Durarara!! – 2
So I originally noted how much I liked the tone of the first episode, and it seems as if everything I enjoyed about that is amped up in the second episode. The music, especially, is fantastic in every scene. It does a good job of setting a “normal” mood in the opening scene at the school; a wild mood during the scenes where Certy (the headless motorcycle chick) does her thing (I LOVE the jazz here); and a mysterious, dreamlike mood when Rio is whisked away by Certy (probably still getting over the fog in her head caused by whatever chemical the men used to knock her out) and then meets Izaya on the rooftop. Combined with getting more of the nightlife in Ikebukuro (which looks more alive during the night than during the day), it served to completely suck me in to the episode. I couldn’t get enough of it.
As the story develops, I can see that a lot of it will be about slowly peeling the layers off the people who inhabit this crazy neighborhood — waiting for the right moment when “reality” decides to reveal itself, to use the show’s words. In the first episode, Certy seems to be this completely otherworldly entity who is running roughshod on the town at random and according to her will alone. But in this episode, she’s shown to be a Badass for Hire of sorts, maybe doing a bit of work on the side while she looks for her head.
And the series is already putting on a full sprint toward shades of gray with Izaya, although that gray is much closer to black than white with him. In his mind he is not a completely bad person, although perhaps he thinks that simply because he doesn’t pull the trigger himself — he just gives a gentle nudge along the way. If someone decides to go through with suicide, then that person must have really wanted to die; if not, then it just was not meant to happen. Although he comes off as charismatic, he also gives off a much colder feeling than some of Baccano‘s larger than life crazies like Ladd Russo or You Know Who.
What makes him scariest, though, is that he has the rather ominous title of “information dealer”. When a guy like Izaya proclaims that he deals in information, then you know you want to stay away from him (like Kida warns Mikado to do), because his wares are not likely something he will kid around about. He has to know just about everything going on in this place.
This episode also makes me wonder what other peripheral characters we’ve seen so far who will end up making some bigger appearances later, aside from the obvious (Simon; Shizuo, the fridge throwin’ guy (who sounds like no other Daisuke Ono role I’ve heard in the past); Seiji and so on). I also wonder if it is through these people’s eyes that we will always see these larger than life nutjobs, or if every character will get his or her day in the sun, so to speak, during the course of the series. I like the mystique that comes from seeing certain characters only from the eyes of those below them, but seeing things from their eyes would be cool too.
The ending of the episode came off as sort of abrupt to me for a bit, but I guess it’s a case of “scared straight” — Rio doesn’t really know what’s up with her parents, and everything seems weird to her, but then she gets a taste of a truly rough customer and realizes after Certy rescues her, “. . . Well, hell, my life isn’t that bad!” I’d say Izaya helped her out in a way if he wouldn’t have cheerfully watched Rio plummet to her death.