Miss last week’s review? Find it here!
After the sudden disappearance of their mutual friend and associate, Ango, Dazai and Odasaku are both tasked with retrieving him and getting to the bottom of the situation. Odasaku meets with Dazai at a curry shop where the two discuss their latest information, including the fact that Ango is all but confirmed to be a double agent for Mimic – a mysterious organization of gifted individuals seeking to crush the Port Mafia. We also get another look at Odasaku’s character from a different angle as we see him rough-housing with a handful of orphans that live above the restaurant.
While Odasaku goes to Ango’s initial assignment within the Port Mafia to look for clues, Dazai successfully captures a handful of Mimic soldiers in an attempt to extract information and learn more of their enemy. Unfortunately one of the soldiers wakes up early and kills his comrades before trying to take out his captors. Akutagawa (one of the main antagonists from last season) quickly kills him, leaving all of Dazai’s hard fought hostages dead with no leads.
This pisses Dazai off.
We definitely see a much darker version of Dazai in this scene, as he ponders aloud how Odasaku would have raised Akutagawa with a firm and gentle hand to help mold him into a better person. Dazai, however, has little patience or interest in any of those things.
Daze attempts to put three bullets into Akutagawa, but his pesky subordinate activates his gift to defend himself for the first time. Dazai then congratulates him on using his powers in a new way before giving him a chilling warning that he would use more bullets next time if he messed up.
The scene ends with Dazai warning his subordinates never to piss off Odasaku. Hinting at his true power, Dazai states that if Odasaku were angry from the bottom of his heart they would all “be dead before we could draw our guns”.
The episode closes with a daring rescue of Ango by Odasaku. Having found additional information by analyzing a dried leaf from a dead soldier’s boot (eat your heart out CSI), Dazai tells Odasaku where to go. Having a hunch, Odasaku sneaks in early to find Ango tied up at the center of the building with time bombs set throughout the hideout. Realizing that Ango wasn’t a double agent of Mimic infiltrating the Port Mafia, but rather that it was the other way around, Odasaku helps Ango escape as the building explodes behind them.
Just like when it seems they’re out of the woods, a ball comes rolling mysteriously out of the forest. Odasaku picks it up casually only to realize that the ball is coated with poison. Collapsing to the ground, Odasaku watches as Ango escapes with Mimic soldiers, seemingly confirming his role as a double-double-agent!
Starting out, what really impressed me was this episode’s ability to have Dazai and Odasaku sharing information and making progress in their respective tasks without feeling slow or boring. Often times with mafia shows they focus on the action – shootouts, beating the information out of some poor captive, daring heists, etc. The attention that Bungo Stray Dogs is giving to the structure and strategy of the Port Mafia’s actions helps to give weight and purpose to every scene, even if they’re casually chatting in a curry diner.
I noticed a few more blank faces in some of the filler frames than usual, and I hope it’s not an indication of animation quality dropping as we move into the rest of the season. Despite this, the action sequences are still spot-on: Dazai’s confrontation with Akutagawa and Odasaku/Ango’s daring escape definitely being the highlights of the episode.
I know I’m not the only one enjoying this darker chapter of Dazai’s life. Seeing the juxtaposition of his carefree attitude with chilling sociopathic tendencies, the audience begins to understand why the Port Mafia is so intimidated by Dazai in the first season. Odasaku also gets plenty of screen time to shine, showcasing his fondness for children, his commitment to the mafia, and ultimately a nod to his true abilities – powers that even Dazai cannot help but acknowledge. Though the end of the episode makes further appearances seem uncertain, we can certainly hope that he pulls through and witness what ultimately pushes Dazai out of the Port Mafia for good.
I need more Bungo Stray Dogs in my life! Still loving this season and hope that it doesn’t cut away from this intriguing backstory too fast.