「和を以て尊して為す」 (Wa o Motte Toutoshite Nasu)
“Hold Harmony Sacred”
Durarara!! just doesn’t feel complete without Heiwajima Shizuo wrecking some fool. That felt good. Shizuo may just be my uncontested favourite character from Durarara!!; he’s the embodiment of the height of Durarara!!‘s ridiculousness, while remaining a pretty decent guy deep down (when he isn’t hulking out). Shizuo’s also the source of much of the action in this show, which is just a lot of fun. If Durarara!! was filmed before a live studio audience, Shizuo would get a standing ovation every time he appeared.
Unfortunately, Shizuo doesn’t feature prominently in this episode; more time needed to be made for our new characters, in particular Izaya’s fanservice sisters and Masaomi Kida’s understudy, one Kuronuma Aoba (Shimono Hiro). They make for an interesting pairing (tripling?); Aoba is mostly normal despite having too much enthusiasm about being a member of Dollars, an organisation with no purpose, while the twins are at least 70% crazy (or maybe they’re just natural results of the Orihaya genes). You can’t bully crazy people; they don’t follow your social rules. And they set your stuff on fire. It was a bit convenient that the twins got away with all their disproportionate retaliation, but I get the feeling they would have been fine with mutually assured destruction.
All this high school drama is mostly a subplot to the overarching to the greater scheme, though, which seems to involve… zombies? Zombies vs the KGB? I don’t know. Whatever it is, it does seem more sinister than having nasty things written on your desk. Even Shinra breaking the fourth wall and becoming the narrator, even Izaya talking far too much than his character perhaps warrants, could not make sense of it for me. That doesn’t matter at this point; we’re still at the ‘lots of stuff happens’ part of the typical Durarara!! story, rather than the ‘why stuff happens’ phase. For now, the snowball keeps on rolling, and we’ll probably have a solid mass by the end.
It’s taking some time to get used to Durarara!!‘s disjointed narrative structure again, but considering the usual Durarara!! formula, I would consider that it’s coming along fine for now. The overarching story is already in view (even if its details are shrouded from us for now), and more and more elements are being introduced on our way to critical mass. Even the yakuza are showing up, presumably because they need Shinra for a job, and presumably to fix the poor sod who got Shizuo-ed. And apparently this idol person is going to be a significant character. I didn’t pay her much attention when she appeared briefly in the first season, and would have continued to forget her existence if not for her place in the OP and her song being sung in the karaoke. You never know who could suddenly become significant in Durarara!!, and I think that’s the point, really. There’s something interesting about everybody if you dig deep enough.
A trend I’ve been seeing in Durarara!!, even before x2 Shou, is that as time goes on a lot of the disparate characters start to find their way together. In this episode, for example, Anri meets Kishitani Snr, which drags her into all the unnecessary trouble he’s usually involved with. It seems to be happening a bit faster in x2 Shou compared to the original season—the twins have already been linked to Celty and linked to Aoba, for example—but it may just be a natural result of us being deeper into the story. While the original Durarara!! started off as being about the many facets of Ikebukuro’s natives and general world building, with the divergent characters serving as our feelers, x2 Shou seems to be pulling them in a lot earlier. I wonder what that will do to the perspective-shifting narrative that Durarara!! has traditionally been good at.
Besides the narrative, there are also little things that Durarara!! does well that I don’t always mention. For example, I should praise Durarara!! for its consistent fidelity in rendering the Ikebukuro nightlife. I’m sure the natives would appreciate the research put into it, but I still enjoy detailed urban backgrounds. I’m glad the second episode has not dropped off in quality compared to the first. Durarara!! continues to be solid in a lot of areas, and even if it’s not always the most outstanding at any of them it usually comes together into a high-value package, no matter what zany direction the story goes. For a weekly watch like Durarara!!, consistency is a very welcome thing.