DurararaX2 is back for the second of its three split cours, picking up more or less where the final episode of Shou left off. All in all this is a series that hasn’t held up as well for me as Working – while that one can seemingly come and go as it pleases no matter how long the layoff and never lose a step, Durarara in its 2015 incarnation feels a bit dated. I really don’t think it’s changed all that much, but it seems like the product of another time.
I thought Shou ended on an outstanding note, but the premiere of Ten seems to me more in the vein of most of the first cour – modestly entertaining, but with the feel of something missing. I said at the close of Shou that I’d make a blogging decision based on how strongly both Durarara and the other series competing for time start off the season, but I’m not ready to commit either way based on the premiere.
This is clearly going to be a Izaya-heavy arc, but that was made clear with his stabbing at the hands of Yodogiri, the cliffhanger at the end of Shou. As we rejoin events he’s lying in his hospital bed in Sendai, waiting for one of his innumerable enemies to react to the news of his stabbing by taking advantage of the situation and trying to kill him. As always with Izaya, hatred of boredom seems to be his primary driver – and getting stabbed at least had the virtue of being an unusual event.
There are brief touch-ins with other characters like Mikado, Kida, Celty and Shinra here but this ep is mostly Izaya’s, and nothing makes too strong of an impression. It does strike one in watching it, though, that Durarara is very much a story of characters trying to stand out. To escape the mundane, to be seen or heard, to make an impact on their world via their neighborhood. It manifests in different ways with different characters, but there’s an overall sense of people shouting “Look at me!” – railing against their inevitable demise by trying to cause an many ripples in the pond as they can before they sink and are gone. That sense of desperation is an interesting element in DRRR, and it can quite powerful at times – though there weren’t quite enough of them in the first cour of X2. Let’s hope there are in the second.