「日暮れて道遠し」 (Hi Kurete Michi Tooshi)
“The Day Is Short, the Work Is Long”
And so, our subplots collide, with the yakuza finally having their fateful meeting with the Toromaru, which is basically just another front in the the gang war that is brewing in Ikebukuro. It doesn’t really feel like a gang war though, at least not a conventional one. The Dollars are just getting beat up by the biker gang, the Blue Square just want to lash out at whatever, and the yakuza don’t really care for any of them. So it’s just a brawl, and occasionally someone gets hurt by something and nobody is really sure why. More drunken barfight than actual war.
One man conspicuously not in the fray is Shizuo, who’s consistently choosing flight (almost in both senses of the word) over fight. This is probably a good thing, since the yakuza are still nominal good guys in the entire affair, and batting them with a traffic sign will be a bad look (and be poor for his career prospects). Shizuo has been awfully calm as of late, though I suppose that gangsters aren’t usually the kind of people who hit his berserk button. No matter how Izaya wants to trivialise it, I’d still count it as character development for Shizuo. His central conflict, if you recall, is about having power but no control, and he seems to have larger reserve of restraint nowadays. Sure, Shizuo won’t be nearly as fun if he no longer impulsively hurled vending machines, but it’s also a good feeling watching him become a slightly more functional human being. A better balance between the Hulk and Bruce Banner, so to speak. Or at least learning to take it out on tableware instead.
With Shizuo being so evasive it’s hard to tell exactly what part he’d play in the coming chaos other than as a plot stirrer. I’m sure we’ll see more of him, if only because we’ll probably be seeing more of everybody as the plot starts to congeal. The big yakuza boss (Akane’s… dad?), for example, shows his face, and he should be a noteworthy player, but smaller parts are crawling out of the woodwork as well. For example, remember this girl? She’s from all the way back in episode 02 of the first season. Woah. It’s like dredging up an ancient Neanderthal frozen in ice (or, since we’re so Marvel Comics today, Captain America). Look upon our ancestors! Kamichika Rio is a piece of Durarara!! history. I wasn’t expecting her to be relevant ever again, and frankly she wasn’t, but I guess they needed random classmate for the scene and they might as well use a familiar face.
The main point is not the Durarara!! ‘Where Are They Now’ segment, though; it’s supposed to about the cast coming together again. The flow of Durarara!! is like the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The cast, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been (for 30-something episodes). So Celty is back to carting Mikado around again and keeping all of the Russians‘ targets in one, easily-tracked location. Celty is curious influence on Mikado; this time, she’s allowing Mikado to procrastinate on his choice for a while longer, even though the Blue Square have already volunteered him for the job. It certainly doesn’t look like a very good deal for Mikado; not only is he becoming vicariously responsible for an increasingly bigger mess, the Dollars, whose main advantage was being formless, is being forced to take a form. It sure feels like that even though Mikado was seeking more power, he has less of it than ever, being forced to just go with the flow for now. Even if not now, at some point Mikado is going to need to make a strong resolution.
Speaking of being pulled by the flow, next week is going to be about Akane, who is fast becoming the unwitting centre of the storm. The tension has calmed a bit this episode, with some immediate encounters having been temporarily defused or deferred, so it’s good time to slip in a bit more development. I don’t expect things to slow down completely (at least, I hope not, since we’ve been building a good speed these past few episodes), but rather a slight dip before the next crest on our roller coaster. Things may seem big now, but for Durarara!! we can always afford to be a little bigger.