Bungou Stray Dogs – 12 [INTERMISSION]


Just in time for the 4th of July, here come the Americans!

spring15-irenesAgain, I know, they are technically Westerners, since, not all of them hail from the U. S. of A., but for all intents and purposes, they work out of North America, which for most of the world’s media purposes, just means “America” so, they are “Americans”.

I had honestly thought they would just kind of finish out this season by kind of tying up any loose ends and giving us perhaps a last introduction or two of the main cast (which they kind of do and kind of don’t), before giving us firmer tease as to what will be in store for the second half of the story. And yet, to my surprise, nope! They instead march straight ahead and into the next half of the series where the series takes a new but expected turn.


Guess who gets to be roommates! ^_^

After having gotten to know the Armed Detective Agency, the Port Mafia and their “relationship” with each other, there was only so far you could take that storyline. The superpowered mobster commit some terrorist act, the Armed Detectives find out what’s going on and stop them. The one ongoing plotline through what was mostly episodic episodes was the entire deal with Atsushi and the fact that the Port Mafia wanted him because of the fact that he was worth a heck of a lot of money. In the episode prior to the penultimate one, we finally learn who exactly that group is.

Enter: The Guild!


Arriving in style and hauteur

So, we get to meet the new main antagonists of the series, only really known as The Guild.  The Guild is extremely (stereotypically) arrogant, especially their leader, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald isn’t my favorite writer by a longshot, but like most students in America, he was required reading in school. His most famous work, The Great Gatsby, is not only the name of our character’s power, but his characterization actually seems a lot more like the character of Jay Gatsby, then it does Fitzgerald himself–from the 20s style clothing, to the arrogant, vain and excessive personality that doesn’t seem authentic on second glance, to the obvious traces of obsession.

The same can be said for the character of Lucy, full name: Lucy Maud Montgomery. Rather than portraying characteristics of the writer herself, Lucy is designed and acts more so like Montgomery’s most famous character, Anne Shirley from her Anne of Green Gables series. Though I guess more in that case, since Anne has traits that were based on Montgomery’s own life, it’s a little more forgiven there.


“Enough of this Jap swill. Nathaniel! Get me my Lipton!”

I find it fascinating that unlike the majority of the superpowered Japanese writer detectives/gangsters in this story, whose designs and/or characters are based more on the writers themselves, whereas, the Western writer Guild members are more so designed and based on their most famous character and/or literary work. I can only guess that it’s because the characters wouldn’t be very recognizable to the target audience, if it were the other way around.

In comparison to the Mafia, the Guild as antagonists, are just a bit more–well, petty. At least so far. So far, the only desire they have is that they want the detective agency’s license to operate as an official superpowered group and they will do whatever it take to do it. My thing is, who exactly gives these licenses? And why can’t the Guild get one? Why is it so hard to get? And my biggest question–how the heck is a Japanese permit/license going to do an American based group any good? Are these licenses internationally valid?


Fitzgerald makes the claim that they can’t get one themselves, because there are just some things that can’t be bought with money? I mean…yeah, he’s right, but, a license? Come on. Especially living in America, which I’m pretty sure would have its own licensing process, I’m pretty sure that such a rich and morally challenged group could find some way of getting a license to operate under.

But even then, on that note, do you honestly need to be that legitimate? I mean the Port Mafia doesn’t seem to need one. Or if you want to pretend that you’re just a normal everyday legal group, go with the term “gifted” rather than “superpowered”. It does wonders for the X-Men.


It’s all about the Benjamins baby.

I find it interesting that this group decided to make enemies of both the Detectives AND the Mafia. It kind of becomes a battle of East against West, and I really don’t know if I like it. I mean, on their first full appearance, they come in with their cringe-worthy egotism (mostly because of Francis Scott), that took every “arrogant American” stereotype and cranked it up to 11. The helicopter landing in the middle of the road, the briefcases full of money, the lofty attitudes dripping with disdain and braggadocio…it almost made me ashamed of my own nationality.

But I guess the silver lining is that they are in fact villains and they will let nothing get in their way, and are willing to do whatever’s necessary to get what they want. But neither the Detectives or the Mafia are going to take this lying down


Anne and Lucy Play-along Funhouse!

