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Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (芥川 龍之介, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke?) is a member of the Port Mafia and has the ability Rashōmon.

Appearance

Akutagawa has a slim build and very pale skin. He's often seen covering his face with his hand due to his frequent coughing. He has short, choppy black hair with side bangs that reach his chin and turn white at the tips. His eyes are sharp, somewhat baggy, and a dark empty grey.

He wears a long, black coat reaching past his knees over black fitting pants and black dress shoes. Underneath his coat, he dons a white dress shirt, decorated with a layered ruffled fabric. He also wears a white jabot.

When Akutagawa used to live in the slums, he wears dirty and ragged clothes. [7]

When on his day-off, he wears a simple black coat and frameless tinted glasses. [8]

When covered in Rashomon, the coat full covers Akutagawa's body including his mouth. [9]

After being bitten by Bram Stoker, Akutagawa has a vampiric appearance. [10]

Others

Personality

Akutagawa violently commands Kyoka.

Akutagawa has a black and white "survival of the fittest" view of the world, claiming that weak people should die and give way to the stronger ones. He is not afraid of pain and defeat, if only to hear a word from a "certain person". His ruthless, vicious nature makes him one of the Port Mafia's most dangerous members, feared by both ally and foe. Much of the obedience he receives from subordinates of Black Lizard largely stems from fear of his short temper and general intolerance of incompetence.

Self-titled Port Mafia's "dog", Akutagawa depicts an acute willingness to commit violent crimes to further not only the mafia's goals but his own agenda. Merciless and blunt, Akutagawa doesn't discriminate when it comes to his targets, having no qualms killing anyone from innocent civilians, children, and enemies alike. Hostile as he is towards the weak, he dislikes meaningless torture and prefers killing in one go whenever possible.

Akutagawa showing animosity.

As violent as he is, Akutagawa maintains a generally composed and detached approach. Towards subordinates and superiors alike, he acts aloof, distancing himself from social interactions however possible. Nonetheless, his composure is fragile. In instances such as Higuchi's screw-up during the manhunt for Atsushi, Akutagawa is quick to lash out, ridiculing him for risking the bounty by acting recklessly. This quick temper often gets in his way, fueling his actions to the core of his very being.

The center of this anger stems from his past as an orphan in the harsh slums of Yokohama. Since childhood, Akutagawa's grim outlook never changed. The only thing that changed was meeting Dazai when he was 14, already willing to kill a group of illegal traders responsible for murdering his companions. This meeting with Dazai ends in a pivotal change in Akutagawa - respect for someone. Even after undergoing Dazai's extreme and horrific training, Akutagawa never wavers from his own philosophy, starkly against adopting Dazai's value of information over simply getting rid of the mafia's enemies.

Akutagawa berates Atsushi.

Having only heard Dazai's berating, learning of Dazai's high opinion of Sakunosuke Oda damages Akutagawa on a deep level, feeling insulted he is thought of as lower than someone who refuses to kill in the mafia. Dazai's defection deepens the damage, leaving a permanent, lingering sense of inferiority in Akutagawa's mind no matter what he accomplished in the mafia. Although still striving for Dazai's approval, Akutagawa nonetheless views Dazai's current disposition as a disgrace to the bloodstained reputation he carved into Port Mafia's history.

Akutagawa's desire for Dazai's approval inevitably leads to an intense resentment towards Dazai's new "student", Atsushi. First meeting Atsushi when he's weak, easily scared, and freezes in the face of violence, Akutagawa dismisses Atsushi as nothing more than another weak person destined to die for the sake of those stronger than him. Although Atsushi's tiger transformation momentarily gives him a rush, Akutagawa nonetheless sees nothing special in Atsushi. His opinion of Atsushi worsens when Dazai boasts about him, simultaneously insulting Akutagawa's worth as Dazai's former pupil. For much of the time, Akutagawa cannot understand the value others put in Atsushi, and vice versa. Atsushi is a walking paradox to Akutagawa - weak, but acting stronger than he actually is for a place in the world and permission to live, despite being so valued by others. This conflicts deeply with Akutagawa's self-perception. Others see him as powerful, but Akutagawa doesn't acknowledge his strength as a result of his upbringing and own philosophy. This leads to repeating the hypocrisy of condemning Atsushi for attempting to get everyone's approval when Akutagawa himself acts almost entirely for Dazai's approval.

Akutagawa's amicable relationship with his younger sister, Gin.

This rivalry eats at the two for much of the time, however, Akutagawa eventually comes to something of an understanding of Atsushi. His resentment still fresh, and a never-ending willingness to kill Atsushi for his own sake, at the least mingles with some form of respect towards Atsushi. This shows most notably when Atsushi struggles to come to terms with the death of the orphanage headmaster. Although it is the perfect time to off Atsushi, Akutagawa refrains from doing so, saying he'll leave him alone to deal with the pain of losing his mentor. He also develops an adept understanding of Beast Beneath the Moonlight, aiding both of them when fighting together against Fitzgerald and Goncharov.

