Posted by psgels on 27 May 2010 with categories: Durarara

I’ve said before that this isn’t the sort of climax I like. You know, the kind where characters just refuse to talk to each other, which is something that could make things a lot easier. With Anri… it’s still somewhat understandable: she doesn’t know about Mikado, and instead she’s just worried about being rejected as a monster, that’s fine. But in this episode Kida finds out that Mikado is the leader of the Dollars, and also remains silent. *headdesk* It also doesn’t help that Mikado still keeps listening to Izaya and that the rest of the Dollars are running around beyond his control.

There’s a line between flawed and just downright annoying here, and Kida… unfortunately is constantly hopping over that line. His angst has just been a bit too much for me… I can see that he’s had quite a past, but he doesn’t quite feel like such a dynamic character; my impression of him is that he’s either angsty or hyperactively hiding his angst, with hardly anything else. Anri on the other hand is getting more and more interesting now that we’ve gotten to know her, and Mikado already was interesting… though he’s gotten way too little airtime during the past episodes. I want to see some more scenes of him, trying to keep the Dollars under control. The two of them have a bunch of different sides now, but surprisingly there are just too many characters that are just… too one sided. This also includes Simon (who seems like he always talks about how good Sushi is) and Izaya (who seems to be a professional troll or something: do we see him do anything else?).

At this point though, I’m not yet sure whether I should criticize this show for having an annoying plot on purpose: it’s clear that the creators put a lot of thought into having things escalate like this, and Izaya’s trolling is making sure that everyone keeps doubting each other. But I’m just not enjoying this show like I hoped I would at the end of the first half of this show. It’s not bad or anything near that, but at the same I consider the second half as inferior to the first half of this show.

It’s also a bit of a shame that the animation budget still hasn’t recovered here. There are a few scenes with smooth animation, but none of them last longer than half a second, and on top of that there are a ton of distorted or rushed frames. That’s something you wouldn’t expect of Brains Base. I believe that this is the first series that they animate continuously for 24 episodes without breaks, and I guess that the toll of this becomes visible now.

Let me also talk a bit about the OP here, which have been… misleading to say the least. Consider the OP, which displays a bunch of characters who hardly made any appearance in this second half. I mean, why Shizuo’s brother? Why was there the need to include his brother? Heck, I actually thought that that Cop would make a big appearance, but aside from a cameos he’s also been pretty useless aside from giving Celty a strange quirk that feels a bit overdone. It’s another one of those “hey, we’re advertising to be like Baccano while we actually are completely different”-gimmicks of this series that caused me to expect the completely wrong kind of series here. I see that part of the fault lies with me for actually expecting this, but still…
Rating: * (Good)

18 Responses

  1. chounokoe says:

    I wouldn’t say that the fault lies with the viewer if the anime actually somehow promises something that it just cannot fullfill.

    It’s not like your expectations came from something that wasn’t there.
    If you had expected, for example a deep and philosophical story from this author…okay, I would have called the idea blinded by too high expectations.

    But I think they actually, like you said, tried too hard to promise the next Baccano here, when honestly it just isn’t.
    I don’t know if you know Boogiepop, but I imagined the atmosphere and direction to be much more like that…sans the gore.

  2. Nellie says:

    I believe the issue with Mikado is that he’s actually not the leader of Dollars, since it doesn’t have one, just the founder. Being the founder gives him some privileges, but he doesn’t outright control them.

  3. Kim says:

    Although I actually really like both Mikado & Kida (Anri I am not as big of a fan of but I don’t dislike her) I agree the whole conflict born out of misunderstandings is not high up on my favorite things either.

    And not being like Baccano is perfectly fine but I do feel the director using a similar opening style mislead the audience a bit. There almost all the characters had a part to play. Here it is more centered on a select few.

  4. Chan says:

    I think that you really have to learn that there is a differentiation of what we the viewers know and what the characters know. You’re pretty much basing all of your judgment on what you as a viewer knows but not on what the characters themselves know. For instance Mikado is not aware of the fact that Izaya is a lying bastard, all he knows is that Izaya knows an informant who has a lot of knowledge of pretty much everyone in Ikebukuro, and is a Dollars member. He is not aware of precisely why Izaya should not be trusted yet.

    In terms of Kida, he is now the leader of the Yellow Scarves and while he himself is hesitant about attacking the Dollars the same cannot be said about the other Yellow Scarves members. The Yellow Scarves are looking for revenge for their members who were attacked by the slashers, and they are currently pinning the blame on the Dollars. Plus like Celty had said to Mikado before there are many Yellow Scarves who are bitter about the Dollars becoming such a large and successful “gang” in their absence, they are just looking for a reason to start a fight with the Dollars. Kida knows this and you as the viewer were informed of this by Celty. Mikado being the leader of the Dollars puts Mikado in danger of being attacked by the Yellow Scarves, and it also puts Kida in a bit of a spot as he doesn’t want to hurt Mikado, so its not as if he angst comes from nowhere. Also if any of the Yellow Scarves found out about it they would probably kick Kida out of the Yellow Scarves, and right now Kida is the only reason why they haven’t killed anyone.

