「人の踊るときは踊れ」 (Hito no Odoru Toki wa Odore)
“When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do”
After all these episodes introducing characters and setting up various subplots, it’s time to just have a good old fashioned brawl. Because, sure, we can talk a lot about how Ruri is superhuman and Egor is a dangerous ex-KGB assassin (with a cool hat), but at some point we really need to see them kick some arse. In a series that lives and dies by cool character, Durarara!! does need scenes now and again that makes the audience sit up and say ‘hey, these guys are cool!’. It’s almost a redemptive moment, after the two of them were so offhandedly swatted away by Shizuo in episode 02. It’s not their fault really; Shizuo is just too overpowered to be fought conventionally. It’s why he’s not really allowed to really take part in fun fracases like the one this episode, just play unintentional cleanup. Shizuo makes fights end. He’s the full stop in the great run-on sentence that is Durarara!!.
Funnily enough, Shizuo’s only number two on Celty’s list of ‘People You Don’t Want to Cross in Ikebukuro’, behind motorcycle cops (who are probably themselves secretly behind aliens). And it’s notable that none of these scary forces are really required to do much in this first story arc of x2 Shou. After all, they’re really still just beating on thugs, the kind of scum that even Kadota, interior designer, can clean up. That’s pretty low level stuff, which may be why that even though this episode technically resolves our first story arc and gets Celty her money back (after far too much work), it still feels like a warm-up match. Without Izaya’s shenanigans there is no ‘last boss’ to be defeated. Everyone’s just cleaning up trash mobs and having a good time.
Speaking of Izaya, I was hoping he’d be more benign these days, but unfortunately he still hasn’t given up his evil ways and his penchant for monologues. He’s just taking a break. Once more we’re reminded of what a misanthrope this man is. Izaya is the kind of person who can’t stand watching other people just be happy, even as he himself has no friends and no one to eat hot-pot with. You can spot a hopeless sociopath in anime when even his own kin can’t put up with him. Well, Izaya may not have friends, but he does have a business rival now in Aoba. It’s hard to tell right now if Aoba is immoral or amoral, an Iago or a Puck, but he certainly doesn’t seem to be a good guy. If he manages to annoy Izaya then I’d probably be happy. Enemy of my enemy and all that.
So our new characters have settled into their respective places, and pretty much the entire cast has been pulled together, even Seiji and Mika, who I was not expecting to have any significant part to play in anything in the immediate future. I was wondering whether it’s alright to have Mika and Celty in the same room, though. On that note, I couldn’t spot Mika’s neck scar anymore, though I don’t know if that’s because of a loss of artistic detail or something else.
For potential sources of future conflict, there’s actually a lot in the works. There’s always Izaya and his new high-school version Aoba, and being Anri is still suffering (more uncontrollable suffering as of late), but there’s also that Yodogiri guy, Ruri’s former boss, who has managed to piss off all the mobs. What did he do, and how did he drive Ruri to murder? No idea. It’s evident, though, that this first arc of Durarara!!x2 Shou is just the tip of the Pascal’s triangle of chaos that awaits us. So many plot hooks! Never a dull moment in Ikebukuro.