March 7th, 2015.
Preying on Expectations:
Ryugamine’s trapped, between his obligation, and his desire for adventure, for excitement. The monsters are about, hunting other monsters. And Ikebukuro is on the verge of war. Izaya is having fun. We’re having fun. It’s all good. Or is Izaya having fun? Are things going as planned? Are things going as desired? Let’s see.
So, did you get it? Mikado didn’t smile, he grimaced. Mikado is feeling sick to his stomach. Not sick with Aoba, or with the Dollars, but sick with himself. Sick with responsibility. Sick of the harm coming from not listening to Masaomi? It feels he’s sick due to the interaction between the Dollars and himself, the sense of responsibility he has for it, yet his inability to affect it, to direct it, without betraying what the Dollars stand for. He’s in a bind. He’s not “sick with” anything, per se, but he feels trapped, and that makes him feel sick. The nervous shakes?
Or perhaps he did feel excitement. He knew Aoba’s words to be true, and thus his sickness, with himself. Also in part due to knowing he used, and might use again, the Dollars, and his friends, in order to feel this endless void of his that yearns for excitement.
Regardless, Aoba keeps pushing Mikado into the corner. Away from Sonohara. Away from the Dollars. Away from peace. He pushes, because he wants Mikado to snap. No matter in which direction he snaps, it will be an interesting one. And thus Aoba is like Izaya, like an author, and like us viewers, where it doesn’t matter in which direction things go, so long as they go, and that they make sense.
And the nature of the Dollars, or people not seeing what they’re expecting is truly the theme of this episode. The yakuza leader who expects Shizuo to merely beat people up against rails, or cars, rather than use them as objects to be tossed around in his rampages. Varona who expects Celty to be a monster who is observing others, waiting to pounce on them, rather than seeing she’s antsy and wishes to help.
And so we’re back to the Dollars. A person tends to think everyone’s like them, and what they’d find offensive, so will others, and what they will not find offensive, others will not be offended by either. Empathy in part is learning this is not always the case. Gang members looking for fights aren’t people you’d go for expecting empathy from, right? So they expect the Dollars to be a gang, and the leader to be someone who will use anyone and everyone, be they kids, or old women, to get information for him, to risk themselves for him. No dignity, unlike their lady-killer leader. And so they urge themselves for the good fight, on moral grounds.
Taking a brief aside, Varona suspects there’s greater design here, one that pits all of her targets into the same place, she thinks she’s being played. While she might be played, by Izaya, and she’s certainly “played” by the author, that is the nature of Ikebukuro. Makes you wonder if Ikebukuro is merely a metaphor, or a microcosm for life, all of our lives, or if there’s truly something behind the scenes, bringing about the war Izaya wishes for.
Coming back to Izaya, he’s exactly the person who will manipulate absolutely everyone to get his goals achieved. He’s the one who manipulated a young child to assault Heiwajima Shizuo. Likewise, Aoba, who’s similar to Izaya, will use Sonohara, manipulate Ryugamine, and bring about harm to innocent Dollars’ members, just to further his own interest.
And again, speaking of Izaya, he isn’t doing much, he even said so. He manipulated people into doing the dirty job of manipulating others, by the mere fact that he exists, and that he knows hatred of him, jealousy of him, will move others to act, and create chaos.