July 4th, 2015.
Just A Normal Day:
Ah, Durarara!!, how much I like you. How I like Ikebukuro, the nature of intertwining storylines, and the sense of something greater that has me wanting to hug the world as a result of watching you. The first cour of the second season had that stuff, especially in the early episodes, with Hijiribe Ruri and Shizuo’s brother, but it was mostly a setup to Ryugamine’s turmoil and dilemma about the nature of power, the nature of control, and his own identity and that of The Dollars – wanting to be one thing, but any attempt to control or avoid control changing things. But the cour ended with him making a choice, of him deciding to take a more active turn in things, turning into a darker Mikado, something perhaps closer to Orihara Izaya, who it’s unclear whether he wants to damn Mikado into being like him, or to save him from it.
The first cour wasn’t perfect, and production fell apart during a couple of episodes, which ended up looking positively slideshow-ish, but it was still Durarara!!, and it still had some of what I really liked about it. This cour seems like it might be likelier to hit the ground running, now that Mikado’s dilemma has been resolved, for now. I wrote an overall post about the first cour here, and I wrote post-episode mini-editorials about all but one episode, which I hope to do again this cour. So, let’s see how things play out, with Mikado, Masaomi, and all the rest whose storylines intertwine with them.
OP – I like the papery filter when the characters are presented, but both the visuals and the song are pretty forgettable.
ED – Energetic, nice, had me tapping my foot, but that’s it. I think this ED might grow on me as time passes by.
Ah, an Orihara Izaya episode. Isn’t he scary? He’s one of the scariest characters I’ve encountered in anime, and perhaps in much of fiction at large. He is a doctor, who has clear sight of his patients’ bodies, but rather than use his knowledge to administer aid, he hits them right where it hurts, his goal is to see them squirm before him. Orihara Izaya is a dark mirror of characters such as Hikigaya Hachiman from OreGairu, but infinitely more perceptive, malignant, and without anyone coming to his aid. You can see clearly why he lacks “friends” from his phone-call to Shinra, but he can’t help it, he must destroy everything he sees that is beautiful, he must cause harm and see how new patterns emerge. Orihara Izaya loves humanity, so he will crush those who waste their potential, he will crush them and cherish the sight of dying dreams. He will push them to the edge and keep on pushing, hoping that they will surprise him, but also loving it when they do not.
Izaya’s victim blaming for the people who purport to wish to commit suicide is beyond cruel, he’s telling them that they will never escape pain, that they do not have the true motivation, that if they wish to die then they may as well disappear in a manner he organizes, and steps on their last wishes, saying that these do not matter when one wishes to die. Izaya is the worst. His words ring true, but that makes it only worse. It’s not that he lacks empathy, but that he uses it as a chisel, cutting away at the strings between these people and those around them, scarring them so they can’t really integrate into society, so they see everything as a lie, and their lives as worthless.
Speaking of lives, following last episode it seemed that everyone is going back to normal, having a quiet day, but we know it’s not the case. The idle wondering about “what do those with abnormal lives going on vacation do, if one’s vacation is about seeking the abnormal?” And it might have seemed that the answer is that to them the “abnormal” is what we consider the normal, but that is not the case. Celty and Shinra attracted vampires and werewolves, while Shizuo attracts people who will try to tick him off and send him into a flying rage (though that is true of almost everyone). What is “normal” for us is normal because that is what we attract to us. On vacation, we’re still ourselves, and so attract the same.
And so is Ikebukuro, as we’ve seen in the background of Varona fighting, as are the gangs, and Ryugamine’s new underlings. The “normal” of Ikebukuro is to cast together the various fates, and to bring things to a boil. Things are “back to normal” in Ikebukuro, but they’ve never been abnormal, for Ikebukuro, meaning nothing is truly quiet, except when it’s a false façade, of the sort Izaya sets up. Ikebukuro and Durarara!! make me love humanity, but as many of us watching anime, what that truly means is that I’m eagerly awaiting the anguish and the chaos, just like Izaya. Ain’t life grand?
This was a really good episode of Durarara!!, as far as I’m concerned.