Things slow down in the world of Durarara!! as it nears the halfway mark.
What They Say
Mikado, Masaomi, and Anri are enjoying a very high schooler-like afternoon, as the reporter Niekawa struggles in his search to find "The Strongest in Ikebukuro". People tell him about the Headless Rider, the Dollars, Simon, Heiwajima Shizuo, the Yellow Scarves, the Slasher. Nobody can agree. Then one of the candidates for "strongest in Ikebukuro", the Headless Rider races off with two shining red eyes, in the darkness of an alley. At the same time, a certain chat room is being trolled by a user named "SinSong".
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Everything in this town is connected. That's the lesson learned with this episode, if you didn't get it from the first four of them. The first four episodes have covered a lot of ground while mostly playing within a fairly small timeframe, though the previous episode escaped that box a good deal by covering Celty's past. Celty's certainly in a bit of trouble now though as a mysterious shifty character labeled as the Slasher has appeared and has caused her a good bit of trouble by, well, slashing at her rather easily. Celty's so unnerved by it that she's thinking this person may actually be an alien.
Unlike the previous episodes though, this one lacks a bit of focus. The beginning does become the end which is a nice touch for a show all about connections, but we've also seen it played out before such as the entire kidnapping angle which happened in the first episode and then was covered in more detail in the second, looping us around. This one takes us back to when Yagiri came into the classroom and said he wasn't coming back and plays with time around there, such as the flirting that Kida does to try and win over Anri a little bit as well as simply being silly around Ryuu. The relationship between the two young men is something that's definitely good for exploration as we get a really nice voiceover by Kida throughout this episode as he recounts how his life had been rough before but Ryuu was the kind of guy who really helped see him through things and helped him to move on with his life. It opens all sorts of questions with no answers yet, but with the way the show works you can't help but feel it'll loop back to this subject sooner or later.
A good bit of discussion is given over to the color gangs again with this episode, this time focusing on the Yellow Scarves who are making something of a resurgence. The top fighters in the area are being discussed and we learn about how they used to be the toughest of the tough a year ago before they met mutual annihilation with the Blue Square group, which made it easier for the colorless Dollars to take up the role a time went on. The Yellow Scarves are starting to show again though, but you can't be sure if they're really legit with the way some people will play to being a part of things as we've seen in the third episode. Still, getting a bit more insight into the gang activity and make-up of Ikebukuro is a good thing since there seems to be a long term story involved here where the top dogs are the Dollars and we've barely scratched the surface of who all they may be.
After the first four episodes of the series, this episode felt a little bit like a letdown. It does bring in some interesting elements '" the Slasher and exploring the Yellow Scarves and gangs in general '" but it felt like it had less to really tie it all together in a significant way. There are a lot of little elements here but no unifying theme to it outside of the idea that everything is connected. But honestly, after the first and second episode there's no way you couldn't have gathered that already. I do love how the show delves back and forth in its time placement, which can get confusing if you don't pay enough attention, but it handles it well with interesting characters and very interesting situations. There are some good nuggets here, especially with Kida whose past I want to see right now, but it's not as strong as any of the previous episodes.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.