「則天去私」 (Sokuten Kyoshi)
Good eye to those who caught Kadota easily infiltrating the ranks of Horada’s Blue Square revival last time, as he and the other Dollars members lying in wait totally crashed the party. Not only that, but Masaomi got to give that bastard exactly what he deserved after learning that Horada was alongside Izumii when Saki was kidnapped and one of the key perpetrators behind it. I was really looking forward to seeing Celty and Anri kick some Blue Square ass here, but it turned out they didn’t need to get involved at all and focused on getting Masaomi to the hospital instead — the same one where Saki’s staying at his request. It was good to see Shizuo get some payback by stopping Horada’s escape on the freeway though. I was hoping he’d get some payback and boy did he ever by scaring the daylights out of Horada and his goons when they were the ones in the car going full speed at him. It’s pretty hard to overlook that street pole Shizuo was flailing around after all. It’s still a shame that he didn’t really get a chance to beat the crap out of Horada, but at least the scary motorcycle cop Kinnosuke showed up right after to haul their butts off to jail.
As befitting as all that was, the highlights of this finale had to be Anri trying to cut Izaya and put him under her control, followed by Simon laying the smack down after learning everything from Saki’s phone call to Russian Sushi. In the former case, I had my suspicions about Higa after seeing how troubled he looked when Horada was talking about the gun and the cops last episode, but I wasn’t expecting him to be working for Izaya of all people. What’s more, he turned out to be a Slasher under the control of Anri, which Izaya was already aware of even when he had Higa retrieve the gun that was used to shoot Shizuo. For the first time in this adaptation, Izaya made mention of the Awakusu group too and how he was hoping to be rewarded for arranging the attack on Shizuo (even though he survived), setting the stage for the next arc of the story (if it gets animated). Incidentally, I was pretty surprised at how well Izaya fended off Anri’s attacks and how he was expecting her to show up here so that he can make a declaration to her that he loves (manipulating) humans and won’t hand them over to her. It was a sort of an, “oh shit, now it’s on” type of moment, but I did get a good laugh out of how Izaya added that she can have Shizuo since he doesn’t need nor want him.
In the latter case with Simon, I can’t even describe the joy I felt when he appeared in front of Izaya and punched him in the face right away. Seeing as this is Izaya we’re talking about, I think the hit him first and ask questions later approach is rather suitable. Anyway, after all this time with our Ikebukuro information broker claiming he’s doing all this out of his love for human beings, it was pretty cool how Simon saw right through his lies and pinpointed the cause to his “Shizuo complex”. At the same time, it kind of took away from all the talk about Dullahans and seeing if Celty really takes warriors to Valhalla as per the legends, which I felt was a more outlandish yet interesting motive for starting a gang war in Ikebukuro. Regardless, this finale did wrap things up for our three main protagonists with everything finally coming to light between them. Upon learning that Saki purposely let herself get kidnapped by the Blue Squares as per Izaya’s instructions and knew Masaomi didn’t come to rescue her, and seeing Masaomi realize that he’s been manipulated all this time and confess to Saki, it was nice to finally see those two love birds get back together too. I know a lot of people find Saki creepy, but she’s still adorable to me with Fukuen Misato bringing out her girlish side really well. She’s grade A girlfriend material.
Looking back, I still wonder if Izaya really had a plan in all of this or if he just used the Dullahan legend as a guideline to manipulate everyone for his personal enjoyment. Evidently, he wasn’t the least bit frustrated nor disappointed when things went bust, so I’m leaning towards it being the latter. That was true even after he learned that Namie was the one who tipped off Horada about Mikado being the leader of Dollars and friends with Masaomi. In any case, Namie said the best line to Izaya this series by telling him that he may love humans, but she’s pretty damn sure they all hate him. Oh Namie, you’re the best! In terms of the wrap up for this arc and series as a whole, it was kind of sad to learn that Masaomi and Saki took off and disappeared without a trace, leaving Anri and Mikado behind, but Mikado reviving Dollars as a transparent existence of the city itself did let him know that Masaomi’s doing well at least. I got a good laugh out of how Masaomi was pretty unrelenting in making fun of Izaya in the chat room as well. Last but not least, Celty finally gave Shinra a little bit of a “reward” following the break up of the remaining Blue Squares. If Celty ever does get back her head, she would be even hotter, but Shinra doesn’t seem to mind one bit. I gather he’s a T&A kind of guy. =P
I think what surprised me the most about this series is how vast the story feels a lot of the time. The huge cast of characters alone give an immediate impression of that and is a bit daunting at first, but once you get into it and realize how everyone’s stories are intertwined to form a bigger one, it’s really cool seeing it all come together. One of the things I particularly liked about this series is its tendency to show parts of the story again from another character’s perspective and develop things further that way. This wasn’t limited to just our three main protagonists either, as the unique assortment of characters — large role or small — all seemed to have something different to add to the overall story. Admittedly, I find this format a bit hard to get into at first, but once you get caught in the flow of the story it really takes off from there and has you looking forward to the watching the next episode. Compared to Narita Ryougo‘s Baccano series, I found Durarara much easier to get into simply because it eased me in with an introduction to Ikebukuro from Mikado’s perspective. From the onset, the actual premise is very unassuming and unpronounced, but quickly starts taking shape as more and more things start happening — often concurrently.
As weird as it may sound, I feel this slightly convoluted storytelling with a huge cast of characters is what we need to see more of in series today. It doesn’t rely on an overabundance of action or fan-service to attract the viewer’s attention and lets the story do all the talking (like it should). Quite frankly, I’m kind of sad to see Durarara end all of sudden when there’s clearly more story to be told, but sales of the light novels have gone up dramatically during the airing of this anime adaptation. Hopefully this means we’ll be in store for a second season by Brain’s Base sometime down the stretch, whose production work here has been quite a treat. As in most cases, novel, manga, and DVD/BD sales will probably decide if a sequel will be created, so it’s nice to see that things are already looking up in that regard. For now, I plan to get back to finishing Baccano since I never got around to doing that. For anyone who hasn’t checked out this series, I find it pretty easy to recommend, especially if you’re tired of the usual overused themes in anime. So yeah, do yourself a favor if you need a completed series to watch and pick up Durarara!!