Bungo Stray Dogs: How To Befriend A Vampire, and More!

The unpredictable tensions at the airport continue to brew. Meanwhile, in Mersault, Nikolai plans a twisted game to kill Fyodor.

Highlights

  • Aya’s reappearance in the latest episode of Bungo Stray Dogs is a smart move, as her character adds depth and emotional impact to the story.
  • The unlikely friendship between Aya and Bram brings unexpected humor and charm to the episode, highlighting the flaws in Fukuchi’s plan and the lack of bond among the members.
  • Dazai’s return to the action brings a sense of excitement and chaos, adding a dynamic twist to the story and reminding viewers of his significant presence.

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Warning: This contains spoilers for Bungo Stray Dogs, Episode 56, “At the Port in the Sky (Part 2)”, now streaming on Crunchyroll.

Another week, another unpredictable episode of Bungo Stray Dogs, which means more twists, more spectacle, and manga readers upset about their favorite panels not being animated. There was one thing that was predictable, and that was where Aya Koda decided to hide at the end of last week’s episode, but that was all the more cause for excitement, and this week did not disappoint.

Last time, after Fukuchi’s failed attempt to recruit Jouno into the Decay of Angels, the two did battle, and although Jouno almost got the upper hand, he was ultimately defeated and bitten by Akutagawa. However, he did manage to slip a note to young Aya to follow the two of them, making her a witness to Fukuchi’s confession and a vital piece in the fight to come.

In Appreciation of Aya

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For anime-only watchers of this series, Aya is a character who could be easily missed by those who never saw the OVA in which she was a side character. Even those who watched the episode may easily dismiss her as a passing face, but since said OVA is officially Episode 25 in the official canon – and is overall pretty important – that’s not easy to do. Not that anyone should want to forget her, mind you, as she has so far been an absolute delight.

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The last time she was on-screen, it was at a place in the story where Kunikida was at his most confident, and where his ideals remained vigilant. An old foe presented him with a classic trolley problem laced with C4: a train of passengers or one innocent girl. He said “screw your trolley, I’m saving them both” and emerged victorious, only for Fyodor to use the same tactic next season and ensure Kunikida failed.

Aya has been put in a position where she is going to be an essential figure, but consider what her being there will mean for Kunikida. She’s a reminder of one of his greatest successes, but the fear of losing her might reactivate his trauma from failing to save the young girl in Season 3. On the other hand, working together with her again could be exactly what he needs to remind himself that his ideals are still worth fighting for.

An Unlikely Friendship

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Of course, a lot of that is speculation, but the point is that bringing her back now is an incredibly smart move, and she’s already melted the heart of one of the key pieces of this battle: Bram. This episode was so unexpectedly funny and wholesome whenever these two were on-screen, because Bram by himself isn’t much of a threat, nor does he have any personal stake.

He’s been used as a tool, and now he wishes only to slumber and indulge in simple pleasures. Meanwhile, Aya couldn’t be more invested, and despite how scary her situation is, she’s incredibly brave, kept afloat by her determination – a recurring theme this story has taken in stride. For someone as old as Bram, her determination at so young an age surely comes as a surprise, but that alone wouldn’t have been enough to convince him to switch sides.

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All the old man wanted was to listen to some tunes. It’s the most effective joke in the episode; so farcical, yet it tracks logically with how Bram has been presented. Furthermore, it presents another crack in Fukuchi’s plan. This mastermind is so close to victory and has the power to undo his defeats, but his true self, behind the mask he presents, has not been a suitable leader at all.

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Bram is basically just a hostage, Sigma was created from scratch to serve one purpose, and Nikolai was already supposed to be dead. Then there’s Fyodor, but if Chuuya has been bitten by a vampire, there’s a good chance he’s entering Mersault to tie up loose ends and kill him. Fukuchi’s plan is elaborate and – so far – successful, but there’s no sense of a bond between him and the other members and that will be his downfall.

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Even Francis knew the value of his underlings and he was previously the biggest villain in the show. Aya giving Bram the gift of music wasn’t just funny, nor was it just the most clever ending theme needle drop in the show’s history, it was genuinely heartwarming. The simple kindness of a young girl might have just turned the tide in this battle for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, In Prison

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Besides the budding friendship between a centuries-old vampire and a justice-obsessed girl, this episode had a lot going on, including Dazai and Fyodor being greeted by Nikolai and Sigma. The last season and a half made a point of stressing the weight of Dazai’s disappearance from the action and functionally, it has allowed the cast to stand tall without him.

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Just as Fyodor pulls strings from his cell, Dazai’s presence is felt around the characters as if he were a ghost watching over them. It’s been effective in numerous ways, however, it would be a lie to say that Dazai’s inaction hasn’t deprived the proceedings of some modicum of charm. There hasn’t been a comfortable moment in the midst of the chaos to check in on Dazai and Fyodor.

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The animators clearly felt the same way, because this episode comes off like a loud, unhinged declaration that Dazai is officially back on the playing field. Nikolai wants to kill Fyodor to prove his free will, but he wants to do it in a way that doesn’t come across as animal impulse, so a high-stakes death game seems far more fitting in his twisted mind. It’s completely insane, yet Dazai and Fyodor just roll with it because at least something exciting is happening.

Close

The two opponents will have half an hour to escape before a poison kills them and only one will receive the antidote, and the two just roll with it, laughing with glee as they inject the poison. There could not be a more perfect assembly of characters for a B-plot if they tried, and the dynamic is perfectly balanced by just having Sigma there, dumbfounded by everything going on.

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If anything made this episode slightly less enjoyable, it was mishaps with the subtitles that persist as of the time of writing (no captions for the text boxes, yet the drop-shadow remains). This made for an irritating viewing experience the first time. Mistakes like these only stand out so much because they are typically very thorough compared to their competition, especially when it comes to environmental text like signs, newspapers, or other text besides dialog.

Even with this series constantly ramping up the tension since Season 4, this episode felt like the most “normal” in a while. Somewhere between the wholesome levity and the absurd start to the prison break, it feels like Bungo Stray Dogs still has a firm grasp on what made it so fun in the first place, even as it’s becoming less predictable with each passing week.

Bungo Stray Dogs is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

Fuente: successacademy.edu.vn
Categorías: Anime

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