Durarara!! Episode 3 – Showdown in Ikebukuro

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An episode where a lot of things happen but nothing really happens at all.

I’m feeling quite torn with my impressions of this episode. I was bored with the first half of it with all the minor things that happen that do not seem to have much relevance to anything. But, the second half was a thrill ride all the way through. But despite all of that, we just keep getting more questions and no answers. Well, I guess it IS only episode 3.

Izaya and Shizuo really do seem to steal the show whenever they appear. If it wasn’t for characters like them, I wouldn’t know what the fate of this show would be in the hands of the weak Mikado. Masaomi is great, but him alone just isn’t enough.

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So after Mikado is assigned as class representative along with Anri, him and Masaomi go out to flirt with girls (well more Masaomi than Mikado of course). After a while they find Anri who is being bullied by a group of girls and one “thug-life” guy and with the help of Izaya, they chase away the bullies (again more Izaya than Mikado). After introductions were through, a trash can comes flying in and pegs Izaya right in the head. This, of course, is the work of Shizuo who apparently knows Izaya from before. The two are about to fight when they are interrupted by Thug-life and his G-unit. The fight then turns into Shizuo vs G-unit and when Izaya starts to run away, Simon jumps in and stops Shizuo from throwing a vending machine at him.

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Creepy teacher returns.

It seems like Anri has already noticed how creepy he is and is already beginning to avoid him. Good job Anri, good job.

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A bit of self-promotion?

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Japanese cell phones are quite durable aren’t they. I bet if that was an iPhone it would be in pieces by now.

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Thug life fo’ sho.

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It seems kind of interesting to see how Masaomi’s personality changes when he’s talking to Izaya. Maybe it’s the whole “don’t make an enemy out of him” deal or maybe something else is going on between them. They seem to have an obvious past since they know each other, but I wonder what went on to make Masaomi talk so differently around Izaya… or maybe he just talks like that to all his elders, who knows.

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Greatest scene of the episode. Even better than Izaya getting a trash can thrown at him.

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Looks like Simon has a bit of supernatural strength in him too. Of course not as much as Shizuo who seems to have rearranged Simon’s face by the end of the episode.

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Way to be the main character Mikado.

I really dislike weak main characters like Mikado. They just annoy me to death. I can only hope he mans up by the time this series is over. But at least he’s trying right? …Right?

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27 Comments

  1. iamTN
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I personally like the pacing of the series so far. There’s a lot of build up, but there’s enough excitement to keep each episode entertaining.

    For clashing of titans to be epic, I must feel like they are titans. Izaya and Shizuo are being built up as god-like beings. I’m willing to keep watching in hopes of seeing those two going at each uninterrupted.

    • Posted January 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      I admit the pacing isn’t bad (I thought this was going to be 12 episodes instead of 24 like others have mentioned). The thing about this episode was how we had this slow general pace up until the fight which came out of no where. It was like everything before that paled in comparison to that scene which made it quite forgettable. But I’m just rambling I guess.

  2. Amuro1X
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Mikado is weak (in the character sense) at all. The narration did a good job of pointing out that no matter where you are, you are still you, and he twice made the effort in this episode when he stood up and for the class rep job and took Anri’s hand and ran. Still, I thought it was hilarious that Anri was physically in better shape than Mikado. That part had me rolling when they were running and she effortlessly pulled ahead. Still, the mystery of this show has me enthralled.

    • Posted January 23, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, he did show effort on his part both times and of course, poor him, both events didn’t prove to give him any immediate rewards. Who knows, it’ll probably pay off in the long run. Anri must get a lot of exercise with all the running around that she does. >.>

  3. Posted January 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Mikado doesn’t really annoy me – he is trying bless him, but he can’t help but be overshadowed by larger than life characters like Izaya, Masaomi and Shizuo who just steal every scene they’re in.

    I’m also quite pleased with the pacing – sure there was no real plot progression in this episode, but it was great for introducing more elements and setting up plot points – this is a 24 episode mystery series afterall, it wouldnt be half as interesting if they started answering questions in episode 3!

    • Posted January 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      You’re right. I wasn’t aware that this was 24 episodes long as opposed to 12 episodes or 13. It’s just that I’d like to get a general impression of what I’m getting into by episode 2 or 3 hopefully, which is a good and bad thing I guess.

      Maybe it’s not really Mikado’s personality that’s bothering me, but how the show and most other anime treat characters like him. They try to hard to put out an effort but it usually just prolongs or complicate matters. Usually characters of his personality could be removed from a show and nothing would change. Mikado, of course, is an exception since he’s the main character and he has done a few things that were out of his way.

  4. Ryan A
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I think Mikado is trying to gauge things still, he doesn’t quite have his sea legs, but he wants to make it work… more or less, I think his story, is our (the viewers) story… we still don’t have the “know” like most of the characters.

    • Posted January 23, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      You make a good point there. Mikado is still a “foreigner” in a decent sense of the word in this very different land. It would make sense that he’s still unsure about things and is trying to find himself, but there still lies the innate problem that is his natural personality. Of course, he’s trying desperately to change himself and one can only hope we see some growth in him in the future.

  5. kwantum0
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I just love the OP for this series. Pure Adrenaline Rush.

    • Posted January 23, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Yeah it’s pretty awesome. It definitely fits the theme of the show quite nicely.

