Bungou Stray Dogs 10-11


Baskin Robbins 32nd flavor: Luscious Orange Lilac Indulgence

spring15-irenesLast time on BSD, we were in the middle of Atsushi and Dazai’s arc as both of them come into contact with skeletons that have come crashing out of a ton of closets! I find it interesting that while these last few episodes of the season have been tying up loose ends, they’ve actually been quite a bit more intriguing in the plot department compared to where the show started. We’re finishing up introductions and meeting some new allies and new enemies and all just in time before it’s time to call the series to a close, at least until the Fall.


Even Atsushi can’t resist this trope.


Akutagawa, Atsushi, and Dazai


Humble beginnings

It’s been obvious since even the first appearance of the ED that there has been some sort of connection between Dazai, Akutagawa, and Atsushi. As the series went on, that connection became revealed, though not all at once and not fully to all three participants. Dazai stands at the apex of this, the main connection between the two young men. And for the first time, during episode 10, we get to see how Akutagawa and Atsushi are basically two sides of the same coin, and yet an example of how environment and circumstance can shape and influence a person in their direction in life.


Someone save the loli!

We begin to see a little of Akutagawa’s past in snippets and find that he too was an orphan and grew up unwanted and in the dredges of the lowest of low castes in society. It was the Port Mafia that found him, molded him, using hate and anger at society as fuel, and turned him into the merciless and cold murderer that he is today. Atsushi on the other end, was all of that as well, but was found by the Armed Detectives rather than the Mafia, and with their help, found his confidence and is beginning to realize that he has purpose and meaning to his life.

It’s interesting that their argument is catalyzed by Kyouka, who is being forced to follow the darker of the two paths, and yet, through Atsushi’s influence, begins to see that there are other paths that she can actually take, and the writing is already on the wall. She’s the middle ground right now, but not for long.


Were-Tiger vs Dracula!

I find it interesting that you do get to see Dazai training both of proteges, but at different points in his life, and so with different techniques. I honestly didn’t think it fair for Dazai to try to pit his past apprentice against his new one, considering that he had a hand in how Akutagawa became the way he is today, and that he is one of the causes of pain and unfulfillment in the young man’s life which gives way to his increased anger and hate. It’s in this episode where the scenes of Atushi and Akutagawa both sinking in the water, with Dazai only giving a helping hand to one, takes on meaning.

bsd1011022bsdg1011 (1)bsdg1011 (2)bsdg1011 (3)

Dazai wasn’t always Mr. Nice-Suicidal Enthusiasm

It truly is interesting to think about Dazai and this life he left behind. From this episode, you find that leaving was actually a rather selfish choice, and left quite a few torn familial ties in it’s wake. His old partner Chuuya is an interesting dynamic. He both loves and hates the suicide-enthusiast, and while both of them know each other extremely well, Dazai has the genius level intellect, which allows him to plan further out in advance. Chuuya wants to beat the crap out of Dazai and shows a hatred and yet a delight in the man, but you can also see the hurt that gave way to such hate in the first place.


Gotta love those love-hate relationships

In the same way, Akutagawa lost his mentor and was never given the acknowledgement he should have had, and it left him vulnerable and floundering. He covered up that pain and feeling of inadequacy with rage and cold cruelty.  And in a way, I have to wonder how he would have turned out if he had met the Dazai of now, rather than the Dazai of then?

Mafia Means Family


Those coloring lolis are quite dangerous.

It’s funny that It’s not till the penultimate episode of the season and we’re finally getting some actual character development for our villains. So far, the Port Mafia has basically be relegated to simply being ultra violent cold-blooded killers, who don’t let anything get between them and money and power.

Well, all of that is still true, yet it’s not until this episode that we really begin to see the mafia members more as people rather than simply as antagonists. They accomplish this through the point of view of one of the very few characters we’ve seen so far without superpowers, Ichiyou, who we haven’t really gotten a chance to see for some episodes.


