8 CommentsDurarara / By Scamp /

Durarara!! episode 18

I wouldn’t call my numerous paragraphs I’ve written about Izaya ‘fanboying’, and yet I’ve noticed that I spend an awful lot of my posts talking about this guy. I’ll try to keep it to a minimum this time around but I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to hold out.

Kida and the Yellow Scarves. In this picture they look nothing more than a group of kids trying to act tough, and that’s all they really were. It was never really explained why Kida set the group up but they never really needed to. Kida is just a hugely charismatic character who naturally draws people towards him. He also strikes me as the kind of guy who’d get heavily influenced by pop culture, hence I can see why the idea of starting a gang would appeal to him. I’d say he simply underestimated his own charisma and ability to attract members. At heart he had no intention of ever clashing with any rival gangs. I doubt he ever thought that far forward, he was just a kid at the time. There was someone who thought that far forward though…although I did say I’d try not to talk about that person…

Speaking of influenced by pop culture, even the world of the otaku can drive people to violence. I quite like Dotachin’s group in that van. They represent the everyday Ikebukero young adults. They’re heavily influenced by the culture around them and extremely street smart. This episode also cleared up why they were so interested in the idea of the Dollars in the first place. After discovering what the Blue Squares were doing, they’d want to join a group that was more interested in helping society and yet let them do their own thing. Being part of a group without having to wear your colours. For a city that was entrenched in gang warfare, I can see why you’d join Dollars. Be able to walk into Russian Sushi without other tables being worried about your presence. Not having to be worried about a large opposing gang attacking you yet keeping the comfort that your fellow members will look out for you. The thing is, it’s still a gang, even if it is colourless. Which is why someone like Izaya is able to control it…oh dear, there I go again…

Oh Kida, you know nothing good will come from starting up the Yellow Scarves again. Sure, you get to stand in dramatic poses in the lamplight but what on earth makes you think this time will be any different. Do you honestly think not getting anyone over the age of 20 will help your cause? Makes me wonder how old that man was when he was ‘helping’ the Yellow Scarves originally. Well if Shinra was in school with him and Shinra met Celty originally when he was 4 and Durarara started 20 years after that and the Yellow Scarves disbanded 6 months before the anime started, that man was about 23-24 around that time. I suppose it does help Kida keep the group under his control, although in the grand scheme of things that probably isn’t a good idea because I can see Kida letting his emotions get to him. Plus that man has him wrapped around his little finger.

It’s amusing seeing Kida trying to flirt with a girl whose much better at it than he is. Quite the different environment from when he’s around Mikado and Anri.

This episode felt very similar to episode 7 when Shizuo was narrating his past. While each episode of Durarara is narrated, in these episodes the narration felt stronger and more relevant, probably because they themselves knew what was going to happen next. And, like episode 7, the narrators life started to unravel when they met a certain man. Their life, which they had tried to get used to, had fallen into the path of violence under the tutelage of that meddler. Fuck it, I can’t hold back any longer.

It’s not that I particularly like Izaya. He is, as Shinmaru puts so elequantly in his post title, a humongous dick. There are some playful moments around him, best of all being his classic phone-stomping scene in episode 3 and his general jolly attitude to life. But for the most part he’s terrifying and an absolute asshole to people in this series, sending their lives crashing down around them. His grand final plan revolves around sending Celty into a fit of rage by collapsing her trust to those she holds dear to her. How could one possibly like a man who has the intention to ruin the life of our favourite headless moeblob? Yet he stands far and away as my favourite character in the series.

