First Impression – Durarara Ketsu

Winter16-DrrrKetsuGangs, Heads, and Bartenders.  Just another day in Ikebukuro


Good News Everyone!  We are possibly maybe hopefully near the end of Durarara!  I personally never thought this day would come.  I think it was 2009 and I was about to be shipped off to sleep away camp.  I turned on Toonami one last time and there it was, Ikebukuro in all its supernatural glory!  At that time my anime fandom consisted mostly of Naruto, Bleach and Prince of Tennis.  Now Naruto is done, Bleach sucks, and Prince of Tennis is this bizzare self parody; how time flies!

Take the Crazy Train to Exit 14, then Transfer to the Crazy Subway…

Durarara2016-01-11-00h53m27s120The most cathartic moment in the show for ages

Fortunately for all the viewers who are either completely lost or simply suffering from Ensemble Cast Bloat, D to the RA Cubed’s season premier is all about establishing what will come next with more focus on re-examining everything that has happened than moving things forward.  Unfortunately, the sheer ridiculously large number of connecting threads in this show is threatening to reach points of “if you don’t have the Wiki open you’ll never know what’s happening.”  Do you guys know who the bald guy is who tasers Sloan?  Cause I totally forgot.  Or how about the fact that Aoba’s brother is not only part of the Izaya evil club but he is also in the pocket of the local Yakuza clan?  And I’m pretty sure Aoba has the hots for at least one of the Orihara twins (though if he plays his cards right there might be a “lost episode) but I forgot which one.  And I haven’t been able to remember who everyone is in the chat room for some time now.

Sorry, but I needed to get a few complaints off my chest.  It all just kinda burst out.  Going back to the ensemble cast bit, the series greatest strengths are also present in ways in this episode.   I never imagined Walker and Shingen would ever have a reason to interact with each other, but the man stuck in a world of fantasy and a crazy scientist from a world of fantasy seem to mix well.  ALMOST everyone in Durarara has such a strong personality (more on this in a bit) that sticking any combination in a room works to the shows advantage.  I can’t explain why I am so happy to see the cop who never leaves Celty alone confront Shizuo, but something about a meet up you didn’t expect just makes me happy.   For me that is the best part of Durarara.  It isn’t the confusing plot involving a head, or the conflicts of boys trying to reach a world beyond themselves.  It is seeing all these characters confined to a single setting, and having no choice but to interact in ways that aren’t always for the best; for them or in some cases mankind.

Durarara2016-01-11-00h54m02s321All but 2.5 of these characters liven up any scene they are in

Full disclosure, I don’t think I completely understand the plot of what is going on in this show anymore.  I think Durarara really suffers from the split cour phenomenon.  Part of that stems from the season break not really ending on a definite note.  For instance, Aldnoah Zero ended with the assumed death of main characters and the end of a huge battle.  Durarara ends with (let me rewatch that episode for “research”) Mikado confirming he lost track of reality a while ago and Izaya unmasking the real ultimate final boss character.  Except this is Durarara.  I can bet at least three surprising twists involving Kasane Kujiragi (the lady with the bow in her hair) will occur before the ultimate (anti)climax of the series occurs.  Personally, I think Durarara is a show best binged, that way you don’t even have a chance to forget everyone’s ten layered dip of a plan.

I feel like discussing Durarara isn’t well served by bringing up every little plot point.  Sure I could talk about the kid introduced to Mikado’s secret Blue Square cabal and how that character is obviously bad news.  BUT, I don’t really care.  You see, the world of Durarara is divided into two categories of characters: manipulators and actors.  Except those character lines blur like hell but stick with me for now.  Poster child for actors is Shizuo.  He is the center stage for so many character and story arcs.  But it isn’t Shizuo who is moving to change the fate of Ikebukuro.  Someone like Mikado dreams of becoming a manipulator, someone who can move the Dollars according to his will.


And then there is this Glorious Bastard.  Izaya, the man who loves his potential murderer just as much as the people he tricks into committing suicide.  The episode where Izaya is tied to a chair as we are stuck wondering “no way, he can’t be dumb enough to get caught be these mooks” might be my favorite of the series.  I could go on with characters like Mika who apparently has wiretapped the entire city to Kida who I swear has done almost nothing for the bast 24 episodes.  That would be getting away from the point I didn’t yet make, which is that to break through the overly complex web of Durarara, you have to go character by character.  BUT, you also have to know which characters you don’t even have to pay attention to cause I don’t have that much free time.  I don’t have to think about what Shizuo is gonna do next, I understand his character well enough to just enjoy him when he gets his screen time.  I do have to worry about Mikado because the kid is probably gonna enter a gang war willingly and a supernatural war without even realizing it.  But that is why I love coming back to Durarara despite the many faults I find in the show.  I want to see the planners intersect with various actors, see what bizarre ways the plot lines intersect.  By my count there are no less than 10 factions moving all throughout Ikebukuro.  And don’t get me started on the bleed over between factions (like Egor who works for Shingen but is also one of Anri’s Saika kids.)  But I have almost never been able to predict the details of what is to come, only the broadest of strokes.  And that makes me very pleased because, just like Russel Crowe in a Beautiful Mind, I too have a wall in my house devoted to piecing out the mystery of Durarara.  It’s next to my “Is all of Leji Matsumoto’s work in one shared universe?” wall and my “Kazuo Koike: Man or Myth?” whiteboard.

Durarara2016-01-11-00h52m40s739I told you to delete those photos!


So all in all, I am glad Durarara is back in my life.  I will continue to knock the show, but it is a testament to the shows quality that I stick with it despite the weaknesses.  A lesser show would have been dropped ages ago.  I want to believe that life in Ikebukuro is one where all of these wackos can coexist.  That has always been an important theme for me.  The very first season ended with the most cartoonish of goons being run out of town, and everyone else begrudgingly sharing their town.   I won’t go into my expectations for the show much more (you can probably see where I’m going with this) but I want to end on the most important thought of all: if Metanorn was turned into a secret organization just like the Dollars, how long would it take before someone starts purging the rest of us?  I think that sounds AWESOME.


As someone of questionable tastes and even more questionable ethics; if we laugh at the same things you are one of two things: A person of discerning taste or a weirdo. Guess where I fall.
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2 Responses to “First Impression – Durarara Ketsu”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    What an undisputedly chaotic return to the Durarara!! universe. Any other way would’ve probably sucked. Since this is the final cour, it’s best to savor it as much as possible.

    As usual, we get character centered disjointed pieces spread about that will come together in spectacular fashion. In anticipation, I’m waiting to see how the scenario ends between Mikado and Masaomi, how Aoba gets dealt with, what fate befalls Izaya, if Celty gets her head back and a whole number of other things on the list.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    if Metanorn was turned into a secret organization just like the Dollars, how long would it take before someone starts purging the rest of us? I think that sounds AWESOME.

    If that came to pass, I doubt it would take long. And if it did, those getting purged would likely be imprisoned in the Metanorn Dungeon, screaming.

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