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Bungo Stray Dogs Season 5 ‒ Episode 55



This has got to stop. Fukuchi is the worst in so many senses that it’s becoming overwhelming – he’s got what amounts to an unbeatable ability, he’s got a vampire under his control, and he’s been planning his global takeover for so long that the pieces were all in place long before anyone realized what was going on. It’s frustrating and infuriating, and now he’s about to get his grubby mitts on yet another unstoppable weapon, One Order, courtesy of The Order of the Clock Tower, Britain’s Gifted organization. It’s enough to make you sick. (Or maybe that’s the inexplicable peanut butter mochi I ate.) We’ve gone from Boswellian to plain old Orwellian in very little time.

What’s most interesting about this arc so far is the outsized role that ordinary people play. Yes, Fukuchi is a vicious bastard, and most of the fighting has been done by people with supernatural abilities. But Ranpo, if you recall, isn’t actually Gifted; he’s just very, very smart, and he’s the one running the show over at the resistance. But more immediately, Jouno has recruited a perfectly normal girl to the cause – Aya, the girl saved by Kunikida in a past storyline. Aya happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Jouno is determined to make it the right one on both counts, and that can only work because Aya is both a child and a regular person. She also firmly believes that any agency associated with Kunikida can’t be bad, and when Jouno uses that belief (which may help protect her from The Page) to ensure that his confrontation with Fukuchi, he’s taking a risk. He’s banking on both her innocence as a child and her lack of Skill to insulate her, and when you combine those with the archetype of the wise innocent, you have the perfect person to slip through the cracks.

It’s not necessarily a good look for Jouno, who is putting a pre-teen in danger, but it’s also a gamble that should pay off. It also demonstrates how Jouno has and hasn’t changed. Fukuchi remarks that he enlisted the younger man from a criminal organization to convert him from Hunting Dog to Decay of Angels based on his…enjoyment…of pain and murder. He assumes that Jouno is so far corrupted that there’s no coming back, which is his mistake. Jouno has discovered the joys of being loved and thanked instead of being reviled, and that’s a high he can’t stop chasing – and one Fukuchi may not understand. For Fukuchi, everything is about power, and his Ability means that he never needs to worry about failure because he’s got unlimited replays. Fukuchi, in essence, doesn’t have to learn; his whole life is a lather, rinse, repeat with slightly different wash times. That may be a bigger weakness than he’s considered, much more so than his good-guy act.

We’re almost certainly in for more darkness before it finally starts to get light. Even though Fukuzawa and Ranpo are on the case and guiding the others, the Mafia is no longer a viable ally, and we don’t know what’s going on with Ango and his team. The Sky Casino might be quite literally above the corruption, which could be what the title of this and the next episode hint at, but getting there may not be easy. Right now, we have to hope that Aya is hiding somewhere safe, and the safest place may, in fact, be in the coffin with Bram. He can’t exactly lean down and bite her, after all, and it’s a surefire way to get to wherever Fukuchi is heading. And if children’s literature and fairy tales have taught me anything, it’s this: never underestimate the power of a little girl when the chips are down.


Bungo Stray Dogs is currently streaming on

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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September 2023

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