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Durarara!! Episode 17

May 7, 2010

After revealing the true face of Saika last episode, this latest instalment of Durarara!! was only ever going to focus on a couple of things – Anri’s face-off with Haruna Niekawa, and Shizuo’s new-found “acceptance” of his violent self. In the latter of these two scenarios, we see Shizuo unleash his full power upon Haruna’s “children”, with cartoonishly devastating yet surprisingly non-lethal violence the order of the day as he fights off the horde who want to “love” him, while it appears that cutting him will have no impact upon his own mental well-being, which could suggest that he holds love for nobody.Meanwhile, Anri shows herself as the true face of Saika, and in the process reveals the story of her past, which rather predictably takes in a violent and dysfunctional family where Anri’s life was only saved by her mother’s love for her as expressed through Saika’s blade (although how that blade came to be in her possession I have no idea). Thanks to Anri’s love-shy nature, she continues to control herself even in Saika’s grip, and when her requests for Haruna to call off her “children” fall on deaf ears then she takes matters into her own hands, restoring normality but in the process taking command of a silent army of “slashers” who it appears she will be capable of calling upon at any time.

Of course, this entire state of affairs falls perfectly into the hands of Izaya – With Mikado calling the Dollars to his aid to find out about the Slasher, Masaomi finding himself forced into taking his place at the head of the Yellow Scarves again for a similar reason and Anri vowing to protect her relative every-day normality, he now has three factions he can play off against one another to create the “war” that he craves. Perhaps the only factor he can’t account for is Anri’s emotional state, which appears to be subtly shifting away from that of a self-confessed “parasite” into a more well-rounded human being, while both Shizou and Selty could prove to throw proverbial spanners into the works.

Although this episode wasn’t exactly as high octane as it might have been, and similarly it didn’t quite surprise as its plot went on its relatively predictable way as much as I maybe expected, it offered up a pretty solid way of finishing up this particular story arc while laying the foundations effectively for what is to come, as our focus shifts towards Kida and his own past next episode. As has been the case throughout this series, the inter-relationships between various characters are being built-up expertly, and this alone is intriguing enough to keep Durarara!! ticking along nicely. It still isn’t quite grabbing me in the same way that the first half of the series did, but regardless it remains very much a fascinating and entertaining piece of work.

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