Bungou Stray Dogs Ep. 9: Another horrible first date

Bungou Stray Dogs - 0919

I apologize ahead of time if this post isn’t up to par. I haven’t exactly had the best day thus far, and I honestly don’t feel like doing anything. But I’ll update anyways, because duty calls.

— Oh look, Yosano has a lab coat of sorts after all. There goes the theory that she needs to strip just to avoid blood splatters.

— Anyway, you know how it goes. The “tough cop” (Kunikida) doesn’t approve of Kyouka, but the “nice cop” (Atsushi) doesn’t want to send the girl to her death. But first things first, they need her to answer some questions. She won’t talk, however, unless she gets fed. She even has a fancy-looking place picked out.

— Poor Atsushi ends up paying for everything. But I mean, look on the bright side: tofu isn’t that expensive. Imagine if the girl had wanted some expensive sushi or Kobe beef instead. Then he’d really be screwed.

— Over and over again, you see Atsushi freaking out, because he’s quickly running out of money. I don’t actually know how much he gets paid, though. He’s a rookie, so I imagine it can’t be all that much. Still, this is one of the anime’s world-building oversights. You don’t really get a good sense of the work they do at the Agency, and how much they get compensated for it. So when a scene like this rolls around, it’s not as impactful as it should be. And at first glance, you might think, “Is it all that really important to establish how much money Atsushi earns from his job?” Considering that he started out as a starving orphan, yeah, I think this little fact does matter. He’s going out on a limb here for some girl. We should have a good sense of how much this is costing him, materially and emotionally.

Bungou Stray Dogs - 0940

— Kyouka has the typical cute assassin story: emotionless, no family, follows orders because she has nowhere else to go, blah blah blah. I don’t really need to get into it, do I? She’s just not very engaging unless you have a thing for cute assassins.

— Typical Kunikida plays the realist, and advises Atsushi to take the girl to the police. Typical Atsushi won’t. I mean, we already kinda know what the kid’s gonna do. He’s not going to turn her in. Nevertheless, we still have to go through the motions…

— Elsewhere, Akutagawa and Dazai share some words. We learn that the latter had trained and mentored the former. For whatever reason, Dazai left for a mission, then simply never came back to the Port Mafia. Why? Shrug, your guess is as good as mine. We just don’t know yet. I guess it isn’t Dazai’s turn to reveal his backstory just yet. At the same time, Bungou Stray Dogs isn’t particularly suspenseful or anything. Furthermore, Dazai isn’t like Atsushi. Atsushi at least has a character arc. You can see how he’s supposed to start out as this weak, pathetic character who slowly learns to value himself, find his place in the world, so on and so on. Dazai, on the other hand, has oscillated between mentor and comic relief, but he doesn’t have a character arc. He’s the exact same character as when we first met him in the very first episode. He’s got all the answers, he’s cocksure, so on and so on. So naturally, I’m not invested in the guy. I don’t care that he’s chained up. I don’t care why Akutagawa hates his guts. It’s just meaningless without a character arc.

— Anyway, Dazai talks shit, so the Dracula wannabe gives him a mean right hook. Fun.

Bungou Stray Dogs - 0914

— Back to our two lovebirds, Atsushi doesn’t have the heart to send the girl to her death. Big surprise there.

— So instead, he inadvertently suggests that they go on a date. Cue the silly faces… I wouldn’t mind this fucker so much if he could at least play it cool. But no, silly faces are what people want, so silly faces are what we’re gonna get.

— Aw, Kyouka is blushing. Doesn’t that just melt your heart? That means you’re emotionally invested in her paper-thin character now, right? I mean, look how cute she is!

— So the two of them hit up various locales… then eat some crepes, because what anime date is complete without a giant crepe?

— And of course, you gotta play the crane game! I mean, I haven’t played one since I was five, but that’s because I come from America, the land of no crane games. Anime has taught me that there’s a crane game on every street corner in Japan.

— Last but not least, we gotta take a ride on a Ferris wheel. This is apex romance, people. You haven’t experienced youthful love if you’ve never taken a date onto a Ferris wheel.

— The only thing we’re missing is that trip to the aquarium. Maybe in another episode.

