Bungou Stray Dogs Ep. 10: Max “Tiger Stance” if you want to win

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We start off with the duel between Dazai and Chuuya, his former Port Mafia partner. Atsushi and Akutagawa are the main attractions, the pièce de résistance, the big ticket, yadda yadda yadda. In other words, these guys will kickstart your appetite for what’s to come. The idea isn’t without merit. On paper, these two conflicts are a contrast in style. Whereas Atsushi and Akutagawa will be locked in a kinetic, explosive fight to the death, Dazai’s all about mind games. Supposedly, he’s no slouch himself when it comes to physical combat. After all, he did personally train Akutagawa. Chuuya is supposed to be one of Port Mafia’s top martial artists, though. Or something like that. It’s hard to really sweat the finer details about a guy who just came out of nowhere and started throwing punches. Point is, in a fair fight, Dazai doesn’t stand a chance. Ah, therein lies the rub: Dazai won before the game even started.

Apparently, our suicidal maniac has super predictive powers. Like, it’s not even due to a Gift or anything. If you’ll recall, his Gift is the ability to cancel out other Gifts. As such, this amazing predictive ability is his and his alone. Dazai allowed himself to get captured. He knew Akutagawa would leave him unattended to go after Atsushi. He knew the Agency would do everything they can to rescue the kid. It’s not specifically stated, but he probably knows Atsushi will save Kyouka instead of abandoning her, but we’ll get to that later. Continuing on with Dazai, he knew Chuuya would come by and free him. He knew his former partner would threaten him. So what did Dazai do? He sent a letter to some Port Mafia executives threatening to reveal their secrets to the rest of the world, which is really bad because…? I mean, everyone knows they’re the biggest, baddest crime organization in town, right? So why do we need these top-level secrets in the first place? Whatever…

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Essentially, Chuuya can’t do anything to Dazai without pissing off those high and mighty executives. Our hero is like this amazing chess player, and he’s planned all of his moves out ahead of time. Wowie wow wow wow. Not only that, since the former did technically free the latter from imprisonment, he has to assist the Dazai in making it look as though someone else is responsible. In the process, Dazai gets some crucial information that he’s been looking for. After all,  he wants to know why there’s such a huge bounty on Atsushi’s head. Chuuya states rather plainly that the information can probably be found somewhere on the second floor in Akutagawa’s records. Dazai then says, “Well, I had my guesses about that.” With his amazing predictive abilities, I can’t imagine he didn’t already know this. Then what was all of this for? Apparently, it was just to tease his former partner. Jesus Christ, why don’t you two just get a room then?

So yeah, the real life Dazai eventually committed suicide, so y’see, the anime Dazai is similar in that fashion! Woo! Great! We established this after the first week’s episode. I said it then, so I’ll say it again: I don’t see how this knowledge improves my viewing experience of the show whatsoever. But who knows? Maybe someone out there is just tickled pink that there’s an anime Dazai that likes suicide. More importantly, however, I don’t see where the predictive part fits in, though. Anime Dazai is just randomly overpowered for no reason. He’s like this mastermind that’s always a billion steps ahead of everyone, and it comes across as a complete asspull. Then again, a lot about this series seems to be one asspull after another. Take Atsushi’s fight with Akutagawa, for instance. I don’t actually mind the setup too much. Kyouka tries to save Atsushi by rigging the boat with explosives. The chaos is supposed to allow the latter to escape.

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Meanwhile, Akutagawa will be so pissed off, he’ll kill Kyouka, which is what she wants anyways. So win-win for everyone, right? Not so fast, lassie. Atsushi didn’t buy you delicious crepes for nothing. Seriously, that’s the big trigger. Crepes represent the key that unlocks the beast within Atsushi. The dialogue is so cheesy, too. Akutagawa will be like, “Worthless human beings don’t have the right to breathe.” Wow, menacing. Very villain-like. Then Kyouka responds with, “You may be right… but the crepes were delicious.” Uh… But the best part is that her words resonate with Atsushi. At first, he was all, “Boohoo, I’m weak, little shitling,” but hearing the girl talk about crepes stirs something up in him. So instead of making his escape, he comes back to save Kyouka. He picks up her unconscious body and puts it aside. This way, he and Akutagawa can have their one-on-one showdown on a sinking ship. Check that: no sinking.

Yep, no sinking while Atsushi and Akutagawa are fighting. That’s just hilarious to me. I can see why they did this. You’d have to animate the boat capsizing, those shipping containers sliding possibly sliding loose, etc. At times, the anime will give us a dutch angle to make it seem as though the ship is going down, but then the animators will follow up with a shot like this one. Yeah. As for the fight itself, it’s uh… well, it must be frustrating for Akutagawa, isn’t it? No matter how much damage he deals to Atsushi, the latter simply relies on his super quick regenerative powers to heal back up. If you’ve ever had to play against Soraka, then you’d know how this feels. This isn’t really the part that bothers me, though. We’ve always known about Atsushi’s fast healing. My question is how and why is he able to do everything else. We’ve never seen him do any training. We’ve never seen him in a proper fight before. So what gives?

