This study investigates the directed acyclic subgraph (DAS) algorithm, which is used to solve discrete labeling problems much more rapidly than other Markov-random-field-based inference methods but at a competitive accuracy. However, the mechanism by which the DAS algorithm simultaneously achieves competitive accuracy and fast execution speed, has not been elucidated by a theoretical derivation. We analyze the DAS algorithm by comparing it with a message passing algorithm. Graphical models, inference methods, and energy-minimization frameworks are compared between DAS and message passing algorithms. Moreover, the performances of DAS and other message passing methods [sum-product belief propagation (BP), max-product BP, and tree-reweighted message passing] are experimentally compared.