What the… OMG… Whelp, I guess they did wrap everything up in the last episode but oh my. I’m a little out of breath and I’m sad. Not even entirely sure why. And not in a bad way. In a bittersweet sort of way. Ok so let’s talk about it. I have so much to say and it’s going to come out as a jumbled mess. You have been warned!
So where do I start… Fukuzawa! Some of you know that I quite like Fukuzawa, both as a character in Bungo Stray Dogs and as a historical figure. The same goes for Dostoyevsky by the way who was a very good author and had a very tough life. But let’s start with Fukuzawa.
So hurray, he’s alive. Considering no one in Bungo Stray Dogs has ever died from a single sword stab, that was to be expected. But I’m more interested in how his counterattack played out. Throughout the season, I have been saying that Fukuchi’s experience on the battle field make him an unparallel soldier and that no on in the show would be a match on his terms. And I stand by that. If this scene had taken place on the front lines of a traditional land war, I don’t think Fukuzawa would have stood a chance. But you can’t forget that he has his own experience to fall back on.
Fukuzawa is not a soldier. He never went to war. There’s this hinted at assumption that Fukuchi considers him weak because of that but as we found out this week, that’s not the case. Maybe it was just some bias on our part. But it is the case that Fukuzawa is not as good a soldier and will probably never be. That’s because he is an assassin. And that’s where he shines. If the end goal isn’t to win a war but to eliminate a target, then Fukuzawa is your man. And he isn’t above playing dead and using every prop around him to his end. It was a cool fight scene is what I’m saying. Even if part of me still has trouble accepting that you can move that way in a kimono.
I mentioned Dostoyevsky out of the blue so let’s get back to him. I don’t know how things are in Japan. I figure that naturally, someone who grew up their is likely to be way more familiar with Japanese authors. But still, Fyodor Dostoyevsky seems like that most well known namesake in this show and that carries a certain cachet. One that made me think his plot armor would have been thicker. Can you imagine if he’s not really dead… That’s ridiculous right? I mean Dazai and Gogol using his severed arm as a prop was probably the most gruesome thing I’ve seen in Bungo Stray Dogs. I can’t imagine them walking it back.
But still, somehow, after all that build up, after seeing hints of him since season 2, after all the havoc his caused, his simply betrayed and unceremoniously killed n such a mundane way. Not even a fancy death speech and curse vowing to exact revenge beyond the grave? Don’t get me wrong, Fyodor had to go. And I’m glad they didn’t just string us along, making a standard shonen villain that gets inexplicably stronger every season. I am in fact both bummed and thrilled they dispatched him so efficiently. But…
And then I realized one thing. I still don’t know what his power is. Not only that, Dazai still doesn’t know what his power is. That means we will probably never know. The man took his secret to the grave. And in a show like this, that’s the ultimate power move!
And I say he was unceremoniously killed but in fact his death scene took up the bulk of the episode and the plot had to jump through quite a lot of hoops to get there.
Your mileage may vary on Dazai’s plan. It always does. One the very surface it works. Chuuya was a double agent pretending to be a vampire which gives Dazai a huge advantage, even if Aya doesn’t come through with Bra-chan. But like, how long did Chuuya have to pretend to be a vampire to fool Fyodor. Did h just show up that morning with his lenses in? Fyodor is paranoid, that is well established, it seems unlikely he would trust Chuuya with such a crucial part of his plan and ultimately his life so easily, no matter how red his eyes look. Can’t other vampires tell who is one of their own? There are a lot of unanswered questions here and you just have to go with the flow. Because there are ways to answer those questions but we just don’t get the answers.
For me, Bungo Stray Dogs has built up enough good will that I’m happy to just go along. There are often questions left hanging in the air but when you look past them, you usually find a really good time in anime form!
Now Aya saving the day at the last minute by freeing Bra-chan, that I am totally willing to go along with, no questions asked. They make such a great little duo and I would watch the adventures of Aya and Bra-chan in their own show anytime!
But back to Fukuzawa! Now that all has been said and done, there is one moment that stands out in my memories. It’s that scene when they are both kids and sitting in a tree, talking about their hopes and dreams. And Fukuzawa says that he hopes to get strong enough to be able to protect all those that matter to him, while Fukuchi wishes for world peace. There are a few things that keep gnawing at me about that scene. That’s not the right way to say it. I guess that got me thinking.
First its the world peace part. The show treats this information like it’s some big reveal. An unexpected twist! The big bad guy had noble intention all along! But like, it was obvious from the start, right? I mean it was spelled out and hammered in so gratuitously that I can’t believed thee show would think the audience hadn’t picked up on it. So maybe it wasn’t a twist. They why present it as such?
I have come to the conclusion that it’s because Bungo Stray Dogs is not a metashow. t doesn’t break the 4th wall, it doesn’t play with conventions although it does seem very batty at times and it doesn’t lie to the audience n general. So the characters don’t know they’re in a show. Years of cinematic language studies (i.e. watching stuff of screens) has thought me that all those flash backs we saw of Fukuchi were meant to show us his PTSD and his disgust with war. But non of the characters saw that. Even Fukuzawa had largely lost touch in the past years as their respective careers brought them down very different paths. There was no reason for his intentions to be a foregone conclusion to them. Especially when he surrounded himself by such questionable folks…
And then there’s the ambition itself. This is hardly the first or last time we see a tale of a noble ambition gone wrong. Of a lofty and seemingly very good goal getting corrupted by the means to the end. I have to say, the additional information that a Third World War was coming and that it would be the most bloody yet was a really nice touch. It adds a concrete timer for Fukuzawa and changes him from this abstract idealist to a much more practical and to me ultimately more human character. I’m not going to lie, it made me think what would I do in his place. With the information and power he had which for him, translated to responsibility. I’m not saying I would do exactly as he did, that was one convoluted plan. But I’m not sure I would do better…
I liked it. It was a fin way to wrap things up. It made me think which is high praise for anime. And it did leave me sad. There was never going to be a happy ending here.
Now, we need a little OVA between season to show us Kenji and Tetchou looking for a friend. ‘Cmon, do it!
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 38 – In the Begining
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 39 – Fools
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 40 – Curry Rice
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 41 – The Great Detective
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 42 – The Rise of the Angels
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 43 – The Fall
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 44 – Releasing the Hounds
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 45 – Masterminds
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 46 – War
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 47 – A Good Day
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 48 – A Closed Room
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 49 – A Mediocre Man
- Bungo Stray Dogs 4 ep. 50 – The Best Laid Plans
- Bungo Stray Dogs 5 ep. 51 – The Strongest Man
- Bungo Stray Dogs 5 ep. 52 – Clear Sailing
- Bungo Stray Dogs 5 ep. 53 – Playtime is Over
- Bungo Stray Dogs 5 ep. 54 – The Curse
- Bungo Stray Dogs 5 ep. 55 – Mastermind
- Bungo Stray Dogs 5 ep. 56-58 – Fun & Games
- Bungo Stray Dogs 5 ep. 59 – Consequences
- Bungo Stray Dogs 5 ep. 60 – Game Over?