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— Eventually, Kyouka declares that she’s had enough fun, so she tells Atsushi that she wants to turn herself in. After all, she’s killed… gosh, I can’t seem to remember how many people she’s killed… if only the anime would remind me one more time… In any case, this is the one aspect of their date that I do like. We have to remember that Kyouka still doesn’t have a very high opinion of herself. One adorable date with a guy you barely know isn’t going to change your outlook on life. She ate all that tofu because it was her last meal. And now, she’s ready to die.

— Unfortunately, Dracula wannabe has other plans.

— Ooh, a malicious head pat in my anime?

— Remember this character we haven’t heard from in weeks? See, that’s the thing. Why even devote an episode to her and her brother if they’re mostly going to fall off the face of the planet?

— Neither Kunikida nor Rampo are eager to rescue Atsushi as soon as they can. Well, that’s not very heroic.

— As such, the President actually has to step in and do something for once. So, uh, he shows up just to tell them to rescue the main character. It’s so damn bizarre. This guy has probably had less than five minutes of total screentime. I’m sure he makes very important decisions offscreen, but hey, we don’t get to see any of it. All of a sudden, he just rears his ugly head, and tells people to drop everything for Atsushi. Oh okay.

Bungou Stray Dogs - 0930

— Back to Dazai again, his former partner now pays him a visit. As if we needed more characters we’ll just inevitably forget about. Chuuya ends up cutting Dazai’s chains, but it turns out the latter didn’t even need to be helped anyway! He had a bobby pin concealed! Furthermore, he allowed himself to get captured. And he already knows ahead of time what the Agency is gonna do. See? Dazai always has all the answers. What an interesting, dynamic character.

— He and Chuuya then start fighting, because, again, Dazai has bad blood with so many people, but we don’t know what this bad blood is. Plus, hate fucking would be a lot faster and a lot less painful (most of the time).

— Elsewhere, the Agency is doing fancy detective work to track Atsushi down, but they just lost their one lead. Whoops. So it’s Rampo’s turn. At first, the master detective balks, but the President promises to praise him. Somehow, this convinces Rampo. Oh okay. Again, maybe we should’ve gotten to know the President a bit more…

— Our master detective then points to some random location on a map, and that’s apparently where Atsushi is currently located. Like yeah, I get that he’s super smart, and he used his super deductive skills to pinpoint Atsushi’s whereabouts — and he was probably crunching all of the information in his head before the President even asked for his help — but still, the show doesn’t even bother to tell us how Rampo arrived at this conclusion. At least Kunikida and company were actually trying to look like they were doing an investigation. Ah whatever.

— Well, that’s that. Kunikida’s going to chase Atsushi down with the Agency’s very own boat.

Bungou Stray Dogs - 0939

— Man, the previews for next week’s episode aren’t holding back. Apparently, Atsushi’s going to kick Akutagawa’s ass.

— I also think it’s strange that we still haven’t found out why the Port Mafia wants Atsushi so badly. It’s the ninth freaking episode, man. I can understand withholding key plot information at the start of the series, but what are we still waiting for?

Alright, back to paying the bills. Being an adult sure is fun. Hopefully, I’ll be back to my regular self in time for the next Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress episode.

6 thoughts on “Bungou Stray Dogs Ep. 9: Another horrible first date

  1. zztop

    Technically the whole series is literary fanservice, especially if you know who the real life counterparts of the characters are and how their writing genres relate to their powers and personalities.

    For example, the real Nakajima Atsushi primarily wrote short stories based on Classical Chinese literature. “Sangetsuki” was his rewrite of an ancient Chinese fable where a scholar goes mad in his quest to become a great poet, and then literally transforms into a tiger. The rewrite emphasizes the poet’s self-examination and inner moral growth. Anime Atsushi’s weretiger powers are likely based on Sangetsuki’s plot.

    Also, the real Dazai Osamu was highly suicidal and tried to kill himself multiple times in his lifetime, before finally succeeding by self drowning with his then lover, a war widow, in the late 1940s. It’s hinted he was inspired to be suicidal by his idol, author Akutagawa Ryuunosuke, who killed himself years earlier due to extreme self-depression.

    If you’re interested, I could continue with more posts like this one.

    1. E Minor Post author

      No, you don’t have to continue. Knowing these things won’t make the story better in my eyes. For example, I already knew that the real life Dazai committed suicide. I covered one of his novels. I still think anime Dazai sucks.


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