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Durarara!! Vol. #12 Light Novel Review

4 min read
This narrowly confined chaos manages to hold together against all odds, a cacophony of desires searching for closure.
Durarara!! Vol. #12

Night of the living dead, Ikebukuro style.

Creative Staff
Story: Ryohgo Narita
Art: Suzuhito Yasuda
Translation/Adaptation: Stephen Paul

What They Say
Can a monster protect anyone?
Ikebukuro is falling apart. Kujiragi uses Saika to subjugate Shinra, and when the Headless Rider witnesses this, the dullahan becomes a true monster. Masaomi’s old enemy Ran Izumii reappears and attacks him. Meanwhile, Saki visits Anri to find out how she feels about Masaomi. Kadota disappears from his hospital room, Celty’s head is in someone else’s hands, and Shizuo finally comes face-to-face with the one he hates the most…In the midst of all the chaos, what kind of power has Mikado seized-and how does he intend to use it?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Heading into this finale for the main Durarara story the narrative is juggling the fates of more characters than you can count. Keeping everyone straight between releases is a challenge, and one the author knew might be tricky for even dedicated readers. Thankfully, he included a prolog where a reporter breaks down every key player and the stakes involved for all of them heading into this closing showdown.

With so many different motivations driving the action the story remains chaotic. The main conflicts of Celty rescuing Shinra, Mikado’s broken friendship with Kida and Anri, and Izaya and Shizuo’s hatred for each other and still driving that plot. Those are the stories that we’ve been following the longest and the ones that have the most emotional baggage attached. Everything else occurring around those three incidents are more frantic, dangerous, and self-serving. Not a single character in this story shares the same goals.

Those goals lead to some of the most frantic action the series has seen. Kida’s knock-down fight in the parking garage is the longest scene in this volume but not the most interesting. He’s saved by an unlikely ally, but it still feels like he didn’t quite know what he wanted. Shizuo’s mad dash to reach Celty at the request of her steed puts him in place for the epic clash between him and Izaya. Shizuo’s barely contained rage and insane feats of strength have always been a great joy to watch and this volume is no different.

Somehow, Narita manages to keep this monster of a story he created under control. The story moves forward at a breakneck pace with not a single thread dropped. Even the story seems to muse on the fact that the tensest moment of the entire volume isn’t a falling piece of heavy machinery or a massive black fairy shadow covering the neighborhood, it’s a high school student in Japan being given a handgun.

That doesn’t mean that this volume is free of issues though. The enormous cast is confusing to keep track of even with the recap. Shifting alliances and an ever-expanding army of Saika infected humans left me wondering who hadn’t been affected by the cursed blade.

The event which threw everything into chaos, the hit-and-run of Kadota, is still unsolved. It’s interesting to note that Kadota is just a dude. He is perhaps the most normal out of all the characters in the story and yet, in spite of that, he is the most important. He’s the level-headed blue-collar guy who has a group of strange friends and happened to join the Dollars because he found it an interesting pass time. What makes him important is that he is the dude everyone is friends with. When he wakes up in this volume and sneaks out of the hospital he does so seemingly carrying the information of who hit him and why. Yet that mystery remains for the final volume.

I still have problems with the way the artist for this series chooses to depict the ladies in the story. I mean, apparently bras simply don’t exist in his world. Why is Anri hanging out of her shirt in on the cover? You know why, but logically it makes no sense and it has nothing to do with what’s happening in this volume.

In Summary
With the lives of most of the cast hanging in the balance of multiple showdowns, the tension is thick as the final curtain draws near. Mikado has been given a loaded gun, while Celty has been given back her identity as a Dullahan. Shizuo is about to finally get his chance to destroy Izaya, who feels beyond redemption for his plotting. The rest of the cast just wants their friends back and will do anything to reunite. Yet Ikebukuro is overrun with Saika zombies, a black cloud hangs over everything. This narrowly confined chaos manages to hold together against all odds, a cacophony of desires searching for closure.

Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: B –
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 13 +
Released By: Yen On
Release Date: March 26, 2019
MSRP: $14.00 US / $18.50 CAN

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