Last week we got a glimpse of what Namie might do with her opportunity to stalk Seiji. This week we get the full story in all its absurdly wonderful glory.
Since the absurd love-triangle between Namie, Seiji and Mika was the first thing about Durarara!! that I truly fell in love with, it was a joy to return to that storyline. The person I least expected to see develop, however, was Mika, and I mean more than just her athleticism. I knew she was crafty, but did anyone expect her to be able to summarise the entire show so far in just a few minutes? I’m liking the feeling that multiple characters are rising to challenge Izaya’s monopoly on power in Ikebukero, perhaps representing Izaya’s overall decline more than individuals vying to take his throne. First Mikado seems like he’s rising in prominence, becoming more in control of the Dollars (notice how his OP colour is now grey – colourless, like the Dollars – when it had always been blue before), and now Mika suddenly seems as being more clued-up than our resident puppet-master. As Izaya’s someone who’s always rubbed his greater knowledge and connections into our faces, it was downright awesome to see Mika shock Namie with the information she’d gathered. Izaya may love people, but Mika unconditionally loves Seiji, and both gather information for their respective purposes. Will their similarities lead to direct conflict between them? Izaya does have the head, after all.
As for the psycopathic cat-fight, Namie comes across as the weaker of the two, since Seiji can pacify her with a single kiss, and I feel like this stems from their similarities and differences as lovers. Mika’s obsession is a desire – a ‘dream’, to use the title – being fulfilled, while Namie’s is a boundless ambition from which she will accept any satisfaction in the moment, though it will likely add to her craving for him in the future. While Namie comes out stronger – as any unfulfilled dream should be – it’s right that Mika can stop her by demonstrating her superiority, as Namie’s dream relies on an understanding of Mika that, as she noted, kept reforming over the episode, making that ambition unstable. It was also good to see how Mika became overconfident, falling foul to Namie’s drug by assuming she’d won, since being in a stable position with her boyfriend – regardless of abnormality – would also lead to her potentially getting complacent and letting some of her guard down. Though arguably abominable, the dynamic between this trio still clings onto the values of normal couples, and I think that’s what i love about it most. The show remains down-to-earth even when its characters are as crazy as hell, opening up ways of seeing extremes of personality enlarged, as though under a microscope, for us to examine.
It’s worth noting how clever Durarara!! is in reminding us that the cast are all interlinked; there are no isolated events in Ikebukero. Namie is the second person to interrupt Shinra’s vacation (and wow, that really was a werewolf!), while her quest for Seiji ended up also involving Izaya’s sisters and Sonohara. Seiji and Mika also bumped into Mikado and Verona in turn, giving us a subtle update on each of their positions at this point in time. Seeing Shizuo headed to Russia Sushi also makes me wonder what his interactions with Verona will be like if they meet; Durarara!! not only places its cliffhangers at the end, but in the middle of an episode as well, and they’re great to return to in hindsight to ignite more excitement for next week’s chaos.
The directing in this episode was also superb. The breaking of Namie’s cup over the issue of honorifics made something which could have appeared trivial much more personal, emphasising how much she valued the idea of being that close to him herself. A couple of symbols of domesticity were present in her path towards Seiji – turning the oven off and breaking the cup – which for me helps present the way she puts aside her ordinary life to seek out her love, which contrasts to how Seiji and Mika in fact have an ordinary life together. Moreover, having Seiji enter the fight at the last second also unexpected; the duration of the conflict between the girls made me forget what he might be doing, and it’s curious to think about how this effect on the viewer impacts the love of the girls. In fighting for Seiji, will they not both become further and further away from him? On a less important note, seeing Shizuo’s brother go all-out on screen over at Shinra’s was the kind of random touch that I love seeing Durarara!! use to make a simple conversation that bit more interesting to watch. It also helped me to avoid forgetting his role in all of this, which may emerge more in the next few episodes.
What other old plotlines and character dynamics will Durarara!!x2’s second cour resurrect? After last week’s introductory start, this episode has got me hyped for the next few months of chaos. Shou felt slow at times, but it looks like Ten may offer much quicker and punchier developments.
What is Verona doing at Russia Sushi? What are Mikado’s plans going forward with his new Blue Square army? And why does the next episode preview only focus on Mizuki? It would be thrilling to see more sides to his character, and even more so if many of Durarara!!’s other interesting plots continue to develop in the background.
And who knows, maybe we’ll see even more shots of Cetly and Shinra’s wacky werewolf encounter!