Durarara!! x2 Shou – 02

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To say ‘too much is going on’ in Durarara!! doesn’t adequately express why it frustrates me, nor is it entirely accurate.

In fact, there are several sequences during Durarara!!’s second episode where the story flows nicely and we experience the new characters, learn their lovely quirks, guess at their inner mysteries, and the story moves forward through their interaction.

So why am I dropping Durarara!! this week?

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Summing it up: Sexy/Psycho Twins Orihara and Kuru Mairu, and Dollars-fan/member Kuronuma Aoba “Wakaba Mark” are the newest additions to Mikado’s school. Each twin is bullied initially but quickly DESTROYS the opposition through brute force or fire. Kuronuma, on the other hand, has his eyes on Mikado, who he’s rightfully identified as a Dollar — a top brass Dollar.

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Kuronuma convinces Mikado to give him a tour of Ikebukuro, Mikado convinces the otaku duo of Erika and Walker to help (because he doesn’t even know it that well) and all is going very well, except a tall and intimidatingly evil American guy sets off Anri-chan’s spidey-senses as he passes her karaoke booth, there’s a zombie fight in a park, the twins find Celty’s money, the tall guy is gravely injured and asks if the twins can take him to the Russian Sushi place, and a million other things happen.

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What irritated the hell out of me: was this episode is half of what I really want Durarara!! to be. The moments with the twins and Aoba were great. The moments with Aoba, Mikado, and then Mikado and the Otakus too.

But the everything else part was a total drag. Shinra’s Dad, forced and awkward backstory explanation, and Shinra being stuck in a sphere continually dragged us away from the new moments and broke any attachment as soon as I was making it.

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However, the biggest issue was Shinra and his inexplicable break through the fourth wall. Not only is Shinra a less interesting character than most, not only should he not know any of the scenes he’s ‘setting up,’ the very fact that he stares into the ‘camera’ and narrates multiple time frames to us is absurd.

It completely rips the viewer out of the experience, which destroys all of Durarara!!’s wonderful world-building.

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Verdict: This is the Fate/stay night of winter season. It has unquestionably stupendous production value, a great world, and many interesting characters, including a zombie.

Sadly, a bloated, shambling corpse wandering around in a confused haze is the most appropriate metaphor I can think of for Durarara!! x2. I used to love it, and I still enjoy the moments where my chainsaw and it’s flesh meet and I get clarity.

But there’s no gleam in its dead eyes. It’s dead and it’s on me to put it down now…

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Hannah’s Take

I don’t have a lot to say that differs greatly from Franklin’s take, but I will say I am going to continue to watch and review the show on my own, despite two episodes that filled me with glee on some points greatly disappointed on others.

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I agree that Shinra and his family simply didn’t deserve as much time as the show dedicated to them, and in both episodes they kind of drag everything down. I was about as mad as Frank that we got so much good content about Izaya’s awesome twins (Kitamura Eri and Hanemoto Kisato are money), who might have stolen the show if Shinra hadn’t already hijacked it with his overly-omniscient narration.

Don’t get me wrong; I actually like the mischievous Shinra. Many of the show’s more tender moments have been between him and his supernatural love interest. But the (over)use of him here doesn’t serve him, it doesn’t serve the show, and it didn’t serve me in quite the way I expected.

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In past episodes, I’ve even enjoyed the slight whiplash one gets by the sudden shifts in time, but in all those cases it was handled more cleverly. It felt more like a forced gimmick this week.

That aside, I will be staying aboard the Durarara!! train to see where it takes us next. Aoba and the twins are a most welcome addition, though the preview indicates the guy they both idolize—Shizuo’s celebrity brother Kasuka—will be next week’s focus.

UPDATE: I re-watched the episode and liked it a lot more, hence my uptick in rating below.

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3 thoughts on “Durarara!! x2 Shou – 02”

  1. I’m quite surprised, not only because this episode was rated lower than I expected, but also because the qualms you seem to have with the episode are what I thought were it’s strong points. Durarara has always been about the story of Ikebukuro with many different overarching stories, not just one. In Shinra’s case, he’s telling the story of what happened to Celty’s money, and the Orihara twins just so happen to be the ones who found it. I think blaming Shinra for “hijacking the show” from the twins is putting the cart before the horse. The twins are new characters who don’t have much of a connection to the main cast especially since Izaya doesn’t care about them. I would say having such a strong introduction to the twins right in the middle of Shinra’s story about Celty’s money (which was kind of the main story since episode 1) only proves Durarara’s great storytelling. Although Celty’s escapades was not necessarily the most interesting part of the first 2 episodes, it serves as a great catalyst for reintroducing Ikebukuro since the events of season 1.

    1. not much to say that wasn’t said in the review already. It’s not just that Shinra takes over the episode, nor that he tells us about story elements instead of letting us see it for ourselves, nor that he breaks the fourth wall, nor that his father was used to force feed an exposition heavy ‘reminder’ of a characters backstory that was totally unnecessary, nor that the twins finding the bill-fold felt like a plot contrivance instead of a natural focal event, nor that many of the scenes that began to ground characters new or old were interrupted or tangented off to chronological shifts… it was all of these things, working in tandem, that made for a deeply unsatisfying experience for myself, Zane and Hannah. We all watched the episode separately and we all came to the conclusion separately, which is incredibly rare for team rabujoi. While that certainly does not prove anything, and in all things there is a degree of personal taste, we all feel that this episode would be highly criticized by everyone, if not for all of our nostalgia and durrrr brand loyalty.

    2. As you say, Durarara is about many different overarching stories told in many different ways. You’re going to like more than others based on personal preference. Some stories you like more/long to see more of; some you don’t like/would rather not have watched at all. Where I think some of Franklin’s frustration is coming from (and why he won’t be reviewing any more) is that there’s no disconnecting the bad from the good when things do go bad.

      You do, however, make a good point, which is that working within the structure of this show we would not have gotten this exposure to the twins at all had Shinra not told the story about Celty’s lost cash. In this case, I was more absorbed with the stories within the story than the overarching story itself. The journey, and not the destination, if you will. That will sometimes, but certainly not always, be the case. There’s plenty of stories (three cours worth, in fact) to tell.

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