19 CommentsDurarara / By Scamp /

Durarara episode 3

Up until this episode, Durarara has gotten by through its potential. It’s flaunting its quality but spending most of its time introducing characters and revealing this mad world of Ikebukero to you in bit and pieces. But it hadn’t been truly enjoyable, at least to the extent that it was promising us. With episode 3 we finally see the change from potentially awesome to truly awesome. Normally I’d try to demonstrate why this episode was so amazing with one screencap but it appears that all the awesomeness never managed to appear at the same time. So I’m afraid you’ll just have to click that ‘read more’ button. Oh poor you~

So why was this episode so awesome. I hate to be the guy who constantly compares this to Baccano, but it used the same tactics that made Baccano so enjoyable. You had a bunch of total psycho wacko characters interacting and fighting. One thing that’s different between the two is Mikado. The idea of having a normal guy as the main character in a show full other nutters would be frustrating but it’s been hugely entertaining to see his reactions to everything. Baccano never had the ‘straight man’ character. I originally thought that Mikado would just be a bystander in all this chaos but it appears he might have something to do with the overall story. Is there any other way to explain why Izaya (phone-stomping guy, in case you forgot the names. I certainly do) looked at him when saying ‘I was searching for someone’.

Argh, if I was to try go through this episode in my usual way I’d end up typing a string of endless praises and desperately trying to think of synonyms for ‘awesome’. Instead, I’m going to go through this by how awesome each character was. Number 1: Masaomi

It’s easy to forget, what with that fight in the second half of the episode, that he even did anything in the episode. The guy’s a nutter, like practically every other character in this show. His enthusiasm is infectious but he manages to toe the line that most hyperactive characters in that he never gets on your nerves. With other hyper characters like Tomo from Azumanga Daoih, their hyperactive nature stops being infectious and just gets annoying. What makes Masaomi different from the rest is he’s clearly not an idiot. He spotted the worried look on Mikado’s face and interpreted it correctly, albeit with his usual added flowers and fabulousness. Plus, it was a bit of a shock to see him act so reserved around Izaya. Even if we hadn’t seen him semi-convince a girl to commit suicide you’d still know there was something seriously dangerous about this guy.

Last episode I wasn’t quite convinced by Izaya. He was more of those all-knowing villains he plod around and spout monologues on how there is no good or evil and so on and so forth. That’s why I loved watching the guy getting clobbered by the bin. It took the guy down several rungs and it showed that he’s not quite the invincible the last episode portrayed him as. Yep, his best scene of the episode was not the epic phone stamping laugh (which, btw, is absolutely hilarious to listen to fast-forwarded), nor was it his instant scalping technique. His best scene was being flattened by a projectile bin.

But the real star of the show, the guy who stole the episode even though he only appeared for about 5 minutes, was Shizuo. Described rather accurately as violence in human form, what makes him different from the other bunch of nutters both in this show and Baccano is that there’s nothing in the way of flair in his actions. While there’s an odd beauty to Izaya pirouetting around random thugs, brandishing his flick knife, Shizuo is unrefined. In that scene where he systematically flattens that gang of fake dollars, he knocks out one of the guys with a sort of lazy headbutt. This actually makes his trendy bartender clothes all the more ironic. Heck, want something even more ironic? Nicked this off a random forum:

‘Shizuo’ = ‘quiet man’
‘Heiwajima’ = ‘peaceful island’

Let’s not forget our narrator for the episode. Simon (thank you Gurren Lagann. Now I will always pronounce it as ‘sih-monn’ instead of ‘sigh-mun’ in my mind) was hilarious to watch, with his amazing advertising. Why, doesn’t the urge to go eat sushi just skyrocket when a giant black Russian tells you that you won’t die from it. Shinmaru theorized that the guy would eventually show eventually show off some sort of phenomenal power and be yet another psycho in a show already packed full of them. I was of the opinion that he would be more of a gentle giant type character. What we got was a hybrid of the two. While he only jumps into fights to stop them, anyone who can take a punch from Shizuo and keep his clothes on is worthy of respect.

