Durarara!! – 10
The twists and turns continue even though this episode comes off like a set-up to the big first-half climax.
While it is not 100 percent confirmed within the episode (although it is if you read spoilers), it is heavily implied at the end that Mikado is the leader of Dollars . . . which, while initially blindsiding, actually makes a lot of sense. For instance, the whole organization of the group comes off like someone dipping his toe into an entirely new life. Mikado wants something more than what he has, so he cobbles together this gang online, but he still has the safety of anonymity because he’s leading this group behind the shadow of his computer. It’s like the split some people develop between the persona they forge online and how they act in “reality”.
But eventually Mikado decides that he really wants to grab this new life with his own hands; I’d guess that a good portion of his Dollars contacts reside in Ikebukuro, which was probably a good motivator for him to move there and get to see his crew in person whenever he can. Mikado also had an immediate contact in Kida, who could show him the ropes and get him used to the city. And everything goes better than Mikado could have dreamed — he runs into an urban legend, meets larger than life crazy dudes, whisks away with a girl whose head was grafted onto her body and is even — slowly, Kazehaya-style — making the moves on his fellow class rep. That’s a far cry from building his e-peen and surfing Nico Nico Douga all day.
With this new facet of Mikado’s personality revealed, I wondered how much of his appearance is an act and how much is a contrivance . . . but after thinking about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that he has been genuine pretty much the whole time. He doesn’t seem to me to be playing the fool when he lives his normal life — he’s really a sheltered, nervous guy branching out for the first time in his life. Maybe it’ll be revealed in the next episode that he is secretly an ass-kicking super ninja, or something, and this paragraph will be rendered moot, but with Mikado, I don’t get the feeling he is deliberately hiding aspects of his personality and life. He just doesn’t show everything all the time.
In any case, Mikado is ready to leap into action with his self-made gang of Ikebukuro’s craziest. I wonder if he’ll continue to lead Dollars from behind the screen, or if he’ll make the plunge and actually make himself known as the leader of Dollars. The latter has obvious risks — how the hell would he prove he is the leader of Dollars? Would they accept him even if they did eventually believe him? Would they take well to suddenly having a clear leader, when the M.O. of Dollars so far has been to let the groups determine their own fates? If he is actually taking this step, however, it should probably be assumed that Mikado is confident enough to handle whatever comes his way.
We know what Celty’s business with Mikado was, but Izaya’s plans are still mysterious as ever. He did not seem particularly surprised to learn that Mikado is the leader of Dollars — did Izaya’s planned meeting with Mikado have anything to do with that? And Izaya is of course playing all sides at the moment, meeting with Namie Yagiri about her messy situation, conducting business with Mikado and apparently communicating with Mika!Celty. Life in Ikebukuro seems to be a massive game where the alignment and mixture of the pieces makes no sense, which is how he likes it. Izaya is the kind of guy who is helpful in a pinch but who could also be dangerous at the worst possible time, since he would not mind stabbing you in the back when it would be most hilarious.
(Side note: I love the continued irony of each character realizing how they are connected in a very direct way when most of them have been speaking with each other online without knowing each other’s true identities. I especially like Izaya’s line about not knowing Celty’s name before, and not knowing she was a foreigner. They know each other, but at the same time there are layers of identity to sift through with even the most basic facts of a person’s being.)
As many things as the ending provides to write about, I don’t think this episode really kicked up until the halfway point — the first half seems important in retrospect, but while going through it, it is sort of dull. I also wonder how Dotachin and his crew will factor into the plot from here; their scene, as random as it is, is clearly not pointless considering the revelation of Mikado’s connection with Dollars. They’ll be crashing onto the scene pretty soon.