As the UK continues to get caught up with the Bungo Stray Dogs franchise, Manga UK is finally reaching the finish line with their release of the third season. With two previous adaptations and a movie to its name, the anime has undoubtedly proven popular but does this third season continue to be entertaining? Let’s find out!
Much like Season 2, this collection begins with a third episode flashback arc. This story is focused around how Chuya was recruited into the Port Mafia and became a partner to Dazai. Despite not being a part of the original manga (since this arc takes place in one of Bungo Stray Dogs light novels), this story slots into the narrative well and gives the viewer a chance to get attached to both Chuya and the Port Mafia.
After Chuya’s arc, it’s back to business as usual, picking up straight after the Armed Detective Agency and Port Mafia took down the evil American team, The Guild. Despite having the chance for a momentary rest the two groups are still looking into what happened with the Moby Dick when The Guild lost control of it and it crashed (safely) into Yokohama.
As the cast investigate, they quickly uncover the mastermind behind it all: Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Neither the Port Mafia nor the Armed Detective Agency are safe with Fyodor around as he positions himself to annihilate both factions.
When he uses his connection to place a deadly curse on the heads of both groups, Fyodor announces that only one can be saved and that’s by killing the other. Successfully turning The Armed Detective Agency and Port Mafia against each other once more, Fyodor sits back and watches the chaos unfold from afar.
So it goes without saying that the stakes are high in this instalment of Bungo Stray Dogs. These episodes are best enjoyed back-to-back without the painful week’s break between broadcasts when the show was airing. This anime has always been one I’m happy to indulge in and despite having crammed so much of it into my free time lately, I still adore it. This season in particular benefits from having watched S1/2/the movie recently.
If you’ve watched Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple,you’ll remember that Fyodor was the mastermind behind the evil doings in that story as well. The film also helped illustrate that Dazai isn’t quite clever enough to overcome Fyodor’s schemes on his own, which works well within Season 3 where everyone must work together or face their demise.
Perhaps the biggest issue with Season 3 is the fact the story doesn’t feel like it wraps up particularly well. It’s clear that there is more to be told and it’s not as well concluded as the earlier anime were. With no sign of a Season 4 yet, I’m sure some viewers will be disappointed to get to the end and not have more to look forward to.
I’d be surprised if there wasn’t another season at some point, but with Season 3 having nearly caught up with the source material (at the time), we probably have a substantial wait ahead of us. Thankfully, the original manga and light novel series are both licensed in English and available from Yen Press.
The production for the anime remains unchanged from previous projects, with Studio BONES (Fullmetal Alchemist, Noragami, My Hero Academia) returning to handle the animation. The fight scenes, as always, are great fun to watch and the studio have a knack for slotting in comedic scenes of the characters goofing off and having fun.
Music for the series has been handled by Taku Iwasaki who brings a memorable and emotional soundtrack to the show. Iwasaki’s work here is more consistent with the earlier anime than his contributions to Dead Apple, which I found rather forgettable. The opening for this season is “Setsuna no Ai” by Granrodeo, while the ending is “Lily” by Luck Life. The opening is the loud guitar-driven shonen track we’ve come to expect from the series, while “Lily” is a more emotional piece which showcases all of the cast in tears! Both are likeable songs that fit Bungo Stray Dogs well.
Where voice actors are concerned, all of the Japanese cast return to their roles, while most of the English cast remains the same as well. The notable exception for the dub is Ranpo’s actor, who changed in Dead Apple. In Season 1/2 Ranpo was played by Vic Mignogna, but in Dead Apple and here he’s played by Landon McDonald. McDonald captures Ranpo’s personality well and although it’s a bit jarring hearing someone new take on the role, I think dub viewers will be okay with the change.
As previously mentioned this release comes to the UK thanks to Manga Entertainment and is available on Blu-ray and DVD. The set includes all 12 episodes of Season 3 in both Japanese and with the English dub. On disc extras include trailers and clean opening and ending videos.
Overall, Bungo Stray Dogs Season 3 proves to be a worthwhile watch for fans of this franchise. While it doesn’t wrap up as cleanly as past seasons, that can be forgiven, considering how good the story being told this time is. With everything on the line, our heroes face their toughest fight yet!