Onmyouji and Stray Dogs 4-5

Don't pick on Ryogo, or his little brother will beat you up.
Don’t pick on Ryogo, or his little brother will beat you up.

Sousei no Onmyouji 4 among other things, strengthens the bond between Rokuro and his “big bro” Ryogo. You can probably already guess the way they do it. They have a fight, or rather, Rokuro doesn’t like being reminded to do his homework, Ryogo goes off to do an exorcism and is about to get killed when Rokuro shows up and beats up the monsters for him. Not much more than that, but we also see Rokuro swallowing his pride and begging Benio to come with him. That to me was more surprising. I had no doubts he’d stand up for Ryogo when things got dire, but to see him asking for help suggests he might be maturing a little. That said, the apology for the argument in the morning, though expected, was to me a waste of time. Rokuro shows his feelings with action; as Ryogo and Benio both say this episode, he coolest when he’s fighting demons.

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Episode 5 is a bit of a letdown possibly because there was less at stake. All that really happens is we see Rokuro being slowly drawn back to the exorcism world, and we meet a super-talented exorcist named Shimon who’s only slightly older than our heroes. And an asshole to boot. However, he’s right about Rokuro not taking this seriously. Fortunately he’s sent back to Kyoto after the episode’s battling, but now that they’ve established his character unfortunately he’ll be back.

Kunikida's overreaction was a nice leading tactic.
Kunikida’s overreaction was a nice leading tactic.

In episode 3 Bungou Stray Dogs made a nice transition from a stylish, a little silly growing-up story and made things darker than expected. In episode 4 they play with the potential for darkness further before pulling the rug out from under us. They start at the beginning where we find one of the near-death guys from last week was getting some … interesting medical treatment. Glad he’s all right. But when Atsushi learns there’s a 7 billion yen bounty on his head he decides to run off so as not to put his new comrades in danger. Rejected again. Meanwhile, the Black Lizard gang, as nasty and ruthless as last week’sguys if not more, assemble to attack the agency, so they can’t guard Atsushi anymore. Looks to be pretty bleak again.

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The thing is, the Black Lizards are introduced, given name-things, set up like they’re going to be dangerous threats. When Atsushi hears the gunfire from the agency offices and runs back, we’re expecting the worst, not what actually happens. Well-played! It answers one of two questions I had: just how effective and dangerous is this agency (answered), but the other one, what Atsushi can do for them has yet to be answered. But that’s the long-term arc we’re talking about.

You'd think Rampo had a super power the way his cloak whips around.
You’d think Rampo had a super power the way his cloak whips around.

In episode 5 the detective agency actually solves a mystery. As far as mysteries go it’s not all that great. The clues that Rampo picked upon could be explained away in court. The main thrust of the episode is to give master detective Rampo some star time. So we see his colleagues, even Kunikuda and Rampo, fawn over him, we see his detective act, and at the end more talk about how he doesn’t even have a gift. That wrapped around the mystery, that’s all. Since we see a lot of Kunikuda in the preview I expect it’s his turn next week.

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