SPOLIERS FOR DURARARA!! EPS. 1-14
Durarara!! is a show chockfull of strange, unhealthy, and sometimes downright disturbing relationships. The show just gets stranger and stranger, but today’s focus is on Shinra and Celty. Many find these two to be ever so cute together, but from the moment Shinra appeared on my screen, I was suspicious of him. As with so many other things in Durarara!! I had a feeling something just wasn’t right. However even as more is revealed others seem to view Shinra very differently than me and Hisui.
The thing in Durarara!! that really gets to me is not the strange or broken relationships. It is exactly like Narutkai said, I it find odd that Shinra gets a free pass. While no one would say that Seiji and Mika’s relationship is healthy there is a near universal approval for Shinra and Celty’s relationship. The first is obviously dark, grim, and clearly sickly while the other one has a lighthearted coating which makes people overlook its rotten core. Our purpose there is to examine Shinra’s actions and show that his motives are not as pure as you might first think.
Shinra was suspicious from the beginning because of his occupation as a doctor amidst the strange world of Ikebukuro, it was not a big leap to think he would know where Celty’s head was. How could he justify keeping that information from Celty? Shinra is scared to lose her and expresses it when confronted but is that really an acceptable reason, at first it seems rather understandable. But is it really okay to do whatever you want just because you love someone? He is lying and keeping secrets and he stood purposefully and manipulatively in the way of Celty’s goal. To be fair here, I was very disappointed in Celty’s reaction to his betrayal. Forgiveness is very much a part of love, but I don’t feel that Shinra thinks he has done anything wrong. This is the biggest problem in his selfish actions. Since when is love about disregarding the wants of the other person? Celty is the most important person in his life, he loves her up and down, but I don’t see it as much as love as obsession. Obsession begets possession. It’s as if Seiji is obsessed with Celty’s disembodied head while Shinra is obsessed with the headless body.
Shinra is possessive and dominating but since he does these things with a goofy smile on his face people accept his deeds as gestures of love not acts of control. We find that Shinra has not only been keeping the location of Celty’s head from her but he took part in separating it in the first place. He has done everything in his power from making sure that Celty does not get her head back and with it her memories. He says that he accepts Celty for who she is and that she should make new memories. While this is a noble sentiment his actions betray a darker intent. He constantly tries to block her from getting her memories back. He keeps her under his thumb by making sure she remains who she is now. This control forces one person to stay the same to make the other happy. If Shinra truly cared for Celty he would accept the Celty with her memories as much as the one without her memories.
Sometimes it is just gut feeling but I truly don’t feel we are supposed to see Shinra and Celty’s relationship in a positive light, that is how I understand the story. Maybe this will be further realized in the narrative and others will see what we see. Shinra is a weird guy, and in his awkwardness he becomes quite relatable, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t receive any comeuppance for his actions. While I can’t say how I would personally feel about it, there is still time to redeem Shinra. I also have to admit there could be a reveal for some incredibly good reason for his doing all this. Or an evil plan could be revealed!
People over look the dark nature of Shinra’s actions for two reasons. First he does everything with a cheery demeanor. If he was physically or verbally aggressive with Celty everyone would condemn his actions. But he wisely smiles, and smiles, and is still a villain. It is often the more insidious control we succumb to because it is easier to ignore the signs that it is hurting us. Secondly, you want to like Shinra. The cheerful geek appeals to both male and female anime viewers. Since people relate to him they are more willing to give his actions a positive spin. But when you step away from the character you can see how horrible these decisions are.