Durarara!! – 7
The title of the episode — “Badass Dude” — doesn’t joke around. Shizuo is a badass dude, even if he does not particularly enjoy his fits of badassery. Omni’s comparison of Shizuo to the Incredible Hulk is apt. Shizuo isn’t exactly abnormal when nobody is bothering him. His appearance might be different (I guess the dyeing of the hair is to give him an image more befitting of his wild reputation), but he isn’t really prowling around like a pissed-off tiger looking for trouble. Poor guy just has the shortest fuse in existence.
(By the way, I love the nonsensical ritual Shizuo performs before he lets loose all the violent feelings that build up inside him. It’s not that he has to put out his cigarettes before he goes on the attack — rather, I get the feeling he started smoking cigarettes because they are the item that makes most sense to be snapped in two and stomped on.)
It is kind of a head trip to see these three going to high school together — the same high school that the young’uns of today are attending, even. (Of course!) Shinra is a shifty little creeper as expected. That guy just rubs me the wrong way, even if the show is trying to deflect attention away from him by making Seiji’s sister appear uber-suspicious. I’m with Scamp in not trusting that guy as far as I can throw him. (My estimate: About five or six feet or so. I’m not that strong, or anything, but Shinra has to be a pretty light dude.)
The real trip, though, is seeing Izaya in school. He just seems like someone who exists completely outside normality. Izaya has acted as an actively corrupting force, yes, but it’s mostly on his terms; the guy acts like a phantom who can appear wherever and whenever he pleases. Izaya is less a normal human being than a possibly supernatural force. The idea of him growing up and progressing through middle school and high school is just unfathomable to me. Izaya is of course shown to be as much of an asshole in high school as he is now. Could he have had something up his sleeve even then, though?
Izaya has a clear interest in Shizuo. He could just want to fuck with the guy, and I don’t doubt that is part of the fun for Izaya. However, there is also Shizuo’s statement that he gets stronger every time he hurts himself after one of his rages and heals — is this something we should take literally, or is this something Shizuo believes because he gives in more and more to those episodes of rage and violence? It could just be an amusing jab at the kind of physical development you see in shounen series: The very idea is Dragon Ball Z-esque, no? The more the Saiyans fight, the stronger they get. Is Shizuo literally OVER 9000, or does he just believe himself to be? Shinra certainly thinks there is something different about Shizuo’s physical make-up (you’d think there would HAVE to be since he is so damn strong), and perhaps Izaya believes so too.
In the previous episode, Kyohei raises the possibility that Izaya is the man at the top of Dollars. This could be true, or it could be a complete misdirection. I’m not really sure about that yet, myself. But let’s just say it is true. Wouldn’t it make sense? He’s got ready-made gangs to throw at Shizuo (one group supposedly belonging to Dollars has already fought Shizuo that we know of, although, ironically enough, they were after Izaya) and continually push his strength to the limit — and Izaya apparently has the backing of yakuza groups as well. He’s got all the manpower he needs to attack Shizuo 24/7 and test his limits.
But why would he do this? I don’t know if there is a specific reason. Shizuo would certainly never aid Izaya with anything. Maybe Izaya just wants to see another force that is as violent and corrupting as he is. Maybe he is just curious as to what will happen when Shizuo finally does reach his limit. Or maybe he really just is an enormous asshole.
One final thing before closing this post out: Anyone have any clue who this guy could be? He’s pretty clearly highlighted during one of Shizuo’s schoolyard fights, so we’re supposed to notice him and keep him in mind. Could he be a younger version of someone we have already seen, or he is yet another yet to be introduced character?