Each character plays a part in Ikebukuro, which itself is nothing more than a conglomeration of many selves, hitting and pinging off of one another in a seemingly endless, and intricate pattern. Every character, from the Russian Sushi Chef to the introverted Student Council Representative, seems to be on a search for some sense of completeness and connectedness that may already exist below the surface of their understanding. All of these characters express a heartfelt (and sometimes misdirected) desire to belong to something, and many, like the "main" character, Mikado Ryugamine, actively create that "something" through their actions and interactions.
It turns out, in a mid-season reveal,that Mikado is the accidental and anonymous leader of the Dollars, the "gang" of the moment that actually is more of an anti-gang, seeking out ways to act for the greater good instead of self satisfaction. His need for belonging stemming from his isolation (he is without family, and introverted) helps him create virtual connections in an online community. The numbers of Dollars swell beyond his expectations as more and more people join this "unband" of outsiders and misfits. Although they have been a latent gang (of sorts), Mikado calls on them for the first time in an attempt to assist Celty in her quest. Even he is impressed by the turn-out.
Other characters, like the siblings Shizuo Heiwajima (a self-proclaimed peace-loving man who seems anything but that when he resorts to ridiculous shows of violence)and Kasuka Heiwajima (a professional actor on the rise), keep a distance from one another despite their strong brotherly bonds, in order to assist the other in achieving their goals, and only reveal their connections in subtexts and secrecy. Other less pristine relationships like the one between Doctor and Pharmaceutical Director, Namie Yagiri and her disturbingly obsessed brother, Seiji Yagiri, have a more troubling relationship in which the co-dependency is pushed to its irrational, and disturbing, limits out of a twisted response to childhood loneliness and desperation.
Lovers like Celty and Shinra Kishitani (her old friend and current roommate) deepen their connection to one another, finding in each other someone who accepts their limitations without question (they are adorable in their sweet, simple friendship and stilted infatuation). They all struggle, in positive and negative ways, for completeness. Celty herself serves as a character who, quite literally, embodies this desire for completeness in her continuing search for her head and the memories she believes it may contain.
Out in the city it isn't only people, but incidents that become intertwined. A rash of disappearances is connected with gang activity, medical testing and even, in a rather disheartening way, with Celty's missing head. Good news everyone, Celty's head has been found…unfortunately, attached to the body of a murdered girl (one of Mikado's classmates who has gone missing—she was Seiji’s stalker and he killed her when she discovered Celty's head in a jar by his bed) by Namie Yagiri in order to satiate her little brother Seiji's obsession (I did say they had a disturbingly twisted relationship) with said head and serve as a "love gift" of sorts. Bleh. Poor Celty's head attached to that stupid girl's body. I hope Celty gets her noggin back; headlessness must be frustrating.
|I love this picture of Celty and the Good Doctor Shinra|
by deviantArt artist YukiYijiKusakabe.
She's captured the sweetness of his devotion to Celty,
regardless of her "incomplete" state.
Most of me wonders if I'm really just watching this series to see if Celty gets her head/memories back. I might be, but I'm also watching to see the connections play out. As I wrote in my earlier Durarara!: First Impressions post, this series has an insane number of characters who each tells/sees/experiences only part of the whole story of Ikebukuro and its residents. I like the complexity of the interwoven plots, and I hope that by the end of this series more mysteries and connections are revealed. Until then, it is on Adult Swim on Saturday nights. Check it out (try not to get confused).