Another doozy from Durarara … oh, and Hidamari Sketch 10

At first Duradura 11 appears to be one of the quieter episodes, but it soon veers gleefully out of control. Just the way I like it.

When I say “quiet” I don’t mean the opening parts were not tense. We get a meeting between Mikado and Namie over the whereabouts of Celty’s Head (which is a good a name as any for the girl). She arrives with goons and there’s a lot of terse talk. It really looks like a stupid plan. Namie considers Mikado to be a worm; she wouldn’t hesitate to do the same thing to him that she does to any other person who gets in her way. And she’s got goons. Meanwhile I was thinking “Isn’t it getting a little crowded in that part of the street?” Then the fun begins.

Mikado fights using numbers.

When Mikado said last episode that he had all the cards, he wasn’t lying. We learn later that HE “founded” the Dollars, mostly out boredom, curiosity and possibly lonliness, way back when he lived in the sticks. But we don’t really learn this until the second half of this episode. All we know is that the goons are stepping in, and Mikado is alone and defenseless … And then everyone’s cell phone goes off. It’s a beautiful moment, quiet with threat at first but then we hear beeps and chirps as one, two, dozens, hundreds of phones ring. At the same time we ask: how did Mikado get such authority?

Then, a treat for Baccano fans:

I like to think Namie is reacting to Isaac and Miria's appearance.

This makes perfect sense. In Baccano, Isaac and Miria were famous for (among other things) showing up when you least expected them to. This not only slapped a stupid grin on my face, but explained why everyone was there. It was a first meeting of the Dollars, arranged so that Mikado would come to no harm. Livening things up further (if such a thing is possible after Isaac and Miria have shown up) are the other regulars, watching from various points, including Celty’s Head, who are with the guys in the van? Durarara loves to throw us curveballs. Through all of it, Mikado goes from being a shy schoolboy to someone on the level of Eden of the East’s Akira, though with a less flashy cellphone.

But the crowd serves another purpose, one I don’t think anyone had anticipated. Celty meets her head, learns her name, then seems to change her mind. Maybe she realizes she’ll never have her head back. Maybe she’s just worn out from hiding it, but she uses the crowd to out herself as a monster, and along the way, beats up Namie’s goons. Celty’s dilemma is poignant, almost too much so for this series, but they usually find a way to mix it in.

Wow! Every couple of episodes Durarara gives us a doozy. Never mind that I can’t figure out what changed Celty’s Head’s mind about meeting Celty, though how she met Kyohei and his group is indeed explained. Like episodes 3 and 6, I don’t need to understand everything. I’m having too much fun just watching.

This is the second time I almost didn’t watch anything after Durarara, because nothing would top it, but some shows, like Hidamari Sketch, I can watch without having to think too much, just let it flow. Instead of two parts, episode 10 has one highly dramatic story about Yuno’s tragedy.

The horror.

So while their hapless landlord looks for a replacement key Yuno gets to sleep over at each girl’s apartment in turn, learning cute little things about each of them, and trying to get used to sharing beds.

It’s also one of the better episodes. Because there are five different girls each night’s visit is seen only briefly, before it can wear out its welcome, so to speak. And we learn that Sae stays up late working on her manga (actually, we already knew this), and Nazuna sleeps with a nite-lite. Good things to know.

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