Ryūnosuke Akutagawa | Bungou Stray Dogs Wiki

    They say first impressions are the most important. And boy, does Ryūnosuke Akutagawa make an impact in Bungou Stray Dogs

    I k now that first villains are meant to be fairly memorable, but Ryūnosuke Akutagawa in Bungou Stray Dogs genuinely blew me away. I have got to be honest here: the anime didn’t capture my attention until Ryūnosuke Akutagawa stepped on the scene, and to this day he remains one of my favorite characters in the series. He isn’t just a rudimentary villain, only existing to further the plot through its first arc. But he also happens to be our first look at the antagonists of the story.

    So, how did he fare in that regard? I’d say he was a great starting point for what would become Bungou Stray Dog’s main antagonistic force, the Port Mafia. Before him, the organization felt like this distant shadow that loomed across Yokohama but wasn’t a tangible threat. Of course, that changed as soon as we saw Ryūnosuke Akutagawa in the alleyway, right after Atsushi Nikijima was warned about him. There’s a reason why Akutagawa is so feared. And it isn’t just his reputation as one of the Port Mafia’s infamous ‘Attack Dog’.

    But one may argue that characters like Ryūnosuke Akutagawa are dime a dozen in something like Bungou Stray Dogs. And, well, you wouldn’t be wrong about that. With how the story is, you won’t find a lot of purely good characters, but plenty of them are either morally grey or even batshit insane. And it’s that complexity in characterization which makes Bungou Stray Dogs so intensely enjoyable. Ryūnosuke Akutagawa is merely one example of it.

    So, who is this man that nearly decimated a portion of the Armed Detective Agency in one appearance? Well, that’s what we are here to decipher. A wiki can only tell you so much about a character, ad we want to discuss it a bit more. So, let’s break down what makes Ryūnosuke Akutagawa so memorable in Bungou Stray Dogs. Let’s get right into it!

    Who Is Ryūnosuke Akutagawa?

    Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

    Let’s get the basic introduction out of the way. Ryūnosuke Akutagawa is a member of the Port Mafia, albeit a relatively young one. By 20 years of age, he has carved a name for himself as one of the most ruthless mafiosos out there. He also heads the Black Lizard faction, which is responsible for dealing with the more unsavory tasks of the Port Mafia.

    However, his beginnings are less illustrious and more tragic. A lot of his present circumstances stem from him being an orphan roaming the streets of Yokohama, with his sister, Gin Akutagawa. In the harsh environment of the slums, he was forced to see the terrible side of the society around him, resulting in a lot of anger and resentment. It also led to his sickly disposition, with poor air quality giving him a lung ailment that he never quite recovered from.

    So, when he gets recruited into the Port Mafia thanks to a misfortunate event where Osamu Dazai was present, he gets a chance to climb his way out of the trenches. Ryūnosuke Akutagawa meets Dazai when the people pursuing him and his sister were killed, and he is placed under his training at age 14. From there on out, the strict mercilessness of Dazai’s mentoring to be his subordinate someday, coupled with the general horrors of being in a crime syndicate, shape him into the Attack Dog he is.

    Built To Deceive:

    For all his extremities, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa does not look like someone who has extremely violent tendencies. If anything, he looks very prim and proper, with a build that’s slim and pale. Couple that up with his constant coughing, and you’d never imagine the man is a threat of any kind.

    But that appearance hides strength. It feels like his entire aesthetic exists to dupe his foes, which makes sense. With his long black coat and an all-black ensemble, you might even think of him as unassuming, maybe even elegant with the white ascot. But his choppy black and white hair and ferocious face are where you understand that Ryūnosuke Akutagawa isn’t at all what he seems.

    A Personality That Only Sees In Black And White:

    Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

    Another way his aesthetic gives away some of his true personality is within his very color palette. Ryūnosuke Akutagawa is not a kind person nor one that considers circumstances or even the idea of mercy. To him, the world is pretty much black or white. You either kill or be killed.

    Survival Of the Fittest’ is the ideology he swears by and it’s the one that works best for him. After all, he’s seen the worst people can do, directly to him and his sister. So, why should he be kind in turn to those who made his life hell? And so, he’s ruthless, almost maniacal in his takedowns. He thinks that weakness makes you a lesser human, claiming that those who can’t survive, should simply die and make way for those who persevere. Which, yeah, it’s not the most comforting life lesson to live with.

    But it’s also why Ryūnosuke Akutagawa spares no one in his anger. As one of Port Mafia’s most vicious members, he has regard for no one. Civilians, bystanders, and even children, all are mere collateral damage when he sets out to finish a job (or a person. Same difference, really.)

    But the one thing he doesn’t resort to? It’s torture. For all his faults, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa does not like prolonging suffering or inflicting needless savagery when pursuing a target. Sure, he’s aggressive, but his personality outside of a direct battle is much more detached, even aloof. He doesn’t even socialize much. But that might be because his temperament is so confusing, both fragile and stubborn in equal spades.

    This can be seen in how he behaves with Nikijima, where one side of him grows to respect the individual. But the other is hell-bent on viewing him as a rival, unworthy of Dazai’s attention. When you consider the rigidity in his morals, you begin to understand that Ryūnosuke Akutagawa might’ve become a powerful foe, but he is still emotionally insecure.

    Rashōmon: A Blade Like No Other

    Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

    Nothing is a better indication of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s wrath than his Ability, which is what earned him names like the ‘Hellhound’ or ‘Ability User Of Destruction And Disaster’. After all, that is the main currency of power in Bungou Stray Dogs.

    And Rashōmon is no joke. It’s an Ability that transforms Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s long coat in this amorphous beast, which can attack and slice its way through anything. Even space itself. Nothing can stand in its way, thanks to its immense power, nor is it limited to the coat alone.

    It also provides a defense of sorts, because Ryūnosuke Akutagawa becomes impervious to hailing bullets or projectiles when it’s activated. It’s almost like a creature made of dark matter, adapting itself to the need of the hour. It’s also been used as a stealth tool, thanks to being able to dig through the ground, or even hold a person hostage. Of course, it reacts to its masters’ whims.

    However, that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe from weakness. As with most Abilities, Rashōmon can be nullified upon contact by Dazai’s Ability, known as ‘No More Human’.

    So, while Ryūnosuke Akutagawa doesn’t remain the primary villain for long, he does end up being pretty iconic in his on way. What is his fate after his arc ends? Well, for that, you’ll just have to refer to the manga and anime, now won’t you?


    Anza Qureshi
    Anza Qureshi
    Anza Qureshi is a writer, licensed dentist and certified Uchiha fangirl. When she isn't doing root canals or listing down anime waifus, you can find her screeching about her favorite JRPGs across social media.

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