    The Key to understanding this show is to actually pay attention to everything that a character says, especially if it was stated in the chat room.

  5. reyan16 says:

    i think the reason why you don’t quite like this section of this series is because they’re basing them off the novel. these are only two arcs out of how many? eight? and there’s actually much more to the characters than what meets the eyes. for example, anri being in charge of saika, or mikado being the leader of dollars. these all came as big suprises. therefore, all the other characters that made cameo scenes play a much larger role in the plot of the novel. Shizuo’s brother is huge in the fourth volume and Izaya does more stuff. there also comes an explanation about kida’s personality and how he doesn’t talk to mikado even after knowing the truth. (this is later explained by izaya) so i think there’s actually a lot of charm to this series.

  6. Buddy Waters says:

    What other people said; not talking to each other is normally just to make a plot work, but in this case, it largely makes sense that they wouldn’t. Not sure they’ve been as clear about that as the novels were; they’re not using the narration to make that clear because they’d prefer to not spell things out, but if you’re already backing away because you’ve had bad experiences with poorly done plots like this, it’s easy to overlook things.
    Why didn’t Kida talk to Mikado? The answer is right there, in the scene where that other Dollars guy comes over and talks to them. It’s given as a couple of reaction shots, but it is there.
    There are problems with the source material here, though — the novel definitely felt like it took him a few hundred pages to ease his characters into the places he needed them to be for the climax.

  7. Roger says:

    Okay, I have to say that you are upholding a ridiculous double standard here. On one side, you hold it against Mikado to trust Izaya too much, and on the other you hold it against Kida for not openly accusing Mikado of being the Dollars leader because IZAYA SAID SO? There’s no winning here.

    I’m not entirely sure what you expect Mikado to do, make a thread on the Dollars message board that they need to calm down? As for the rest of you complaints, considering Kida a angsty character with nothing beyond that I don’t understand, he’s obviously in love with Saki as well as Anri, and isn’t afraid to come out for either of it, really. Don’t remember the last time I’ve seen a character that had that angle. Simon and Kinnosuke aren’t the main characters of this arc, but they are going to do some stuff in the finale.

    Finally I don’t really know what you mean by Anri getting more interesting. We now know everything, and she can’t ever love lest she goes on a slicing spree, so no romantic development period, nor will she ever take up her sword on her own right, it being Kida she’s fighting. Kida himself is enough of a proactive character that knowing what he does about Mikado won’t put him in inaction. Anri I can’t say I’m expecting much of beyond this point.

    I’ll agree with you on the Baccano issue though, the constant references to it are misleading. This does have centralised story as well as clear protoganists, and it seems to rely on character interaction more then the actual characters, as opposed to Baccano, great cast, had absolutely nothing to do with each other though.

  8. Chan says:

    I I’m going to add to what I said in my previous post. Though I’ve got to ask a question too. Do you know Japanese? Cause you posted a review of this episode before the subtitles even came out, and considering this is a series that is essentially 90% dialogue, and they basically explained what you complaining about in their conversations several times in fact. Not only that but Izaya claiming that Mikado is losing control of the Dollars is incorrect. Izaya just wants Mikado to think if he has control of the Dollars, but in truth the Dollars haven’t done anything to excite the Yellow Scarves.

  9. psgels psgels says:

    Chan: I’ve got to admit that my Japanese is indeed a bit rusty. I usually just watch an episode in whichever form it’s released at that point, so there are indeed a number of things that I end up getting wrong. However, I don’t think that those are major enough to really change my enjoyment of an episode significantly.

  10. Roger says:

    Well considering you’ve complained about Simo’s character at leat twice now, I will say this. As is explicietly stated in this episode, Simon’s english vocabulary is extremely limited. Don’t expect him to break out non-sushi related dialogue with anyone any time soon because while he is ten times as eloquet in Russian, Izaya’s the only one he can talk to in that language.

  11. Chan says:

    You got a lot of things wrong actually, in the last couple of weeks since you started to only watching the raw. Several times in last couple of weeks you’ve actually missed out on several plot points. And yes what you’re missing out on is hindering you from enjoying the story considering that most of the complaints you’ve been having for the past couple of weeks have been things that were either explained in the very episode you where you were complaining. This is a show that is 90% dialogue, and not understanding or pay attention to said dialogue will inhibit your understanding of the show, and make your episode reviews look like a joke to anyone whose actually watched the episode and understood what was being said by the characters. I wouldn’t have responded to you if this was the first time you’ve make a grave error but this is the 7th time you’ve done it.

    Moments like the one with Dr.Kishitani happen often. Characters in this series do have a habit of revealing some really important information in offhand conversations, especially Izaya.

  12. pgal says:

    The episodes have lately not been as interesting as the first arc and the lack of communication between the friends can get annoying. So far I can only understand Anri’s silence though I feel she will need to speak up eventually.

    Durarara has a good animation team, they need to create a different style for this anime and move away from the Baccano style. It was fun at first but not anymore.

