Shizuo Heiwajima doesn't like violence.... No, really he doesn't, as he's all too keen to point out as he gets his episode in the spotlight for the duration for Durarara!!'s seventh instalment.
The trouble is, not liking violence isn't much help when you have such a short temper that it compels you to do insanely violent things at the drop of a hat; something which clearly afflicted Shizuo from a young age, as we see him in his youth preparing to throw a refrigerator at his brother before his small body gives out under the weight. Indeed, for every act of disproportionate assault undertaken by young Shizuo it seems that something or other within his body would break, although these injuries only appear to have made him stronger every time until he reached the point we see today in modern Ikebukuro.
As we travel through Shizuo's history we get to learn more about his relationship with his brother (now a famous actor), as well as the source of his incredibly fractious relationship with Izaya which has clearly been going on for sometime. His friendship with Shinra and Celty also gets revealed here, thus tying some of the bonds between the various characters within the series yet further.
In a way, this particular episode of Durarara!! is actually a little difficult to talk about here, largely on account of Shizuo's narration. This isn't actually a criticism but rather a simple fact, as Heiwajima's narrative is as sparse as his usual conversational habits, keeping him well and truly in character. This means that the episode as a whole relies far more on the visual side of things to tell its story, illustrating Shizuo's mistakes, regrets, pain, love and anger with nary a word spoken. The way this is carried out is actually surprisingly effective in places, and it's illustrated best in the relationship between the two Heiwajima brothers, both of which hardly speak yet manage to convey the bond between them in every scene in which they both appear.
The sparse narrative also keeps plenty of mystery alive where required as well, particularly when it comes to Izaya and his motives - Does he simply taunt Shizuo for the fun of it, or is there something more to it than that? Knowing this series I'm going to hazard a guess at the latter, but either way although this instalment perhaps didn't hit the dizzy heights of the last episode it still proved to be hugely enjoyable, while also continuing this show's burgeoning tradition for offering us something pretty different in terms of content and style each week. Long may it continue as well, as Durarara!! remains one of the bright lights of this season.