As is too often the case with Daiya no A lately, we have to be patient through an awful lot of twaddle to get to the good stuff. And this time around we didn’t even really get the good stuff.
I’m going to stipulate for the record that we’re supposed to be inspired by the “Ugah!” squad coming back and by rooting for Kataoka, and that I’m not, and leave it at that. Is what it is. And now we have the setup for the inevitable take-back on Kataoka leaving, which is that if the team wins the Fall tournament he won’t be able to quit (whatever). Gee, who could have seen that coming?
But it was one thing about this episode that really rubbed me the wrong way. Miyuki kept blathering on about Eijun – “I want him to experience this” and “we need to see if he’s useful”. But if Maezono hadn’t hit that freak home run in the top of the 9th, Eijun never would have even gotten into the game! I’m sorry, that’s just stupid – there’s no sugarcoating it. How are we supposed to feel anything in this situation when the whole situation doesn’t make any damn sense? Silly stuff like Haruichi having every at-bat robbed by his brother is annoying but no big deal – artistic license. But when it’s really critical to the plot, that sort of incongruity just won’t cut it.
I do find myself getting annoyed with AoD an awful lot now, which worries me. I hope it’s not a downward spiral. I like the fact that Miyuki is finally trying to act like a captain, and that the other 2nd-years chafe at following his orders – they should, given his previous pattern of behavior. And finally getting to see Eijun pitch helps, especially since Chris is pinch-hitting to face him. That’s a real sign of respect on his part. All I can do at this point is hope the good stuff is enough to outweigh the bad – that’s pretty much the way it’s always been with Diamond no Ace, but the equation has never been quite so problematic as it is now.
DurararaX2! Shou – 11
Well, the switch seems to have been turned off again – whatever turned it on in the first place. I’ve tried and tried to analyze what drives my reactions to Durarara, and whether I’ve come close to the mark it’s hard to say. But as we approach the end of the first of three split cours for “X2”, I’m still mostly on the outside looking in.
Superficially this episode was fine – even classic DRRR – but it was one of those (there’ve been a few this cour) where I found myself checking my watch a lot. The show seems to me to be sort of spinning its wheels – we’ve really seen most of this before, and (in the memory at least) done better. Maybe the problem is that it doesn’t seem like any of the returning characters have grown at all. Obviously conventional character development isn’t a staple of Durarara, which is fine because it’s not the point and Narita isn’t pretending otherwise. But for characters like Mikado and Anri it does sort of matter, because they’re on some level the most “normal” in the cast psychologically, and they have the most conventional character arcs. So when they feel stagnant, it makes at least some difference.
I guess if I’m going to look for a positive, it’s that because there does seem to be a switch that can turn on and off in a flash, it’s certainly possible the next episode will have “it” and DRRR will start clicking again. I’d like at least one ep where I really feel that magic like I did in the first cour 5 years ago, and while 9-10 were good, we definitely haven’t had it yet. Maybe Durarara 2015 will follow the opposite course that the original did, and the later arcs will be better than the earlier ones…