Contrary to popular belief, Bungo Stray Dogs’ Dazai and Akutagawa actually have a more complicated relationship dynamic—at least that’s what we think. With the recently concluded 6th season of Bungo Stray Dogs, we see that the city of Tokyo is put in a haunting danger and everything is suddenly out of order and balance. Both the Port Mafia and the ADA are doing their best to maintain the balance of the city and to keep the people safe, but with the dangers lurking ahead, it’s becoming a really tough job.
Osamu Dazai and Ryunosuke Akutagawa are some of the most prominent characters in the series. We’d even go as far as to say that these two are actually even more famous than Nakajima Atsushi, the series’ protagonist himself. For all those who have been following the series religiously, you would know that Dazai and Akutagawa had a really dark and twisted, yet somehow still interesting past.
Akutagawa used to be very poor. He and his sister were orphaned and were left at a dumpsite very early on in their lives. However, one day, like a knight in shining armor, Dazai recruited Akutagawa to be a part of the port mafia and to use his skill, Rashomon, to rule the night. Dazai really did not think much of it. All he knew was that the reason the Port was after Akutagawa was that he had tremendous power no one could ever equal, and because of that, they needed him.
Akutagawa, on the other hand, thought of this whole thing as nothing less of a miracle. They had been starving for days on end, and suddenly he is recruited into an elite organization where he could be fully himself. After the recruitment, Akutagawa became a student under the direct control of Dazai. This was because Dazai’s ability, “No longer human,” was the only force that could possibly control Akutagawa when things got out of hand.
Training with Dazai made Akutagawa stronger. He had always thought of Dazai as a savior, but now he looks at him as a teacher. A teacher he should please. A teacher that he needed to surpass—a teacher he respects.
In the midst of all that, an unprecedented incident occurred. Oda Sakanosuke, Dazai’s one true friend died, and suddenly Dazai’s whole world shattered. When Oda died, he had left Dazai with one final message: to do good and work for the good of the people. Because of this final message, Dazai packed his bags and left the Port Mafia for good.
He left the Port and moved to the Armed Detective Agency—their sworn enemy. As Akutagawa was young and naive, he did not understand why Dazai moved or why he had to side with their enemies, but amidst all that, Akutagawa still held him in high regard. His admiration, respect, and desire for Dazai’s approval had gotten to a point where he would actually risk his own life just to hear praises from Dazai that he was doing a good job. It was toxic, needless to say, but he did not stop. His desire to chase Dazai and to always be with him was greater than anyone could fathom.
But Dazai never faltered in his resolve. He stayed with the ADA, and he is still with them now. However, like the clever man that he is, he uses Akutagawa’s admiration for him to his advantage like he does with everyone that he knows, but he’d never look back once he got what he wanted. It had always been like this, because Dazai and Akutagawa are two sides of the same coin, and here’s why.
Akutagawa: The Darkness
After Oda Sakanosuke’s death, everything Dazai knew about life became futile. We can see how much Oda’s death shattered him because he still visits his grave and tells his stories. He would lie there for hours and hours, not talking to anyone else but a lifeless stone. Oda was such an important person in Dazai’s life that he couldn’t bare the thought that he had lost his one and only true friend on one unfateful day. And so, after his death, Dazai immediately moved from the Port to the ADA, leaving darkness behind, and stepping into the light.
Akutagawa is part of the darkness that he left behind. When Dazai had “saved” Akutagawa, he did that because the Port had asked him to do so. He didn’t do it because he thought Akutagawa was worth saving, nor did he save him so that he could live a happy life. Dazai saved Akutagawa so he could work for the port. And the Port Mafia’s only goal is to live in darkness—to rule the night.
Oda’s death made Dazai realize that he wanted nothing to do with the darkness, but no matter where he went, it always followed him. It followed him in the sense that Dazai will always be associated with the port in more ways than one. But his association with the Port Mafia will always be remembered because he was the one that honed, trained, and taught its strongest ally, Ryunosuke Akutagawa.
Because Akutagawa had always wanted to earn Dazai’s favor, he strived to be noticed by him in all circumstances. Even one single phone call from Dazai would have him leap from one building to the other— he would cross mountains just to meet his demands, but Dazai would never do the same.
Dazai may be a bright and funny figure outside, but in truth, he is cunning and unkind. He will use anything and anyone to his advantage just so he would get away with whatever he is plotting. Even if he hadn’t left Port Mafia, it is certain that Dazai will still act the same way towards everyone he comes across. The only difference now is that he acts for the good of the people, and not as an ally to make their worlds worse.
What is Bungo Stray Dogs About?
If you accidentally stumbled upon this article and thought that BSD may be a fun anime to watch or a manga to read, we can testify that it definitely is. Here’s a short plot of the story from the Bungo Stray Dogs Wiki!
Nakajima Atsushi was expelled out of his orphanage and now has nowhere to go and nothing to eat. He saves a man who is trying suicide while standing by a river, on the verge of famine. Dazai Osamu is that man, and he and his sidekick Kunikida work for a highly unusual detective agency. They have superhuman abilities and handle crimes that are too risky for the police or the military to handle. They’re looking for a tiger that emerged in the neighborhood recently, around the time Atsushi arrived. The tiger appears to have a link to Atsushi, and by the end of the case, it is evident that Atsushi’s future will involve much more of Dazai and the other detectives!
Bungo Stray Dogs is definitely worth your time, and the many mysteries of the show will have you sitting and waiting for the next episodes and chapters! A fair warning to those who might be too excited though, you’re going to have to be patient while watching and reading the series, as it is a detective manga and there will be many clues and hidden mysteries along the way.
Will you be adding Bungo Stray Dogs to your reading list? Let us know how it goes!
Read More: Does Akutagawa Die in Bungo Stray Dogs?