I wish could have felt victorious over how shattered and broken Akutagawa was after his fight with the Atsushi’s OP tiger, and yet, I really just felt sorry for him and kind of mad that Atsushi did so much damage, and yet he himself came out unscathed. Seeing him through Ichiyou’s eyes and how she had to deal with the aftermath helped to not only humanize her, but all the other underlings of the P.M. mafiosos and that actually many of them are just grunts doing their jobs. Yes, the Port Mafia is a cutthroat world where power and strength is respected over all. A non-gifted girl like Ichi, finds it hard to continue to tread water where there are so many sharks circling just waiting for her to tire and show weakness.


The family that fights together, stays together.

Her inner monologues and her breakdown in her apartment were honestly more meaningful and heartfelt than any of the many repetitive thoughts of our main character. And her one-woman fight to get her sempai back, that inspires the Black Lizards to act, is one of the strongest moments in the series thus far. We have barely seen this character, and yet, you are pulling for her to do the impossible, simply because nobody else will.

bsdg1011 (6)bsdg1011 (7)

Waking up to family

We do meet two more members of the Mafia, the creepy loli is creepy and the man in the shadows is your cliche evil boss character, and I’m sure we’ll see more of them in the future. However, I’m honestly more interested in seeing more of Akutagawa, Ichiyou, and even Chuuya. Characters that have quickly become more and more three-dimensional as the series has continued.


Naivete Has Its Own Strength

There have been only a couple of characters of our main cast that we have yet to see the powers off. Those two being the president himself, and our little podunk hick and resident child agent, Kenji Miyazawa. I have say that I wonder if Kenji was left for last because honestly, the reveal of his nature and powers seem more like an afterthought than anything else.

He’s basically naive to a fault, and comes from some forgotten pocket of society that doesn’t have electricity or currency for that matter. A person at that level of innocence, is usually not seen to do very well in the big city, especially not in the Armed Detectives line of work, but Kenji makes his naivete work for him, coming up with the most…unusual…methods of solving his cases. Ways that really can only work for him, as Atsushi soon finds out.


How can you say no, to such an innocent face?

We see his power being one the most basic of super abilities, super strength (which only manifests when he’s hungry). It’s so basic that it really feels as if they just tacked it on at the last minute. It’s quite useful of course, but just feels as if compared to the others, Kenji is just a bit of a disappointment.

However, he is still a good kid and should be happy to now have a new “imouto” in Kyouka, who after much begging, is being allowed to join the Armed Detectives. Because she’s now on the side of the good guys, and with the nature of her powers, I don’t think we’ll see her in action much anymore. Though I guess her knowledge of the Port Mafia might be of some help. This makes her the second member of the Armed Detectives to defect from the mafia, which has me wonder what Dazai’s reaction to her will be once he returns?


We’re about to approach the end of the first half of the series, before BSD takes a break for the summer and comes back in the Fall. It’s clear that with all the introductions having finally been taken care of, we can at last get to a long term plot! We finally get a chance to find out who decided to pay billions to get their hands on Atsushi, and it really shouldn’t come to any sort of surprise. There’s only one group of people that would pay tons of money on a whim to get what they want and that could cause even the constantly nonchalant Dazai to gasp in horror–Americans!


So will this be the one with Redford or DiCaprio? Either way, I don’t think I’m going to like it.

Lol 😛 Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say “Westerners”. But it seems that a new group of superpowered players is coming to play, and this time they are made up of (so far) all Western writers. We are introduced to The Guild, headed by swingin’ leader Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (played with relish by Takahiro Sakurai), who will soon be joined by the lovely redheaded pigtailed Lucy Maud Montgomery…I think you see where this is going. (Well at least I’ll be a lot more familiar with these new characters.)

It’s one more episode of set up before the coming showdown. Next season it will be East meets West!


A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

19 Responses to “Bungou Stray Dogs 10-11”

  1. skylion says:

    A good collection of episodes. I like how both sides of the fight, the Port Mafia and the Agency are looking like pistols loading up…just a matter of where they take aim.

    So is the loli in red Zelda? Or Daisy? Is she a beautiful fool? Doesn’t look like it. This in anime after all, she’s probably the most dangerous one in the game.

  2. zztop says:

    So will this be the one with Redford or DiCaprio? Either way, I don’t think I’m going to like it.

