“Love for the Disease Called Ideals”
Intriguing title, to say the least. Coming from last week’s cliffhanger, today’s episode actually managed to make sense of the situation and put my worries to rest…sort of. Don’t get me wrong, there were plot holes (or rather plain lacks of reason) and explanations glossed over for the sake of time. Really, the whole setup was kinda lousy, but it hit the points it needed to for the glorious payoff at the end.
A bomb threat from a mysterious unknown, somehow connected to the bombings of a past case that ended with the perpetrator and several officers in smithereens. That’s all it really needed to be, but Bungo Stray Dogs decided to make things a little more convoluted. A hacker for the agency had a father who was killed in the past incident. Okay. Kunikida was originally on that case. That’s interesting. Kunikida feels like he needs to fill in for the lost father of the hacker. Wait, what? Just kidding, he’s over that. Alright. Then there’s the hospital and the driver who was being manipulated. This was all in order to smear the Agency’s reputation, somehow. They save one woman from the hospital, and I called it in my mind that she would turn out to be the mastermind, although I don’t understand why she pretended to be the victim at all. Before that’s revealed, the bomb threat is issued and a time limit is given for the Agency to stop it. If they fail, this will ruin their appearance. And you know, lots of innocent people will die. But mainly, the bomber is only interested in ruining the Agency.
This is probably my biggest problem with the entire story. It just doesn’t make sense that the Agency’s reputation would have anything to do with this. Law enforcement gets commended for their heroic deeds. That doesn’t mean they get reprimanded for failing. After all, so long as they tried, they didn’t do anything wrong. And only person to be blamed is THE FUCKER THAT DID IT. So I’ll chalk that up to bad writing.
And you know what else is bad writing? Implying that characters had sex when they didn’t! Okay, that’s actually not a bad thing. I’m just mad that Dazai’s not getting laid.
Onto a different, seemingly bold scene, I liked the three-way going on in the car. Three characters having three separate phone calls appeared to be an interesting and risky storytelling maneuver. A bulk of outside information dumped simultaneously across three people could have resulted in a very sudden change in direction. It also could have convoluted the story even further, and make way for some more unwanted exposition. Bungo Stray Dogs took an even easier way out of this however, because two of the phone calls were essentially the same, and only one piece of information of any significance was actually given to point them in a specific direction.
They have to stop the bomb through some other means. In finding these means, Kunikida and Dazai get caught in combat. This is where the callback from the previous episode shines through. Why are two such incompatible people on a team? Well, the answer is simple. It’s because Dazai and Kunikida are total opposites that they are so in tuned and work so well together. Dazai lacks combat strength and Kunikida lacks the aptitude toward facing other ability wielders. And so the two swap opponents and finish the fights with ease.
But this isn’t where the contrasting in personalities end. In fact, it’s only the beginning, because their skills aren’t the only thing polarizing each other. Their very ideology comes into play as the case comes to a close.
I knew that the chick was going to be the mastermind behind it all, and I appreciated the subtle misdirects nearing the end that made the reveal come off as a lot more fresh than I would have thought it to be. Dazai arranges a meeting between the bomber and them, sort of a blackmail that ensures the “Azure Messenger” to come out of hiding. As Dazai and Kunikida are waiting, the hacker steps into the light. He’s not the bomber, he just intercepted the message Dazai sent and decided to join in. It all felt incredibly clever, as my original guess had been briefly thrown off, only to be blasted back into shot with surprising gunfire. The girl walks in and reveals she was behind the whole Azure King/Messenger thing. She shoots the hacker, Dazai pulls out his pistol, and now they’re at a standoff. After some conversing and brief exposition, Dazai lowers his weapon and drops it. Then there’s gunfire again. But this time she’s the one to fall. The gun dropped into the lap of the hacker, who was dying, yet still holding on and longing for vengeance.
Why did Dazai let this happen? Kunikida can’t stand it, there must’ve been another way, a better way.
“Who was wrong?!”
“No one was wrong. This was the only possible outcome.”
“Shut up! You could’ve saved her! Are you saying this is justice?!”
“Justice is a weapon. It can be used to harm, but it cannot protect or save others. What killed Sasaki-san was, in the end, the justice of the Azure King…and of you.
Kunikida-kun, as long as you pursue your ideals, the flames that burned in the Azure King will one day take root in you…and raze everything around you.”
“Still! I’ll still push on until I push past it!
Do not underestimate my ideals!”
And then the music hits its first lyric and the credits roll.
A really great ending to a two part-er that really adds to the wonderful dynamic these two characters have going on. This is the first time we’ve seen their ideals clash, and hopefully it will not be the last.
+ Excellent ending
+ Excellent ending misdirects
+ Excellent ending music cue
– Subpar setup
– Flawed reputation logic
– Dazai didn’t get laid