(I did my best to avoid any major spoilers in this post)
Episode 3: Only a Diamond Can Polish a Diamond
How do you make an awesome story in just 3 episodes? Ask the makers of Bungo Stray Dogs. They did it just about perfectly with episodes 1-3. With top-notch structuring, captivating pacing, and the right mix of character development, world-building, and thrilling action, it was exemplary. I don’t want to give any details or spoilers, but the story told us who/what Arahabaki is, as well as the truth about the former Port Mafia Boss, and about Randou and his goals. The Sheep take a major change in direction, and Chuuya takes an even bigger one.
That kind of ties into the character development, which was also notably well-handled too. Episode 3 lets us learn more about Dazai, and shows us the comical yet interesting love-hate relationship between Dazai and Chuuya. Mori also provided viewers with some insight into his psyche. As a fan of Mori, I was quite pleased to hear his thoughts. Does Dazai really want to die at this point, or what is he really thinking? How does Chuuya deal with not feeling human? Did Randou care about Chuuya, and why? Episode 3 will tell you all this and more.
Visuals and audio were every bit as wonderful as I thought they were in episodes 1 and 2. The main action scene with Dazai, Chuuya, and Randou was breathtaking. The art is colorful and detailed with the right amount of stylization for the characters and unique character designs. The animation looks great to me, but I don’t exactly have an eye for that, so I couldn’t tell you for sure if it was actually as high-quality as it seemed to me.
As I mentioned in my post about the first two episodes, I’m a fangirl of Mitsuru Miyamoto, voice of Mori– gods, his voice is sexy! He was also the evil teacher Yashiro from Erased. Until episode 3, I don’t think I ever noticed that Kishou Taniyama was so talented– or maybe this role is helping him improve. (He plays Chuuya-kun.) I loved the instrumental music throughout the episode.
Aside from voices and music, there’s also the personal enjoyment factor. Canon Dazai is of course a straight man, but in my head, I totally ship Dazai x Chuuya of fifteen years ago, and Dazai x Kunikida for when he’s an adult. ❤ squee! Anyway, I am fond of the theme that there are no real “good-guys” or “bad-guys” here, though depending on perspective, there are characters more morally disgusting than others. In their own way, everyone is trying their best. Most of them use reprehensible methods but have goals that aren’t exactly evil– even Mori.
Episode 4: My Ill Deeds are the Work of God
This was a great episode to lead into the next short arc. The story was excellent and established what it should have. The episode was exciting and fast-paced, enough so that I didn’t have time to even think of taking screencaps until it was all over. There is an element of mystery too, since we want to know more about Fyodor, and the very possible significance of the Port Mafia slave boy who appeared in this episode. The theme of gods and deities came back, which is always a treat. For character development, episode 4 was excellent in establishing Fyodor, making Ace memorable, and giving a little peek into the minds of Mori and Ozaki.
The art was less dazzling in this episode because there were no real fight scenes, but it’s still superb quality in my book. The animation found ways to be creative with colors and the dramatic gestures and face expressions of Ace and Fyodor. The audio for the episode was great, with instrumental music that stuck out at me in a good way, and seiyuu that I adore!! I didn’t notice it last episode, but Ozaki, the slightly older woman with the fan, is voiced by Ami Koshimizu, famous for playing Ryuko in Kill la Kill, Holo in Spice and Wolf, and Kallen in Code Geass. One of my favorite male seiyuu of all time, Ishida Akira, had the role of Fyodor. He’s been playing mysterious and creepy characters since the original 90s NG Evangelion. (Kaoru.) Finally, I am 80% sure that Ace was voiced by Ono Daisuke, voice of Sebastian from Black Butler.
Score at This Point: 8.4/10 Excellent
I loved these two episodes of Bungou Stray Dogs. I think that this series is the best of the season so far, though I also enjoy Carole and Tuesday quite a bit. For both episodes, there was astounding art and animation, amazing voices and music, magnificent story and structure, and fascinating characters. My enjoyment was high, which is a factor in how I review anime episodes or series. So far, I give Bungou Stray Dogs 3rd season an 8.4/10. Wow! That’s a high rating compared to the numbers I’ve been giving this season! I hope this anime keeps up the terrific roll it’s on.