Durarara!! 24: final roundup
June 26, 2010
And so the final episode of Durarara!! airs. Below the fold, I talk a little bit about the conclusion and the reaction from the ani-blogosphere. With respect to the series as a whole, I enjoyed the ride, and if season two ever does get announced I’ll be standing in line for tickets.
I had planned to approach this post by surveying the reviews of other ani-bloggers, but having read through their reactions, it seems to me that they fall into two categories: Hyper Parfait and everybody else. Sapphire Pyro at HP filed not one, but two reports about how good Durarara!! is, including an overall series post, and one focused solely on the “gorgeous jerkass”, Izaya (now that’s love). Everybody else seems to have been disappointed by the second half of the series, although they often mentioned that the series overall had some great moments. Sample reactions:
- Paper Flower: “Bah, what a waste of 24 episodes of my life.”
- Hanners: “It’s an ending that gave me the odd smile, but hasn’t left me ultimately satisfied (even in terms of animation quality which seemed to take a drop here), and that’s a little tough to swallow after twenty-four episodes.”
- Star Crossed: “Personally, for me it just wasn’t as good as this first half: it lacked energy, and it tried to look a bit too much like Baccano, which it most definitely wasn’t.”
- Cart Driver: “It had the ingredients to be a classic but didn’t quite mix them well enough to stand amongst the greats.”
- Unmei Kaihen: “Overall, I enjoyed Durarara!! even though its final arc and its arc-capping episodes are largely disappointing.”
I think this might be largely the fault of the final arc, whose placement in the anime implies some sort of grand finale, but whose purpose within the novel series (I suspect) was more to flesh out various side characters. I’ll return to that thought in a moment, but to sum up my feelings, Durarara!! deserves every one of its exclamation points. I’ve rarely seen such a varied collection of fascinating characters, and the show managed to surprise me many times by taking things in very unexpected directions. There is no question that I would watch a second season.
Note: what follows is commentary on the season finale and contains spoilers.
I thought this was a pretty good ending, albeit, in perfect Durarara!! fashion, not the one I would have imagined. One interesting aspect of the conclusion is that the main characters are not the ones that take out the bad guys. In this final arc there are three “villains”: the Blue Squares generally, their leader, Horada, specifically, and the puppet master, Izaya. At the start of the episode, Masaomi, Mikado, Anri, and Celty are surrounded by the Blue Squares (who have disguised themselves, and taken over the Yellow Scarves). None of them participate in the ensuing battle. Instead Kyohei Kadota leads a commando force of disguised Dollars members, who beat the Blue Squares severely.
If you were to pick the most pathetic wretch in Ikebukuro, it would have to be Horada. Ostensibly he is the boss behind the Blue Squares, but he has a rather pathetic history of being beaten by just about everybody in this show. Celty scared the hell out of him a while back. Shizuo punched him out a couple episodes ago. Masaomi decked him several times. Hell, even Ryo managed to dump a bunch of boxes on him. In fact the dude is so pathetic that at one point the puppet master questioned whether he shouldn’t have selected someone more interesting for his role. Now its time for some payback and who ends up taking care of him? The traffic cop we haven’t seen for almost 10 episodes.
Of course the true final boss is Izaya Orihara, who has been pulling on everybody’s strings for his own amusement. Anri tries to do something about him, but he slithers out of that situation quite easily. The absolutely most satisfying moment of the episode was Simon putting that huge fist of his to work. I have been a fan of Simon since he dropped out of the sky back in episode three. Unfortunately it wasn’t looking like he would ever get to do anything that cool again. Not only does Simon show Izzy some tough love, he gives him a stern talking to in Russian.
As I said, I don’t think the original purpose of this arc was to resolve anything big in the lives of the main characters. Masaomi Kida was a side kick at best until this arc, and now he seems to have been removed from the recurring cast. The way the various bad guys were shopped around to side characters is indicative of the true purpose, to give some of Durarara‘s wonderful side characters a chance to develop. I’m sure a second season would be able to deliver a much more epic story, and I, for one, hope to see it soon.