For all his rage, bitterness, and resentment towards humanity and the world itself, Akutagawa has his moments. He has an amicable relationship with his younger sister, Gin, going as far as to help and do her favors without complaint. Further, after Higuchi and Black Lizard save him from a rival group, Akutagawa apologizes to Higuchi for the trouble. Although these are small, short moments of Akutagawa's calmer, earnest side, they nonetheless carry weight. It's evident Akutagawa rarely or never lies, making him honest, even if it's a brutal and unnecessary majority of the time.

Ability

Main article: Rashomon

Akutagawa's ability Rashomon (羅生門, Rashōmon?) transforms his overcoat into a dark monster capable of slicing through anything, even space itself. He can also use his ability with other clothing.

Rashōmon (羅生門, Rashōmon?)
Rashomon 1.gif Manga Debut: Chapter 3
Anime Debut: Episode 2
Ability: Clothing Manipulation

Background

He and his younger sister, Gin Akutagawa, were orphans and used to live in the slums along with about eight other children. At the mercy of the slums and its disgusting air, Akutagawa's lungs suffered, as a result, ending in his poor health.

The other children happened to overhear a conversation regarding the time and location of a shipment the Port Mafia was supposed to deliver to low-level subordinates. The men knew about this and sought out the children, beating everyone but Gin and Akutagawa, who managed to escape, to death.

Following through a promise made with his companions, Akutagawa went to the place where the transaction was said to take place in order to exact revenge on the men who killed his companions. When he reached the place, the six men were all dead by Dazai's order—as a gift to Akutagawa who he wanted to take on as his subordinate. He offered either entry as his student, or to give Akutagawa and his sister enough money that they never had to worry about poverty again. In a fit of rage and grief, Akutagawa joined Port Mafia, overcome by a foreign sense of respect he felt towards Dazai.[3]

Battles

Azure Messenger Arc
Armed Detective Agency vs. Port Mafia Arc
The Guild Arc
Cannibalism Arc

Appearances

Manga Appearances
Chapters in order of appearance

Port Mafia Arc

The Guild Arc

The Guild Aftermath Arc

Cannibalism Arc

Kamui Revelation Arc

Anime Appearances
Episodes in order of appearance

Port Mafia Arc

Azure Messenger Arc

Dark Era Arc

The Guild Arc

The Guild Aftermath Arc

Cannibalism Arc

Manga Appearances
Chapters in order of appearance

Manga Appearances
Chapters in order of appearance
Anime Appearances
Episodes in order of appearance

Quotes

  • (To Atsushi Nakajima) "You have a great special ability and you have the help of your friends. You gained Dazai's approval without having to put in any effort. You don't know how lucky you are! You're a fool who keeps dwelling on your past!"[11]
  • (To Atsushi Nakajima) "Even if every bone in my body must be broken, I will defeat him. Because if I don't…! I'll go back to being something Dazai discarded!"[12]
  • (To Ōchi Fukuchi) "I've been thinking about it all along. At the moment the flame of this short life goes out, what should I say? But every time, like grasping mist with my hands, the answer didn't take form. I understood it now just a few seconds ago. I don't need words but only actions."[13]

Etymology

  • The name Ryūnosuke means "dragon" (龍) (ryū), "of" (之) (no) and "son" (介) (suke). Meaning "Son of Dragon", he was named this way because he was born in the year of the dragon.[14]
  • The surname Akutagawa means "mustard" (芥) (akuta) and "river" (川) (kawa/gawa).

Namesake

Main article: Real-life References#Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927)
Akutagawa is the father of the Japanese short story. He took his own life at 35, inspiring Osamu Dazai's own fascination with suicide. Many of his stories are set in the 12th and 13th centuries, such as "Rashomon", a tale about a man struggling with the temptation to steal in order to avoid starvation. The Akutagawa Prize, named after the author, is Japan's most prestigious literary award. [15]

Trivia

  • The birthname of the real life Ryūnosuke Akutagawa is Ryūnosuke Nīhara (新原 龍之介).
    • His art name is Chōkōdō Shujin (澄江 堂主).
  • The relationship between Akutagawa and Dazai in real-life is reversed in Bungo Stray Dogs. In real life, Osamu Dazai greatly idolized Akutagawa and was greatly shaken by Akutagawa's suicide.
  • He is very strict in conserving electricity.[16]
  • Akutagawa's ability, Rashōmon, turns his coat into a black beast. This is in reference to the Japanese author Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's short story titled Rashōmon wherein a homeless servant stole the clothes of an old lady by ripping it off her.
    • Early in the short story, the homeless servant ponders whether to starve to death or to become a thief in order to survive.[17] This mirrors Atsushi's dilemma after being kicked out of the orphanage.[18]
  • According to the Bungo Stray Dogs official Twitter, he does not know the name of the "frilly thing" on his collar (jabot).

References

  1. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 11.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Osamu Dazai's Entrance Exam.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Volume 6, The Heartless Cur (Short Story).
  4. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 21.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Volume 2.
  6. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 88.
  7. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 49.
  8. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 39.
  9. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 36.
  10. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 88.
  11. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 35.
  12. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 85.
  13. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 87.
  14. Ryūnosuke Akutagawa#Early Life. Wikipedia
  15. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Volume 3, Author Guide.
  16. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Volume 2, Omake.
  17. Rashōmon - Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. The Short Story Project.
  18. Bungo Stray Dogs Manga: Chapter 1.

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