And that’s just those characters, there was just so much packed into this episode that I loved. Did anyone else notice that thug doing some sort of pocket masturbation behind those girls? I know gang members quite often walk around with the hand cupping their groinal regions but his hand was moving far too vigorously for it to be anything else. That might explain why the guy’s trousers were a bit wet afterwards. It had nothing to do with being scared of Izuya. He had just…ok, I’m going to stop that train of thought before I go too far.

From left to right: Durarara; Cencoroll; Not entirely sure, could be Kuroshitsuji or Baccano again;this time with Maiza and Csez. don’t know; don’t know; Hell Girl. They even tossed a Yozakura Quartet book in later for the hell of things.

OK, theorizing time! Props to Extrange for pointing this out to me; in the opening just at the end we see a head in a jar. Does that belong to our favourite headless horsewomen? Does it look that similar to the head of the girl with the scar on her neck? There hasn’t been any talk of the whereabouts of Celty’s head thus far so it’s kinda hard to theorize something that hasn’t been alluded to in the show itself. Just for a quick comparison, does the head look any similar to that girls?

Hmm, it’s kinda difficult to tell but there’s nothing blatantly obvious to say they are different. Same hair colour, same length. Ah who cares, let’s just now bask in what was a glorious piece of madness. Brains Base, you’ve done it again. I swear, if wasn’t for Akikan, I’d say they were one of the most consistently awesome studios. With an awful lot of people touting Shaft as the great new studio, I’m sticking my neck out for Brains Base. Let us just compare the two for a second. This season, Brains Base released Durarara. Shaft have gone with that travesty that is Vampire Bund. Brains Base > Shaft.

I couldn’t find a place to put this picture in so far so I thought I’d toss it in at the end. Crowning Moment of Random?

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18 Comments

  1. Posted January 22, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    You make a compelling argument.

    I think making character designs contrary to personality somehow is a secret vice of designers.

  2. Posted January 22, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Well, I didn’t think Simon would be a “psycho”, but yeah, I’m glad to see he can kick as much ass as anyone in the series. I like the hybrid ass kicker/gentle giant type — he’s a good guy for the most part, but when he needs to throw down, he’s not afraid to step up to the plate.

    That’s another point for the “Mika has Celty’s head” theory. I can’t believe how much I am glossing over in the OP, haha.

    Brains Base is definitely one of the better studios going right now: Durarara!!, Baccano!, both seasons of Natsume Yuujinchou, both seasons of Spice and Wolf, Kurenai, and I’ve heard good things about Kamichu! as well. Pretty impressive lineup.

  3. Taka
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I was so ready for Shizuo to be a baddass and do something almost as awesome as Ladd in Baccano. I laughed out loud when he punched the guy out of his clothes. It’s not happy dance in blood but it’s a nice start.

    Also pretty sure the 2nd to last don’t know is Lua and Ladd which makes for 3 potential Baccano references on the sign.

  4. Rodienne
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    For reasons I can no longer remember, I just assumed Izaya was looking for Selty…But I do like the idea that Mikado is more than just a spectator and that Izaya needed him for something.

    Quiet man, peaceful island. Oh, the irony. It just makes him even more awesome. I’m having a hard time deciding whether I prefer Izaya or Shizuo. Of course, neither are as cool as Simon; I’d totally try the weird Russian sushi.

  5. luffyluffy
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Izaya and Shizuo are the new Ladd and Rail Tracer

    In that order. But FUCK YEAH SHIZUO!

  6. Posted January 23, 2010 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    The first half was pretty boring, but the second half was exactly what I expected to see from the beginning. Just pure over the top entertainment. I laughed my ass off when Shizuo punched that dude out of his clothes. And Daisuke Ono kicks ass, loved the “Izaya” taunt.

  7. Bob (Joojoobees)
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Regarding hints in the OP: I recently re-watched the OP to Baccano and was impressed by how revealing it was (e.g. Dallas in water).

  8. Posted January 23, 2010 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    ‘Shizuo’ = ‘quiet man’
    ’Hei­wajima’ = ‘peace­ful island’

    Bwahahahaha xD That’s awesome . . .didn’t know that. How ironic~

  9. Poro
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    Mika is the head! Scamp is the prophet sent from Haruhi! Trash hit Izaya’s head = awesome

  10. Scamp
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    @moritheil

    It’s the same idea as turning pathetic fallacy on its head. When someone dies, make the sun burst out the clouds.

