Bungou Stray Dogs is a peculiar show, but nothing is stranger in it than Dazai and his insane want to die. Osamu Dazai is a lot of things, but you really don’t scratch the surface of his character arc until you dive deep into his mindset. And that midst appears to be seriously messed up, considering how suicidal he is. And yet, he laughs off the grim thoughts like they are nothing, just light banter rather than a truly morbid facet of him.
So, why does Dazai want to die? Well, as fun as Dazai is, the answer to this is not so light-hearted. Turns out Dazai is trying to find a purpose in life and failing, hence why he thinks life isn’t worth living. Which is pretty depressing, not going to lie to you there. Because when you first meet Dazai, you think he’s just some extremely quirky and weird character, who also happens to be weirdly OP (Overpowered). But you wouldn’t think he’s hiding something genuinely worrying underneath that façade of his.
Turns out, he absolutely was, with a sense of loneliness that left him a husk. But that’s the thing with Bungou Stray Dogs: the characters are rarely what they seem. And underneath the wacky veneer, there is something deeply unsettling happening. The dynamic of an Underworld Mafia at war with a Disciplinary Committee, both charged up with superpowers, is something. Especially since both sides are filled with individuals that have shady pasts and questionable morality. But somehow Dazai ends up standing out even in a setting as bizarre as that. And turns out, his backstory is exactly as wild as you’d expect.
Even so, what could have possibly pushed him to be so callous about his own life? Like, you don’t end up like Dazai unless something very specific went wrong in your life. So, why does Dazai want to die? Let’s try to find that out by breaking down his character in another segment of Character Analysis!
Osamu Dazai: A Complicated Enigma?
Honestly, enigma is the exact word I’d use for Dazai. At the beginning of Bungou Stray Dogs, Dazai served as little more than comic relief or the zany mentor figure. Sure, he was experienced as an Ability holder in the Armed Detective Agency, but you don’t fully grasp the significance of his character until later on.
You get a hint of it when he and Atsushi Nakajima encounter Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, a member of the Port Mafia and it turns out that Ryūnosuke actually knows Dazai from before. However, not as an enemy, but as a previous ally. Because apparently, before Dazai became an enforcer with Armed Detective Agency, he was a former executive in the Port Mafia. Hell, he happened to be so influential, that he eventually became the youngest Leader in the history of the Mafia.
What was worse, however, was the body count he collected and what that did to him. Dazai joined the Mafia to see humanity at its worst, thinking that in that darkness he might find a purpose. And turns out, he was the perfect for that darkness, practically born for it. With him being skilled as a tactician and extremely persuasive, he helped the Mafia grow immensely, raking in about half of their entire profit in the short two-year stint.
But when Sakunosuke Oda died, aka his only friend there, he defected. In Oda’s words, he wanted Dazai to ‘be on the side that saves people’.
Why Dazai Wants To Die So Bad:
And so, here we are. Did joining the Agency help his loneliness? Sort of. He is still dramatic, claiming he wants to commit double suicide with every beautiful woman that comes his way. But the hole he’s had since he was a teen is something that he is still struggling to fill up. It’s not that Dazai wants to die, more like he doesn’t know what life even means.
Dazai wonders if there is any value in life. He struggles with the concept of finding that purpose, at first filling it with bloodshed. When that didn’t work, he tried using his abilities for good, but still didn’t find all the answers. Even now, Dazai struggles with the concept of good and evil, but he has learned something important regardless.
Even if he isn’t able to completely get away from the gnawing darkness in his soul, where good and bad are interchangeable if he can just choose what’s better morally? Well, then he might just end up becoming a little better as an individual.