First things first, I think that Andrew Cunningham’s post on this episode is a must-read, especially if you are interested in how this anime corresponds to the original novels. I am going to try as hard as I can to make this post not end up talking more about things other than Durarara than the show itself, lol.
Durarara!! episode 2 was like the Boogiepop and Others adaption I’ve always wanted. It’s not so surprising that there would be Boogiepop influence on this story – Boogiepop is like the grandfather of all the Faustian story authors (such as Otsu Ichi, NISIOISIN, Tatsuhiko Takimoto, and Kinoko Nasu) and as Andrew Cunningham points out in the comments of the above post, Ryougo Narita is no exception to the crowd. But this isn’t just an example of influence – this episode completely felt like a chapter of Boogiepop, through and through, perhaps even more so than the actual Boogiepop Phantom anime.
Boogiepop takes place in big city that is just like any other big city and is full of totally average people who have average problems. Boogiepop does everything in it’s power to fully develop these characters and understand their psychology, before putting them before completely and utterly unreal supernatural horrors. The character Boogiepop himself is a warrior of justice not unlike the Dullahan warrior from Durararararara (whom I made the connection to immediately in the first ep) and the Boogiepop world has people of a full range of knowledge, power, insanity, and goals, all acting their parts in the grand scheme of things more or less with no real grasp of the whole situation. The magic of the original Boogiepop novel was that no one narrator had any idea what was going on outside of their story, and Narita loves this technique as well, exemplifying it gloriously in Durarararararararaarara.
The Boogiepop universe can be very cruel or very passive on different people. Some will get caught up in a supernatural horror and die before they ever knew what was going on. Some will be changed forever by the encounters they have in the dark, and many will seek to find out the truth and wrap themselves in further. And some may just lightly brush up against the darkness and maybe not even recognize it. Durarararara features and example of the first type of encounter in it’s second episode. The featured protagonist was wrapped up in her own psychological issues that she thought were so dramatic and important, only to suddenly be twisted around the fingers of Orihara Izaya and the Dullahan rider – beings of the dark that she might never have thought existed, never looking outside of her dense personal bubble. And upon tearing her world asunder in a moment, the forces leave her to go be insane somewhere else, and she doesn’t even know what the fuck.
Pontifus points out how there is this ‘interstice’ between what we consider real-life and what is urban mythology. In our society, we fear almost everything, don’t we? We think that there are so many huge external forces out there in the world, but the chances of ourselves or the people we know being taken by the darkness is so thin that the ideas about a dark world become overblown and unreasonable. What’s more, if something crazy happened right next to us, in our doubt of the reality of such things, we may not even recognize it as what it is. This is how we can still trust these myths to be true – we can’t see them, and we know we won’t, so we can still believe that they are lurking somewhere.
All of the girls at school had heard of Boogiepop just like all of the people in town have heard of the Dullahan, even if few have seen them, and no one knows how much about them is true. Meanwhile, forces like Spooky E. of Boogiepop or Izaya of Durara operate in the shadows and take people down without the world ever being the wiser. It makes you feel as though anything can happen, even if you never would have thought it could.
I think the biggest difference between Narita’s storytelling and Kadono of Boogiepop’s storytelling is that Narita likes to put his big supernatural forces more ‘out there.’ In Boogiepop, the closest thing to a major force being commonly known is Kirima Nagi, whom everyone sees as a crazy delinquent, but still doesn’t know to what extent she is operating behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Narita has characters like just about everyone except for Rail Tracer in Baccano! and those such as Heiwajima Shizuo or to an extent the Dullahan in Durarararararararararararararararararararararara and probably some more as we go along whom pretty much everyone has heard of, in spite of them being forces of nature more than people.
Anyway, I wanted to try and make this actually a Durarara! post and not a Boogiepop and general Faust one (less because I didn’t want the post to go that way, and more because no one ever knows what the fuck I’m talking about when I bring up Faust) but I’m just too excited to be getting something like this. I think this is kind of what I wanted Bakemonogatari to be more like or something, and maybe when I’ve finished Durarara! I’ll be able to enjoy Bakemono more easily. Anyway, I love the show.
Durararararararararararararararararararararararararararara jokes courtesy of Arararararararararararararagi.