You'd better stop here
Badou Nails

T
o be honest, Badou and Naoto don't share a very close relationship with one another. What interaction they do have is brief and, oftentimes, consists of Badou being the mediator between her and Heine—or trying to, anyways. Following the destruction of the underground and Heine's disappearance, however, it is possible that they are working together with one another more often nowadays. Whatever the case, it is clear that they do respect each other to some degree (even considering how Naoto is very much aware of Badou's nicotine addiction and finds it a bit strange).

So why dedicate a page to their relationship? Despite what little interaction they have together, what makes these two so interesting is how differently they approach their respective pasts, and how they begin to influence one another in that aspect.


A
ccompanied by Heine and Badou, Naoto visits Granny Liza to learn more about the nature of her katana and to identify the killer she seeks. Once learning of Badou's line of work as an information broker, Naoto asks him to remain as everyone else leaves, interested in what he may know.
If you're a private investigator then I'd like to ask you some questions also.
  • Naoto Fuyumine
    Chapter 13: "Silver & Steel I"
    Dogs: Bullets & Carnage
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A contemplative Badou during Granny Liza's exposition.
Initially, Badou seems to be indifferent to the information Granny Liza provides. However, as she delves into the strange series of kidnappings in the past, his expression turns troubled, his silence bearing a hint of recognition.

At the time, he says nothing, keeping his thoughts to himself. The only time his discomfort seems to show is in a brief conversation he shares with Heine. As Badou dismisses the strange disappearances, insisting that there is nothing special about them, Heine notes that he is not acting like himself.

Much later, Badou, accompanied by Naoto and Heine, meets Doug, an old acquaintance of his, by chance and the two exchange words. During their conversation, the police officer mentions Badou's older brother who disappeared in the lower strata years ago.

Doug: But, here you are loitering around this area. Or are you still chasing after your older brother who disappeared in the lower strata?
Badou: (...) Hah, that's funny. He died a long time ago. And on top of that you know that I'm better off without him anyway, right?
  • Doug & Badou Nails
    Chapter 21: "Darkness & Troopers I"
    Dogs: Bullets & Carnage
This doesn't go unnoticed by Naoto, who seems intent on pushing the matter further. All Badou does, however, is confirm that there were, indeed, several instances of children disappearing in the past, and that it was his older brother, Dave, who investigated the cases.

While he refrains from revealing what happened to Dave, he does reveal his scar—which on its own speaks enough of his and Dave's failure in recovering the truth. Moreover, he warns Naoto against pursuing the same path.

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And you. You'd better stop here. Or you'll end up like this.
  • Badou Nails
    Chapter 21: "Darkness & Troopers I"
    Dogs: Bullets & Carnage
Personally, I find this scene quite interesting. It seems strange that Badou would offer words of caution to someone like Naoto—Naoto who bears her own scar and is very much aware of the risks involved. Moreover, it isn't like Badou doesn't know about her scar. In the previous chapter, following the battle with the twins Luki and Noki, he catches a glimpse of it, though his reaction to it is more flustered than serious.

Nevertheless, I do believe Badou's words come from a genuine place. Although he does hold a kind of apathy towards the whole situation, he isn't the kind of person to wish harm on others either. More importantly, however, his attitude towards the underground and its mysteries stem from his own feelings towards his older brother and his own past.


B
efore delving further into his relationship with Naoto, it is important to consider the relationship Badou has with his older brother.

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Badou recalls a conversation in the past with his brother.
Although Dave is shown sporadically throughout the series, it is clear that he and Badou are foils to one another. Where Dave is bold and relentless in his pursuit for the truth, Badou is cautious and more wary. Life to Dave is a precarious existence, compelling one to enjoy it and take as much as he can before it's over. Meanwhile, Badou values life from a survivor's perspective, more interested in self-preservation than self-indulgence.

While investigating the strange kidnappings occurring in the lower strata, Dave and Badou are attacked by one of the underground, resulting in Dave's disappearance—and possible death. Although Badou manages to escape with his life, he loses his eye in the process, obtaining scars on both his right eye and right hand.

The tragedy only solidifies Badou's philosophy towards life and his survival instincts. From his perspective, Dave committed a fatal mistake—one that Badou vows not to repeat.

But then what happens if you die in one big party? I won't fall for the same trick twice, big brother. I'm gonna keep livin' stingy.
  • Badou Nails
    Chapter 30: "Clutter & Foreboding II"
    Dogs: Bullets & Carnage
Unlike Naoto, there is no sense of vengeance on Badou's part. He seems content on moving forward and distancing himself from his past. Perhaps it is simply because he enjoys, well, staying alive.

