Home > Durarara!!, Episode Reviews > Durarara!! Episode 23 – Thousand Yard Stare

Durarara!! Episode 23 – Thousand Yard Stare

One of the disadvantages of serial storytelling is that there’s not always a clear delineation of episodes. Especially when the story is itself adapted from a medium which isn’t episodic in nature, like a novel. This has frequently been a problem in Durarara!!, but there’s so much to talk about that it hasn’t really been a problem.

This is an episode that doesn’t really stand on its own. It begins with the event that the previous episode ended with, Celty going to Mikado to bring him to Anri, and sets up what is certain to be an explosive first 5 minutes of the finale, but it doesn’t stand alone on its own right, with one big exception.

I'm not sure how well this plays on such a small image, but that is inarguably Colonel Sanders on the billboard on the right

Masaomi’s struggles, about his regret for not saving his middle school girlfriend after she was kidnapped because of his position in the Yellow Scarves, aren’t as interesting of those of his friends. I think it has something to do with not being able to relate to his past as much as I can with Anri and Mikado.

I mean, I can relate to being stuck in a dull life and wanting to escape to a place more exotic and full of adventure (I grew up in the suburbs, after all), and I can relate to shutting myself off from interpersonal interaction after killing my abusive father with a sentient sword that has possessed my body and wants to spread its love for humanity by cutting it. Well, maybe not, but I can relate to closing yourself off to other people and realizing, too late, what you’ve missed out on.

Shizuo walks to Shinra's apartment after being shot in the guts BECAUSE HE CAN

But I’ve never failed at something big, something important. Something so fundamentally earth-shattering as to cause the existential crisis that has plagued Masaomi for the past two years.

Maybe I need to have done that, to have passed that milestone to maturity, in order to get Masaomi’s story. I think, for the most part, I’m just frustrated with how it is resolved in this episode.

The thing Masaomi has been beating himself up for is that he wasn’t able to swoop in and save the day, like the manga heroes who influenced his starting the Yellow Scarves would have. In the end, he was just another middle schooler, who did what anyone else would have done in that situation: get scared out of his mind and freeze up.

Horada is pretty confident about his ability to take on the cops, for about two seconds. Then he just gets desperate

In a more serious show, this would be an opportunity for character growth, for him to learn that, while he can idolize action heroes all he wants, real life doesn’t work that way, and learn to accept it. This realization could spur some genuine growth: he could accept and make his peace with the past, while understanding that he won’t ever be able to truly be free of it. He could grow up in a different way from what happened when he realized that his own pride and hubris was the reason his girlfriend was being horribly tortured.

But this is Durarara!!, where headless Celtic motorcyclists and superhuman ex-bartenders prowl the streets. The impossible isn’t just possible, you can be friends with it. Maybe the moment wouldn’t be out of place (for all its wacky antics, Durarara!! also delves into seriousness, albeit indirectly), but it wouldn’t fit the badass style of the story.

It's not quite Bruce Lee bad, but the Yellow Scarves are pretty insistent on attacking Masaomi in small groups, to their constant detriment

So Masaomi resolves his issues with the past the only way a proper action hero can: by facing it head-on in suicidal confrontation. For Horada and the former Blue Scarves have taken over the Yellow Scarves, and put out a call for Masaomi’s death. So he walks straight into their base, with a death wish, fully willing to put his past behind him, by going down swinging.

It is pretty badass, I will admit. But, in the middle of so much other larger than life heroism, I was enjoying the story of someone who was only human, and very conscious of that. It grounded the show in a way that simply putting the fairy of impending death in a stable, if weird, relationship didn’t.

Anri cuts through the warehouse door in two slashes

I’m far more interested in his friends, who risk their lives to save him, even though he’s been a bit of a dick lately, inadvertently trying to destroy everything they hold dear. Especially Mikado, whose only strengths, martially-speaking, are being anonymous and commanding an equally anonymous army. Rushing into the home of the people trying to kill you is a bold move, even if he is doing it on the back of Celty’s shadow fairy horsecycle.

I’m think I’m being so down on this episode because I’m so eagerly anticipating the finale, and this isn’t it. It doesn’t reunite the friends, or resolve the matter of Izaya’s sinister dealings behind the scenes. That’s what I’m waiting for, but they’re saving that for the finale. Which is currently sitting there, taunting me.

Three Friends: united at last? CLIFFHANGER

I’m going to go watch it now.

You can watch it here, as of 7/2.

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