“Love and hate are like two brothers who go on a date.”
That line’s from Avenue Q, the awesome Broadway play that ravages your childhood memories of Sesame Street and turns them into cynical pop culture fodder. It also pretty much describes the relationship between Izaya and Shizuo in Durarara.
Two people don’t just hate each other to the extent that these two dudes do without some reason. That reason doesn’t have to be some lengthy, lame ass back story or anything, and thankfully Durarara realizes this and goes for that when it comes to Izaya and Shizuo. These two hate each other from the get-go. They meet, they try to kill each other, and a life-long bond is born. I love these sorts of “relationships” where both individuals loathe each other with every fiber of their being, and I especially love it when said hatred is purely irrational. It takes that “I don’t like the look of that guy” feeling you get every now and then from people you’ve just met and turns it into dramatic fodder. You wish you could just send a hit squad against that dude that sits in the opposite cubicle that just started working today, since you don’t care for the way he narrowed his eyes at you when you shook hands this morning, but you can’t. Real life doesn’t work that way, unfortunately, so you have to settle for living vicariously through Izaya and Shizuo’s eternal tussle.
And like I said, I love the irrationality of it. Izaya loves to manipulate people and he seems to enjoy doing it to Shizuo the most. It doesn’t make sense that someone’d want to piss off someone that can hurl public property at you with deadly velocity, but it wouldn’t be as cool if it did make sense. At the same time it doesn’t make sense for a little elementary school kid to kick the collective asses of a yakuza gang harassing a neighborhood convenience store, and again it wouldn’t be as cool if they wasted our time explaining it away.
Because of the irrational nature of the events taking place in Durarara, the idea I tossed out a few weeks ago about this being some sort of modern take on mythology is gelling together nicely. Shizuo has “proven” himself to be the mythological hero that I expected him to be. He was born this way, as if a god descended from the heavens, sired him, then set him loose on the world to break shit in that god’s honor. The same goes with Izaya. He acts the way he acts because he enjoys it. We haven’t seen any hint of a master plan or whatever. All we’ve seen is a bunch of illogical button-pushing and emotional manipulation all for the sake of appeasing his twisted sense of humor.
I’d love to see Izaya and Kafuka from Zetsubou Sensei hook up and wreak havoc across the globe. It’d be a wonderful sight.
I also dig these sorts of “relationships” in fiction because they blur the lines between love and hate. While it’s just as easy to view these situations as a case of unadulterated hatred, you can also see it as people acting irrationally when they can’t express their feelings in a coherent manner. If you really despised someone, would you really go to these extents to antagonize them? If you felt so strongly that you had to take that other person down, wouldn’t you do it from afar? Would you really go out of your way to face the dude one-on-one? Do you really want to be around that guy for that much time if you despised him with all of your might?
Isn’t it kind of like that little boy that pulls on the pigtails of the girl he likes in kindergarten? He doesn’t have the maturity and experience to say “hey, I like you.” All he knows is that she isn’t going to pay attention to him if he tries to talk to her the way he talks to his buddies. But if he yanks on her hair hard enough she’ll turn around and pay attention to him. She may also turn around and slug him, but that’s OK. It’s just as easy to interpret this sort of “I hate you and want to be around you all the time to express that hatred” situations as inexpressible love.
If you’re into that sort of thing. I prefer punching because you want to punch shit over punching because you’re in love. But that’s just me. I’m weird like that.