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Durarara!! – 19

May 22, 2010

Would you trust this man!?

So this episode sees Mr Traffic-cop, Kinnosuke Kuzuhara, take the narrators chair; but this episode is not about him – he only appears briefly in a flashback.  Rather the focus is given over completely to set up for the finale, as we watch the fruits of Izaya’s labours start to ripen.

I like the way Drrr!! shows us something and then backtracks to reveal how we got to that point.  This episode was mainly focused on showing how Anri got to the point where she discovers that Masaomi is the General of the Yellow Scarves at the end of ep18.  Essentially what it boils down to is that Anri is much more observant than I gave her credit for – she notices changes in Masaomi’s behaviour and decides to get to the bottom of it.  We see the first indication of how Anri can use her Saika children this week – she can broadcast to them asking for information and issuing orders.  Since some of her Children were Yellow Scarves members it was pretty easy for Anri to get them to tell her who the leader was and take her to the hideout, where she sees with her own eyes the fact Masaomi is in charge.

It’s also interesting to see Anri and Celty becoming so close – Celty has pretty much taken Anri under her wing, and the narration says that Anri feels that Celty is the only one she can really turn to since they’re both ‘monsters’.  These two women seem to be mirrors of each other, so I can see why they are attracted to each other – Celty may be a headless Irish fairy, but she exhibits a lot of very human (and moe) behaviour;  outwardly Anri is the very picture of the cute moe girl, even though inside she is harbouring a malevolent demon-blade.

Celty swooping in to rescue Anri from being discovered by Masaomi and the Yellow Scarves was a pretty cool scene, but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Anri had of allowed Masaomi to see her.  Anri fears being seen as the monster she thinks she is by the people she values.  Masaomi fears his dark past tainting his ‘pure’ friends. But their goals are exactly the same – to protect their friends and peaceful life – if only they could talk it out!  Instead things have just gotten worse.  Celty has been tied to the Dollars ever since her participation in the mass meeting, seeing her rescuing a girl with a katana who had been spying on the Yellow Scarves meeting, leads the gang to conclude that the Slasher is affiliated with the Dollars and that they have effectively declared war by invading their turf.

The other thing that was highlighted in this episode was how little control the leaders of the two biggest groups in Ikebukuro (Masaomi and the Yellow Scarves and Mikado’s Dollars) have over their members.  Mikado is informed of how little control he has over the Dollars through carefully scripted PM conversations with Izaya in the Dollars chatroom.  Izaya gives him just enough information to unsettle Mikado, revealing that because Dollars is so big and anonymous it would be easy for the Slasher or Yellow Scarves members to infiltrate the group.

Misinformation is one of Izaya’s best weapons and he really employs it skillfully when talking to Mikado – this entire episode shows how Mikado is being played by Izaya.  Izaya may give Mikado the story about the Yellow Scarves fight with the Blue Squares, but he neglects to mention that Mikado’s best friend Masaomi is the one leading the Yellow Scarves and that Izaya himself is the one that orchestrated much of the Blue Squares downfall.

Izaya is shown to be throughly enjoying manipulating his pawns – that devious smile never leaves his face this entire episode as he feeds Mikado half-truths and continues to foster the Dollar’s leaders reliance on his information.  It’s a frightenly similar situation to the one Masaomi found himself in with Izaya – once Izaya withdraws his support from Mikado he’ll be left floundering about directionless!

Masaomi himself discovers how utterly incapable he is of holding back the Yellow Scarves.  They’ve been getting steadily more violent as time goes on despite his mad running about the place trying to defuse tension.  Through Izaya’s information we learn that this is because the Yellow Scarves have absorbed a faction of the Blue Squares and essentially the group is very different to the one that Masaomi left a year ago.  Masaomi may be charismatic as a leader, but he can not hope to garner the loyalty of people older than him or without any real reason to obey him.  Masaomi is also painfully aware that now the Yellow Scarves have it in their head that Slashers=Dollars that no amount of talking is going to change their mind; which leads to a very serious Masaomi turning to Dotachin for advice at the end of the episode.

It will be interesting to see what pearls of wisdom Dotachin & Co will have for Masaomi, or just what Masaomi wants to ask of them.  The relationship between Masaomi and the Otaku Quartet is an odd one.  Their inital meeting was after the whole Saki incident where Dotachin’s group rescued her while Masaomi was paralysed with fear, Dotachin then gave him a perfect way out of the Yellow Scarves and a way to atone for the guilt Masaomi feels fostering a feeling of being indebted to Dotachin.  Masaomi has always treated the group with respect and has turned to them for advice before (when looking for info in Dollars for example), so it will be interesting to see how this meeting goes next week now that we have so much extra background on these characters.

So at the end of this episode we have Anri knowing about Masaomi and having to fight off the soothing call of Saika, Masaomi worrying about his lack of control and turning to Dotachin for advice and Mikado being made aware of just how powerless he is as the Dollars leader.  The central trio is starting to lose control of their groups and Izaya is at the centre of the whirlpool just waiting for things to fall apart.  With all that’s going on, you have to wonder if scenes with our three central characters hanging out together are a thing of the past.

