Thursday, 30 September 2010

Durarara!! - Episode 12.5

Despite its somewhat disappointing ending, it still almost goes without saying that you can't have too much Durarara!! - if nothing else it knows how to tell a story and make it entertaining to boot, so the prospect of additional one-off episodes certainly isn't something to be sneered at.  Such a one-shot offering is exactly what we get here, and although the episode number denotes perfectly well where it fits within the show's wider continuity, to be honest it really doesn't matter all that much.

With no particular need to worry about the intricacies of on-going plot points, episode 12.5 of Durarara is free to play with its story-telling devices to its heart content, and this is does with the aplomb you'd expect of this series, kicking off with some UFOs trailing across the sky (at least, that's what narrator for the episode Walker would have us belief), before slowly taking us back through the prior escapades that led to this incident little by little Memento-style.

Anri's disappointment from losing to Mikado at playing noughts and crosses on Kida's face is palpable
The escapades in question centre around a number of red bags, all containing very different contents, but of course the coincidental similarity of these bags appearance means that chaos soon ensues as everyone ends up chasing pretty much everyone else like some kind of madcap gangster movie.  In reality, the contents of these bags are pretty much superfluous to the story, but it does give us a chance to hang out with all of the usual cast of characters, with Selty racing around at the centrepiece of much of the shenanigans while Kida drags his friends to a non-existent summer festival but still ends up having a ball anyway.  Throw in Shizuo being his usual agreeable self (while also getting the best scene of the episode via his efforts to shake a ne'er-do-well out of a tree) and of course Walker and Erika getting over-excited about aliens (complete with Men in Black references, and was that a nod to Asobi ni Ikuyo I heard too?), and what more could you ask for?

While this instalment could never really hope to be as memorable as some of the show's "proper" episodes (it is just a bonus outing after all), it did at least display Durarara's trademark ability to tell a story in a fun and compelling way that allows its writers to enjoy themselves without becoming overly self-indulgent.  The whole "backwards story-telling" idea certainly isn't new or fresh these days, but it was deployed to good effect here and actually spices up what would otherwise have been a less interesting story I would wager.  You could argue that a lot of the show's main characters really didn't get to do much beyond playing a small part in keeping things moving, but again this is more due to the nature of the episode rather than a fault in its efforts to my mind so I can't fault it for that either.  If nothing else, this whole episode just served to remind me that another season of Durarara would be a welcome one in my book.

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