The Summer 2015 Anime Preview Guide
Durarara!! x2 The Second Arc
How would you rate episode 1 of
Durarara!!×2 Ten ?
Community score: 3.9
We're back to the wacky world of Ryohgo Narita's Ikebukuro, rife with gang wars, sympathetic psychopaths, and heaping helpings of the supernatural. Durarara!! fans, poor stockholmed saps that we are, just keep coming back as the show bait-and-switches us with constant anticlimax and new webs of intrigue, when the story is already packed to the brim with conspiracies. After the rocky ride of last winter's premiere cour, I was skeptical about the show continuing for two more 12-episode packs. While I've learned to love the show's obsession with shaggy dog plotting, the passionless direction and sometimes embarrassing production values had me struggling to summon enthusiasm for the rest of DRRR x2's race to the finale. Then I watched this episode. It was intriguing, well-directed, well-paced, consistently on-model, and despite being about 50% recap content by volume, it was a genuinely enjoyable return to form for the series. Never leave again, Durarara!! I do want you around after all, I just wish you wouldn't do me wrong no more. Is that so much to ask?
Mostly, this episode just reminded me of how poorly this second season handled its premiere episode back in Winter. The hodgepodge montage of "Well the status quo is quo!" that started Winter's cour—focusing heavily on Celty even when Celty had nothing to do, and filling the space in between with characters no one cared about that had some part to play in the Hollywood arc—was a mistake, and it seems like the production staff has learned from it. This episode frames recap material around the fallout from Izaya's sudden stabbing, as the scummy little troll waits around in his hospital room for someone to try and kill him while he's weak. As he wonders to himself who would be most likely to try and assassinate him, we see the many people whose lives he influenced reacting to the news (or missing it entirely) and the episode does a fantastic job of framing the events from their recent past against the conflicts they face in the present. It was a great refresher for all the big events from the first cour without ever dragging or feeling redundant, and the snippets of new content we did get were juicy.
First of all, that Yodogiri Jinnai is definitely bad news. He's using Seiji and Namie's uncle (the guy that found Celty's head) for some nefarious purpose, and considering Izaya's interest in that head, ordering the hit on his rival information broker probably has something to do with it too. Shingen warns the Yagiri patriarch that Jinnai is "like a cancer," and he cannot use him, but only be used. Speaking of the Kishitani bunch, Shinra and Celty return from a vacation in the countryside (where they apparently met werewolves and vampires!) to a friendly face in their apartment: Aoba, still nursing the nasty wound Mikado gave him. There are tons of other little pieces in motion between the helpful flash-backing in this episode, but the ripest surprise comes from Izaya's would-be killer in the hospital. Izaya finds himself under the knife of not a mobster, murderer, or monster, but an ordinary stranger who takes him back down memory lane to his simpler adventures in crushing the human heart. Getting nearly assassinated by a "nobody" fills Izaya with joie de vivre, and I'm sure he'll be on the warpath again just as soon as his stab wound heals.
Full disclosure: I may not be covering the show for weekly streaming this time. Maybe, maybe not. But I'll definitely be watching. I just can't quit you, Durarara!!, and solid episodes like these reward me for sticking with it through the rough and confusing patches.
Durarara!! x2 The Second Arc is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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