Bungou Stray Dogs – 03


Welcome to the Jungle

spring15-irenesEvery good super team needs their arch rival villains, and we get to meet some of the main members of the Armed Detective Agency’s archenemy: the Port Mafia.



“darkness of the city incarnate”

These mafiosos were hinted at last episode, and come out in full for here, for one bloody and violent introduction. Yes, the tone for this episode went from 0 to 60 in a split second, going from a hilarious first half of just seeing Atsushi trying to acclimate to his new job and his new, wacky and eccentric co-workers. Junichiro and Naomi are quite the interesting couple. The not-siblings are inseparable, and their constant PDA is a little overwhelming to say the least. If the two are a little too queasy and confusing for you, I would suggest you take a short look at a summary of the real Junichiro Tanizaki’s famous novel, Naomi, for which the character is based. (Yes, Naomi is different from all the other members of the agency in that she is not based on a real life author, but rather on a work by one of those authors.) Having that inner knowledge helped me to get and accept the joke a little more than I would have without it.


What a bunch of weirdos…

It’s rather funny to find that Kunikida was a math teacher, though I can’t see someone like him having the patience for such an occupation. I can understand why he left it. But, unlike him, it’s Dazai’s previous profession that has everyone stumped. The suicide enthusiast is a grade A goofball, and yet, he’s also a guy that you can’t count out either. We’ve seen already in only these last three episodes, that the man is as sharp as a tac and twice as clever. He proves that again here, as he ends up being the first to suspect a Port Mafia plot is afoot, and without a word to anyone, sets up the necessary steps to counter it.

The plot of this episode, just like the previous ones, was rather simple. The minute you see their new “client” if don’t recognize her right away from the OP and last week’s end credit scene, it doesn’t take much after she explains her situation, to know what’s going on.


Ah, the classic “standing over a city with my coat/cape/hair whirling in the wind” shot. 

No, this episode is really more about introducing us to the Port Mafia, (who continue our “famous writer” trend) and our main antagonist of the series, Dracula Ryuunosuke Akutagawa, a consumed (in more ways than one) young psychopath that works as one of the mafia’s henchmen, and happens to also have an extremely dangerous ability of his own. If the OP is accurate, the Port Mafia seems to have the upper hand when it comes to numbers and financial backing, but what the Armed Detectives lack, they make up for in power and ingenuity. Unlike our heroes, the Port Mafia seems to have some members that have powers, and others that are just ordinary normals. Ichiyou Higuchi happens to be one of those normals, but she uses guns to offset her disadvantage, as well as a very brash, hotheaded demeanor that sometimes belays the fact that she’s a little wet behind the ears when it comes to this business.


Akutagawa however, is quite the lethal expert at honing his craft, spreading murder and mayhem with a single flap of his living trench coat. His ability (of course named Rashomon), is quite different from that of everyone else we’ve seen so far. His is a power, that is not based on raw ability, but rather seems to be the result of a symbiotic relationship he has with some sort of supernatural creature with an unquenchable hunger for any and everything. Both he and his monster are quite interesting fits with one another, though I’m guessing that the relationship between the two maybe taking it’s toll on his body.

It’s interesting that Atsushi has such a large bounty on him already. How long has he been unknowingly going back and forth in his tiger mode that he already has a reputation? I mean, 7,000,000,000 yen (about $62,611,780 US dollars) is nothing to sneeze at. And we can see the lengths that the Port Mafia and probably others, will go to to claim that money.


Gee, think you’re emo enough? 

Our main character is already having a tough time with having a power that he can’t seem to control, as well as trying to fit in into his new surroundings. But now with the added guilt of knowing that others are being hurt in order to get to him, it’s cracking his already low self-esteem.  Yet, the knowledge that now he has others who are depending on him, as part of the team (as well as being near death from bleeding out through an amputated leg) is enough to get his ability to come to the next level.


We got to see Junichiro’s “Light Snow” ability in action this week, and it was actually one of the best the show has shown so far. While technically being a non-combative ability, it would definitely be useful on the battlefield. Also, I find Junichiro’s ability to go back and forth between normal teen and angry psycho when the situation call for it, to be rather interesting. Atsushi’s wild beast ability seems to also give him the ability to regenerate body parts and be resistant to bullets. It will be cool to see if he can begin to control his powers more now.

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Welcome to the Matrix. Let’s go down the rabbit hole…

The ending reveal wasn’t very surprising, as we could gather by the OP and ED that Dazai had a connection to Akutagawa in some shape or form. However, I didn’t expect or him to have been a full-fledged former member of the mafia. Considering this, and how Akutagawa addressed him, I’d say he was pretty high on the totem pole before leaving, which I find interesting since considering that he dares the Port Mafia to declare war, I’m guessing that he must know what he’s talking about. And if that’s so…how powerful exactly are the Armed Detectives?