Is this the last time we'll get scenes like this?

Next week seems to mostly be focused on Masaomi’s meeting with the Otaku Quartet, and it sounds like Erika and Walker will be narrating!  Really looking forward to getting some insight into these two – they’re such interesting side characters.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2010 4:13 pm

    damn I really wanted to go out in the sun so Ill just post that it could be clearly seen how much Izaya was stirring everyone throughout this ep and with that face XD

    • May 22, 2010 7:04 pm

      The sunlight scared me 😦 Izaya really is the ultimate shit-stirring online troll 😆

      • May 22, 2010 7:42 pm

        That face of his was weird, he was clearly having such a great time doing that XD

        :hahaha: You have a girl as your character of the week.

        • May 22, 2010 7:47 pm

          I’m allowed to have girls in my ‘character of the week’ segment! Its not soley reserved for bishies :P…….I’ve had girls before, Tsundere-chan was the 1st one I ever posted 😀

  2. May 22, 2010 5:52 pm

    Shit’s really starting to blow up. I love it. As despicable as Izaya is, it’s amazing to watch him play the main characters against each other. I still don’t get a sense of his motivations, but I’m sure we’ll find out more soon.

    • May 22, 2010 7:06 pm

      I loved that smile Izaya had on his face this whole episode – he’s having so much fun being such a massive manipulative prick that I just can’t hate the man!

      I’d love to know more about Izaya’s backstory – just how do you get such a twisted personality?

  3. May 22, 2010 11:19 pm

    Haha, I love how we both chose the same screenshot to lead off our posts! (Although I think you posted before I did. xD)

    What interests me is how the story before this episode frames things as if Kida is the one who is going to get played by Izaya in a major way, but instead the events in this part of the story show Kida acting in a cautious, rational manner, not leaping to conclusions, recognizing the precarious mood of his gang and seeking out advice from Kadota before doing anything rash, whereas Mikado is the one who is falling in deeper with Izaya, relying on his advice more and more.

    • May 22, 2010 11:26 pm

      LOL I noticed that too – it is a great shot of Izaya though 😛

      It seems that Kida has somewhat learned from his experience with Izaya – he’s still the most impulsive of the trio when it comes to acting, but now is erring on the side of caution – nice to see he’s matured.

      Mikado is the most naive of the trio and the most pliable which is why Izaya is primarily targeting him now – Anri is mostly out of his direct control since he’s never actually met her face to face. Its scary how easily Izaya manipulates Mikado into relying on him – Mikado is too quick to trust.

      • amado permalink
        May 24, 2010 4:12 pm

        sadly(retrieved from anni_fiesta):
        “Tanaka Taro
        Speaking of which, Kanra-san hasn’t been here today.

        Kyo
        That one is a smart bastard and always busy. Though I wouldn’t mind at all if that one wasted more time in places like this chatroom and didn’t wreak as much havoc.

        Mai
        That one’s rotten to the bone.

        Saika
        Kanra-san doesn’t seem like a bad person.

        Tanaka Taro
        Has Saika-san ever met Kanra-san in reality?

        Saika
        No, only in this chatroom. I’m sorry.

        Tanaka Taro
        Well, I won’t call that one a bad person, but it’s true that Kanra-san is a little strange…

        Kyo
        Alas, alas. Yet another human being taken in by Kanra-san’s sweet words……”

        although mikado does have a “secret” that izaya doesnt know(which by the way is cool and creepy).

  4. amado permalink
    May 24, 2010 4:16 pm

    while mikado does have little control over dollars, this show where their loyalties lies(again from anni_fiesta):
    “Kadota and some thirty Dollars members pretending to be Yellow Turbans engage other Yellow Turbans in battle and defeat them.”
    show them as more loyal to dollars than other groups.

  5. May 24, 2010 11:48 pm

    I hope these aren’t spoilers – I’ve been doing such a good job of avoiding them so far!

    • amado permalink
      May 25, 2010 1:43 am

      well they are but the 1st one above(the chatroom comment) only appears on vol.5 so my 2nd one is the only spoiler for the current anime(tried using spoiler tags).

  6. BigFire permalink
    May 24, 2010 11:54 pm

    One thing we really should consider is how to render Yellow Scarves into English. Their name (as well as the name of episode 19 and 20) is taken from Romance of the Three Kingdoms regarding the Yellow Turban Rebellion where the central government is exposed to be powerless to stop the rebellion, and it has to mustard forces from regional warlords to put down the rebellion. This is Yellow Turban’s slogan: “The Blue Sky (ie. the Han Dynasty) has perished, the Yellow Sky (ie. the rebellion) will soon rise; in this year of Jia Zi, let there be prosperity in the world!” (蒼天已死,黃天當立。歲在甲子,天下大吉。).

    Since the Yellow Turban peasants plainly called themselves Yellow Turban, shouldn’t we translate it this way as well?

    • amado permalink
      May 25, 2010 1:40 am

      well if you read from anni_fiesta’s translation of the novels, youll notice that she translates it as “yellow turbans” rather than yellow scarves so its possible they translated it differently.

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