Durarara!! 17 – A Little Game of Chess
Oh, Izaya, you wily bastard, you.
It’s of course not at all a shock to finally see Izaya’s influence over the events of Durarara come out into the open; actually, most people were probably wondering when Izaya would step a little more into the open and flex his muscle a bit. He still hasn’t really done that, but maybe letting Namie in on his plan counts as showing off the bicep just a bit. (Guess Izaya is confident he has Namie completely under his thumb if he is willing to let her in on such precious details.)
What’s interesting about Izaya’s plan is that he is taking advantage of the desires of individual people to protect their group. It’s a clever (though not unusual) irony that if Mikado, Kida and Anri were able to open up to each other and pool their resources, then they would be able to thwart Izaya’s plan; however, at least Mikado and Anri fear losing what they have if they were to open up to their friends about the secrets of their lives. Mikado is a gang leader. What would his friends think! Anri works in tandem with the soul of an ancient sword. What would her friends think!
Now, of course, those aren’t the sorts of things you run and tell your friends. However, the ol’ dramatic irony is that we know each of the three would likely accept the problems of the others. Kida and Anri would probably be confused at the revelation that Mikado is the leader of Dollars; with some clarification, though, they would quickly accept that he and the Dollars mean no harm (even if his level of control over them is fairly loose, most of the time). Anri’s case is a bit more complicated. After all, she’s, uh, got a bloodthirsty, killer sword (even though it is hinted that Anri may be able to control Saika’s thirst for love blood at least a bit) that turns people into violent love zombies. But if Celty can see the good in Anri and encourage her to use Saika for good (like, uh, be Batman? with a skintight outfit?), then Mikado and Kida would probably be able to accept her too. Plus, they both have huge boners for Anri.
Kida is the wild card right now. Durarara has been consistent in showing that there is much more than meets the eye to each character, even those who seem normal. (In fact, it’s the nutjobs who are most open and direct about who they are and their motivations, while the “sane” are the ones with all the secrets.) It’s been clear for a while now that Kida was in deep with the Yellow Scarves in the past, and this episode directly shows that he founded and led the gang in the past. But surely that isn’t all that lurks in Kida’s past. His dedication to protecting Anri — along with his friendship with Mikado — is somewhere in the past where he (may have) fucked up with the girl in the hospital.
But, man, who else is expecting there to be even more than that scurrying around in Kida’s flashback next week? Aspects of Durarara have been predictable, but there always seems to be something else there. For instance, what is Izaya’s role in Kida’s past? Those two didn’t meet recently — they’ve known each other for a fairly long time. Who is to say Kida forming the Yellow Squares was even originally his idea? How long could Izaya have been preparing for this day?
Anyway, Kida seems to be the most aggressive in his ambition to protect his friends, which is of course playing right into Izaya’s hands. Each person’s desire to get things done on their own and keep themselves anonymous to their friends isn’t going to play out well. One theme that has been constant through the series has been to stop hiding behind anonymity and isolation (whether on the ‘net or in the wider society) and instead embracing the world and carving out one’s own place in it. Mikado succeeds when he puts himself on the line in the open as the Dollars’ leader (although it’s not a complete victory, since only a few people are aware of his role), Anri starts on her path to recovery when Celty sees and accepts who she is (although not without some slight trepidation) and so on.
Clearly each of them needs to realize they to rely on — and help — the others. They’ll get it eventually, but how much destruction will come before then?
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Shizuo kicking ass. Pretty intense scene, and Shizuo must have some pretty good control of his strength now to beat the hell out of so many people but apparently not seriously injure anyone. That would have been an insurance nightmare!