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Bungou Stray Dogs – 26

「太宰、中也、十五歳」 (Dazai, Chūya, Jūgo-Sai)
“Dazai, Chuuya, Fifteen Years Old”

Alright. So that wasn’t the first episode I’d hoped for. It isn’t the first time Bungou Stray Dogs blasts us into the past at the very beginning of a season. We had a similar premiere during season two’s four episode prequel which laid out the events leading up to Dazai leaving Port Mafia to then join the Armed Detective Agency.

However, this season we’re thrust even further back into Dazai’s (Miyano Mamoru) past. He’s Port Mafia’s fifteen-year-old subordinate and is the sole witness to Ougai Mori‘s (Miyamoto Mitsuru) assassination of the previous Port Mafia leader. Mori then uses Dazai to claim the title as his own but remains cautious about the information being leaked to members of the organization.

I’m guessing this episode is the first of a two or three episode prequel arc. So far, it’s been entertaining. Watching Chuuya (Taniyama Kishou) – dubbed The King of the Sheep in this episode – and Dazai interact as teenagers is cute, but what really got to me was how Dazai’s demeanour is entirely different from the person he is in the present timeline. He broods and his mood is darker than what we’re accustomed to. There are hints to his light-hearted traits but so far he’s reminded me of the emo teen I was over fifteen years ago. And it seems like we’ll be looking further into Chuuya’s past and his relationship with Dazai as well as Port Mafia. I’m not sure if Mori-san’s blackmail is what really keeps him from leaving Port Mafia but that move reveals that Chuuya’s initiation into the organization was not by choice. With his fellow ‘Sheep’ taken hostage, he’s strong armed into helping Dazai and Mori discover who or what Arahabaki is and why they’ve brought back the old leader from the dead.

I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get a follow-through episode and still have to continue living for the next few weeks without knowing what happened after the end of the previous season. I guess, I’ll have to wait just a few more weeks. In the meantime though, we have a prequel that I still need to pick at.

I’ve never been too fond of information dumping so when the dialogue between each action-packed sequence is filled with an array of information, I tend to zone out. Maybe I have a short attention span or I have difficulty following along, but it’s not the first time I’ve had to rewatch a scene or two throughout BSD in order to get the full picture.

Another little snippet that really got to me was Hirotsu (Ono Atsushi). So, his body is basically taken over by some entity and then he… disappears? When and how does he come back into the picture? What exactly happened to him? I understand that he survives and continues to become commander of the ‘Black Lizard’ faction of Port Mafia but what happened here exactly? Some clarification is needed. How did they then capture Chuuya? I’ve often found myself asking similar questions in previous episodes, one of the very many downfalls of BSD. Things tend to pile up and not tie in together until a feature film, let’s say, comes out and fills in the gaps.

But as always, BSD is very entertaining. Take that airplane scene for one. Chuuya’s gravity defying ability is superb when in full action. BONES sure knows how to animate violence in such a way that I always seem to let out a ‘kakkoii’ under my breath. It was a great opening scene. In my opinion, for it’s emotional and reactive value, it was on par with Kimetsu no Yaiba’s opening shot. Both entirely different yet eye-catching.

It seems as though the core of this prequel arc will be Dazai and Chuuya’s partnership, their evolution from teenagers into adults, and perhaps a deeper development into Mori-san’s role as leader of Port Mafia. I’m looking forward to seeing that unfold but even more, I can’t wait to see the characters from the Armed Detective Agency again. It’s been a long time coming.

April 14, 2019 at 7:33 pm
  • April 14, 2019 at 7:57 pmzztop

    This arc is based on a canon LN spinoff written by Bungou’s author.

    The novel was originally released alongside the Dead Apple movie spinoff.

    Apparently Dazai and Chuya are very popular with Japan’s Bungou fandom, so from a marketing sense showcasing the pasts of its most popular characters would be a surefire way to draw in the fans.

    • April 14, 2019 at 10:34 pmBROOKLYN otaku

      THANKS for the INFO….cuz with this series, as a non Die-hard i never know WTF is going on!

    • April 15, 2019 at 12:55 pmGottis

      Not just the Japanese fandom, I’d say. Do you know how many Soukoku shipping fics there are on Archive of our own? >> (Not that I’m complaining, I’m a HUGE Dazai fangirl…)

  • April 15, 2019 at 2:36 pmSlarkero

    I’m glad that this show is back.

  • April 16, 2019 at 7:22 amstarss

    The 4-episode prequel RIGHT in the middle of the second season was what prompted me to give up on the entire thing. It went in a totally different direction I did not like.

    • April 16, 2019 at 4:02 pmnodbgp

      Which is kinda crazy because those 4 episodes where the only thing I liked about the whole thing.

  • April 18, 2019 at 7:51 amLiLi

    UNPOPULAR OPINION: I’m all here for these flashback episodes!

    I honestly think those 4 flashback episodes from S2 and these current episodes are shaping up to be the best episodes of this series. The Manaka should probably just focus on writing light novels than drawing manga.

  • April 18, 2019 at 11:11 amiskendaris

    they gotta sell the blu-rays and animating Fifteen (which this flashback is taken from) will definitely help with sales. I think Bungo Stray Dogs follows the same rules as Free! which is that you really have to watch everything in order, including the OVAs and all the side stories in order for the seasons to make sense. It’s not great for a casual viewer, but it makes sense for the studio/serialization standpoint. BSD/FREE are too niche to have two-cours at once, but the depth and size of fandom makes it a great churning machine. So this is what it is.