Durarara!! 24 – Simon the Puncher (END)

I always knew Simon would come through by the end of the series: The one time he decides to finally do something, it is for a perfectly worthy cause. Izaya isn’t really humiliated (save for a mocking laugh thrown his way by Namie), but a nice shiner — along with what has to be several bumps and bruises after flying through the sky courtesy of Air Simon — is some decent comeuppance for 24 episodes of dickery on Izaya’s part.

And yet it also shows a lot of what goes wrong in the second half of Durarara!! Characters with craploads of potential come and go without doing very much at all. Simon sells sushi without affecting the plot much at all, even though he can clearly make things happen. Shingen makes a cameo as if he is appearing in some low-rent sitcom. The cop’s appearance is great, but he probably could have been a more substantial character than he actually is. And on and on and on.

The first half of the series juggles characters nearly as effectively as Baccano! and sets up all sorts of interesting things that could unfold down the road, whereas the second half focuses mainly on Mikado, Anri, Kida, Izaya and Celty, with Kadota’s crew and Shizuo as the B-side characters. Still plenty of personalities to work with, but as the series progresses into a more grounded gang war scenario, it loses quite a bit of what made it interesting in the beginning. Like mefloraine, Durarara!! had my attention most when it had that mystical tone going, that focus on the weird core beneath the ordinary surface. The last time Durarara!! has that feeling is when Anri battles Haruna Niekawa.

Don’t want to bash this episode too much for the mistakes of the show’s final arc, however; it is at least a solid conclusion for the final story, if not a particularly satisfying end to the series as a whole. Scamp’s not much of a fan of Kadota’s plan, but I think it fits his character pretty well. He’s not one to screw around; if something needs to be done, he is not going to waste a lot of time with some bullshit. Going in disguise gets Kadota and his pals into the Yellow Scarves’ headquarters, and when he needs to jump out and kick some ass, it’s done. Not super flashy, but effective. Then again, just about anything probably would have been effective against Horada. What  a loser.

(That’s a strike against this final arc, too. Horada never feels threatening at all; he’s a fluff villain. That might be easier to swallow if Izaya ever got out of the chatroom for more than a few minutes. That guy has a severe Internet addiction now. I’m shocked we never see him arrogantly ripping apart random people’s arguments on message boards in the ass crack of the ‘net. He seems like the type.)

But even though Horada is a shit villain, seeing him get his comeuppance is fun, too. Shizuo could be an Olympic-level athlete with those javelin skills of his. There would also be story after story about him wondering how the hell he could be so damn strong without ‘roiding up constantly. No matter how many clean drug test results Shizuo would receive, that black cloud of performance enhancing drugs would always hang over his head. But he would know; he would know that he could toss a javelin strongly enough to destroy a car, and do it without sticking a needle in his ass.

And this is where the music from those Irish Spring commercials would start playing . . .

Overall, I enjoyed Durarara!! even though its final arc and its arc-capping episodes are largely disappointing. The first arc is pretty damn gripping, for the most part, and the Slasher arc is good as well. The series sputtering to a close isn’t quite enough to make me forget how thoroughly I enjoyed the series during its best moments. Unfortunately, it just could not quite get over the hump and cash in on its potential like Baccano! does. Too bad. If there’s a second season, I’ll watch, and hopefully that will correct the mistakes of this first season.

14 Responses to “Durarara!! 24 – Simon the Puncher (END)”

  1. I was actually hoping to see Izaya’s sisters so I was kind of disappointed that things ended when things are actually starting to get better, especially when the chat room is finally starting to get crowded ;(

    Also, I think DRRR!!’s anime fails to incorporate the train wreck element of the novel. Instead, it actually confuses the audience at times.

  2. I personally would agree with you on the disappointment I got with the finale. For me, the show gripped me because it reminded me of this book called The Unbearable Lightness of Being, in which you had an unattached narrator describing seemingly ordinary life in an existential and pro-normal manner. Or to keep it simple, looking beyond what you see to see something greater than what meets the eyes.

    The story started like that: A seemingly ordinary city, but there’s just so much more to what’s going on. Now I liked how the end tied it back to that aspect but after not seeing much of it later on, it just felt unnatural. I don’t like how the focus shifted entirely to the generic “three friends with conflicting pasts are put against each other and try to be friends still” story that I’ve already seen so much of. The original route was more unique and refreshing.

    In terms of forgotten characters, what about that girl that tried to commit suicide in the very beginning? Whatever happened to her? I think this suffered from “too many characters” syndrome, something I often use to criticize Naruto, though it did have a lot more direction than something like that.

    All in all, what I thought would have been an excellent series ended up, for me, as a good series. But given my extremely harsh rating of modern anime, that’s pretty impressive.

    • Suicide girl I think shows up in the background a couple of other times, but she doesn’t really have a direct role in the series after the second episode. But, yeah, I agree that there are too many characters, and moreso too many directionless characters. Baccano! has a lot of characters; however, that series handled most of them pretty well. Durarara!! just could not handle that. Shame.

  3. I guess I was too harsh on Kadota’s final plan. It fitted the story I suppose, and that was really the simplest way to take out Horada. It was just rather anti-climatic. I think it’s just frustration from the rest of the arc boiling over into criticizing other aspects that I might have looked over when the series was at it’s best.

    Still, twas an excellent series and has definately kept my faith in the awesomeness of Narita. Now that Brains Base know they can make money off this guy’s work, hopefully we’ll see Vamp. Or a second season of DRRR. Or, dare I say it, a second season of Baccano?

    • Yeah, I can agree that there is an element of anti-climax to the way Kadota’s plan is pulled off, most of it having to do with Horada being a weak villain.

      I’d be kind of mixed about a second season of Baccano! I think there’s more to the story, but I really like the way the first series ends.

  4. I wouldn’t count on a second season of Baccano it didn’t sell well at all. DRRR however went out the door like hot cakes. Maybe this will get more Japanese fans interested in Baccano and there will be some hope after all. Anyway I wasn’t to disappointed because I know they’re adapting an ongoing book series with seven volumes in it at current but have only touched on three or so.

  5. The end was definitely disappointing. Izaya’s such a troller and Shizu-chan in only one scene! What travesty… >.>

    Being a fan of the series from the beginning it’s sad to say goodbye but
    hopefully a second season would be as tight as the first arc.

  6. [...] Unmei Kaihen: “Overall, I enjoyed Durarara!! even though its final arc and its arc-capping episodes are largely disappointing.” [...]

  7. I also think another season would clean some of this stink away. If the final arc had been greatly compressed, and more in the middle of the series, I think people would still be talking about how awesome Durarara is. The whole Dollars thing is just too stupid and not compelling because it’s just a bunch of random people chatting on the internet.

  8. When the 2nd season comes, they better showcase the new storylines from the light novel. Things got more interesting after the “Yellow Scarves” storyline.

    I’m hoping to see Izaya’s sisters, Aoba, Chikage, and Vorona in the next season.

    I did a look at chat room psychology using DRR!! You can read it at: http://www.mangatherapy.com/post/932185689/chatrooms-durarara

    With Volume 8 of the light novel recently released, DRR!!’s momentum is growing even more.

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