Is this Bungou Stray Dogs’ best episode yet? I am inclined to say yes, because it’s not as if the bar has been set very high. All I’m saying is that I guess I kinda enjoyed this week’s episode. First and foremost, Dazai exits the stage within the very first minute. Kyouka, the not-so-new girl, walks up to Dazai and… well, we don’t get to see what happens next, but we learn shortly after the OP that our suicidal hero has gone missing. No one at the Agency seems to have a clue regarding his whereabouts. At the same time, however, they’re not exactly concerned about his disappearance yet. Dazai temporarily going off the grid seems to be a regular occurrence. At the moment, he’s actually imprisoned by Akutagawa. What the story’s final boss wants with Dazai, I don’t know yet, but all I can say is thank god. Due to this rather timely subtraction, the episode is able to keep the silliness to a minimum. I don’t have to look at one of Dazai’s wacky faces for at least a week, nor do I have to hear some dumb joke about suicide. Atsushi even actually gets to do something for once. More importantly, the episode can now focus on not only Yosano and how her Gift works, but also introduce the audience to Kyouka.
Unfortunately for the former, I can’t help but think she got short-changed a bit. Thanks to Kyouka’s presence, Yosano doesn’t get as much screentime as, say, Kunikida or even Rampo. As such, we don’t really learn a whole lot about the doctor’s personality, where she comes from, and why she’s with the Agency. We do see that she’s rather curious about Atsushi’s regenerative powers. Additionally, she greatly values life (as all doctors should), but this is a pretty generic quality for a heroine to have. As for Yosano’s Gift, she can heal any lethal wound, an ability that proves very useful against our villain-of-the-week, some death-obsessed, bomb-toting terrorist. In other words, if you want this doctor to treat you, you’ll have to first let her nearly kill you. Sure… but why did she have to take off her shirt in order to treat Tanizaki? Ah well, it doesn’t matter. Anyways, Yosano gets her time in the spotlight to look cool, but not much more. I would’ve liked to have seen how her bomb-induced wounds healed up so quickly, but maybe that’s a more grisly sight than Bones would like to animate. If there were a gun to my head, I guess I prefer tougher female characters like Yosano, so it’s a shame we don’t get to know her all that well.
As for Kyoukai, what can I say? She likes bunnies and tofu. She hates dogs and lightning. And she’s killed 35 people, a fact that she very much wants to convey to the audience. She has no control over her Gift, and personality-wise, she seems to be one of those shy and quiet female assassins. Y’know, she only kills because she has to! In reality, she’s sick of it! She’s too cute to be bloodthirsty! Won’t someone show Kyouka that there’s more to life than being someone’s tool? Oh right, that’s Atsushi’s job. It’s a rather familiar tale. Atsushi has heard over and over that he’s a burden, others will suffer just because he’s around, so on and so on. But hey, if he can help Kyouka appreciate life, then he’ll help himself in the process as well. Unsurprisingly, previews for next week’s episode suggest that the two will attempt to have some fun at an amusement park before things inevitably go wrong. Nevertheless, this sort of story is cute the first time around, and perhaps somewhat charming the second time, but now, I can only shrug. Maybe Bungou Stray Dogs has a trick or two up its sleeve to spice this oh-so-familiar romance up, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then, I’m not terribly excited to see the gormless Atsushi interact with the fragile Kyouka.
But for what it’s worth, the action starts at minute seven, and it doesn’t let up until the credits roll. You’re never under the impression that either Yosano or Atsushi are in any real danger, but at least no one’s talking my ears off. The animation is slick as always, and the Gifts aren’t terribly gimmicky like last week’s power-by-numbers guy. So yeah, best Bungou Stray Dogs episode yet… I think. Also, I was going to do my usual “Everything Else” section for this post, but looking through both the screen captures and the notes I took, I realized I don’t really have much else to add. Other than that, y’know, that terrorist is one dirty, lemon-stealing asshole. Alright, until next week…