Kimi ni Todoke 21, Durarara 9, Letter Bee 20

Kimi ni Todoke 21 works a little differently than most episodes. Instead of splitting things up between one character and another, one situation or other, this one devotes all but a minute or two to Yoshida on one single evening. I was surprised that they compressed so much of her closure over Tooru into one episode, and it’s executed well to boot.

Tooru unexpectedly returns and walks around with Yoshida, recalling their times growing up together. For a while, Yoshida says next to nothing, so flabbergasted is she by his memory of things she cherished, half a meat bun, where Ryuu made her cry, looking at stag beetles at three in the morning. Besides, what can she say? What she really wants to say is that she loves him, but it’s pretty pointless to say that now that he’s engaged to someone else.

She also wants to congratulate him. She actually does both. Tooru intentionally misinterprets the confession. It’s clear throughout that he’s aware of her feelings, and his goal on this night is to give her some reassurance and possibly some closure. I must say it’s damn decent of him to do this for her.

Ryuu's turn to comfort Yoshida.

So it’s a bit of a shock to learn that it’s mean old Ryuu who set this whole thing up, and that Tooru was all for it because of the reasons I mentioned above, but also because Tooru would love to see Ryuu and Yoshida get together. And now that Tooru is gone again, it’s Ryuu that she can turn to.

I’m not sure what to say about Durarara 9. I was going to say I was getting a little tired of introspective, backstory episodes, but then stuff started to happen. What we do get by the end is potential pain for everyone involved.

Reflected head #1

We see two forms of twisted love. Namie, who’s in charge of nabbing people to do experiments on, loves her younger brother Seiji far too much, to the point where when he goes without contact for a few hours she orders Izaya to locate him. And Seiji isn’t exactly sane, either, with his obsession with Selty’s head, and killing a stalker (Harima!). Leading to a sick series of events: Selty’s head on Harima’s body.

Reflected head #2

But we had pretty much guessed this, maybe not the details, but who’s head was on who’s body. So while it’s nice to get confirmation, this by itself wouldn’t add up to an interesting episode, except that Seiji, on the run with Selty’s head/Harima’s body (what should I call her?), catches Selty’s eye, or whatever she uses now, and the shit hits the fan. I think the saddest moment is that the girl freaks when she sees Selty. I had expected a friendlier response. And this leads to another dilemma, voiced by Shinra. What is Selty going to do if she ever does get a hold of the girl? Would she cut off the head? It has a life of its own, now. Poor Selty has no answer to this.

Well, it’s a good sequence of scenes, with Shizuo, Selty, Seiji and eventually Mikado all getting involved. Durarara’s at its strongest when it tosses characters in and out, seemingly at random. And besides the plot turns the episode accomplishes, I’m wondering what Selty’s head’s motivation is in all of this. She seems to be on the run from just about everyone, except maybe Seiji, and the last thing I want is to see them reunited.

Letter Bee 20 isn’t bad in terms of the plot, but the motivations confused the heck out of me. First they set up that Zazie is too gung-ho about killing gaichuu, and treats the letters he has sworn to protect too lightly. He’s even injured by a gaichuu when he takes a shorter but much more perilous delivery route. So I thought it would be a story about that. They even set up two clumsy exposition scenes to establish it, and honestly, what was the point of the scene with Connor explaining away, then running off mid-exposition, only to follow with another exposition scene where we get the rest of the story?

Someone has to go off and retrieve the letters Zazie lost when he was injured. For some reason, Lag gets it in his head that “abandoning” the letters, even though Zazie was injured, is a bad thing. Maybe Zazie couldn’t find them? And wouldn’t a human life be more important, anyway? And would gung-ho Zazie really be such a coward? What the hell is Lag thinking? Well, naturally Lag goes off to retrieve them, and Zazie sneaks out of sickbay to help. We get the “Fire the gun and see the flashbacks to see what he was really up to” cliché, and it simply isn’t needed. We don’t need to know why the letters were left out there. Besides, Zazie’s assistance in killing the Gaichuu (which needs two simultaneous shots to kill it) should demonstrate his bravery.

A shame, because the actual battle is a pretty good one, with the more formidable monster and lots of fluid action. I just wish the rest of the episode had lived up to it.

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