  6. Posted January 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Frankly, I can’t stand milquetoast protagonists, especially if they’re part of a more interesting ensemble cast. One way of overcoming that is to show things not just from the character’s perspective but also to show the character’s thoughts–this, in turn, could well make even an ineffectual character interesting. One should note that Japanese media’s fixation on the weak main character does say a lot about how they view their presumed audience. Hopefully, as some suggest, he may improve. This is only 3 episodes in a planned 24 episode series, though from a more critical perspective this means the ensemble main has gone through half a month’s worth of episodes without doing much.

    This, compared to other series with “softer” protagonists, seems to be an issue of pacing. Perhaps it’s due to the source material. After all, Brain’s Base managed to take a perspective-juggler like Baccano! and make it fun throughout. Come to think of it Baccano! had a much better OP and Durarara’s OP could be described as “Baccano!’s, but with crappier music.” (Even if Baccano!’s OP is just “Snatch, but quirkier.”)

    • Posted January 23, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      I don’t really have much of a problem with the OP and I think both fit the settings of each show. Of course, it felt like Baccano had twice as many characters to introduce than Durarara, but that’s an entirely different issue.

      One can only hope that the pacing will pick up soon. While episodes like this one are good and all, we’ll need more meat before we start to lose interest with this type of genre.

  7. Posted January 24, 2010 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    I have been spoiled on a very important part (or at least i think so, it seems big to me!) of the show and I can safely say that there is a reason why Mikado is the main character.

    • Posted January 24, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Oh, I had no doubt that he is the main character for a reason. But until I see that reason, his presence will continue to annoy me.

  8. ToastCrust
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I’ll have to be honest, so far, Mikado’s the only character that hasn’t made me yawn.

    He’s not a particularly novel character, mind you. The themes that comprise him right now are pretty straight forward, but I think they’re competent themes and the show’s done fine enough with it so far.

    And, to speak honestly, it’s because Mikado’s fairly plain and straight forward that I hold the most hope for him.

    Mind you, I’m also a person who feels the author (of Baccano! and Durarara!!) is sort a one-trick-pony (and perhaps I’m being really harsh when I say I don’t think the trick’s actually that great) whose only real achievement of note is managing enormous casts of really quirky and diverse characters, who’re nonetheless inevitably really flat.

    His stuff’s still pretty watchable though, but I wonder how much of that is Brain Base’s staffs’ talents.

    Regardless, Mikado (and maybe Anri) right now are the only ones I really hold any sort of expectation or hope of, in terms of ever actually becoming more than a maxim of stylish quriks. I have the sinking feeling the author totally hammed it up though, because of all the kids yelling about some spoiler.

    Finally, I should say I’m probably just uncharacteristically pessimistic about this author. Baccano! was a pretty traumatizing disappointment, heh. Not in being objectively bad, really, but in having all the pieces that could make a show really great, and then squandering it all with a plot that was ultimately really mediocre and didn’t do much–culminating into what basically was just a gallery showcase of how quirky the author could make characters be.

    • Shokkeru
      Posted January 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      I hope I’m understanding you correctly when I say this (and if I’m not then I apologize ahead of time), but Mikado has something that no other character in this show seems to have and that is the potential for growth. Since Mikado is such a plain character he is more easily subject to character development… where the weak boy becomes the mighty hero so to speak. And in the opposite side of the spectrum… let’s say Shizuo. If his character were to every “grow” or “change” it wouldn’t feel right in a sense. It wouldn’t be right to see his character go “Maybe I shouldn’t beat up every guy in my way” anymore. Maybe I’m just babbling nonsense, but I hope people understand what I’m trying to say here.

      As much as I loved Baccano! I have to admit it wasn’t so much for the story as much as it was for the individual characters and how they interacted with each other. I was more interested in the ties and relations between each individual or group of characters. The plot was only the means to put the characters together I guess.

      Durarara!! feels a little different from Baccano! so far it seems. It doesn’t seem to revolve around the same incidents from different perspectives. It feels more like it’s centered around Mikado and what he’s going through in the city. Of course, it’s still only episode 3 so it’s probably too early to make that judgment, especially without knowing the source material.

      • Posted October 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        that is a fantastic blog!!

  9. ExecutiveOtaku
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    This is surely the best series of the winter season. The action was quite fun, especially the laughable thug guy getting shown up. I wonder if his yellow hoodie was another IWGP reference, this show has made plenty of them so far, particularly in the first episode. More Simon is always good too, I think he’s my favorite character so far in his own understated way.

    Glad I’m not the only one who thought the previous episode was a little better. As much as I liked this one, the first two episodes felt ‘richer’ somehow.

    • Shokkeru
      Posted January 27, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      This is surely the best series of the winter season.

      I second that!

      • Posted October 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely, previous season was a classic too my man!!

  10. Serena
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe how no one commented on how hilarious the commentary is. This just made me laugh uncontrollably the whole way through.

  11. bryan tolson
    Posted November 24, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    i like the anime already

  12. Posted March 19, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    And, to speak honestly, it’s because Mikado’s fairly plain and straight forward that I hold the most hope for him.

    برنامج كاسبر
    2012

  13. Posted April 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I actually thought this was a really good episode

  14. Posted July 19, 2011 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    Love this anime. :)

  15. Posted August 24, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

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  16. Posted June 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I think Mikado is trying to gauge things still, he doesn’t quite have his sea legs, but he wants to make it work… more or less, I think his story, is our (the viewers) story… we still don’t have the “know” like most of the characters.

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