[OWLS Blog Tour] The Guise of Diplomacy : Bungou Stray Dogs

Hey hey hey Owlets!! It’s Archi-Anime’s turn to contribute to  the OWLS November blog tour. OWLS: Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, is a group that hopes to spread the important message of respect and kindness to every human being. Our monthly blog tours reflect this message of tolerance and self-acceptance, through various analysis of the anime medium; although it is not limited to anime.

November’s theme is “Diplomacy”:

Whenever we have a disagreement with someone, we use our words to express our thoughts and opinions. However, there are those who would rather use fists instead of words, those who forget that being “right” isn’t the most important thing, and those who lose sight of compromising and acknowledging differences in opinion and belief. Diplomacy is an important skill and tactic that not many of us have or are able to utilize properly especially in “social media wars” for sensitive issues and anime discourse—we just express our opinions without really listening.

For this month’s prompt, we will be exploring some of the best negotiations scenes in pop culture media and discuss how effective these diplomatic moments are and what we can learn from them. We will also discuss why communication and listening are important traits to have and whether or not there are other means to enforce peace.

Diplomacy. Negotiation. Is there really a right or wrong way to solve a problem? Do diplomatic negotiations resolve in something for the greater good? Is it something that would be beneficial for the population or only serve well for the parties involved?

Whether good or bad, negotiations are held to resolve disputes. Whether they can be used for the greater good can be questionable. In my examination of the term ‘Diplomacy’ I’ll be looking at it the anime Bungou Stray Dogs

To summarize what occurs in the most simplest way possible, the Port of Yokohama is being terrorized by an organization called Mimic. They’re specifically targeting the Port Mafia, which puts the entire Port on a high threat level. In order to deal with said threat, the government sector “Gifted Special Operations Division” and the Port Mafia meet to negotiate the terms in which The Port Mafia will eliminate Mimic in exchange for “Gifted Business Permit”.

A simple diplomatic solution. Or so it seems, it does sound pretty innocent right? Sounds like a simple, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine kind of situation. But underneath the amicable negotiation that took place was lurking a puppet master that orchestrated the ENTIRE situation for his sole benefit.

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Meet Ogai Mori. The Main boss of the The Port Mafia organization. He looks like a shady character doesn’t he? The scheming and conniving type. If anyone should point fingers, it would most definitely be this guy. But to understand what was going on behind the scenes that led to the culmination of the “gifted business permit” there’s at least a few more key character’s we need to introduce.

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Another key player in this whole ordeal is Sakaguchi Ango. Ango is the Port Mafia’s intelligence officer, as he is in control of all critical classified information when dealing with anyone outside of the Port Mafia. He knows the dirt on everybody, and everyone.

 

 

 

 

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Chief Taneda is the Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Special Ability Department. Since he’s the head of the Department, he’s also the one that has power to give the gifted business permit. I’d go on about this guy a bit more, but that would be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

 

 

 

 

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Gide, the leader of the group Mimic. Mimic is a european group that escapes to Japan after realizing one of their missions had been deemed a war crime. They decide to go to Japan as they had heard that the Port Mafia was a group of powerful ability users, and sought out someone worthy of dealing them their death as atonement for their crimes

 

 

 

Now that we’ve met the key players, let’s proceed. As stated, Ango is an intelligence officer within the Port Mafia. Within those first 4 episodes it is learned that Ango is actually an agent sent from Taneda’s Special Ability Department to spy on the port mafia’s operations and dealings.

However, although this was a complete secret, Ougai (Port Mafia Boss) knew that Ango was indeed a spy. He used this to his advantage as he manipulated Ango to become a member of the guerrilla group Mimic and watch their movements as well. Confusing? Well, to put it in layman’s terms, Ango is essentially a triple agent. Although, in the end his loyalty is with the government.

What’s important to really note though, is Ougai actually has the upperhand in this situation. He could have easily eliminated Ango after finding out he was a spy, but instead keeps him in the loop with a rather high position within the organization and as stated, has him infiltrate Mimic.

With Mimic already at Yokohama’s doorstep, the government has decided to leave them to the Port Mafia. This and Ango’s position in all of this is what set’s up the unofficial negotiation between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Port Mafia.

The negotiation is as follows: The Ministry requests that the Port Mafia will let go of Ango, and will never pursue him or harm him. The second request is that, the Port Mafia will dispose Mimic who entered Japan illegally. Ougai, willing to let Ango go, is hesitant to agree with the second, because he wants special conditions. It’s at this point that Chief Taneda hands over the gifted business permit. He doesn’t look exactly thrilled that he’s given into the demands, but they’re necessary.

Now, later, another subordinate, Dazai decides to have a chat with Ougai, unknown to him that this meeting occurred, and sees that his boss is holding the business permit, a complete shock to him. But then Ougai offers an explanation to Dazai, which makes it all make sense:

“The leader of an organization is at the pinnacle of that organization at at the same time it’s slave. The leader must be more than willing to commit an atrocity to ensure the organization’s survival.”

This is where it becomes clear that the conflict between the Ministy, the Port Mafia and Mimic have been carefully controlled by Ougai who more than anything wants that gifted business permit. Ougai orchestrated that Mimic come to Japan and offered them the answer for what they were looking for: death. But by bringing in this group, it also put the Ministry on alert and made them move to act on the issue, which is what brought the negotiation to fruition.

But why is this permit so important to Ougai to begin with? Well, think about it. They’re already in the black market business. This permit legitimizes their business, therefore allowing them to reign over the port of Yokohama quite openly and without fear because if they were ever to be questioned, they’d just have to show their business permit. Ougai got what he wanted at the end of the negotiation. But at what cost?

Due to his incredibly intricately designed plan, a war between organizations was created and orchestrated, causing the entire group of Mimic to be killed as well as a large number of his own group as well. He even lost a particularly gifted individual that had a lot to offer to the group. So with all that laid bare, in the end one can only ask, does the proverb “the ends justify the means” apply? Can Ougai really justify all those lives lost for a piece of paper? Does this piece of paper represent the greater good?

Morally, the end does not justify the means, that amount of life lost cannot equate to the future flourish of a business venture. At this point it really becomes more about power and money, but what more can you expect from a mafia type organization, especially one that thrives on violence and power.

Diplomacy was used perfectly as a guise for Ougai and the Port Mafia. On the surface it looked like a peaceful meeting between two groups that had the same goal in mind, a safe Yokohama. Unfortunately, the greed of one man to become even more powerful built a perfect web of lies to get an outcome that would only benefit him and no one else.


That just about wraps up this month’s tour here at Archi-Anime. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Feel free to leave any in the comments!

And don’t forget to check out Arria’s (fujinsei) OWLS post here.

And look out for Zoe’s post on her site: Let’s Talk Anime.

Also, if you haven’t don’t forget to follow us on facebook as well as our twitter @OWLSbloggers and our official blog and our Facebook page  as well as our YouTube channel! And if you’re interested in becoming an OWLS member, you can contact us here.