English Dub Review: Bungo Stray Dogs “Slap the Stick & Addict”

Time to meet the Agency’s resident otaku.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

The Armed Detective Agency is completely beat, trying to rest and recover after their recent battles in a nearby cafe. They enjoy some good food and drink before heading back to their jobs, but on the next day they come to visit, they find the cafe owner injured and the place trashed. We see this is the doing of an organization called Zapallic, a crime group that wants to steal the Guild’s goodies from the Detective Agency. Though their leader boasts how impregnable their hideout is, it’s not long before the Armed Detective Agency arrives to settle their score. They unleash their particular brand of sadism on Zapallic, and end their beef in one swoop. When they return to the cafe, they find that Lucy has gone into their employ.

Later, Kunikida goes with Atsushi to investigate a special computer chip found on the Moby Dick that allowed someone to hijack the ship. They go to see Katai, a homebody nerd who’s a computer expert. He has the ability to process information like a computer himself, but can only use that power when he feels comfortable, which is not often. Today, his issue is that there’s a girl he’s pining over that he saw the other day. Katai then tasks the Detective Agency with finding that girl if they want his unique services.

As it turns out, this woman is the same young lady that Higuchi from the Port Mafia is pursuing for a job as well. Higuchi continues to tail her to discover her identity, and discovers Kunikida and Atsushi investigating her as well. Higuchi begs the two of them for information. Katai soon shows up to join the investigation as well. Higuchi sees her prospect and pursues her, chasing her into an alley with Katai soon behind. Once she gets a good look at her, Higuchi realizes her to be Gin, Akutagawa’s younger sister.

Katai confesses his feelings for Gin and is promptly rejected. He retreats to his den to cry out his emotions, which, as it turns out, is all part of the plan. With his mind clear, Katai can focus on working for the Agency.

Our Take:

Bungo Stray Dogs continues it’s a particular blend of violence and comedy this week with an episode that is lighthearted and entertaining. While it doesn’t exactly pack the same dramatic punch as some of the prior episodes, it’s a little episodic adventure that introduces a new character, retouches on some old ones, and potentially sets us up a little bit down the line to see new developments in the story. Not everything needs to be a grand dramatic setpiece, and this episode understands that full and well. If you’re along for the ride, get ready for some good times.

The plot itself is a little bit scattershot, admittedly. The first part of the episode dealing with the Zapallic doesn’t carry into the rest of the story, which makes it feel like a waste of time. However, it’s purpose seems to be more about reminding us who the main players in the Armed Detective Agency are. After all, it’s been a few episodes since we’ve been seeing what our favorite detectives are up to, so a refresher course on them isn’t unwelcome. It comes complete with some excellent animation as well, along with the righteous satisfaction of seeing some assholes get their teeth kicked in.

The rest of the story is simple but enjoyable. It all boils down to a few cute interactions between Kunikida and Higuchi, all while introducing us to Katai. He doesn’t get much time to shine and is mostly written off as a comic relief character in this episode, but his ending scene leaves a lasting impression on the viewer that no doubt sets him up for bigger things in the future. We are reminded of the bond that the Detective Agency shares is greater than the personalities of the people within it. By the end, I was keen to find out more about who Katai was and how he’ll be involved in things to come, which makes this a success in my eyes.

Don’t be deceived by Bungo Stray Dog’s tongue-in-cheek demeanor. Though it plays it cool with its funny characters and jovial back-and-forths between it’s cast, the show has some deep waters running beneath it. It speaks to the strength of the source material that the show is able to manage its tone with the almost Tarantino-esque violence that the story exhibits. Chalk another one up for Stray Dogs, it’s nothing to slap a stick at.

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.

Erich Hau has 562 posts and counting. See all posts by Erich Hau