This was a long episode. Technically or rather literally. The story completely dispensed of the OP and went on right through the credits to the very last available second. At witch time, I could have sworn only 10 minutes had passed.
It’s too early to call anything but a quarter of the season in and I have thoroughly enjoyed every single episode. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.
I guess someone out there heard me, cause we got one more episode out of this mini arc and if I had to describe it, I would say it was graceful.
I don’t mean that visually, although half the episode was taken up by yet another dynamic fight scene which was beautifully animated and fun to watch. It’s too bad we didn’t get to know Rimbaud just a bit better. His ability to create and control a pocket universe (and raise the dead within it) seems quite interesting if a little inconveniently powerful from a narrative standpoint.
Even in this episode. they had to resort to some wonky friendship magic or something to bring Rimbaud down. I didn’t mind much though. There were lots of pretty colors and wild movement, that was plenty to keep me distracted!
What I mean by graceful is that the narrative did a great job wrapping up just enough plot threads to feel satisfying while letting a few more go to keep us interested and not overwhelm the episode. It was very well done, swiftly aced yet clear. And aside from the above-pictured questionable power exchange and SPOILERS SPOILERS:
Rimbaud’s very dramatically timely death, END OF SPOILERS
Everything was actually explained away logically and simply. I kept wondering how they would make the rather loyal and surprisingly sentimental Chuuya join the Port Mafia. Well of course the Sheep would eventually turn on him. Not to mention that Chuuya is in many ways rather naive and just plain inexperienced, a man like Mori could have him wrapped around his little finger in no time.
Without the need for any real explanation or exposition, Chuuya’s character fell right into place in a way that’s perfectly consistent with the teenager we’ve gotten to know in the past few weeks and the man he will become.
Then there’s the foundings of the Port Mafia. This was delicate. Once again, the organization has to live up to what we’ve come to know in the past two seasons. Or rather, Mori has to. As a character, Mori isn’t all that present or deeply developed but he still embodies the Port Mafia. Violent but not senselessly so. Oddly civilized yet undoubtedly menacing. Calculating and ruthless but also joyful and respectful.
The leader of the Port Mafia we got to know just a little better is a man wholly devoted. To his role, to his team and to his city. A man who’s morals may be shaky and who’s means are often brutal but who’s goals and ends are both selfless and reasonable. Again, this just makes sense.
In many ways this episode mostly served to backfill the Port Mafia and its members. A major element in the story that had been left relatively underdeveloped for two seasons (and a movie). But this was done in such a skillful way that it never felt like a belated expo dump.
Not only was the episode able to give us new and surprising information on well known characters or show us less known ones in a completely different light, it was able to do so while remaining completely true to the established canon and personifications. This is a lot more difficult than it sounds and very few stories I’ve read or seen have managed it this smoothly.
Moreover, all these delicious bits of background and world building weren’t simply dropped in our laps they were naturally sprinkles through a fast paced and action filled plot thread of betrayal and rebirth.
I must say, seeing a wounded and incapacitated Chuuya cringing in pain and then only the distant sounds of gunshots was an impressively poignant moment for me. They didn’t show us the massacre which was a smart move but when you stop and think about it for a second, it once more reminds you who Dazai is. And Dazai is terrifying.
At the very beginning of the season, Mori told his young protegee that they were a lot alike. I think this is very true. Except I don’t think Dazai is as much of an idealist. Can you imagine Mori not restrained by his sense of duty and discipline. Well that’s who Dazai is deep down. Or at least that who he was.
It’s possible that the loss of Oda did change Dazai considerably. It’s also possible that it merely gave him an excuse to move on from a situation that was getting a bit boring to him. Bungo Stray Dogs has highlighted Dazai’s less honorable traits in the past. However in this season 3 opening arc, it seems as though the series is going out of it’s way to remind us not to trust the guy. This intrigues me.
As happy as I am to have discovered the roots of Chuuya and Dazai’s partnership, what I have always been curious about is what exactly happened between Dazai and Akutagawa. I know they had a mentor, mentee thing going but their relationship is just weird. It’s not like Akutagawa is obsessive with anyone else. Every time we’ve seen flashbacks of them together, Dazai is particularly cruel. I have a feeling things got…dark…
This time I’m pretty sure we’ve come to the end of this walk down memory lane. It’s odd that learning Chuuya is some type of ancient demon god was considerably less impactful than learning he is wracked with guilt over his failings as a leader.
And then the episode did something mean. It brought back, just for a minute mind you, Sakaguchi Ango. I have a love/hate relationship with this guy. I hate him but he’s part of the stories I love. Apparently, we got to learn all of this as Ango was recording it for the Special Ability Department. We had learned earlier that Rimbaud was a western spy who came with an accomplice. He thought that accomplice was dead but in the last seconds, Ango reveals that this person was still alive and ended up getting recruited into the mafia by Chuuya years later.
And apparently that is a story for another time….which means I nw have to go out and buy a light novel. I don’t even know what it’s called. It might not exist. Curse you Ango!
I took a bazillion screencaps. And tomorrow is Demon Slayer so that’s not going to be any better. Is there a screencap rehab I can go to?
6 thoughts on “Bungo Stray Dogs 3 – 3 : Get Ango”
Might have to put this on my binge list.
I’m enjoying it
I wasn’t that fond of the fight scene (3-D effects, you know), but other than that it was a stellar finale to a great first arc.
As for Dazai vs. Mori: not being restricted by ideal comes with not being motivated by ideals. Dazai feels a little like a nihilist; if he’s not personally invested, he can go along with whatever others want to do. I suspect, he might not see himself as a schemer so much, as he just walks the past of least resistance towards someone else’s goal. Which is why he’s never going to run an organisation of his own: he wouldn’t know what to do.
It’s interesting that Mori said for the “Port Mafia” and the “city”. It’s entirely possible that Mori knew Dazai would eventually leave, and Dazai just went along with it, because anything’s fine. For Mori, maybe, having them both in the same organisation is ultimately not good for the city? A philosophy of conflict?
The big black-box here is what makes Dazai tick; it’s been more obvious than ever in this arc that there are things that irk him, but it’s not quite clear to me what that is. It feels that if you’re dealing with Dazai, the person you should trust least is yourself: he works a little like a mirror: smooth and reflective. You’re going to chase your own illusions, and he’s along for the ride. Maybe that’s what life’s like for him? Piggybacking on other people’s motivations, until something touches him (though I’m not sure what that is)?
I really should read these guys some day. I’ve only some short stories by Akutagawa, so far.
I’ve been systematically reading through a lot of them as well as their biographies and it’s amazing how much is integrated one way or another into the show.
For instance, I’ve been looking forward to season 3 and the Russians because in No Longer Human the main character is seemingly on the road to redemption and the scene that marks his ultimate and final downfall is him discussing Crime and Punishment with an old friend and bad influence.
There are dozens of quirks and little moments that I find absolutely delightful whenever I discover them. Maybe I’ll write a post some day that no one will read…
Really interesting insights and impressions! I also think Mori and Dazai have a lot in common. I’m hoping to understand more and more about who Dazai is as a person, past and present, as the series goes on.
He’s a fascinating little puzzle, that’s for sure