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Maybe it’s all instinctual. Since Atsushi’s a weretiger, he just knows how to fight. It’s in his tiger DNA or whatever. I guess that’s possible. But that’s so lame. It’s such a cop-out. All the kid’s done is follow people around and make dumb faces, and all of a sudden, he’s not only capable of going toe-to-toe with one of Port Mafia’s baddest mofos, but he even beats Akutagawa in the end. In fact, in the midst of their fight, we actually see a flashback of Dazai training a younger Akutagawa. We see that, but we don’t get to see a single second of Atsushi receiving any actual training. So y’know, maybe Akutagawa does have a good reason to hate our hero. He really, really hates Atsushi, because Dazai taunted him in last week’s episode. Dazai claimed that Atsushi is already superior to our Dracula-dressalike, and I gotta say Akutagawa’s got a point. It’s pretty lame that Atsushi is this powerful after being a sniveling kid for nine previous weeks. It’s an asspull.

The characters do that anime thing where they constantly have to narrate what we should be seeing with our own eyes anyway. Case in point, Akutagawa puts himself high in the air, which poses a serious problem for Atsushi. Our weretiger has no ranged attacks, a fact that we can plainly see for ourselves. Nevertheless, the anime has to do a close-up of our hero, and we hear him think, “Having this distance between us works to his advantage.” No shit. At another point in the fight, Akutagawa thinks an explosion has defeated Atsushi. The latter suddenly appears behind the former while perched atop a piece of debris. Again, we can see this for ourselves. But nevertheless, the action pauses so that Akutagawa can narrate to us, “He leapt using a fragment blown from the explosion?” Why, man? Why? Why go to all the work of animating the action just to turn around and tell us what happens anyway? Are you doing this for the visually impaired? If so, how nice of you!

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This inner voice makes sense in a manga or a novel, but we’re in a whole different medium, aren’t we?

Then we have the corny ass dialogue. Maybe it’s supposed to be funny. I don’t know. You be the judge:

Atsushi: “You’re quite the talker today.”
Akutagawa: “I don’t recall ever identifying myself as a mute.”

Um…

Kunikida: “We’re not heroes. I’ve wished so many times that we were. But we’re not! Brat!”
Atsushi: “She… She said the crepe she had with me tasted great.”

Oy vey.

Atsushi: “It’s like as you say… I am weak. But I do have one advantage.”
Akutagawa: “And what’s that?”
Atsushi: “I can defeat you!”

Wuh?

Anyways, Atsushi wins thanks to his tiger tail. I don’t want to describe it. Just look at this screenshot for yourself. Maybe he keeps losing because he always has to look cool and keep his hands in his pockets. I dunno. Just a thought. After punching Akutagawa into the ocean, Atsushi falls back down to the smuggling ship like a ragdoll, and is now unconscious. Magically, Kyouka is no longer unconscious. I guess she just woke up in the middle of the fight. She then picks the guy up, then they both fall onto Kunikida’s boat. After doing so, she, too, falls unconscious. Aaaaaaaah. Elsewhere, Dazai stumbles upon some amazing secret, but the anime won’t tell us what it is! No! Don’t you dare Mayoiga me! One Mayoiga is bad enough. Then right before the credits, we meet yet another famous literary figure, but this time, he’s from the West!

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They couldn’t even use F. Scott Fitzgerald. Seriously, who the hell refers to him as Francis F.?

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8 thoughts on “Bungou Stray Dogs Ep. 10: Max “Tiger Stance” if you want to win

  1. Karandi

    You know I actually liked the episode but I agree with every one of your points above. From a plot and character point of view there is a lot wrong with the episode. Then again, I really had to give up looking for logic in the shows this season or I was just going to stop watching the lot of them and in terms of keeping things moving the story did that this week. Besdies, it was nice seeing Atsushi do something other than lament his uselessness for a change even if it did come out of nowhere (or come from crepes).
    Thanks for sharing your views on this episode. It was a very entertaining read.

    Reply
  2. Mari

    “I don’t see how this knowledge improves my viewing experience of the show whatsoever.”

    Well, it’s like an easter egg (if I’m using the right metaphor). It can add some flavour, but it only works if you enjoy it. Not if the overal impression of “This is so stupid!”. Bungou Dogs suffers from fillers and posturing of all kind, so the famous names just add to the latter. It has its second season anyway. I… don’t get it.

    “Francis F.”
    *snort* Whatever.

    This summer looks disappointing. There are exactly three shows I’m kind of interested in, but… Servamp looks like it’ll be just another soulless boring adaptation. D.Gray-man is the same with the added bonus of color blindness (yellow glowing water looks especially good with lotuses and words “This world is dark”). Mob Psycho 100 is mostly gags and it’s animated by Bones – I’m not holding my breath.

    Ugh, I hate Berserk, but if you could stomach it, I’d be very interested in your reviews.

    Reply
  3. zztop

    Speaking of Gatsby, did you see the movie version with Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby? The modern music was a bit odd, but I felt it matched the director’s kinetic style.

    Reply

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