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The Anything-Goes School of Doctorial Arts Super Secret Head-Stealing Technique

April 17, 2010

Shinra’s dad, Shingen, is the coolest character in Durarara! Cooler than Celty. Cooler than Izaya. Even cooler than Simon and Shizuo.

He rocks because he’s a brazen coward amongst a sea of badass mo-fos.

But his cowardice is truly “epic.” He’s Genma Saotome-level cowardly. He’s turned being a chickenshit into a weapon. Genma from Ranma 1/2 mastered a style of martial arts that was completely based around using every little advantage to cheat, swindle, bribe, and beg your opponent into “submission.” Hit him while he isn’t looking, run away while he isn’t looking, beg him to not kill you when all else failed. That’s the way of the Anything-Goes School of Martial Arts.

Shingen’s style is a perfect companion to Genma’s. He lies and steals. He waits for you to turn your back or waits for you to be sufficiently distracted and then takes what he wants or runs away. He depends on the strength of others to back him up when he spouts too much shit. He begs and pleads for his safety when all else fails and he’s about ready to get his ass kicked. He’s everything that every other character in the series isn’t (Save his bastard son, Shinra.), and his presence makes for an amusing contrast to everyone else’s twinked-out levels of power and cool.

At the same time, his cowardice puts him on their level. Because he’s so mastered the art of backstabbing and deception, he’s become his own brand of badass motherfucker. He just does his motherfucking while you aren’t looking.

All he needs to do is fall into a spring of drowned panda neko or something like that and he’ll be on Genma’s level of awesomeness.

As for the actual episode, it didn’t irk me nearly as much as last week’s. We’re starting to see a shift in the story. They’re following up on Izaya’s proclamation about wars and Valkyries and all that cool stuff. Basically, this week’s episode gave me what I was hoping I’d get last week. Last week’s episode felt like a lost episode from the first half of the series that got lost in the shuffle, while this one felt like the beginning of the second half of the series. Hopefully there’ll be some real payoff at the end of this half, unlike the first half’s underwhelming finale.

By the way, there was an awesome Ranma 1/2 OAV that got fansubbed a few weeks ago. It didn’t warrant its own blog post, since there’s only so much that can be said about an episode of Ranma, but I’ll go all fanboy here.

The damn thing was damn brilliant. It followed the Ranma formula perfectly: Happosai does some shit and tries to steal panties. Ranma kicks his ass. Happosai tries to get revenge and ends up screwing over Akane. Blahblahblah Akane ends up sleepwalking/sleepfighting and kicks everyone’s ass that tries to get near her. Wacky Ranma hijinks ensue. Every significant character (Minus The Golden Pair, which sucked, but I guess they aren’t “supporting” enough to show up.) has their little moment in the spotlight. Then it all ends in the typical anticlimactic Ranma style with Kasumi waking Akane up just by saying “Hey, Akane wake up,” thus proving that Kasumi is the ultimate Ranma 1/2 badass.

That’s about it. Just some awesome fanservice for those of us who love Ranma 1/2. It was everything awesome about the series distilled into 30 minutes of bliss.

There was a short skit at the beginning of the episode where various characters from other Rumiko Takahashi series appeared together. Ataru from Urusei Yatsura tried to molest Kagome from Inu Yasha and Ranma in girl-form. This pisses off everyone. Inu Yasha, Ranma, and Lum end up killing Ataru. The End.

It was cool and all, but there was a distinct lack of everything else Rumiko Takahashi. The only Maison Ikkoku reference was the Piyo-Piyo chick from Kyoko’s apron, and it only appeared in the opening credits. No Godai, no Kyoko, no one from Maison Ikkoku. That sucked, since Ikkoku’s easily her best series. It also kinda sucked that none of her other stuff appeared. Would have been awesome to see the boxer and nun from One Pound Gospel or something like that.

And it would have been awesomer if Shingen came along and, like, cut off Shampoo’s head while she wasn’t looking. Because he’s a sneaky bastard like that.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2010 4:27 PM

    I’m enjoying Shingen a lot more than I thought I would, too. What’s most impressive is that his cowardice and massive ego are seemingly real, but also that his cunning is also real. He plays Celty like a fiddle and gets her to fall in line with Izaya’s plans for her, and he also plays it off like he’s just being a goofy old fart so that Shinra won’t be too suspicious. As much of a weenie as he is, he can be a pretty dangerous weenie.

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