Sunday, May 22, 2016

10 Second Anime - Bungou Stray Dogs - Episode 7

The Armed Detective Agency races against time to find the bomb planted by the Blue Disciple.

Episode 7 - "Love for the Disease Called Ideals"


So much plot to go through, they skipped over the opening credits. Unfortunately, they wasted their time with some board meeting to supposedly catch the audience up with how someone called the Blue Disciple has planted a time bomb somewhere in Yokohama.

You'll notice I call the culprit the Blue Disciple instead of the Azure Messenger. The word "shito" (使徒) means "apostle; disciple," which fits better than "messenger" as someone continuing the Blue King's work of vigilantism. The word "apostle" itself derives from the Ancient Greek for "messenger" which comes from the Ancient Greek for "send forth." If we're being that pedantic, the official translation should have gone with the high-falutin' Azure Emissary, but the color "ao" is more a blue-green than a greyish blue. But someone carrying a message instead of a follower carrying on the work doesn't fit what the bomber was doing. Hence, disciple.

Considering we wasted our time with an unnecessary board meeting, we sure had a lot of time making jokes about Kunikida's interest in Nobuko.

Just how detailed was Kunikida's description of his ideal life partner? Apparently too detailed for Nobuko. The real life Nobuko Sasaki divorced Kunikida 5 months into their marriage while she was pregnant with his baby shows how the romantic ideal can really smash into the brick wall of reality.

Even though their ace detective wasn't in town, he was still able to contribute his deductive powers in locating a likely location for the time bomb. There may be comedy and supernatural powers in this show, but there's still quite a bit of enjoyable reasoning and logic coming from the Armed Detective Agency.

I quite like the use of music to transition from comedy to suspense to action sequences. My nerves were already primed for an interesting fight when the main three found the guarded nerve center of the plot.

We also learned more of how Kunikida's power works. He can only make things the size of his diary paper. Doesn't he run out of paper? Can he get a bigger book? That explanation only raised more questions for me.

There was some nice suspense when the reveal of the culprit included the wrinkle of Rokuzou showing up to the meeting. Both he and Nobuko were introduced and associated with blue light, so these two were our main suspects.

The Blue Plot was a bit complicated, but I believe the plan was to kidnap people to bring in the Armed Detective Agency, pit them against the Port Mafia when some of the kidnap victims were their members, embarrass and delegitimize them with the explosion of the bomb and then use the chaos of the unchecked Port Mafia to expose and kill the corrupt city officials. Getting the Armed Detective Agency out of the way first was important because of how they lend authority to official law enforcement and keep regular crime down while also easily keeping the Port Mafia in check.

There were enough hints this episode to make Sasaki the ultimate choice for the Blue Disciple. Her preference for a man passionately following his ideals while also feeling frustration that the dead cannot appreciate the living's regard gave her an edge of vengeance about her.

We never got that sense from Rokuzou. As an information broker, I felt an air of using his inherited detective skills in a mercenary way as a display of disillusionment against the conventional justice system. 

I'm not clear on why Sasaki tried to kill Kunikida other than he was the only one left alive after her lover the Blue King killed himself when he tried to take the group of detectives with him. For all her talk of not having her own ideals to passionately follow, she still felt those pangs of revenge for the loss of her love.

I did like that Dazai used the extra bit of information derived from image processing to get a theory that Sasaki was the mastermind, but the only thing confirmed was that she was involved previously with the Blue King. He needed to test his theory and she proved him correct.

Rokuzou got the justice he was denied since his father's killer died at the same time. Justice is supposed to go to the living, since the dead, according to several characters in this show, can't feel whatever happens after they die.


Dazai said an interesting thing to Kunikida after both Sasaki and Rokuzou died. Kunikida wondered what did any of this mean and Dazai said it was the best of possible outcomes. Where was the justice? The interesting thing was what Dazai said next, "Justice is a weapon." There's lots to unpack in that simple statement.

The shortest I can come up with for a reaction to that is that the root of justice is vengeance. But vengeance is a big angry ball of energy that is usually wielded like a club and sometimes like a bomb. Lots of collateral damage can occur, inciting new sparks of vengeance. A society based on laws and human rights forges vengeance into a sword of justice, where its blade only cuts what it needs to cut. But justice only harms, it does not protect. The threat of justice is supposed to dissuade criminal acts, but when the law is enforced in a discriminatory fashion, that threat loses its value.

Well, that's the Ideal. It also shows why Justice can only be committed by and for individuals. Once you get the idea of "social justice," that feeling of vengeance being wielded unfairly like a club or a bomb starts causing new resentments.

The Kunikida arc is over. Next time, we get a vehicle for the Agency's in-house doctor. I am so looking forward to seeing more of Yosano!

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