Title: Bungo Stray Dogs Vol. 3
Author: Kafka Asagiri (Story), Sango Harukawa (Art)
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Volume three of Bungo Stray Dogs was another incredible installment in the series that was filled with some character development, some plot advancement and one hell of an action-packed fight!
After Kyouka’s capture by the Armed Detective Agency, it is determined that they are going to turn her over to the police for the crimes that she had committed, even though that she and her ability were being manipulated by Akutagawa. With the amount of people she had killed, she would be given the death sentence… the same fate awaited her if she returned to the mafia for her betrayal. She didn’t have a place to go. Atsushi decides that he will be the one to bring her, but before heading to the station, he takes her out on a date. That proved to be a mistake as it allowed Akutagawa to track him down and capture him.
The Armed Detective Agency sets out to rescue Atsushi and discover that he’s on a mafia trade ship, heading towards international waters. Kunikida grabs a speedboat and heads to their location as fast as possible. He arrives there finds Kyouka, Atsushi and Akutagawa on the ship. Atsushi has an opportunity to escape, but decides to go back for Kyouka. This is where an amazing battle between Atsushi and Akutagawa takes place as the ship begins to sink into the ocean, thanks to explosives Kyouka placed in the weapon’s room.
On the flipside, we catch up with Dazai as he’s greeted by his former partner in the mafia, Chuuya. Dazai provokes Chuuya into attacking him, which sets him free from capture. After some back and forth, Dazai’s mind games work on Chuuya and he gets him to set him free!
All in all, I loved this volume from a story standpoint. It didn’t really answer any of the questions of why Akutagawa wants Atsushi or what Dazai’s master plan is, but it is apparent that he actually wanted to get captured. He does want to know who put the bounty on Atsushi, but it’s unclear what he’s going to do with that information just yet. The ending of the volume with the five heads of the mafia coming together does raise an eyebrow, though. Just how special is Atsushi to the mafia?
The only character that really got a lot of development here was Dazai. Through him, we learned that Akutagawa was his student at one point in the mafia. With the introduction of Chuuya, we learned of his partner. Dazai was also revealed to be a former leader in the mafia as well, which begs more questions of why he left the organization in the first place. I like how we’re just breadcrumbing through his past and uncovering it bit by bit. It really keeps the character interesting. Slow burns are always the best when it comes to development, in my opinion!
Kyouka had a bit of a personality change. It was obvious that she regretted everything she had done. She knew that it wasn’t her fault because she was being controlled, but he had accepted responsibility for it nevertheless. Her date with Atsushi really changed her inside, though. She was finally given a taste of the outside world and its freedom and there was this glimmer of hope inside of her that made her believe that there was an option outside of death and/or mafia servitude. It was nice to see her choose Atsushi in the end and my prediction of her joining the Armed Detective Agency doesn’t seem so far-fetched now, although I believe it’s going to take some convincing on Kunikida’s part.
I look forward to Bungo Stray Dogs each and every quarter. This manga has a great balance of story progression, character development and action. In three volumes, there has never really been a dull moment and things keep getting more and more interesting. The series keeps adding new characters, but at a manageable pace. It doesn’t overload you and gives you time to digest the characters it introduces all while keeping the ones it had introduced fresh in your mind.
The biggest mystery has yet to be solved, which is why Atsushi? What is so special about him and what does he really mean to both the mafia and the Armed Detective Agency? As much as I want to know, I want the series to continue the slow burn on this story because the more you ask that question, the more you become hooked! Needless to say, the wait for volume four is going to be painful, indeed!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press