English Dub Review: Bungo Stray Dogs “Only a Diamond Can Polish a Diamond”

Keen senses come from sharp allies.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

Rando’s ability to create subspace within the world proves to be quite an issue for Chuya and Dazai. Within its confines, Rando is able to define the rules of physics and use that to disable to abilities of his opponents. None may enter, none may leave, save for those that Rando wishes to. Even more deadly, he’s able to revive corpses within his subspace, which he uses to revive the corpse of the former boss to fight Dazai. Chuya tries to mount on the attack on Rando while Dazai deals with the old boss, but Rando is no slouch. Yet, despite their limitations, Dazai and Chuya are able to unite themselves for a combo attack that lets them nullify Rando’s subspace. Once that is taken care of, Rando falls rather quickly and is left at Dazai and Chuya’s mercy.

Rando reveals his role as a spy and his role in the explosion within the city many years ago. Though he wasn’t responsible, he was sent to inspect the incredible power lying dormant within the city and was unable to contain the explosion which occurred, despite his subspace powers. Rando’s death is assured, and later, while Chuya is visiting his grave, he’s suddenly stabbed by a member of the sheep who tries to end him for good. Soldiers from the GSS reveal themselves out of the bushes to kill Chuya, but he’s rescued from the situation by Dazai and members of the Port Mafia. Dazai offers Chuya official employment in the Port Mafia, which Chuya begrudgingly accepts.

Later, Chuya meets with Mori, who gives him Rando’s old hat as a symbol of his care within the Port Mafia. He admits Chuya into the Port Mafia properly, to which Chuya pledges his loyalty, finishing up this look into Chuya’s past.

Our Take:

In a similar tradition to the last season of Bungo Stray Dogs the first few episodes of the season goes into the backstories and pasts of our main characters. With this episode, we’re finally at the end of the story of Chuya’s admittance into the Port Mafia, cementing the tenuous relationship between Chuya and Dazai. This makes this particular episode fun and satisfying in both a sense of long-term fulfillment and in terms of an entertaining episode. It doesn’t shirk its responsibility or the amount of fun to watch nor does it shy away from advancing the plot and fleshing out the characters more. The result is an episode that rises above the doldrums and tropey morass that “flashback episodes” usually occupy. This a series that knows how to do it’s backstories right and puts the quality of its characters first before anything else.

The beginning of this episode gets right to the action and doesn’t keep the viewer waiting for long. We go right into Rando’s power and his fight with Dazai and Chuya without much hesitation. Per the usual in Bungo Stray Dogs, the powers are set up and designed appropriately to create a fun and exciting fight. Rando’s subspace ability initially seems simple but is demonstrated to be rather powerful as Dazai and Chuya struggle to find a way to overcome it. Being able to revive the dead within it’s confines seems a little overpowered, but it’s executed well enough that that doesn’t bother me. The animation in this battle is fluid and powerful, making for something truly fun to watch. Chuya’s character is captured quite well within his attacks and movements, which makes the battle all the better to enjoy. What’s more, Rando is a superb villain, even if he isn’t around for very long. His dialogues with Chuya and Dazai are muted, but meaningful, revealing the complexities of his character.

One criticism of the episode would be it’s pacing once the fight is over, which feels like it’s sped up to accommodate the runtime instead of matching up with the needs of the story. Chuya getting betrayed seems to come out of nowhere and maybe could have been structured differently to give the audience a little more time to breathe. Yet, despite all that, things end well and the story leaves us on a strong note to get back into the story proper. I was quite happy with how things turned out and certainly entertained. This episode doesn’t really elevate to anything exceptional, but it is some pretty good viewing nonetheless.

Erich Hau

Erich is a northern California based writer on the front lines of the nerd frontier. When he's not burning the midnight oil he enjoys musicals, smooth jazz, and a good cup of dark roast. Cream and sugar not included.

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