English Dub Review: Bungo Stray Dogs “The Masked Assassin”

Today is a good day to die.


President Yukichi Fukuzawa is injured by a masked assassin hunting Gifted, but his wounds are difficult to identify. Ryunosuke soon confronts the would-be killer, who he identifies as Nathaniel Hawthorne with an ability known as “Scarlet Letter”, which controls his blood by turning it into weapons. He’s carrying out these strikes to resurrect his beloved who Ryunosuke once killed in a previous battle. While this is happening, Mori is also hit with the same cursed injury. Dazai pinpoints the true culprit, Fyodor, who is looking for a book that rewrites reality to get rid of all of Yokohama’s Gifted. To do this, he has instructed the cursing of the two major leaders of the city, Fukuzawa, and Mori, with a virus that will grow inside them for 48 hours, and can only be stopped if one of the two dies before then.

With seemingly no other options, the Armed Detective Agency and the Port Mafia go to war in order to cure their respective boss, by killing the other. The Port Mafia quickly surrounds the hospital holding Fukuzawa with Chuuya personally facing the agents. Kunikiwa takes charge and the rest help defend Fukuzawa, and the two sides stare each other down, waiting for the first move.

I’m gonna be honest here, I am not the most familiar with this series, but here I am covering the latter half of its third season, which has been inundated with callbacks and references to previous events that I have not had time to go back and watch for myself. I only bring this up to clarify that my critical analysis of these last few episodes is going to be pretty noticeably handicapped because of my severe lack of experience with this story and these characters. In my brief research, I have learned that many of their names and abilities are literary references to authors and famous books, which comes in handy for an English Major like myself, but that’s the bulk of my insight at the moment.

With that said, this episode definitely gives us the sense that things are moving into the finale, as the delicate balance of power between the Agency and the Mafia is forced to come to blows by Fyodor’s machinations. I don’t quite get why he wants all Gifted to be destroyed, but this is definitely a way to do that, as both bosses are days away from death and the only conceivable way of curing either of them is if the other dies. Basically, it’s the Joker’s Boat Game from The Dark Knight on a smaller scale (two people versus two boats worth of people), but with bigger consequences. Neither side has any reason to work with the other to find another solution, while they have every reason to fight through whatever they can in order to make sure their own boss lives. Even without much prior knowledge of the events leading up to this, I can tell this a well-laid plan…or maybe it’s because I don’t have much prior knowledge? Either way, I’m interested to see where this goes in the last four episodes.

Side note, the rather youthful appearances of Kunikida and Fukuzawa really don’t seem to match well with the voices of Patrick Seitz and Jamison Pierce. Obviously, they’re great actors playing likely well-written characters, but hearing those voices come out of those faces is definitely a trip for me. In contrast, pretty much everyone else seems to fit their respective roles just fine, so it’s really just those two that confuse be a tad. Perhaps I’ll get used to it as we inch closer to the finale.

David Kaldor

Green Lynx (David Kaldor): Aimless 20-something given a paid outlet for his thoughts on cartoons. Fears being boring slightly more than being outright disliked.

David Kaldor has 763 posts and counting. See all posts by David Kaldor