Bungou Stray Dogs ends on a positive, if somewhat unsatisfying note. The final battle is unfortunately short-lived, and despite the teasing of a third season, the characters are left in a good place… for now.
Akutagawa and Atsushi’s takedown of Fitzgerald is deficient for a few reasons, the first of them being that Akutagawa’s ultimate contribution doesn’t involve his Demonic Armor. Due to this, the intense battle involving every participant at their best we were preparing for didn’t quite happen. Furthermore, Fitzgerald is defeated purely because he fights to the point of using up his money; there’s no heroics on the part of our protagonists, who barely survive the time they need. Finally, although the war is over, Fitzgerald is apparently only missing. The other Guild members are also well, though most of them will go into hiding or try to rebuild the leaderless organization. One wonders just what has ended and what is simply waiting to come back later on.
There is also Kyouka’s story. She saves the day by crashing her drone into the Moby Dick; she tells that much to Atsushi while announcing her inevitable death, but of course, she manages to escape. The move is indifferent; while a sudden sacrifice in a battle she didn’t participate in would’ve been meaningless, using such a cheap trick before she ends in Atsushi’s arms is hardly impressive, either.
That’s not to say this episode was all bad, either. Akutagawa being acknowledged by Dazai was certainly an important moment in his development, especially as there’s apparently a much worse threat to come that’ll require him to team up with Atsushi. There’s also every moment involving Kyouka: her innocence and earnestness are utterly adorable; it’s hard not to love her as she shyly enjoys the food of her welcome party.
The whole episode is like this; wrapping things up and bridging to the next arc. We get Ango working with Melville to wrap up the mess this three-way war left while Ougai celebrates the Mafia’s victory (it seems they really had the same goal the Agency had of protecting the city and their own organization) with Chuuya and Kouya. Speaking of the latter, her attitude is ambiguous; while she affirms her intention to remain with Ougai, she’s unable to hide her joy at the idea of Kyouka having gone to chase the “light” she’d abandoned. It seems deep down, she believes chasing such an ideal is a good endeavor; but of course this is the contrary of what she’d told the young girl, and the Mafia certainly is far from such things as a whole.
And finally, there’s the ever mysterious Dazai. While everyone is enjoying the party for Kyouka, he’s in an empty museum with Hirotsu. Somehow, he cooperated with him in setting up this whole plan. Because, yes, he’d thought everything up: from leaking the Agency’s attack on the Moby Dick to Akutagawa to saving Kyouka by crashing her drone. One can only feel humbled to watch this incredible man when he shows fragility, here by reflecting on the words by which Oda changed him. But it’s not all reminiscing – he also explains that the worst is yet to come… in the form of Dostoyevsky. After America, Russia is about to attack Yokohama. He’s already got Hawthorne (and apparently more) on his side; and only the combination of Akutagawa and Atsushi will be able to counter him, it seems.
It’s on this exciting prospect that Bungou Stray Dog’s second season ends. It ends on “see you”… but will we see a third season? One can only hope – although this last episode had both good and bad, much in the manner of the whole series, this second season was a large improvement on its dull predecessor. It was full of engaging action and character moments, and felt like a spectacle that consistently lived up to its potential, instead of sporadic goodness provided by the first season. Dazai’s a brilliant character, and even local edgelord Akutagawa ended up getting development.
Furthermore, the long flashback on which the show started was fantastic in action and atmosphere; it also ended on a memorable scene that could’ve been amazing if not for a few awkward moments of writing. For everything it did, this was an undoubtedly positive season of Bungou Stray Dogs which finally paid us back for all the boredom we had to feel in the first season. And although it’ll always have to live with flaws such as its pretentious character naming, it’s proven in can be an engrossing watch we’d ask more of. Hopefully Bones will grant this wish along with a third season of Noragami.
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