Bungo Stray Dogs : The Azure Messenger

Episode 6

I really enjoyed the last episode. Getting to know Ranpo (Rampo) was great and seeing his ability/non-ability in action was fun.

This time out it looks like we’ll get to see more of Kunikida and Dazai as a team. So excited I really am!

If I had to point out one thing about this episode it is that the humour really hit you at the beginning and then disappeared the more we went into it. It’s like they have a quota of “funny” they need to do each episode so hit it hard at the beginning.

Whilst I enjoyed Dazai on mushrooms thinking he was dying, and the slightly more subtle Ideal Woman chat later on, it really came into sharp contrast with a episode that was actually pretty dark and interesting. I think one thing that could stop me from really loving this series is the feeling that there must be a funny reaction, a silly suicide attempt or just a very funny and loud scene somewhere in the episode, every episode. Yes I enjoy them and it didn’t really take away from a great episode this time but there are only so many times these jokes will be funny.

Episode 6 dealt with another investigation, this time Kunikida is out to sort it out. People are going missing and its up to them to find out what is going on, including a visit to a abandoned hospital that was just creepy.

That is it though. The abandoned hospital was a gorgeous piece of animation, the whole scene leading up to it, yes with a slight joke, managed to build up the drama that it was edge of the seat viewing. To then have the drama completely drained with the infirmary visit and the following conversation on Kunikida’s ideal woman ruined it a little.

I loved how they just figured it all out, then the Port Mafia attacked. Thing is even with Akutagawa as powerful as he is the whole mysticism surrounding them died a death when their “most powerful” unit got taken out easily. I’m not really that bothered with seeing the Agency up against the Mafia to be honest.

Things then changed completely and it no longer was about this mystery which was solved and more about the Azure Messenger himself along with the history of his father, because I’m guessing it is the informant from the beginning, who was a terrorist who blew himself up in the building that they all ended up in. I found the ending to be really strange, they know they have to go and disarm a bomb but none of them are actually worried that there is a bomb and the whole atmosphere was…. Not one of urgency of any kind. It kind of spoilt any threat you might have meant to have felt with the Azure Messenger.

So really my point now is this.

I love the characters. I love strange characters and there are some utter weirdos in this, but the great thing is that its all part of who they are. They aren’t just weird because they are weird its part of having their abilities. As a group they just don’t fit together but they also fit together perfectly. There isn’t a character I don’t like so far in the whole thing. The brother and sister are the closest I’ve come to not liking a character but I just love all the rest.

The actual abilities and getting to know everyone that is going on I enjoy. It kind of goes hand in hand with the above though, if you like the characters you are going to enjoy learning about them.

Atsushi is a great main character.

Don’t get me wrong because I like the humour in it. I also like the seriousness of some of the situations and how the comedy leaves you feeling uneasy and off balance when the drama really kicks in. Its a odd feeling that I just adore.

BUT already the episodes have a worrying habit of killing any drama they were meant to be building. Events just don’t seem too important which just kills it all. Yeah you know they are going to succeed, just like you know Saitama is going to finish his opponent off in One Punch, but you need to build the story so that people stay interested in it. Will they get there in time (plenty of episodes of One Punch Man saw other characters being defeated, you felt empathy with them and a sense of what if…) will they actually be able to defuse the bomb?

Why would I care about what happens in the next episode when the characters themselves don’t?

They focused on the wrong part of the story at the wrong time.

Other then that it was a great episode.

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