And so we come to the end of what could have been one of anime’s all time classic series. What we got instead was still one of the best things you’ll see all year, but lacked the consistency. It didn’t lack oomph or the special factor, strangely enough. It had the ingredients to be a classic but didn’t quite mix them well enough to stand amongst the greats. However, can one really complain when an A+ becomes an A-? This was still a fantastic series, but let me get onto this episode first.
This episode serves as to a great highlight as to what this series did well and didn’t do well. The final scene with the Yellow Scarves was awfully dull. Dotachin leaping out with his yellow bandanna, suddenly acting like he was important to the plot all along, was pretty badass but his way of solving this plot line was to beat the crap out of the Yellow Scarves? Really now, that’s the best he could come up with? Then there was the three angsty teenagers all apologising to one another for dragging the plot down these last few episodes. And what does Celty do in all this? Stand in a kung-fu position, totally ignoring the fact she can summon a 10 foot sythe and beat them all by herself. I mean, I get why this works. You shove Horada’s way of taking over the Yellow Scarves’ in his face by using the same method against him, but it wasn’t a particularly interesting way to end the arc. The best part from that whole was the guy in the background performing a crazy double-footed kick.
See! When Kadota was giving one of his speeches, my eyes were transfied to the guy in the background repeatedly hitting someone on the ground with an iron bar. Repeating animation movements make me lol.
This picture might be the best to sum up what was wrong with the last arc. Horada was never a real villain. Izaya said it himself that he had found someone distinctly unfabulous to finish up his game with. The last arc crawled to a finish, Izaya trolling away and the three angsty teenagers being unable to do anything. It was a conflict amonst the smaller characters in the series that was really nothing more than Izaya’s plaything. Horada, Mikado, Kida, Kadota, Anri. They’re all minor players in this big game of Ikebukero.
But bring the bit players back into the picture, directly conflicting with one another, and suddenly Durarara looks like the A+ anime it promised us all it would be. This may sound like blasphemy to some, but if there’s one place Durarara tops Baccano, it’s with the strength of personality of the characters. Izaya, Shizuo and Celty in particular, with maybe Simon lagging a bit behind those three. It comes as no surprise that the show was at it’s best when these characters were in scenes together. The main overlying story of Durarara is a struggle for power in Ikebukero amongst these bigwigs. Well, not a struggle for power I suppose. More like conflicts of personality between those. Each of the arcs in Durarara never dealt directly with these conflicts, which explains why the building up of these arcs was always stronger than the ending to each of them.
Izaya is what really makes this series tick though. Without him there would be no conflict. But without those other bigwigs in Ikebukero there would be nobody to stop him. That’s why this last arc stumbled. Nobody opposed Izaya in a scheme he was much more directly involved in than previous arcs so it became repetitive. Anyone who tried to oppose Izaya would inevitably fail, apart from those very bigwigs I mentioned earlier. Is it a coincidence that the only times Izaya was shown to be momentarily perturbed by events were directly caused by Simon or Shizuo? There was one flash of annoyance at the prospect of him losing his beloved humanity to a ‘stupid sword’ though, which shows that the supernatural still has the ability to throw him off guard.
That is why we need a second season (yes, I think you all knew this was coming). The main conflict of Durarara was not solved. The minor conflicts each character had within themselves were solved. Celty’s relationship with Shinra, Mika Harima’s reveal that she was still herself to Seiji, Shizuo coming to terms with his strength, Anri learning to deal with Saika, Mikado understanding what the Dollars meant, Kida finally facing his past Spike Speigal style, but the main plot point of Izaya never came to a head. His fascination with humans, his complex with Shizuo (I heard the squeals around the world when Simon said that line) and what it was he was really searching for were never truly solved. Simon’s reveal at the end that a lot of what Izaya does is a farce to himself finally shows us that there’s more to Izaya then just being a benevolent sociopath.
Even with all that jabbering over the rest of this post, this still is the last episode and looking back at the series overall, I really will miss it. Yes it could have been better, but what we got was fantastic either way. The gradual reveal of Shizuo until his grand entrance in episode 3 with his ‘IIIIIIIZZZAAAAAAYYYAAAAAA-KUUUUNNN’. Or how about the shortest-lived hobby in phone-stomping history. Then there was bubbling over how moe Celty was, followed by the outrage that she jumped back into Shinra’s arms. Remember constantly looking at the street signs for the latest reference to other anime? I was totally duped into believing that the head on Mika Harima’s shoulders did belong to Celty, which was often mentioned in quick succession with how fucked up the sexual preferences of the Yagiri family was. The awesomeness of Shingen was short-lived. The barrage of yaoi fanart was not, although was made bareable by the glories of genderswapping. The constant theories thrown around as to what the Slasher actually was. And how about the seemingly endless parade of parodies of the Trust Me ending song.
For those of you who followed my blogging of the series, I hope you enjoyed the ride as I spent forver blabbing about how fascinating Izaya is, how moe Celty is, how I helped spawn now the biggest Dollars lookalike site and, by the end, how slow-moving the plot had become. Please do leave a comment if you enjoyed reading. For those who only joined for this episode…well, I hope you at least enjoyed reading this post at least. Goodbye Durarara!!