I was going to write a separate post about why I’m so fascinated by Izaya but I think it suits these Durarara posts more to have it in here. I love characters whose shadow hangs over everything that happens in a story, through willpower or influence or general scheming control and effect everything that happens. Nothing can happen in the story without considering how this character effected the events. The Count from Gankutsuou is a great example of this. Nothing happens in that anime without it having been factored into his plans. L from Death Note hangs over every decision Light makes, even after episode 26. The best moments in Berserk come not during the hacking and slashing, but when the sheer power of Griffith’s ambition and dreams overwhelms everyone who comes into contact with the man. Similarly we have Izaya in Durarara, manipulating everything in Ikebukero and factoring every event into his plans. That ShogiGoChess board of his is the perfect metaphor for what he’s doing in this show. At first I thought it was just a gimmick to show how silly and bigheaded a person Izaya is but it’s relevance has only really shown itself in this half of the season.

He lords over everything that happens in this series. Try as you might Kida, but you can’t escape his influence. You’re just another piece on that playing board of his, dancing to his tune.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted May 16, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Haha Izaya really is that type of character. So easy to hate because of his personality but somehow fascinating because of it. And of course how well he can manipulate everyone. … Though I do admit I’d like to see him taken down a few pegs just for kicks.

    You know, Walker genuinely terrified me in this episode. I’ve been reading the manga so I know how scary he and Erika could be when torturing people (they went into a lot more detail on that scene when they were rescuing Kaztano…) but this was a whole new level of creepy. At least I felt a bit better when it turned out that they were rescuing her. Well.

    I must admit I like these flashback episodes but we probably won’t get any more of them. It’s too bad.

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    When he light the board on fire, did anybody else NOT think it was lighter fluid, or was my kind too far in the gutter?

  3. Posted May 17, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    In one of the early episodes, Izaya said he was 23, so you’re right on with the age calculation.

    Izaya is fascinating – and hard to stay away from – because he pretty much controls everyone else. Subsequently, you can’t focus on any one character without having Izaya’s influence on them in the picture. Clever man, he is.

  4. Scamp
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    @Siri

    It’s interesting how the word ‘flashback’ became a dirty word in anime fandom due to their tendancy to slow down the main plot, distracting the focus away from the characters you are meant to care about. Better to see Durarara do so well with them

    @luffyluffy

    Oh dear…I was actually on the same wavelength…which actually makes quite an interesting metaphorical image. Izaya is just having fun by himself mucking up these peoples lives

    …oh dear, what have I become, even analysing that

    @blindability

    That’s exactly it. Nothing happens in the anime without making you think what does Izaya have to do with this and how will he react to this

  5. Duelit
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    This is getting so exciting!! I wonder what Mikado, Anri, and Kida will do when they find out that they are rival gangs. OR, will they unite against Izaya and ruin his plans? I have a feeling Shizu-chan has more influence against Izaya than we think…

  6. Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I think the fascinating thing about Izaya is that he only plays with people who are, in some sense, trying to deceive others or themselves in some way. If you aren’t out there with your dreams or desires, or you don’t try to be someone you’re not, Izaya will leave you alone. He probably wouldn’t even notice you.

    The ShogiGoChess metaphor truly is brilliant. Like you, Scamp, I thought it was just ridiculous and grandiose at first, but it turned out to be the symbol of the greatest conflict of the entire series.

  7. blissfullynaive
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I went to this Japanese durarara chat (ikebukuro-dollars) one time and met someone who hates Izaya for being there without a purpose. I wanted to laugh and tell her stuff, but decided to let her realize it later on.

    Izaya’s quite amusing at the start, but i felt freaked out of him later on and realized he is quite a jerk around everyone. I guess the fangirls like the bad guys. (Awesome post by Shinmaru, btw.)

    Lol at Dotachin’s gang. I like how helpful, albeit violent, they are.

  8. Scamp
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    @Duelit

    Yah people are predicting for Shizuo to screw up Izaya’s plan. I don’t think the three kids have it in them to go against Izaya

    @Jan Suzukawa

    That’s very true. I think he would still try though. He tries to fuck with Shizuo precisely because of that reason.

    @blissfullynaive

    Fangirls always like the badguys, although I do think there’s a barrier somewhere where when the character crosses that line they suddenly become too much for most fangirls to handle the evil. Izaya hasn’t quite crossed that line although he’s getting there

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