Home > Anime, Check-out Station > Check-out Station: Durarara (Love, it’s all about love.)

Check-out Station: Durarara (Love, it’s all about love.)

Looking back, this may be the best show I’ve watched this year.  Along with Baka to Test to Shokanju, Kimi ni Todoke and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I’ve consistently looked forward to each and every week of it.  This show did a wonderful job of blending a large and likable cast into an intricate and driving plot.  And it showed me some very interesting things like: you shouldn’t underestimate the power of social networking or teenagers; it’s okay to love a woman for her body and personality, but not necessarily her face; and you can’t EVER run away from your past.  Running away enslaves and may kill you.  Facing it makes you stronger.  And above all else, it’s all about love.  Love of any kind.

I started to get the hint when probably my least liked character of the series, Seiji Yagiri showed up to class and immediately left to look for somebody, somebody he was in love with.  He gave them the courtesy of knowing he wasn’t coming back, but he let them know what was important to him.  All throughout the series you see people grappling with their real world problems and dealing with them or coping with them through love. One of the most striking examples is the strange relationship between Celty and Shinra.  Celty is forever, she’s not human.  She’s called a Dullahan, but I suppose I can just call her a lost spirit.  She’s real enough to see, to touch to interact with the material world, but she doesn’t exist in the same way we do.  Shinra is infatuated with her.  He’s an underworld doctor, fixing up those who can’t go to a hospital for their injuries.  He had a hand in her arrival in Japan that made me question his intentions and loyalty towards her at first.  But over time he convinced me that he really is in love with this “woman.”  He doesn’t care that she doesn’t have a head or a voice.  He doesn’t care that she’s not technically human.  He doesn’t care that he’ll never be able to kiss her lips.  And without those things he truly understands her.  He finishes those typed out sentences for her.  He apologizes to her and doesn’t fear her despite her mysteries.  He tries to convince that she can live happily, no matter what.  What on the surface seems to be a strange relationship is in reality the most endearing, honest one of them all.

When it comes to twisted relationships and love, those are all over the place.  The relationship between Seiji Yagiri and Mika Harima disgusts me to no end.  It’s based on a falsehood and complacency.  But in the end, both sides seemed strangely happy.  As weird and dispicable as it is , I wouldn’t be surprised at its ability to endure.  And think that says something about love as well.  Honestly comfort can have a lot to do with it.  The doomed and one-sided ties between Seiji and his sister, Namie Yagiri, show a twisted love of family.  Not only does she apparently lust after him, she allows it to enable her to sponsor all sorts of illicit activities, none of which actually help her situation.

Even more strange is the love for humanity that the Slasher and Izaya share.  Though their love for humanity is similar, it is enacted quite differently.   The Slasher or more appropriately Saika, possesses the objects of her desire, while Izaya “merely” enjoys observing and manipulating their actions.  The meetin between them is quite interesting.  The meeting between them is quite interesting, somewhat like a meeting between two unrelated abusers, one repentant, one not.  While these loves seem twisted, they’re also quite natural.  Like the love of an over-possessive parent who wishes to control and nurture their child’s every move.  Or the love a child has of nature, manipulating wildlife and plants to see how they react to different circumstances and stimulants, no matter how cruel those methods are.  Did I mention I hate Izaya, but love him as a character as well.  Pay special attention when he shows up early in the series.  It speaks volumes.

And finally I’ll talk about the budding love between three friends.   One fearing loneliness, one fearing emptiness and normalcy, the other fearing love itself.  In a way, they all run away from love, but come to need it the most.  Masaomi Kida once had love, but fell into that “twisted love” trap that I’ve talked about.  He chose to run away from love and the past he found it in and embrace what was false and shallow.  It almost got him killed.  His best friend Mikado Ryugamine just wanted community and connections.  I think his story of love is still developing.  He needs to reach out and grab it, let more people know he wants it.  But even still he wields enormous potential for love.  Just see how far he’s come by the end of the season.  And finally Anri Sonohara, everyone wants love from her.  But she comes off as an empty shell devoid of love.  In all honesty, she may be the worst victim of that “twisted love” and it’s made her hesitant to embrace it again.  By the end of the show she wields enormous potential for love.  She even wields two different kinds of love.  And the more she controls it the more frightening and beautiful she becomes. There’s still much more love in this show to speak of, but that’s all I’ll cover for now.  I think those reading this will get the picture.  And there’s much more story to tell.  All of this is transient and there are many more mysteries to uncover and issues to resolve, but for now the incomplete picture is a beautiful one.  Durarara has been a pillar of quality and shining example of an unconventional love story.

Further Reading: For a more in depth and seasoned view of Durarara!! and its closest sibling Baccano!, check this out.

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