Durarara!! – 02
Yeah definitely think this has the potential to be my favourite of the season – Durarara!! has got a veritable tonne of potential.
First off I really liked the way the last episode recap was in the middle of the OP – unusual place to put it, but makes it a bit more interesting having the OP music still running under the recap and then resuming the OP animation.
This week the focus shifts to the girl who got kidnapped in the previous episode – Kamichika Rio, who it turns out is in Masaomi’s class. Quite a lot of the stuff in this episode was covered in the first episode but seen from a different perspective. I figure this will be a key feature throughout this series since it has such a large cast. It’s really interesting to see how the same events differ when seen from another angle.
So Rio it seems has family problems – she discovers that her father is having an affair and is understandably upset. Rio turns to an online chatroom for support and finds a sympathetic ear in a user called ‘Nakura’.
Rio leaves evidence of her fathers affair for her mother to find, but nothing visibly changes in her parents attitudes. Confused she gets further drawn into depression and eventually arranges to meet ‘Nakura’ off-line as part of a suicide pact.
The events of the previous episode then transpire with Rio being drugged and bundled into a van…….while a suspicious youth watches from the shadows and makes a phone call.
We then get cut to our mysterious headless motorcyclist woman and her scientist handler (yay Jun Fukuyama!) as she leaves the Bat Cave some apartment complex and hits the road! Randomly the bike seems to make horse noises – I didn’t notice that last week, how very random.
So Selty (as the titles call our Headless Rider), heads off to deal with Rio’s kidnappers as shown last episode and then takes Rio to the one who arranged her rescue. Selty doesn’t talk (well she does lack a head) so communicates through text on a mobile phone, but she does seem to have a personality.
So Rio meets the mysterious youth who arranged for her rescue, who introduces himself as the real Nakura…….and who also proclaims to have been the one who arranged her kidnapping in the 1st place; solely to see what her face would look like when he revealed this to her. Yeah the fella has issues – however this Nakura fella was really interesting to watch! Dancing about the rooftop talking up a storm, confusing and disturbing the heck out of Rio – Hiroshi Kamiya is clearly having a ball voicing him.
‘Nakura’ eventually leads Rio to the edge of the rooftop and shows her a bloodstain left by a previous suicide victim…..and nearly pushes the girl off the edge.
After waxing lyrical about his interest in humans and the ecology of emotions ‘Nakura’ departs professing to be uninterested in Rio now she has proven to be so predictable and afraid of dying. So just to spite him it seems, Rio jumps afterall……..but she’s saved by Selty who demonstrates her power over shadows again – which was pretty interesting to see. Really want to know how she does that.
When Rio questions Selty about why she saved her, Selty tells her through text that the world isn’t as cruel as Rio seems to think. It was refreshing to see Rio take that to heart, as when we get back to the present she seems much happier and well-adjusted – no more teenage angst. ‘Nakura’ (who we discover is actually called Izaya Orihara) also questions Selty’s actions saying she should stick to being the perfect courier. I am glad that Selty seems to have a mind of her own, it would be boring if she was just a doll to be controlled.
With that it seems like Rio’s story is done with – I do wonder if she will play any role in the future, or if she will only be seen in the background. Her story mostly seemed to be used to further cement the world, introduce Orihara and give an idea as to what Selty’s role is…..all of which was amazingly well done in only one and a bit episodes.
Next week the focus looks to shift back to Mikado, Masaomi and their new classmates – wonder how they’ll all fit into the grand narrative?
Final thoughts: This was a fantastic 2nd episode, the direction and writing is so solid! I loved Miyuki Sawashiro‘s running narration – the pace was just right and made things much clearer than if they had of relied on dialogue alone.
I’m still really impressed with the backgrounds in this show – the city really feels like a city, and there are nice details like cars passing in the background and lots of people in the streets (even if they are gray). The soundtrack is also fantastic, it really enhances the atmosphere.
Very much looking forward to the rest of this series – seems like it could be a winner.