We saw Dostoyevsky for about 3 seconds in this episode so I’m taking that as an excuse to avatar cosplay as him this week. Natsume Soseki was just way too difficult to pull off with my available options. It seems that next week’s episode will bring us back to the present so I’ll have some more options!
I don’t want to spoil anything but boy this little novel arc was just the perfect way to set up everything that’s to come. I’m so glad I got a chance to see it, it really fleshes out the story. And it’s nice to see Fukuzawa front and center for once.
I try to not overdo it with the screencaps each week, I really try. Bungo Stray Dogs is making it hard.
In my last post, I immediately pegged this guy as being the baddie and probably a fake policeman. Although I’m not quite sure about the second part now. He might just be a corrupt cop. In any case, I’m relieved that I didn’t see this coming before Ranpo did. He had it all figured out right from the start, as he should. Once more with a simple and reasonable explanation. The guy smells like organic solvent. Perfect.
I looked it up and organic solvents can include neurotoxins which would have been strong enough to knock out someone like Natsume Soseki…I think. We kind of know his power but we also don’t. I mean, we know he can turn into a calico cat. We’ve seen him do it as have others. But we also saw him total a house from a distance and that had to be some sort of power as well. Can gifted have more than one…gift? I do love Bungo Stray Dogs a lot but the abilities are a weak point. It’s an unfinished magic system at best.
I won’t lie, I’m a bit disappointed that we won’t get to find out more about V. I mean five. at least at this stage in the game. I really wanted to know why they were trying to kidnap Soseki. Actually, I really want to know why he’s in the witness protection program in the first place. Seems like most people would need protection from him, not the other way around. What could he possibly have witnessed?
Still, it was great to see Ranpo settling into his role as the great detective. Despite everything that happens later, he hasn’t changed all that much, has he? I looked it up, he’s 14 in this arc. Fukuzawa is 32. And from the looks of it, his relationship with Ranpo is aging him fast.
You probably won’t be able to see it unless you click on the screencap to see the bigger image. In that room where Ranpo is being held captive, through the broken windows, you can see the signature Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel as well as the outlines of Cosmo World. The skyline of Yokohama is such an ever-present feature of the Bungo Stray Dogs franchise that the two have become completely connected in my mind. I thought it was particularly beautiful against the inexplicable purple dusk.
Oda was always a nice guy deep down. I wish he would have joined the agency instead. He does in an alternate story and it’s great!
Before we get to Oda, were you impressed by how good a detective Fukuzawa is. It’s an unexpected skill from what we know of him. The president has always been extremely fair, he is a decent combat strategist and an astounding combatant but I never thought he had the head for puzzles and mysteries. Figured he would find them annoying more than anything else. But he did quite well with the information Ranpo left him.
I have to admit, I was a little shocked when Fukuzawa offered to lie and get Oda out of jail in exchange for information that could help find Ranpo. I shouldn’t have been. Fukuzawa always cared more about protecting others than man-made notions of justice but it was still a bit jarring to be confronted with that so openly.
That slap was great. The whole scene was cute actually but the slap made me smile. That’s why I made it into my gif.
Let me go back to my rant about abilities in Bungo Stray Dogs. When I was watching the episode, I remember thinking how is it possible that Fukuzawa’s fighting ability is not his gift. He seems quite superhuman in that regard. But of course, we know that his gift is All Men Are Equal. I didn’t think of it too much as I was watching but now that I have a minute to dwell, how does that ability make sense?
From what we learned in the first season, this ability allows him to “Adjusts the output of his subordinate’s skills, allowing them to become controllable on the condition that they pass the Agency’s entrance exam“. That’s how people with dangerous and potentially self-destructive powers like Atsushi and Kyoka can have relatively normal lives as part of the Agency. So far so good, but the Agency doesn’t exist yet… And Fukuzawa has never had any subordinates so far. Does he not have an ability yet? Is his ability something else and t changed when the agency was open. Did he always have the ability but it wouldn’t manifest unless he created the agency? Cause that seems like a pretty useless ability. See what I mean when I say the abilities are an incomplete magic system…
So this scene tied everything together for me. This makes it clear that everything that’s going to happen started here. Meaning that the plans were in place 13 years in advance. I’m not going to say anything more. I’m staying cryptic. You’re going to have to keep watching. And trust me, you’re going to want to.
Good thing I kept watching after the credits! Unfortunately, this closing tag just brought up all those questions about Natsume Soseki again. We know he orchestrated the founding of the Agency to create a balance between the Port Mafia and the government’s Special Division for Unusual Powers. So there’s more to the origins of the Agency than we have been shown. I guess keeping a bit of mystery is a good thing.
It is very sweet and somewhat funny that Fukuzawa went through all the trouble of creating the agency and running it, despite being a lone wolf by nature, just to protect Ranpo who is being too vocal about being gifted, when Ranpo is in fact not gifted at all. It’s a house of mirrors and everyone knows the truth but they all still go along with it. And it’s sweet. I’m glad these two found each other.