I sometimes (too often) use the metaphor of moving pieces around when taking about a particular episode’s story line. In Durarara!! 21 I get to have Izaya do it for me, as friction rises between the factions and he laughs with delight.
Anri, in spite of entreaties from Celty, blames herself for the escalating violence between the Yellow Scarves and the Dollars. She takes action, using her people to intervene when Dollars are attacked. Yellow Scarves members turning on each other during a fight naturally raises the ire of the rest of the group, not to mention Masaome, who puts two and two together and realizes Anri’s involved, somehow. Naturally this puts him in a funk. His two best friends are part of the conflict, and on the other side of it. On the other hand, Anri knows about Masaome, but acts anyway, though she’s doing it to stop the hurting of innocent people. Masaome seems frozen right now (ironic), and in spite of his orders not to start fights, his people are doing so freely.
The one who’s really out of the loop is Mikado. Ironic: his group depends on sophisticated communication technology yet he’s the one who knows the least. This cuts him off from his suddenly busy best friends, and makes him feel powerless and alone. Many Dollars members plan to quit or want him to act, but there’s nothing he can do. Since no one except Izaya and Celty know he’s the leader, he can’t turn to anyone. It’s sad to see him like this when ten episodes ago he used the Dollars to take bold action against Namie and her goons. The other characters make occasional appearances but mainly stand to the side, Kyohei listens to Mikado, Seiji, of all people, gives him love advice, but it looks like he’ll have to do something on his own.
Meanwhile I’m thinking that while the show is still fascinating, it’s lost some of its fun. The stakes are higher now, and no one is enjoying themselves anymore, except for Izaya, the last person on this show you want to see smiling.
At least Durarara!! makes some kind of sense. Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou 10 has weirdness piled upon weirdness. After a while I stopped trying to make sense of it and just decided to roll with it.
Here’s what I can figure out. Monster after monster is loose and are, er, monstering around the school, and everyone blames Akuto and wants to kill him, for various reasons. Some are doing it because he’s a demon lord, others because they want his power. Meanwhile, Akuto has unleashed these things because he’s trying to protect Keena, or so he says. He confronts various enemies (Yamato) and friends (Hiroshi/Brave, Junko) who can’t make out their mixed feelings about stopping someone who’s been their friend, especially Junko, who’s in love with him. They even throw in a spiritual/sociological discussion or two; the current systems battle believe in gods, and because of these gods they can’t free themselves. Akuto announces he’ll just kill God and free everybody. It was really strange to hear this kind of talk in a show like this.
But weirdness prevails. First there are the intrigues between factions going on. Eiko murders her father to take over and along with some guy codenamed 2-V, tries to manipulate the action. Junko receives some super-sword. Yamato is stopped at the demon’s lair by the school Headmaster, who has barely made an appearance before. The flying battleship is commanded by a Macross wanabee. Some characters named “rubbers” show up to fight. And lets not forget TWO ninja armies. The entire thing is being broadcast and shown on jumbotrons. All the little weird things that occurred earlier in the series have reappeared all at once! It feels like a finale, but there’s two episodes to go yet. I have a feeling anything after this is going to feel like an anticlimax, in terms of one damn thing after another.