Episode 1 of Bungo Stray Dogs season 4 ‘The Lone Swordsman and the Famous Detective’ starts off with a young Yukichi Fukuzawa working as a bodyguard and being haunted by the people he killed during an assassination purge. He gets a phone call from someone asking him to join them but he declares that he will never work with another person again.
He comes across a crime scene and recognizes the victim. He decides to give his condolences and sees her secretary who is busy investigating as it seems that the killer wanted to destroy some documents or steal them. Fukuzawa volunteers to help but the secretary shares that they already have the killer who happens to be baby Oda.
Fukuzawa has heard of Sakunosuke Oda as the young and infamous assassin and wonders how he was caught. Before he can further look into it, a stranger walks in demanding a certificate for a job that he did. The mystery man turns out to be 14-year-old Edogawa Ranpo who comes and demands a certificate promised to him by the victim. He banters with the secretary and uses the wind to find what he was looking for while deducing at the same time that the secretary is the killer and he hired Oda to be a scapegoat.
On hearing that he is being detained for a murder he didn’t commit, Oda tries to escape. Fukuzawa tries to stop him but Oda uses his ability to bypass him and kill the secretary as retribution.
Fukuzawa is furious and leaves as he can’t believe the quick turn of events. Ranpo tags along with him to a restaurant. He interrogates Ranpo who tells him how he realised the secretary was the killer. He also tells Fukuzawa about dropping out of the police academy and how he has been solving crimes on his own.
Fukuzawa tries to leave and simply gives him his card and tells him to call him if he is ever in danger. Ranpo looks like he is disappointed but ends up calling him and telling him that he needs help as he has no job and no home.
Fukuzawa decides to let him come with him to his next assignment and tells him he can get him a job there. They go to the theatre where he is supposed to catch the killer V who wants to kill an actor. The owner pretends to consider Ranpo as part of the staff and he is annoyed as she is lying. He analyses her and tells Fukuzawa that she doesn’t trust him or the police.
Fukuzawa doesn’t care and continues with his job which Ranpo finds confusing. They interview the actor Murakami who is passionate about his acting and doesn’t care that he is being targeted.
The other actors think Murakami is the target because he is a womanizer. However, no one including the police takes the threat seriously. Ranpo tells Fukuzawa that it is not a threat but a declaration by V that the murder will happen and that he knew from the beginning. Fukuzawa thinks he has the ability to see the truth immediately. He decides to let Ranpo stay with him if he can deduce him.
Ranpo accurately guesses that Fukuzawa is in his 30s, a martial artist, single, right-handed and works alone all by looking at him. He also guesses that Fukuzawa uses a sword but doesn’t carry it because of the guilt he felt for all the killings at the assassination purge. Fukuzawa is shocked that Ranpo knows this and is confident that he has an ability. He asks him to work with him on the theatre case and if it goes well, he will get him a new job.
The Episode Review
Looks like we will still have to wait for the much-awaited showdown of Atsushi and Akutagawa where they were supposed to fight each other six months after the events of season 3. However, season 4 episode 1 of Bungo Stray Dogs took off with much excitement from the windy and dark theme to the flashback and new mysteries. All in greyscale, we get chills like it is a noir drama, quite different from previous seasons to show us the origin of the detective agency and Oda.
Ranpo, the only detective without an ability, finally gets the screen time he deserves. This could also be a hint that he may have something to do with this season’s plot. We also hope to get the fun dynamic of the pessimistic and weary former killer and his cheerful charge which is Fukuzawa and Ranpo. Always hungry and delightfully oblivious, Ranpo constantly irking Fukuzawa and also impressing him was the highlight of the episode.
Fukuzawa on the other hand is absolutely annoyed but takes care of him grudgingly. We also get the beginnings of the benevolent Fukuzawa from the previous seasons as he is surprised with himself that even though he promised never to work with another person again, he has taken in Ranpo after just hanging out with him for a day.