While I enjoyed seeing Lucy display the power of her kookie room of illusion, I thought that perhaps they should have kept The Guild and the powers they contain, more of a mystery until the next season. Seeing Lucy get beaten and outfoxed so easily by Atsushi and Tanizaki, and then later showing how easily the Mafia took care of a Guild assassin all in the same episode, doesn’t really give the best impression for the Guild being interesting and worthwhile villains of this coming season. I think an air of mystery would have probably been preferable, with us having to wonder just how much worse the Guild would be in comparison to the Mafia. Now we already know–so far, not much.

But then again, we’ve only met three members so far, Fitzgerald as the leader, the teenage Lucy (with again the orphan forced loner issues), and one more who they don’t identify by name, but if I were to go by clothing, my guess is that his power might just be called “The Scarlet Letter”…either that or “The Crucible”. 😛


We get a chance to meet the leader of the Port Mafia, Dr. Ougai Mori as well as the previously seen, Elise. While neither Tanizaki or Atsushi realize Mori’s identity, it’s rather obvious to the audience from his first appearance that there was a lot more to this man then on first appearance. I had a feeling that he was our man in the shadows from last episode, and when he first showed a picture of who Elise was, it was confirmed. I’m fascinated by the dual nature of his character, one part childlike and one part cold-blooded. He obviously has enough power and strength to garner the respect of his men and to cause Kyouka to nearly go catatonic. And yet, he acts more like a doofus when he’s around Elise. It’s an interesting dichotomy. I would be interested to see if Dazai had been there, what their reactions to each other in that situation would have been.

It’s also interesting that the writer chose Vita Sexualis as the name of his power, rather than The Wild Geese (Gan), which is the real life Mori’s most famous work.


Not everything is what it seems.


I wouldn’t be surprised if in the coming season, the Detectives and the Mafia join forces against the Guild. It’s certainly been set up that way. But then again, this entire season has pretty much been set up. We took 12 episodes to introduce to you most of the Literary Stray Dogs, those of the dark and light and somewhere in between. I’d say this series, while having it’s pacing, plot and writing issues, was mostly funny and entertaining enough to be at least watchable. In fact, I’d say, I’ve laughed a lot with this series, which is more than I can say for some others that I started this season. I enjoyed myself for the most part and I think I might even be willing to catch the second season as well, if just to see the Guild in action.

For those who don’t know, I’ve been an avid reader for years, both classic and contemporary writers. So far, I’ve read the works of both Western writers shown so far, and I’m interested to see how long my streak will last (I’ll be 3 for 3 if that third member is who I think he is). I’m also interested in seeing their subsequent powers and how that will affect the future plot lines. Will the Mafia and Detectives indeed join forces? If so, I’ll be interested in Dazai’s interactions between both his old and new comrades and what the new dynamic will be between him and both of his proteges–his past and his present. And is this really going to all be about a license for The Guild or will there be more to it? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Can you make a guess as to who is who?

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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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10 Responses to “Bungou Stray Dogs – 12 [INTERMISSION]”

  1. zztop says:

    We get a chance to meet the leader of the Port Mafia, Dr. Ougai Mori as well as the previously seen Elise.

    Scholars have posited that Ougai wrote ” The Dancing Girl” based on his own experiences studying abroad in Germany. A Berlin-based Japanese writer also investigated and found out that Ougai DID have a love affair with a German dancing girl, ALSO named Elise.

    Until next season comes, here’s a musical piece I’m sure a modern day Jay Gatsby would enjoy using at his parties. ;D

    • BlackBriar says:

      You commented on RandomC about Ougai’s book “Vita Sexualis” which the ability of Bungou’s representation is named after. What was it about again? You indicated there was a controversy.

      • zztop says:

        Ougai’s Vita Sexualis documented a psychological reflection of the male narrator’s growing sexual awareness from childhood to adulthood.

        It was banned 3 weeks after publication in 1909; the content deemed by Japanese society of the time as being too lewd.