    @Shinmaru

    Considering I missed that head-in-a-jar even though I’ve watched that opening over 10 times and had to get it pointed out to me, you shouldn’t feel too down.

    BTW, Brains Base didn’t do the first season of Spice and Wolf. That was some nothing studio called Imagin.

    @Taka

    I never realised before how popular Ladd is. My favourite was always the Rail Tracer. However none of the characters from Durarara are carbon copies of Baccano characters, which is a good thing. A big difference between Shizuo and Ladd is Ladd enjoys the slaughter, Shizuo doesn’t seem to have an opinion whether he does or not, he just loses his temper.

    @Rodienne

    I can’t decide which is my favourite either. I wasn’t that convinced by Izaya last episode but his epic phone-stamping laugh has shot him right up the charts. However I think I prefer Shizuo slightly, just for the vending machine throwing.

    @luffyluffy

    Shizuo is the Shiz!

    @RP

    I actually quite liked the first half, but yeah it kinda pales in comparison to the personality clash of the second half

    @Bob (Joojoobees)

    I remember when they announced their plan for Dallas and it instantly copped in my head as to what the opening meant. However the best opening (and closing) for trying to predict the plot still goes to Eden of the East. Even now you could still go over the opening and try to work out what’s going to happen in the movies

    @Sapphire Pyro

    Sometimes trawling forums can unearth some glorious little snacks like that one

    @Poro

    I’d prefer to be a prophet sent by Guu but hey, I’ll take whatever god wants me as their prophet for now~

  11. luffyluffy
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Hmm.. Shizuo reminds me more of Rail Tracer than Ladd, probably because Izaya is more Ladd to me.

    Ether way, they’re still awesome.

  12. Posted January 23, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    This is the one show I’ve really gotten into so far this season. I even liked the slow pace of the first two episodes, contrary to most of the reactions I’ve heard.

    Simon narrating and then entering the events was probably my favorite part, especially the part about how Heiwajima is violence personified. I’m hoping that he will get some more screentime next episode. The OP sequence reminds me a lot of the movie Snatch, and the narration by an off-screen character further made me think of the movie, which is always a good thing.

    Just for more trivia, Heiwajima is an station/area of the Tokyo-Yokohama Bay area, as well as literally meaning ‘peace island’. Thanks Shutokou and Wangan Midnight for teaching me Tokyo-Yokohama highway geography.

  13. Faye9617
    Posted January 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Shizuo is cool, how can he pick up a vending machine just like pick a basket, wow~ Two thumbs up for the battle scene~
    Prettty shock when i see there’s manga on ‘Sunshine Movie’, haha, yozakura quartet~

  14. Scamp
    Posted January 24, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    @luffyluffy

    Oh yes, we can certainly agree on their awesomeness

    @EO

    I did like the first two episodes, it’s just this shows works better when it hits the psycho scenes of these guys duking it out. Actually I’ve seen a fair few people who prefered episode 2 because it was better constructed, which is a fair point but it was nowhere near as fun as this episode was

    @Faye9617

    They do keep tossing in random references in the background. Thankfully, they aren’t jarring in the slightest and take nothing away from those who aren’t as experienced with anime

  15. Posted January 24, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I have no idea why people say SHAFT is so great. If anything, they seem more like a one hit wonder to me, and I’ve never seen the supposed wonder. Maybe I just got into the scene at the wrong point…

  16. Duelit
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Hmm… Shaft has many favorites and they have more publicity, but this season does go to Brains Base for Durarara!! What other works may they be working on in the future with Mr. Ryohgo Narita?

  17. Duelit
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    BTW, how do I change my picture? ^^’

  18. Scamp
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    @Janette

    The only Shaft show I’ve really enjoyed was Bakemonogatari. I’m also starting to wonder whether they are a one-hit wonder

    @Duelit

    Picture is your Gravatar (google it). Your gravatar then shows up on any commenting site on the internet

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  • By Durarara!! – 3 « UNMEI KAIHEN on January 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    […] about with this episode, but this post is bordering on tl;dr already. I’d just like to plug Scamp’s Durarara!! post and mention that with each episode, he has me more convinced that Mika (the girl with the scar […]

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