    You didn’t like the DiCaprio version of Gatsby? Was it the acting, or all the visual excess?
    That said, I do hope Bungou’s Fitzgerald’s a good old sport who knows how to party, just like Gatsby. After all, a little party never killed nobody! :p

    • skylion says:

      I thought the visual excess was fine…I mean, it’s a Baz Luhrman joint, I knew what I was getting when I walked in. As a version of the book, the earlier Redford film is superior and capture the quiet desperation of the main character well, but the Leo version is still a good film to watch for that excess.

      • zztop says:

        Funnily, reviews of the Redford version tend to be rather critical – that the execution was too lifeless and flat, and that Redford couldn’t get Gatsby’s character right.

        The Luhrmann version got better reviews for the characterisation- they especially loved DiCaprio’s take on Gatsby, but most complaints were on Luhrmann’s love of theaterical excess.

        • skylion says:

          I have a soft spot for the Redford production, so I have a tendency to look at it in a different light from most I guess.

    • IreneSharda says:

      I think the never version got the excess right, but I think for me, it was just too much. The Great Gatsby has never really been one of my favorites, but the Redford one was probably my preferred adaptation, as it seemed more down to Earth and Redford just made Gatsby even more tragic. It’s not a story that I really see more than once though, in any case.

      As for our F.Scott Fitzgerald’s powers here, I wonder how they are going to turn the Great Gatsby into a superpower? It’s worked in interesting ways for the other writer superheroes, so I’ll be interested in how they do this.

      • BlackBriar says:

        As for our F.Scott Fitzgerald’s powers here, I wonder how they are going to turn the Great Gatsby into a superpower? It’s worked in interesting ways for the other writer superheroes, so I’ll be interested in how they do this.

        Never saw any of the Gatsby movies myself but I’ve seen comments speculating it might involve dying in a pool. 😛

        • IreneSharda says:

          Hmm, that’s a distinct possibility. Though, I’m thinking maybe he has the power of illusion? The story of Gatsby is largely about the illusion of wealth and illusion leading to delusion. However, I’m not sure if they’ll go that deep. I’m not sure how many of the audience of this show has actually read the novel, so they might just go with something more obvious.

          Having looked at the list of western writers that will form the members of The Guild, they’ve picked all classics, and yet not really any of the really big greats. No Dickens, Verne, Shakespeare, or Wells, or anything like that. But seeing what they have chosen, it will be interesting seeing them be able to form superpowers using their famous works.

          • BlackBriar says:

            Having looked at the list of western writers that will form the members of The Guild, they’ve picked all classics, and yet not really any of the really big greats. No Dickens, Verne, Shakespeare, or Wells, or anything like that.

            No Alexandre Dumas? That rules out the “Count of Monte Cristo”, unfortunately.

            • IreneSharda says:

              Nope, not as far as I can see. But I’ll tell you this. Expect to see powers like, “And Then There Were None“, “Crime and Punishment“, “Black Cat in the Rue Morgue“, and “The Grapes of Wrath“.

            • skylion says:

              I do like Green Eggs and Ham, I do like them, Sam I Am!” – This is a very persuasive power…

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Baskin Robbins 32nd flavor: Luscious Orange Lilac Indulgence

    I saw what you did there with the initials. Very sly. Just don’t let him find out! 😛

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Episode 10: Continuing to prove why Bungou Stray Dogs is part of my top 5 this season. One of the series’ best entries. The first half was just as awesome as the second, albeit being on different scales.

    Dazai cements his identity as a tormentor wrecking and owning Chuuya. The poor tough guy got boxed into a corner. What makes Dazai such a rascal is that it seems he chooses to go after those he knows would have a big blow out if he taunts them. *cough* Kunikida *cough*

    To make someone as overconfident as him quake in his boots, the rich boy on the fancy yacht must be real bad news. Of course he’d be voiced by Takahiro Sakurai. It’s not a real party until he joins in. That guy’s in everything.

    The second half was obviously the highlight. While it gave an epic fight worth anticipating since the last episode’s preview, it established Atsushi and Akutagawa as rivals and polar opposites despite having similar origins. Though one isn’t aware why he’s in such a setting.