        • BlackBriar says:

          “Too lewd”? After taking Japan’s entire history surrounding sex into account? The 48 positions and such? That’s a double standard I can’t help but laugh at.

          • skylion says:

            No offense, I’m just trying to imagine a lower, more base, uninformed, and ignorant set of assumptions to make, but you’ve hit rock bottom. So it can get any lower than you…

            Let’s try not doing that in the future?

            • BlackBriar says:

              Just because you say “no offense” doesn’t mean that person won’t be offended. It’s called being condescending and I recall somebody preaching that some time ago. And yet, look at what they’re doing now: the exact opposite. Spare me your self-righteous remarks.

            • skylion says:

              OK, no self-righteous remarks….stop making misogynist, sexist, insensitive comments on our website. We have people from all over the world reading our site, including Japan, and what you’ve said is both ignorant and beyond the pale. I’m sorry that I dressed that up in a way that made you miss that. I’ll take that ding….you have to take the BIGGER ding for being a very rude person. Don’t miss that point. You’ve been told and this is another warning you’ve gotten.

            • BlackBriar says:

              I wasn’t aware I was being rude or anything else mentioned (I’ve seen others far worse without so much as a remark). Anyways, alright. In the meantime, do something about my comment count, please.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Definitely one of my favorite shows this season and I’m grateful it gets a continuation. Steadily, a good number of characters have been growing on me.

    The focus on Atsushi was necessary, in my opinion. While there are charismatic or eccentric individuals like Dazai and Kunikida, Atsushi, just as he started out was a novice. All incidents until present point served as means of toughening him up and he has been doing so accordingly. He is naïve yet still likable. Plus, the 10th episode firmly established him and Akutagawa as polar opposites and rivals. Lucky him getting Kyouka as a roommate/partner. She’s already showing she’s capable of being a wife. An extra benefit.

    Fitzgerald’s scenes were cancerous. Just a brief moment of time, saturated with insufferable arrogance, believing anything can be bought and I already felt like wanting to kick his spoiled ass with a steel toed boot. Hearing Lucy’s circumstances, should she fail, increased my disdain for him.

    My thing is, who exactly gives these licenses? And why can’t the Guild get one? Why is it so hard to get? And my biggest question–how the heck is a Japanese permit/license going to do an American based group any good? Are these licenses internationally valid?

    My guess is these licenses are goods from under-the-table deals. It’s the first time the detail rose up and there hasn’t been any public talk of it in prior events. Not even in the show’s media. And if Fitzgerald is willing to buy from someone else, it means there are still people out in the world who aren’t in his pocket. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if he feels the very idea of dealing with the Agency is beneath him.

    The moment Ougai pulled that photo of Elise, it was easy to assume he’d be the Port Mafia leader. No Kyouka lost it. He’s a physician, so imagine what he does in his spare time.

    You’ve got wonder how all the mentioned authors would react if they saw themselves portrayed in Bungou Stray Dogs. They’d probably have a cow. Especially Lucy Maude Montgomery (played by the capable Kana Hanazawa) portrayed as a yangire.

    I rather not see any faction team-ups. A three-way bout sounds more interesting because it incorporates unpredictability. Wondering who makes the first move and who emerges at the top of the pile. Obviously, the Guild is the most reckless given their ego and looking down on the Port Mafia for not capturing Atsushi. So the Agency has to be the smart ones and maneuver between the two.

    Overall, mixing action and comedy with a heap of likable characters, Bungou Stray Dogs was fun from start to finish. Will be looking forward to the second half in Fall 2016.

    • IreneSharda says:

      My thing is if the licenses are all under the table then they really serve a purpose at least in terms of legitimizing the organization. The going back to Fitzgerald’s first appearance I’m not so sure that the license is the only thing that they’re looking for. I mean why would they want the weretiger for that? I think they mentioned something about getting to Paradise first, so I’m wondering if they’re seeking something totally different.

      As for Fitzgerald himself, yes it was very cringe-worthy. Lucy was okay but I am weary of too many characters who all suffer the abandoned orphan syndrome. First Atsushi, then Akutagawa, then Kyouka and now Lucy. Can we get another psychological issue?

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