  13. sage says:

    how callow. no wonder nobody takes this blog seriously.

  14. Pi says:

    Actually, it would be out of character for Anri to speak up. I’m still not a fan of Anri. While I’m not fond of Kida’s arc in the anime, I console myself by telling myself that we won’t see a lot of Kida screening very soon.

    Also, it was obvious throughout the episode that Kida did not want to start a fight with Dollars. Since Mikado behaved in ways that hinted Kida to act as if nothing happened makes Kida more hesitant to attack. He has a lot to bare of his shoulders, he feels responsible for making everyone he truly cares about happy (Saki, Anri and mostly Mikado, his precious friend). Kida most likely refused to talk about it because he didn’t want to place Mikado in a bad spot, so he tries to solve the problem without getting Mikado involved.

    About Mikado, the reason why Dollars is so disorganized is because there is no leader in Dollars. Mikado is considered to be the founder of Dollars but not exactly the leader.

    Either way, I expected the ‘revelation’ scene to be darker and more angst–just like in the novel. I guess the producers are have a hard time trying to make a transition from of first half of the anime.

  15. Roger says:

    Not sure why you feel it is out of character for Masaomi to not speak up. It was made crystal clear in episode 5, 19, 16 and 17: Anri and Masaomi are both completely dependant on their friends. Anri considers herself Masaomi and Mikado’s parasite and Masaomi consider his three main friends his life, or place in the world. Them going on to accuse the others of being rival gang leaders while they’re attending school happily (on the surface) would be OoC to me. Regardless of whether it’s a good plot, this conflict i the natural conclusion of Kida’s and Anri’s characters.

  16. Maggie says:

    If it makes you feel any better, there is a huge possibility that this anime will have a second season. There are like six or something light novels available right now (which you should read) and they could easily be meshed with the anime. I’m treating Durarara as the first half of this story, there are a lot of plots that they have not included yet, like Izaya’s past, Izaya’s sisters and other things involving Shizuo, Celty, Kadota, etc. So I’d calm down just a tad, though I highly agree with you about the first half of the series being superior to the second. But this IS how it happens, we just have to bear with Kida’s angst for now. Durarara has not failed to disappoint and entertain me, I am proud to call it one of my favorite animes of all time.

  17. Roger says:

    I dunno, in the later novels’ plot the Blue Squares are still around, alot of the plot is dependant on it. The anime right now is stating pretty black and white that they did with Izumii.

  18. Jo says:

    Sometimes I think Durarara!! is at it’s best when it doesn’t focus too much on its Dollars-Slashers-YellowScarves-BlueSquare plot. I mean, really. It’s interesting enough, but the second half so far, when compared to the first which hadn’t introduced the main plot to us feels less compelling. Or am I only feeling this way because of the compressed adaption?

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:36 AM)
    @Masky: lots of game designers aspire for realism. Now this can be done for cosmetic purposes like face textures and lighting, practical with physic engines and movement, or contextual like believable character reactions and dialogue. Now some games thrive in being ridiculous and fantastic, but some want to create a realistic setting to further the emotional impact. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:32 AM)
    @ratsgnoF: and happy Thanksgiving to you as well.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:43 PM)
    Anyway seriously though, I’d say it does actually make sense in context xD Since none of monsters are actually that threatening.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:42 PM)
    .-. I have no words, mainly because whenever anyone uses word “Realism” in context of video game, I want to say rude words xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:40 PM)
    I think he gave it a passing glance and felt it wasn’t his thing, I remember he also felt that he thought the idea of sparing the monsters wasn’t believable or realistic given that he felt if you were realistically placed in that situation yourself, the real thing to do would be to fight back out of fear.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:37 PM)
    Did he actually play the game though? I mean, did he actually discover it himself or did he just heard the spoilers?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:35 PM)
    I had a talk with a friend about undertale and he wasn’t a fan, he prefers other types of rpgs, the choice element also made him uncomfortable and that he felt the game was too punishing.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:34 PM)
    @Kaiser: Puzzle elements, outside of sparing everyone, seem to be mainly just parodying video game puzzles. Like, only place where you actually have to solve actual puzzles is in Hotland, before that pretty much every puzzle is automatically solved, really easy or has some silly twist to it. Like the puzzle you can skip by pressing a switch in tree trunk. Can’t say I’m too fond of puzzles either, but I liked how game was making fun of them
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    Speaking of awful sense of humor and things that dorks like, just wanted to say that turns out I was right about Jitsu wa watashi wa in that main couple does get together before chapter 100(forgot what exactly, some where in 80-90 range I think). But they are such huge dorks that they do everything ridiculously slowly because they are that embarrassed, so they have had like just one date(in chapter 100). Not that I expect anyone to remember what the heck I’m talking about xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    The battle system grew on me a bit, but I didn’t like the puzzle elements it offered, the actual gameplay looked kind of dull also. Some of the characters were likeable enough, Papyrus, Asogore, the flower guy being my favourite though the plot didn’t really get interesting until the end.

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