Durarara!!, Vol. 10

By Ryohgo Narita and Suzuhito Yasuda. Released in Japan by ASCII Mediaworks. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Stephen Paul.

I had assumed that this would be another of those “all the plot guns fire off at once” volumes, but I was wrong. Indeed, Narita suggests he’s saving everything for the endgame, which is coming up soon. That is not to say that what’s in this volume is without interest. For one thing, we’re introduced to a new Big Bad, who not only lets all the Yodogiri Jinnais (yes, multiple) get crushed, but also gets to crush Izaya as well, something that always pleases me. What’s more, she seems to have a Saika’s power. This makes THREE independently running Saikas who can control people, as we have Anri, Haruna Niekawa (whose absence from her family life is a large plot point here as well), and now Kujiragi, the cliched “secretary secretly running everything behind the scenes”, who is also apparently older than she seems. She also has a fondness for cat puns. She’s a cool new character.

Thought Erika and Walker are hamming it up, Kadota’s presence on the cover is no accident, though it’s his absence that drives most of the plot. What’s been happening in Ikebukuro lately has been like a grenade about to go off, and the two things that stop it going off are Shizuo (because of sheer physical strength) and Kadota (because he’s the Only Sane Man in this entire series). So when Kadota is hospitalized by a passing mystery car, and Shizuo is arrested by cops for… well, they’ll think of some crime or another… all hell is ready to break loose. That said, it’s made clear in their scenes together that Erika is on a more even keel whenever she’s with Anri. She may be a fangirl of Anri’s supernatural powers, but she also knows that Anri needs a big sister, and when she fulfills that role she can avoid running around town threatening everyone with a car and a motive, the way Walker and Togusa do.

It’s been a while since we checked in on the three ‘main’ cast members (though, as always, Narita insists the star of Durarara!! is Celty). Mikado continues his downward slide, though at least we see he hasn’t gone full villain when he gets totally terrified on meeting Akabayashi. It’s hard to sympathize with Mikado, and I get the feeling that if he admits that he’s doing this so that he can feel excitement and be “special”, he’ll have lost. So he blunders on, not really caring that Aoba is just using him. Masaomi seems to be thinking that the best way to get through to Mikado is to kick the crap out of him till he’s a sweet boy again, and has mobilized the Yellow Squares to do this. As for Anri, all she wants is for things to go back to where they were so the three of them can have their talk. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen, and I suspect the presence of two other Saikas will goad her into more definitive action next time.

So the pot is still simmering, but the stew inside it is smelling even more delicious. DRRR!! proper ends with the 13th book (please don’t ask about SH yet, I beg of you), so we’ll see how much more setup can be forced in before Narita simply has to serve it all up.

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