「この親にしてこの子あり」 (Kono Oya ni Shite Kono Ko Ari)
“With this Parent, Exists this Child”
Un-pleasantries first: health of the animation deteriorated this week, with symptoms progressing to a lot of panning to disguise a general lack of movement. If we were trying to be positive about it, we can say that we didn’t really need all that much movement, as this episode was mostly exposition. In particular, it features Akane‘s backstory, which gives us a glimpse into the life of a yakuza princess.
Let it go, Akane
I’m sure little girls dream of princesses all the time (thanks, Disney), but it must be a bit of a shock to suddenly find out that you’re the daughter of the mafia. It must be what being told Santa isn’t real feels like. You just can’t keep anything from children these days, in an age where they can so easily google any manner of compromising information. I mean, just reading the Wikipedia page on Christmas is enough to shatter all of your child’s holiday fantasies.
If anything, Akane’s story is a warning about the dangers of the internet. Because Izaya is on the internet. Even if he wasn’t, a little girl meeting up alone with some woman she met online while looking up how to run away home is a tragic police report waiting to happen. Don’t kids learn about stranger danger in Japan? And I didn’t think the heir of a yakuza lineage would be allowed to run around so freely without anyone knowing what she’s getting herself up to. Even civilian parents have better oversight than that. It’s plain poor parenting. Frankly, if Mr and Mrs Awakuzu had sat down with their daughter and had a good talk about where her presents were coming from, none of this would have happened. It really isn’t that bad, Akane. If you can’t be the princess of a fairytale Scandinavian country then a crime syndicate is almost just as good.
The other 15 minutes
Unfortunately, Akane’s backstory was probably the more interesting half of the episode, because the rest of the episode has gone back to being rather slow. There is a noticeable lull in the tension, with little going on except for people moving locations and talking to their phones. I thought that the plot had finally reached a point of constant acceleration, but apparently we still need another transitional episode to build up something big again. I guess things are always going to feel slow when we have to wait for Masaomi to do something. I was hoping that he’d managed to find his resolve at the end of the first series, but apparently he wouldn’t have characterisation anymore if they removed his self-doubt so we’re sticking with that. It’ll be a bit frustrating if he hasn’t had any growth at all since the original Durarara!!, so I’m hoping that he’ll manage to muster some sort of positive action before we’re done.
It’ll also be a bit frustrating if Durarara!! from now is not a straight dash to the end of the season. Surely, we’ve got enough set up to have a significant showdown. Even Ruri‘s going to get dragged back into the plot—the yakuza wants her, Izaya wants her, and it’s high time she made an appearance again. The stakes are rising with talk of kidnapping a young girl (I’m sure Chikage’s going to love that), and Mikado is also on schedule to do something crazy again to impress Va/orona. I hope he manages to get to it in the next few episodes. I know we have more Durarara!! lined up later this year, but a cliffhanger will just annoy me needlessly.