However, his avoidance of the underground and the unsolved case may also be a result of his own guilt. This guilt is implied fairly early on in Dogs: Bullets & Carnage when Badou learns of Heine's ability to heal his wounds quickly, by virtue of the collar around his neck. Once seeing Heine's healed hand, Badou turns to his own scarred one, noting how useful Heine's ability is.

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In this moment, I don't think it's too much of a stretch to suggest that Badou is contemplating what it would be like to have that kind of power himself—to heal his own scar so that it ceases to exist. In a sense, it may be that he wants to forget what happened on that fateful day when he lost his brother.

Furthermore, when he first speaks of Dave to Naoto, Badou refers to his younger self as a kind of nuisance to his older brother.

My brother was a freelance journalist. I helped him out with that... No. I mostly just got in his way.
  • Badou Nails
    Chapter 21: "Darkness & Troopers I"
    Dogs: Bullets & Carnage
Perhaps Badou's reflection of himself is a kind of self-hatred. Does he blame himself for losing his brother? In any case, it is clear that his avoidance of the underground, as well as his constant reminders of the dangers that lie there, is a way for him to avoid his past.
C
ompared to Badou, Naoto is more driven to uncover the truth of her past. Even when she finds herself overcome with fear, she feels compelled to push herself further. It is as though she is relying on her own instincts.
What's wrong? Why am I so afraid? What am I remembering? I have to go. Why? I don't know. I have to go!!
  • Naoto Fuyumine
    Chapter 27: "N & N"
    Dogs: Bullets & Carnage
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Although fearful of what awaits her, Naoto remains determined.
Thus, a difference between the two lies in their reasoning. Behind Badou's shirking of the underground is more or less rational thinking: he wants to survive and, perhaps, to not be reminded of his past. Meanwhile, Naoto is guided by her emotions. She pursues her past because she feels she must.

Intent on fulfilling this goal of hers, Naoto is part of why Badou is forced to face the underground and his past—whether he wants to or not. At Granny Liza's request, Badou reopens the case Dave left behind. In a way, Naoto's arrival allows for this to happen, for the starting point of Badou's investigation is her unique katana. Why he chooses to pick the case up again remains unsaid. The idea that he was forced to do it, however, is hard to imagine.

Given his disposition towards his past, I don't think Badou expected himself to be involved in it as much as he ends up being. Following the sudden unrest in the lower strata, he may feel compelled to reopen the case simply for the sake of survival.

At the same time, however, no matter how much he may try to forget it, it is clear that the horrific memory of losing his brother is one that still haunts him deeply. Thus, it may be that Badou desires some kind of answer for what happened that day. Perhaps he may even feel he owes something to Dave.


A
fter learning the truth of her origins and being controlled by Einstürzen, Naoto becomes discouraged. Knowing she is but a clone of Frühling, her resolve dims as she begins to doubt her identity and existence. Does she truly want to continue chasing her past?

Is it even worth it anymore?

With a rare kind of openness, Naoto confesses her insecurities to the others. Unbeknownst to her, her words affect Badou, prompting him to reconsider his own actions and his old scar. As he turns to the palm of his right hand once more, he realizes that he, too, has been running away from his past.

Naoto: I've been wondering about something for a while... From what was I trying to escape? Why do I feel anger when I see that Campanella person? All I do is run away...
Badou: Me, too, I guess...
  • Naoto Fuyumine & Badou Nails
    Chapter 74: "Confession & Condemnation II"
    Dogs: Bullets & Carnage
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Badou turns to his old scar.
Eventually, following a series of events—ones that unfortunately seem be out of his control—Badou finds himself in the underground. There, he finally learns of Dave's ultimate fate.

It can be said that he is cornered there by his old nemesis, Herbst. Certainly, a large part of his being there can also be attributed to Heine and Badou's loyalty to him. But I'd also like to think that Naoto played a part in him overcoming his fears. Because of her perseverance as well as her self-doubt, Badou is able to reflect upon himself and is no longer able to deny his own cowardice.

In the grand scheme of things, Badou's journey to the underground may have been inevitable, given the increasing underground presence in the lower strata and on the surface. However, instead of running away and retreating from danger, he goes to meet it. And while he may not have conquered his enemies in the end, he certainly conquers his own fear of them and, in doing so, is able to lay some of his old demons to rest.


D
uring Heine's disappearance, it may be that Naoto and Badou are now closer with one another than they were before. Regardless, it is clear that they have influenced each other one way or another, and will only continue to do so as the story progresses.