Bungou Stray Dogs’ fourth season has almost finished airing. At the time I am writing this article, there is only one episode left. When I watched episode 11, I had a sense that BSD has become an important anime to me. I have always enjoyed BSD; But now, I would say I love it, whereas before I only liked it. Something about this season is different and better. I’m not the only one who thinks so, either. BSD 4 is being well received, with several bloggers besides me expressing their appreciation for the new season.
There is an assortment of reasons why season 4 is so good. I’m not here to detail all those reasons. I just want to talk about one element in this season that caught my attention and kept me interested: the supporting characters Mushitarou and Yokomizo. Who are they? What real authors were they based on? Why do they matter to the story of BSD, and why do they matter to me personally? We’re about to find out.
Background Plot Information
Mushitarou seemed at first to have the role of antagonist. He is the one behind the murder of Yokomizo. At one point, he was employed by Fyodor, one of the main villains of the series. Furthermore, Mushitarou has a formidable Gift/ability: the power to erase all evidence of a crime. After finishing his job for Fyodor to cover up a crime, this young man sought to commit one more crime: he wanted to kill his longtime friend, Yokomizo, of whom he was intensely envious. As for Yokomizo, he was a talented writer of mystery novels. Unlike Mushitarou, he is not Gifted and has no supernatural abilities. Yokomizo was murdered before he could publish the last part of the manuscript of his final story.
In episodes 4 and 5 of season 4, the truth about Yokomizo and Mushitarou was uncovered by Ranpo of the Armed Detective Agency. Yokomizo was trying to write the perfect mystery using his own life, not just a manuscript. He arranged for his own murder so other mystery lovers would try to solve the story. The reason Yokomizo was willing to die for this dream was that he had terrible stomach cancer and had only months to live anyway. It was Mushitarou’s job to kill him, and since they had a rocky relationship, he was excited for the opportunity to do so. But while strangling his lifelong friend, Mushitarou wept, and his tears blurred the last page of the manuscript. Ranpo was able to deduce all this.
Following these events, Mushitarou was captured by some of Fyodor’s men in order to silence him. In episode 11, we see Mushitarou writing letters to his dead friend Yokomizo while being held captive. Atsushi and Kyouka rescue Mushitarou, and he tells them important information about Fyodor’s terrorist group, the Angels Decay. Putting this altogether, Mushitarou isn’t a villain in BSD. Sure, he’s petty, envious, and cranky most of the time. And he did kill someone, though it was what that person wanted. Still, Mushitarou’s role is that of an ally to the main characters.
The Real Authors
Like most characters in BSD, Mushitarou and Yokomizu are loosely based on authors from classic Japanese literature. For education purposes, I’ll provide just a tiny bit of info on the real Mushitarou Oguri and Seishi Yokomizo. It probably won’t be anything you couldn’t find on Wikipedia, but I hope it’s still good information.
Let’s start with Seishi Yokomizo. Just like in the anime, he was a writer of mystery novels who developed a large fanbase of avid readers. Yokomizo lived in the 1900s, dying as an old man in 1981. His works include The Inugami Curse, Gokuman Island, The Devil’s Flute Murders, and The Honjin Murders. Most of his books were historical fiction with classic mystery elements, much like stories of Sherlock Holmes in the west. Yokomizo also created the character of Detective Kindaichi, who is a famous fictional figure in Japanese literature. You can tell by looking at the old photos of him that he loved what he did. He was an inspiring man who loved mystery.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find nearly as much information about Mushitarou Oguri. We’ll have to make due with only a few facts. Oguri started writing mystery stories at a relatively young age in the early 1900s. He also died relatively young in 1946. The most famous novels written by this author are Kokushikan Satsujin Jiken (The Kokushikan Murder Cases) and Kanzen Hanzai (The Perfect Crime). In Bungou Stray Dogs, Mushitarou’s Gifted ability is also called The Perfect Crime. If any of my readers have more resources about Mushitarou Oguri, please let me know about them in the comments. I’m curious.
Significance of The Characters
Yokomizo and Mushitarou are significant to the story of BSD season 4. Some of this is incredibly obvious, but I’ll explain anyway. These two men are supporting characters and plot catalysts that help the story move along. If not for the information Mushitarou provided in episode 11, the heroes of the show would not have been able to move forward effectively. Before that, in episodes 4 and 5, the story of Mushitarou and Yokomizo was important to the character of Ranpo, who become unlikely friends with Mushitarou. Again, it may be apparent without me needing to write this, but supporting characters are often important to progressing the plot, and these two are no different.
Besides that obvious example of usefulness, Mushitarou and Yokomizo have additional value as well. They help bring out the mystery and literary elements in BSD season 4. BSD has always been concerned with referencing literature, as well as highlighting concepts like stories, poems, and writing. By including a novel writer (Yokomizo) and his envious best friend (Mushitarou), BSD season 4 sheds light on the core idea of literature. Specifically, Mushitarou and Yokomizo bring out the elements of the classic mystery genre. After all, BSD is about a Detective Agency. It’s only fitting that mystery writers and enthusiasts like Yokomizo and Mushitarou are important to the fourth season.
In terms of my personal interest and appreciation, Yokomizo and Mushitarou have even more significance. I was moved by the story of Yokomizo’s death and Mushitarou’s mixed feelings and pain as he wept. These two characters help explore some important themes in BSD, including mortality, loss, and complex adult relationships/friendships. Yokomizo was a fascinating character who was somehow able to deal with his own impending mortality with confidence and courage. Mushitarou’s mix of hatred and love for Yokomizo was relatable to me as someone who also has an intense emotional nature. His regret and the way he misses his close friend also make him sympathetic.
To lighten things up, Mushitarou’s over-the-top reactions and scheming mind are quite humorous in the right moments. Both Yokomizo and Mushitarou have personalities that interest me as someone who loves character psychology. Yokomizo was popular, loved, well-balanced and wise. He was brave, kind, and loved to share stories. Mushitarou, in contrast, is introverted, emotionally turbulent, and prone to bitterness. That’s not to say he’s without positive characteristics. After all, Mushitarou is intelligent, determined, adaptable, and individualistic. If his intense emotions are positive instead of negative, he can be capable of great empathy and helpfulness.
Hopefully, you can now see the significance of Seishi Yokomizo and Mushitarou Oguri. They helped make BSD season 4 more enjoyable and interesting. Many thanks to my readers for looking over this post. Have a great rest of the weekend!
Thank you for reading~
2 thoughts on “Mushitarou and Yokomizo: Why They Matter (Bungou Stray Dogs Season 4)”
One of the wonderful aspects of Bungo is how well they develop secondary characters. Everyone has their story which tell us a bit of why they are who they are. They make it feel interesting and an interesting tale in its own right; real effort has been put into it. And it has relevance to what is currently going on.
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I fully agree. That’s also something I love about BSD.
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