Durarara!!x2 Shou – Save Us From the Kind Man

Ah, what a time to be alive, the cour finale for Durarara!!x2 is upon us, and it’d be a bitter-sweet occasion, if not for the fact we have 2 more cours to look forward to, so be joyous and merry, because more Durarara!! is coming soon. This specific write-up began as a post-finale overview for the first of the three cours (To those who don’t know, “cour” in this sense refers to a “Season’s worth of episodes, 3 months’, which is distinct from “Season” for various unimportant reasons) for Durarara!!x2, but as it kept growing longer, I gave in and turned it into an exploration of the themes I found interesting in the show, and how it went about them.

Part 1: The Great Game Begins:

Durarara!! X2 Shou anime review - Orihara Mairu and Kururi are having fun

In life, stories do not come to an end. There’s never a clean break, and there are always more storylines going on in the background, and things are always, not starting, not ending, but ongoing. That’s always been what Durarara!! has been about, and especially the first half of the first season. And yet, while thinking ahead to the cour-finale, as I watched it, and especially with all that’s been going on as the episode continued, I was left with the impression that this is doubly true for this cour .

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be spoilers for the entirety of Durarara!! up to this point.)

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Junketsu no Maria / Maria the Virgin Witch Episode 12 (Finale) – Everyday Salvation: Change

So, love is here! War was stopped, in this one section, but as we learned earlier, war always continues elsewhere, because you merely move the fighters, rather than stop their reason for fighting. So, Michael, Maria, and Joseph, what will happen?

Thoughts and Notes:

1) For Whom?:

Maria the Virgin Witch / Junketsu no Maria anime episode 12 notes - Maria as part of the world

1) Michael is asking Maria if she’s now acting for her own happiness, rather than the world’s. But of course, the state of your surrounding, and those who live around you, also affect your own situation.

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Death Parade Episode 12 (Finale) – Empathy and Sympathy; Dolls and Free Will

Last episode was pretty great. I had quite a bit to say, check out that lengthy post-episode write-up. Mayu made a declaration, that she’d make the decision, she’d sacrifice herself for what she loves, and so long she deems something as meaningful in her life, it all that matters. On the other spectrum we had Chiyuki, who deemed her own life meaningless, and gave us a beautiful ice skating and memory-montage sequence.

And now we need to see how it all shakes down, judging others, understanding them, and the “plot”, which had thankfully not been the focus of the show, leaving the stage for vignettes about humanity.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) The Dolls’ Heart-Strings:

Death Parade anime episode 12 notes -  Nona rises against her kind's lot

1) So, Arbiters don’t have emotions (obviously a lie, though I guess they do lack empathy), so who is pulling Nona’s strings? Is everything done according to some God’s will? Is she defying the will of the one who created her? Not too unlike parents and children, who become their own adults.

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Winter 2015 Anime Overview – Weeks 11-12 (Anime Power Ranking)

The penultimate episodes are upon us, so just before shows finally give us their final episodes, let’s see what we’ve got on our hands. Spoiiler – because I’ve dropped most of the shows I didn’t care for, anything ranged from “average” to “absolutely sublime”, the past two weeks, and especially the last, had been extraordinarily strong. A great finish to a good season. Now just to hope the finales all deliver as well.

The shows covered will be Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Death Parade, Durarara!!x2, Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch), Log Horizon S2, Parasyte: the Maxim (Kiseiju), and Shirobako.

1) Death Parade episodes 10-11:

Death Parade anime episodes 10-11 overview

The last two episodes have been magical. I think they truly worked great as “two episodes”, and were best to talk of them in said manner. Death Parade isn’t always consistent in its pace, but rather than call it “uneven”, it often feels, and certainly did this time around as if it’s a conscious decision, just as one could read an anthology of short stories that don’t all follow the same tone. So it was here, and these two slower episodes felt more thoughtful, more deliberate, and infinitely more intimate.

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Rewatching Neon Genesis Evangelion: An Adaptation of One’s Memories

Neon Genesis Evangelion animeWhen you meet acquaintances or family members you haven’t for a long while, it’s possible you’ll pick things up right from where you left off as if nothing had changed. But what if one of the parties involved “changed”, as far as they are concerned? They might get annoyed or even angry that the other side acts as if they know them, presumes to know them, when they merely know their past self?

What does all of that have to do with Neon Genesis Evangelion? Well, I’ve first watched NGE about 15 years ago, and my last rewatch had been either 8 or 12 years back. I happened to rewatch it during January, and it was quite unlike my experiences rewatching or rereading media in general, which usually subscribe to the first mode of meeting old acquaintances again – you get what you expect, you revisit all those fond memories, and if anything, those feelings are enhanced as you prepare yourself emotionally for these moments’ impact.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be show-experience transforming spoilers.)

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Death Parade Episode 11 – These Broken Shards We Embrace

Time for Onna, or Chiyuki, to get her judgment, eh? Time for Oculus to intervene, or not, and time to find out what Nona’s gambit was all about. We’re nearing the end, and it’s time for us, as well as Decim, to tie up loose ends.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Mayu’s Choice, Ginti’s Predetermination:

Death Parade anime episode 11 - Villain Ginti

That lighting, Ginti is such a villain.

1) So, back to Mayu, it seems. We learn Harada, who would’ve sacrificed Mayu was sent to the Void. We learn of how terrible it is to be in the Void, not the lack of any thoughts, but a terrible sensation, and nothing else. We also learn souls can be taken out, if you send someone else in their place – does it mean you need to send someone who is not supposed to go there, or one who is supposed to go there is fine too? Does a soul come out of the Void whenever a new one goes in, or just when one actively makes a “trade”? And is it up to the soul whether it wants back or not?Anyway, plenty of questions, which are orthogonal to the main issues of the show, but any answer could affect the read of the show’s themes.

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Shirobako Episode 23 – Optimism is the Message

So, the author is unhappy, again, and things are going pear shaped, after Miyamori fought tooth and claw to fix everything, again, so let’s see how they try and fix this mess. Again. It’s a hard life, yo.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) In the Trenches:

Shirobako anime episode 23 - Chazawa's smug grin

1) “Should we ready a recap episode, just in case?” – It’s Gatchaman Crowds all over again ;-)

More importantly, though Nabe-P said they’ll make it, he knows reality, so is readying a recap episode. Gotta prepare for all eventualities…

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