish to comment on at this time.
I really wished we learned more about Akiko Yosano in this episode than we did. Basically, we didn’t learn anything. Her power was explained a bit with nothing new added to what I already learned. She can heal people who are half dead, which means to patch you up she needs to first almost kill you. Maybe this wasn’t explained previously in the show, I did read her MAL page prior so I guess this episode might have been somewhat enlightening for her as a character. Still, the way she operates isn’t demonstrated and how she saved herself isn’t explained either. An explosion of that magnitude probably should’ve been an instant death, yet she survived it and her clothes remained intact as well. Unless there’s something the show’s not telling us yet, that deadly fake out made no sense at all. Also, the villain she was matched up against seemed kinda stupid.
Onto our newest character, Kyouka Izumi joins the mix! She’s a kimono wearing assassin girl that killed 35 people and worked for the mafia. Also, apparently she killed her parents or something. Her whole introduction was just incredibly weird and uncalled for. She just drops in exposition during the fight when no one even asked for it. Here’s my name, occupation, and deep dark secret! These quick interjections of characteristics were in no way satisfying to me, and I feel the ending of the confrontation would’ve been much more interesting if she had never said a single word. Atsushi thinks she’s pure evil until he sees her tearing up as she jumps off the train and sacrifices herself, and it’s at that moment that Atsushi gains the strength to save her, leaving it up to the next episode to explain what her deal is. They could learn about each other and find out that they’re both orphans, but the difference is that Kyouka murdered her own parents and Atsushi is shocked, or it turns out Atsushi killed his parents too maybe. I don’t know, I’m just spit-balling ideas that I think would be a lot more entertaining than what actually happened this episode, which was surprisingly little. The two things to take away are Kyouka is saved and Dazai is in trouble.
The Little Things
-Enough orphan flashbacks! There hasn’t been anything new to come out of those flashbacks since the very first episode and I’m sick of it!
-The pulse lighting in this episode was pretty annoying to me. You know, when they’re riding through the tunnel and periodically passing lights, causing the car they’re in to flash for a moment. Except it’s not a flash, it’s a pulse and it’s very distracting for me. It just kept making me worry there was something wrong with my monitor.
-Lemons for grenades was actually a pretty good idea. Here’s why: All of the characters in Bungo Stray Dogs are actually based off of literary figures (novelist, poets, etc.). The bad guy that Akiko was fighting was Kajii Motojiro, a Japanese author from the Showa period. One of his most well-known pieces was titled “Lemon”. Hence, lemon grenades.
-I felt the dialogue was a bit flat at times this episode, so much so that I could barely pay attention, I was so bored.
Despite all its flaws, I still this week’s episode had a nice conclusion. But maybe it’s not enough to redeem itself this time. I was really disappointed that we didn’t get even a slightly deeper look into who Akiko Yosano is, and I just hope that her time in the spotlight isn’t over yet.
+ Trains…for some reason
+ Intriguing Dazai cliffhanger
– Annoying lighting
– Akiko still not fleshed out
– Chatty assassin