「泣き面に蜂」 (Naki Tsura ni Hachi)
“Misfortunes Seldom Come Alone”
*A small note about this show’s episode titles: Durarara!!x2 Shou exclusively uses Japanese idioms as episode titles, and those are somewhat awkward to translate literally. I’m going to stick with the ones the titles subs use, i.e. fairly close English analogues.
Meet Hijiribe Ruri (Fujita Saki), talented makeup artist, famous pop idol, and serial killer. She’s also apparently currently going through puberty. You know that one kid in kindergarten who, instead of wanting to be a firefighter or an astronaut, wants to grow up to be a dinosaur? That’s her (and, er, me) right there. Then when they instead grow into a teenager and have that phase they go on a power trip and start thinking they have mutant powers and whatnot. Monsters aren’t bound by your repressive social conventions! Stick it to the man! Rawr! It’s a large part of why vampire fiction is so popular with adolescent goths everywhere.
So Ruri gets to be a monster, but discovers that being a monster is pretty monstrous. Who’d have thought? Somehow, even with the healing factor and superhuman strength and gravity-defying skills, it’s never worth it. Why isn’t it worth it for Ruri? I’m not really sure. Even with a narrator dumping her backstory onto us, it is still unclear why she has to go around murdering specific people in grisly ways (and Ruri shouldn’t even blame herself for the gore; the average anime character is 95% fluid). Perhaps she’s like Anri and Saika, possessed by some malevolent force with a twisted compulsion to kill. Whatever the case may be, it’s not a big deal for Ikebukuro, where the population is certified crazy. Ruri will fit right in.
Uncovering the identity of Hollywood wasn’t as climatic as I thought it’d be, because nothing much really came out of it. I assume Ruri is just going to go back to killing whomever it was she hadn’t finished killing, and perhaps Egor (Morikawa Toshiyuki), our brand new Russian mummy, will continue chasing him. Their story has intersected with the rest of the cast, but has yet to really involve them yet. All in all, not a lot actually got done this episode. Most of it was actually just talking, either in chunks of exposition or navel gazing. It’s all very relevant information that needs to be communicated, but the extra chatter does slow down the pace of the show noticeably. It must be very hard to make a conversation between Ruri and Kasuka compelling, even when one is straddling the other and threatening to kill him (especially because of how unlikely it is she’d actually do it). Ruri’s an expressive person only in her inner monologue, and Kasuka is missing his frontal lobe, so it’s like watching Spock talking to himself. They both sound so very bored, which somewhat detracts from whatever serious topic they hope to discuss for the audience. Cute couple, but so far zero chemistry.
I was expecting Durarara!! to steadily ramp up the tension, but this week deflated the climb somewhat. To think we’re still we’re three episodes into a second season and we still need exposition. It’s like we have plot bloat; it takes a lot of pushing to get the ball rolling.
The good thing is, with all the angles that Durarara!! works, even if one of them feel a bit slow one week there are always plenty of others to pick up the slack. It’s unlikely we’ll ever get to the point of uninteresting, just bogged down. And this episode was still fine; we’re just in a bit of a setup phase. It’s still entertainment. And the preview for next week makes everyone look a bit evil, and nothing revs up a plot quite like evil. One of Durarara!!‘s strengths is unpredictability, though, so who knows what will happen. Well, we’ll know. But only next week.
For those still following Kantai Collection, I gave it three episodes and wrote a bit of a reaction post on it on my blog, but I’m afraid I wasn’t able to be as positive about it as I would have liked. Still, give it a read if you want, since I’m not covering it here on RandomC.