Saturday, October 22, 2016

10 Second Anime - Bungou Stray Dogs - Episode 15

Oda meets Gide, the leader of Mimic. Gide gives Oda a reason to kill.

Episode 15 - "Some Day in a Room with a Seaside View"


The funny side of Bungou Stray Dogs is nowhere to be seen now as betrayal, lost friendship and a gritty revenge tale follow Oda as he falls into Sin. That was always going to be a possibility for the life he led working for the Port Mafia. He had those cute orphans keeping him on the righteous path, such as it was for a gang enforcer, but now that they're gone we can see where the final act of a hardboiled crime story will lead.

There's a nice mirroring with Oda and Dazai with their need to find a reason to live. Oda's need was based on writing the conclusion to an unfinished novel. He was told, which obviously resonated strongly with him, that to create life, such as writing in the lives of characters in a story, he must not take life. That's a tough order for a man in his line of work and his abilities. It appears to be a sign of respect that his higher-ups indulged his methods by keeping him in the organization, but they nodded toward reality by never promoting him either.

Dazai's almost playful drive to commit suicide has barely hidden his real drive to find his own reason to live. He had friends, if only for a short while, but his pessimism never let him really enjoy their friendship. Here too, Dazai's line of work made it difficult to appreciate those bonds when life is brutal and short within a criminal organization.

This detailed look back into Dazai's past with the Port Mafia has been a real homage to the crime genre. Because of how close death, betrayal and regret are to the surface of the characters' lives in these sorts of stories, it's always easy to ponder themes of survival, appreciating brief moments of beauty and the heartbreak of holding onto happiness for just a little too long. Life always changes, but in the crime genre, it changes quickly and violently.


There were three big revelations for Oda's story this week. Well, first that he survived the poisoning, but after that part.

First, people can have the same power in this world of Bungou Stray Dogs.

Gide, the Leader of Mimic, has the same prescient ability that Oda has. This was why Ango was so concerned about fighting this organization. Now, I don't know if this is naturally occurring or not. The name of this mercenary group, Mimic, has me thinking that these former soldiers trying to find a worthy death in battle might not have been recruited for the special powers but were implanted with them. It might be something to keep in mind as the larger story of Bungou Stray Dogs resumes.

Second, Oda's reason behind not killing was to stay pure as an author at the request of the one who inspired him to finish a series of novels. I don't know if this is referencing the real Sakunosuke Oda's life and how he died suddenly of a lung hemorrhage. The fictional Oda somehow fell in with the Port Mafia, so his goal of finding a quiet spot to finish that book had tragic undertones.

Third, Ango was a triple agent. Hah! That's a lot to keep track of, but is common enough among special operators in the espionage world. The people who rescued him at the end of last episode were the Military Police, whom he worked for. He infiltrated the Port Mafia to keep tabs on all those who had special powers and while there, Ougai tasked him with infiltrating Mimic. It was just a cost-effective way for the government to let the Port Mafia handle these intruders with special powers.

Man, I just love seeing Akutagawa get punched in the gut. Dazai was right about Akutagawa not even being close to a match for Oda.

Oda is like Dazai in being very strong natural fighters. Dazai's special power is to nullify other special powers. It doesn't really help him if he has to fight regular people, which is why he was so feared in the organization. He rose to the Executive level based on his intellect and physical gifts. Add those with a power that makes gifted people just regular people and that's bad news.

Goodbye Stray Dogs. After Ango's secrets about who really employed him, there was no way he could keep coming to a Port Mafia bar. Their proof of friendship was that Dazai and Oda let him leave the Port Mafia alive. It's a bittersweet testimony to that friendship that Ango had to leave his own proof of it behind. This is how rough men say goodbye: with silent gestures and no looking back.

Next time, the title of the episode is Bungou Stray Dogs, which pretty much tells me Oda's trail of vengeance leads to Dazai leaving the Port Mafia. We just need to see the details.

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