    Opposites in not just personality and morals but technique as the fight presented. Akutagawa specializes in long range attacks with his Rashoumon so he wouldn’t need to get close to his target and worry about getting hurt as a reprisal whereas Atsushi’s specialty is close combat with his tiger regeneration as an aide to sustain Akutagawa’s brutal attacks while he closes in.

    The usually calm but dangerous Akutagawa certainly became unhinged this time around, reeking of three of the Seven Deadly Sins simultaneously: Pride, Wrath and Envy. Given his history with Dazai, it’s a no brainer why that would be. Having a mentor throw you mercilessly into the wringer only to disappear then later resurface with a new subordinate, telling it to your face he’s superior to you, especially when you believe him beneath you with a flawed ability is sure to stick in the craw. He was out of line saying he was giving Kyouka reasons to make her worthy of living, by unsightly means, no less. So the knockout punch Atsushi gave was beyond satisfying.

    Then there’s Akutagawa’s twisted belief in survival of the fittest. With a philosophy like that, it’s a wonder why he isn’t alongside Biba from Kabaneri. Which is an amusing thought since both Dazai and Biba have Mamoru Miyano as their voice actor and both characters are seen as mentors/saviors.

    • IreneSharda says:

      I think there a huge difference between Biba and Akutagawa and the reasons for their philosophies. Biba has the best of everything, got betrayed and thus became unhinged by vengence. Honestly, while he talks all about being strong vs. weak, that’s just a veneer over his real purpose in getting back at his dad.
      With Akutagawa, it’s something that he believes, because he’s had to live it. Unlike Biba, he came from nothing and had this power that probably made his life hell. He had to scrape and fight for every crumb he got. He could never afford to be weak, as being weak meant death. And unlike Atsushi, he never had anyone to tell him that there could be more to his life. He eventually got taken in by the Mafia, who only stoked his beliefs, telling him that he’s only useful for his abilities and what it can give to the organization. He’s the mafia’s dog, and he knows that. They’ve taught him that as long as he’s strong, he’s useful, but the moment he becomes too weak, he’ll be thrown away. And he had a then-merciless Dazai drill that into his head as his teacher.
      Actually, I would say, that if you think about it, Akutagawa is really more like Mumei, or perhaps like the males members of the Hunters. He’s had to live a life that has cause him to only consider himself as a tool and he’s gotten to the point where he’s fine with that.

  5. BlackBriar says:

    Were-Tiger vs Dracula!

    That’s a twist. You’d sooner expect a feud between vampires and werewolves…

  6. BlackBriar says:

    Episode 11: Is there a doctor in the house? We have a patient in critical condition! Injuries sustained: Sprain fracture of the lower jaw (No doubt where he got the finishing blow that knocked him out). Avulsion of the frontal bone and thoracic vertebrae, damage to the jugular ligament, rupture of the brachial and muscles, and first-degree burns over the entire body. To top it off, he’s in a coma. Whew, boy, did Atsushi do a number on Akutagawa. That’s some serious damage. Regardless, it’s a much-deserved beating for his wicked ways.

    First half was an interesting and much appreciated though brief look at the Port Mafia’s inner workings and interactions. Notably structured yet cutthroat as one would imagine if concentrating on the Black Lizard group’s actions and sense of loyalty to their superiors. Since her series introduction, I keep getting the feel Higuchi is a new recruit. She comes off as a greenhorn and there’s the fact of her knowing next to nothing about Dazai’s previous allegiance to the Port Mafia. Her affection and admiration for Akutagawa is nice but a woman as loyal as her is wasted on someone so consumed by his rage that he’s blind to her intentions to lessen his load. At least he took a first step in apologizing.

    Second half was the agency doing their usual routine but of course, it doesn’t mean it’s seen as a bad thing. Truth is I didn’t find Kenji a character worthy of interest and didn’t mind him being stuck in the background until now. So the focus he got left me rather indifferent towards him. Personality-wise, he’s too pure and naïve for my taste and to take seriously. Atsushi’s naïveté is one matter because it’s to a certain degree and he does have a certain level of street smarts whereas Kenji’s is too excessive. Being an oblivious, unenlightened country bumpkin isn’t exactly helping, either.

Leave a Reply