After putting in so much effort to rescue Kyouka, I half-expected the story to now focus on the burgeoning relationship between her and Atsushi. It would be cool to see the two of them help each other continue to grow as characters. Hell, as much as I ragged on last week’s episode, Atsushi’s development took a huge step forward. Unfortunately, all that progress seems to have gone right out the window in this week’s episode. Last week, he went toe-to-toe with one of Port Mafia’s strongest members. This week, he’s back to a cowering scaredy-cat. I don’t get it. As for Kyouka, the fairer half of our dynamic couple, she barely has any presence whatsoever. She briefly cosplays as a maid, begs the President to let her join the Agency, and that’s about it. Granted, Kyouka has a strong reason to join the Agency. She wants to prove that she’s more than just a killer, yadda yadda yadda. We just don’t get to see that now. Maybe later. Maybe in some future episode. Rather, this week’s episode proceeds to deal with two short and unrelated stories. In fact, I almost wonder why they didn’t each get their own episode, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First things first, what happened to Akutagawa?
Well, our Dracula-wannabe managed to survive last week’s ordeal, but he has been badly injured. A voice rattles off a long list of his injuries: a fracture here, an avulsion there, first degree burns on top of it all, so on and so forth. But on the bright side, at least his hair and face are relatively unscathed. What would anime be without its pretty boys? Anyways, to make a long story short, Akutagawa isn’t a god within Port Mafia or anything. If it’s more convenient to sacrifice him, the organization will do so. Needless to say, he’s made a lot of enemies in order to fulfill his missions, so if said enemies come for him, Port Mafia can and will turn a blind eye. And that’s exactly what happens. It’s up to Higuchi — remember her? — and their underlings to rescue their comatose leader. As you can imagine, my question is why… why save this guy? Higuchi herself will admit that Akutagawa has treated her badly, and yet, she’ll get herself killed if it means she can save him. And when she finally does save him, she tearfully and proudly confesses that she’s just doing her job. C’mon. Obviously, she loves him. But again, why?
I don’t know much about Akutagawa. He used to come from the slums or something, and Dazai was once his mentor. The guy also seems to have some sort of persisting illness. Other than that, however, the guy is an enigma to me. I can’t relate to him or his personal motivations at all. So imagine, then, what I must think of Higuchi. She’s a goddamn black box compared to Akutagawa. She’s hardly gotten any screentime, and when she does get the spotlight, it’s only in relation to Akutagawa. Her character doesn’t and probably can’t exist on its own. I’m not even sure if she has much of a personality. So it’s completely mystifying to me when this young, beautiful-looking girl who’s clearly talented nevertheless throws herself in harm’s way just to save Akutagawa of all people. Why does she bother? What is she getting out of that relationship? Well, that’s the anime’s job, isn’t it? It’s supposed to tell me why I should care for her and her slavish devotion to the guy. And yet, because this story only takes up half of the episode, Higuchi and her motivations remain a mystery to me. Shouldn’t her story get its own episode? I guess not. Oh well.
Speaking of getting its own episode, Atsushi teams up with Kenji to investigate a case. Somehow, a car exploded and flew into the side of a building. The details surrounding the case aren’t particularly important. Some gang is responsible, but I doubt we’ll ever see their faces again. Why? Because the only point behind this half of the episode is to help us get to know Kenji a little better. Our country bumpkin drew the short straw, though! Tanizaki and his sister got an episode (sorta). Ranpo got an episode. Yosano got an episode. Hell, Kunikida got two! Kenji only gets half. Slightly less than half, actually. So really, I don’t gain much of an insight into his character. He’s a happy-go-lucky dude, and he has superhuman strength when he’s hungry. If you feed him, however, he goes to sleep. Okay then. Also, he’s popular with a lot of random nobodies. An old woman thanks him for some boar meat he had given her, and… well, that’s pretty much it. Of course, the guy isn’t very interesting when he gets less than half of an episode worth of character development. I can’t help but feel that I’ll just forget about him by the time I watch next week’s episode.
In fact, let’s just forget about this entire episode altogether.