Nice to see you again…old friend.


So, our villains have made themselves known, and they have drawn a line in the sand. This show has shown that while we’ll have plenty of laughs, BSD will also be playing be playing for keeps. Next week looks to have Atsushi dealing with the fact that he’s a wanted man and how that might be putting his new friends in danger. Obviously Dazai and the others will set him straight, I’m more interested in the past of Dazai himself and those who knew him in the mafia. I’m guessing that he has good physical hand-to-hand abilities since his power is very non-combative. And Akutagawa did say that Higuchi wouldn’t be able to handle him despite that and the fact that she has no powers. So I look forward to seeing more from that end. We’ve seen the abilities of four of our heroes and one of our villains so far. Let’s see what else they have in store for us!


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.
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5 Responses to “Bungou Stray Dogs – 03”

  1. zztop says:

    The real Kunikida Doppo also worked as a maths teacher, in addition to teaching English and history.

    Akutagawa’s Dracula look and bleak personality likely refers to the real one’s final days. Suffering from declining mental and physical health, Akutagawa was plagued by massive insecurities that drove him to suicide (and which may have inspired Dazai Osamu’s suicidalness).

    • BlackBriar says:

      Here’s some info on Ryuunosuke Akutagawa‘s MAL profile:

      Age: 20
      Birthday: March 1
      Height: 172cm
      Weight: 50kg
      Blood Type: A
      Likes: Antique calligraphies and paintings, tea, figs
      Dislikes: Plants, dogs, baths, broad beans, mandarins

    • IreneSharda says:

      That’s an interesting look at the how one could have ended up influencing the other.

      I forgot that Kunikida was a teacher as well! Another bit of influence. 😛

  2. BlackBriar says:

    After the OP and ED, anyone who thought Bungou Stray Dogs would be nothing but lighthearted material should be hitting their head against their desk. I’d say the serious stuff kicked in just in time.

    Seriously, this is like a curse on mankind. No matter the civilization, there’s always some organized crime operation like mafias/syndicates lurking about.

    As an antagonist should be, Ryuunosuke Akutagawa (Mikaela Hyakuya Kensho Ono) is absolutely vicious but also level-headed. Not a good combination if you’re one who chooses to go against him. As if having a practically unfair ability wasn’t enough. I don’t know what the creators are trying to pull but I don’t think they can make it any clearer that he’s bad news. The first three letters in Akutagawa, “Aku”, litterally mean “evil” if one is so inclined to translate. Going by his occasional coughing, I pegged him as ill but thanks to zztop’s comment above, I see that he’s terminally ill.

    Even if the Port Mafia appears to have an alliance between the gifted and normals integrated into its membership, I can’t imagine it being a steady one. We all know too well that in nature, humans reject anything not like them for various, sometimes idiotic reasons and the percentage of acceptance is so low it’s almost non-existent. Maybe I’m applying too much of what I’ve seen from other works that centered on humans against non-humans. Higuchi must be a new recruit if she’s a Port Mafia member and doesn’t know about Dazai.

    Now that Dazai’s secret of being a former Port Mafia member is out in the open, it’s no wonder he kept silent since the info was sure to give people a bad impression of him. At the same, on the off chance did reveal it, the reluctance of believing it would be strong based on the image we’ve had of him until now. Thinking on the kind of character he is, eccentric, charismatic and most likely holding back on exerting power and has enough presence to drive someone like Akutagawa away, Dazai had to be somewhere near the top of the pyramid. If Atsushi, Tanizaki or Naomi are still conscious enough to hear that reveal, now’s the time to collect that 700,000 yen.

    A bounty sum of 7 billion yen is indeed nothing to sneeze at. That’s some serious money right there. Too bad Atsushi can’t cash in by turning himself in. He’d be on easy and would never have to worry about going hungry again. That’s 10 000 times Dazai’s worth. All the more reason Atsushi will always have a target on his back, which is bad news but the worst part is that he only has the Armed Detective Agency to turn to. He said he was on street for several days after getting kicked out of the orphanage. So I count at least a week and that’s more than enough ample time for a conspicuous entity to draw attention to itself.

    • IreneSharda says:

      Anytime there is continual coughing like that in any series, 5 will get ya 10 that the character is either seriously or terminally ill. Japan, like much of the world, has a very close history with tuberculosis, and constantly coughing like that is one of the telltale signs.

      I believe that Atsushi was indeed homeless a week. But considering he kept a low profile and went from place to place, I just can’t see how he would get that much attention in such a small amount of time, unless of course one of the orphanage managers told.

      As for Akutagawa, I’m interested in how he and Dazai left things. He doesn’t seem too sore at the other one leaving really. I wonder why Dazai joined them? He doesn’t seem to type to join such a somber crew.

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