Bungou Stray Dogs Season 2 : Rashomon, the Tiger and the Last Emperor

Episode 23

Rashōmon to Tora to Saigo no Taikun” (羅生門と虎と最後の大君)

It has been set up.

Nakajima vs Akutagawa vs Fitzgerald.

Personally I feel the end of this season isn’t going to fill me with joy.

So I said when we restarted these reviews that I forgot why I hated Kyota and Nakajima so much but the last few episodes have slowly made me realise why I did whilst introduce a very annoying tendency of spending too much of the time telling us what is happening instead of just letting it happen.

We’ll start with Kyota and Nakajima I guess.

Of all people in this episode it is Akutagawa that calls Nakajima out on his bullshit attitude. We all know that he is upset about his past and finds himself useless because he can’t control his ability but he lacks the drive to actually TRY and work with his ability and when he actually does in this episode he uses it really well. Constantly he finds himself in a bad situation and instead of moving forward like all the others in the Agency or getting angry like Akutagawa does he just mopes. Constantly.

Then he has the balls to look down on Akutagawa!

Thing is I’ll agree that Akutagawa is terrible for this but at least he has a single mindedness and a way of going about his business. He might spend the entire episode he’s in going on about wanting Dazai’s approval but he attacks that problem head on and whilst it might be in the wrong way, killing people and destroying things, at least he’s being proactive.

Nakajima isn’t. Then he gets moments where it is like he actually is above everyone else and he tries to talk down to people or force them to do what he thinks is right which is hard to swallow from a character who just needs one thing to go wrong before he’s on his knees weeping about being useless.

Enter Kyoka and I guess this is the problem.

You’ve given a character who has no redeeming qualities a sidekick with… No redeeming qualities. Both of them have the same basic problem, they both think they are monsters and aren’t listening to the people trying to help them. At least Kyoka HAS problems, I get that the abuse that Nakajima suffered was horrible but he’s been with the Agency for a while and KNEW in this episode that he could control the Tiger to a point. Kyoka isn’t getting better because the story has to be this big convoluted thing where one or the other needs a constant pep talk to save the day.

Problem is I’m sick of it.

I’m sick of it and I can’t even remember the first season but this episode brought it all back to me. The two of them are annoying as hell but if the show only had one of them it would work.

In this episode the Agency even say fuck it to their own rules and TELLS Kyoka about the test that she’d have to pass to be part of the Agency whilst pretty much, I guess, giving her the test. The problem is that would work if we hadn’t heard the same speeches, the same rationalizations from Dazai to Nakajima and seen them fall on deaf ears because Nakajima and Kyoka have to be the two biggest emos in anime/manga that ever lived.

This then ruined the episode because it became more about talking then actual action.

AGAIN if it was one or the other it would be fine but it wasn’t. We had flashes to Dazai trying to convince Kyoka to get off her ass and do stuff whilst having Nakajima in a middle of a fight spending most of the time talking at Akutagawa and Fitzgerald instead of actually fighting. He looks down on them, he moans about his own problems and then suddenly nearer the end it’s like he has his whole life sorted and he and Akutagawa go to defeat the big boss of this season Fitzgerald.

Thing is there was so much talking that it ruined what should have been a big and dramatic fight sequence.

ALL of the characters in this show are super strong. There are a few you could have put into this fight and it would have been just as dramatic, most of them are smart enough they know how and when to use their powers so whilst these three might be three of the outright most OP they are all way too dumb and tied up in their own agenda’s to be the biggest threat of either of their groups.

It didn’t work.

The entire episode should have blown us off our feet but it didn’t, instead it dragged on and on until Akutagawa and Nakajima actually figure out they need to work together.

Everyone has their problems, these three have pretty big ones, Nakajima’s really is just his own fucking head at this point, but there was no drama or tension in a episode basically of three grown men snickering at the others whilst trying to be the biggest drama queen there is.

It sucked.

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