Durarara!! 20 – Played
Well, my positive feelings about Kida from the last episode did not last very long!
To be fair, it’s still uncertain whether Kida is yet willing to launch into a full-on war with Dollars, especially now that he knows Mikado is the group’s leader; Kida is at least telling the Yellow Scarves to gather definitive proof about a link between Dollars and the Slashers, even if, you know, nobody in his group is listening to him. Change happens, the loyalties of the group shifts, Kida is operating in a way that does not put him in the mindset to maintain control and, even though he is trying to act as cautiously as possible, Kida is still getting played by Izaya.
Whether or not Izaya’s proclamations about his predictions are bluffs, as Namie suspects, he has clearly set everything on his end up in such a way that everything outside of his control nonetheless moves through him. Kida has a bone to pick with Dollars; Izaya knows who the Dollars’ leader is; and who could have oh so innocently let that piece of information leak to where Kadota would catch wind of it? And then Izaya purports to tell Kida “the facts, the truth and the unvarnished reality”, which should immediately set off 9,001 alarms in Kida’s head. He should be able to smell the varnish wafting off Izaya’s words, see the filter coloring the reality Izaya presents him.
But he does not . . . at least not to the extent that he should. Again, Kida seems to be acting cautiously, but he is acting cautiously under a biased assumption, which means he is already playing into Izaya’s hands. The way Kida talks to Kadota, it seems he already believes Dollars is colluding with the Slashers and wants hard proof that this is not the case — which is fine, except it is more difficult to accept proof that runs opposite to one’s beliefs than it is to accept proof when one is neutral to a topic and is looking to be swayed in the “correct” direction. That Kida doesn’t immediately go after Mikado means he is taking Izaya’s words with a grain of salt (why wouldn’t he? It’s freaking Izaya versus his best friend), but he really should be taking them with a fucking boulder of salt.
There are so many judgments — so many appeals to emotion — in Izaya’s “unvarnished truth” that it’s ridiculous. He lets them slip in because he rightly assumes that Kida is going to be shocked to hear that Mikado is the leader of Dollars, and maybe the little emotional nudges will settle in Kida’s subconscious, even though he initially resists. (That sounds like the set-up to a really bad fanfic . . .)
Forgive my ignorance, but that’s Shana with Taiga and Holo, right? Never watched Shakugan no Shana, myself, and don’t really have much interest in watching it, so I didn’t immediately recognize her with the dark hair instead of the red hair . . .
Enough people are telling Kida to act cautiously and to consider the potential ramifications to his actions that he is trying as best he can to not rush into things. Kadota warns him: If it’s a fight with Dollars that Kida is looking for, then he will get a hell of a fight. It’s this kind of thing that has me more convinced than ever that the Yellow Scarves’ past — before Izaya entered the picture — has largely been exaggerated.
They weren’t a real sort of gang; they were just a bunch of young punks trying to imitate a bunch of characters they saw in pop culture, with Kida situating himself as the fearless leader. They played at being adults, but they were just doing cheap imitations. They didn’t know any better. Even their rivalry with the Blue Squares in the beginning must have been akin to a group of kids playing Cowboys and Indians (or whatever the equivalent is around the world :p). Then Izaya comes in, tosses a lit match into the rivalry and all hell breaks loose. None of these people is ready to be an adult, and yet they’re involved in an adult fight. Kida quickly gets in over his head and runs away with his tail between his legs . . . you know, like a little kid.
Kida’s still trying to be an adult, and he isn’t quite there yet . . . but the difference is he is approaching the matter in a more adult way than he may have in the past. But old habits are hard to break; even though he does not want to, Kida relies on Izaya once again. That’s a sure way to stunt one’s growth.
This episode is fine but not really outstanding. Kadota giving Kida the business is needed; with matters as dangerous as these, a reality check is always a good thing. Erika and Walker are amusing, and I can’t help but think Kadota feels more awkward every time he steps into one of those otaku shops. It’s fun to see Brains Base grow ever more brazen with their references to other series. I do wish Simon would become a bigger part of the plot already, though. Every time he shows up, I get excited thinking he will finally assert himself, but no, he keeps on serving sushi and offering funny foreigner advice. Sigh.