Move aside, Dazai. I’ve found a new love and this one? He makes you look good.
For those of you familiar with it, Bungou Stray Dogs (BSD) is an anime that strikes a weird spot in the seasons it shows up in. Strictly a seinnen, but with tropes also appealing to younger audience (anime super powers EVERYWHERE), I would certainly call it a hybrid show. It’s also totally not because GRANRODEO performs the opening songs either >.>
For those unfamiliar, the story designs its main characters around famous writers of days gone by and uses both the works of the artist as well as the artists themselves as the basis of each character and, more importantly, their respective abilities.
Despite appearing to be yet another battle anime, the writer appears to take special pride in constructing a larger plot that actually holds up to a degree over time. While we haven’t seen Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame show up, we have seen characters like Edogawa Rampo fill the detective/mystery space. If you were ever a fan of mystery novels, you will feel right at home here. There have been many times where things were subtly foreshadowed that I clearly overlooked only to be played the fool later. It’s fun, give it a shot.
I’ll ramble about BSD another time, but keep in mind that as a fan of classic literature, I’ll take what flaws there are in the interpretations of the authors with a bit of grace and humility. The writer is Japanese and crossing various cultural barriers across generations to appeal to a modern audience can be a tad difficult, I imagine.
After two seasons and a movie, I think we can now get to the main affair of Bungou Stray Dogs: the villain has arrived.
Very rarely do I hold a villain in high regard, even if I believe villains often have better motives and development than the “I do good because I’m good too!” protagonists they are often placed against. It’s not that I can’t appreciate a basic good vs evil template. I just want a bit more variety in my veggies, you know?
Episode four of season three begins with a dark scene of a prisoner being exchanged between two parties of a likely underground nature. The prisoner is bound and his head covered; this combined with his motionless posture brings a slight air of calm that oddly contrasts his situation.
Payment is rendered and the kidnapper hands over his prey. His new owner then proceeds to remove the hood and we are shown the face of Fyodor.
Apparently, after his previous antics in the movie, Dead Apple, he has been going solo before he was captured by a kidnapper hired by Ace, an executive in the Port Mafia. Ace’s goals quickly become apparent as he wishes to recruit Fyodor into his fold and gives him an offer he thinks Fyodor can’t refuse (the ol’ “serve me or die” ultimatum). Ace’s arrogance is on full display while Fyodor doesn’t even bat an eye and calmly calls his bluff on the whole dying thing.
Given the highly spoiler-sensitive nature of the rest of the episode, I really don’t feel comfortable explaining more of the situation past this point (plus this post is already longer than I initially wanted it to be). However, I feel that additional context may be necessary to fully understand the depth of what is about to happen here.
In case you weren’t aware, Fyodor is short for Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a famous Russian author. Nationality aside, this man was renowned for his work on The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, and perhaps most famously Crime and Punishment. Each are highly psychological and philosophical affairs commenting on society and the individuals in it. They are many times as brilliant and thrilling as they as depressing with their portrayal of the human condition. I highly recommend reading them as I would many other classics.
Additionally, this was a man that suffered greatly in his life. A couple of key events being everyday occurrences like mock executions and being left to suffer in exile in a harsh Siberian labour camp for years. You know, the slice of life sort of things.
So back to BSD, we have a character that finally had a hell of a debut on the scene and it feels like things are about to hit a new level. As if everything else was simply preparation for the arc that is about to go into full swing.
So if nothing else, simply remember: Fyodor is coming. Fyodor has a plan. We’re not playing games anymore, kids. The villain has arrived.