Durarara!!SH, Vol. 3

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

Ryohgo Narita has always struck me as someone who pays closer attention to his fandom than most other authors. His books all interlink in ways that fans love, of course, but here we delve even more deeply into fandom culture. Sometimes you’re so into something that you lose all reason, and sometimes you hate the idea of something so much that you… well, lose all reason. Not so much two sides of the same coin as opposite edges of the same side. And then there’s our new main cast. Deliberately introducing three new high school students who fit very much into the exact same slots that Mikado, Masaomi and Anri did in the previous books, Narita shows us that Kuon has a long way to go in trying to be the next Izaya, mostly as he doesn’t understand how much of what Izaya did was off the cuff, dangerous, and unplanned. As for Yahiro, after praising him for being a nice guy in the previous book, I may have to walk that back a bit.

Remember the slasher plotline at the start of this series? It’s back, sort of, only with hammers. Someone is going around dressed as a character from popular franchise Owl of the Peeping Dead (not based on any real-life series, the author assures us) and hitting people with hammers. No one’s dying, but they’re getting hospitalized. Several people would like to see this stopped. Erika and Walker, who are offended that someone is destroying the reputation of a beloved series. Shizuo, who doesn’t really care until the attacker hits Tom, and then cares A WHOLE LOT. And Ran Izumii, who also hits guys he hates with a hammer, and is upset that someone is stealing his shtick. Hunting down this attacker… or, as it turns out, attackers… are Celty, as always, Yahiro, who’s nice and strong and also weird as hell, and Horada, who is comic relief.

So if Kuon is not Izaya, is he Masaomi? That fits him a little better, to be honest, especially the desire to have people hit him after they realize how involved he is in everything. Still, if you’re trying to be an expy of another character, perhaps don’t pick the only one of the trio so uninteresting he’s been written out? As for Yahiro, he overlays with Shizuo, of course. Certainly better than he does with Mikado, as Mikado is his polar opposite. That said, the last section of the book made me realize that Yahiro reminds me more than a little of Elmer from Baccano!. That’s that vague sense of ‘what the actual fuck?’ that comes across whenever you have to deal with Yahiro for a lengthy period, though it doesn’t help that Kuon’s actions are so contradictory to begin with. He’s certainly the most interesting of the new characters, especially since Himeka pretty much sits this book out.

Next volume promises the return of at least two of the original trio.. But till then let’s enjoy the chaos, and be relieved that DRRR!! can still inspire laughter and badass fighting.

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