Bungo Stray Dogs 4×02 Review: “The Day Is A Dream, The Night Is Real”

Bungo Stray Dogs continues its adaptation of the light novel The Untold Origins of the Detective Agency with “The Day Is A Dream, The Night Is Real”. The threat that Fukuzawa and Ranpo have been investigating comes to its inevitable (or not) conclusion. But the story is far from over.

First of all, I have to bring up the twist with the color usage. After last week’s episode, I speculated that the gray-scale of the episode – unique for this series, even for flashbacks – was due to Fukuzawa’s way of looking at the world. Either he saw the world in a very stark, black and white way, or his mood after leaving his career as an assassin. So I was actually very surprised when it turns out that it was Ranpo and not Fukuzawa who saw the world that way.

I love this. I loved it last week when I thought it was Fukuzawa, and I love it even more that it’s Ranpo. Many fans speculate that Ranpo is autistic; this isn’t confirmed or considered canon, but a lot of people identify with Ranpo because of it. And certainly, when he was talking about how he doesn’t understand people, and the world seems to be full of monsters, hits home with a lot of people.

I’ll be honest; I hadn’t given much thought to the idea that Ranpo may be autistic, perhaps because Ranpo has always been part of the ensemble. While the core Bungo Stray Dogs characters all have names based on Japanese authors, Ranpo is very much like Sherlock Holmes, who has long been coded as neurodivergent. He’s extremely intelligent but completely lacks social awareness, and he isn’t able to relate to the people around him because he doesn’t view the world the same way. Hence, not seeing the world in color.

This is one of those episodes that reminds me that I have to sit back and think for a second. I had assumed That Fukuzawa believed that Ranpo’s intelligence was an ability. “The Day Is A Dream, The Night Is Real” shows that Fukuzawa recognized that to not be the case, but he needed Ranpo to believe that. Also, Ranpo believing himself to be the smartest person in the world, yet being fooled by a pair of cheap glasses, is just hilariously entertaining to me. (Of course, he may have taken Fukuzawa literally and assumed that by “Gifted”, he just meant “intelligent”.)

But also, at the end, it seems as though Ranpo has been kidnapped by the true culprit. With the fake murder on stage being a cover for a real murder – and that information only being revealed after Ranpo has left with the policeman – one wouldn’t be remiss in thinking that Ranpo is in danger. However, Ranpo’s thoughtful noise at the very end of the episode indicates that he has already figured that out. In fact, it’s probably reasonable to assume that Ranpo willingly went with the policeman, alone, because he knew he was the true culprit.

After all, even after his declaration that they could still stop the murder, the “murder” happens anyway, with Ranpo nowhere in sight. That’s because he already knew that it wasn’t real, so he made no effort to stop it. And his convoluted explanation to the theater indicated that it was worth it to let one of the co-conspirators go in order to catch the mastermind.

I’d originally thought that they were letting Takio, the actor, go in order to catch the true culprit. But perhaps Ranpo considered the murder of the stagewright an acceptable consequence if it meant getting the man behind the curtain.

I’m excited to see where this story goes, and how this backstory might tie in with the rest of the season.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.


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