By Ryohgo Narita and Suzuhito Yasuda. Released in Japan by ASCII Mediaworks. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Stephen Paul.
Around about the time that Shizuo is seen to punch a forklift out of the way, it struck me that he is one of the most beloved characters in DRRR!! solely because it is set in “reality”. Now, it’s an urban fantasy, but you know what I mean. If Shizuo were a NEET who died and was transported into the world of DRRR!!, it would be appalling. He’d be the most overpowered male power fantasy imaginable. Heck, he even got a love triangle (of a sort) devoted to him a few volumes ago. All we lack are monsters… oh wait. This whole volume explores one of the series’ main themes, which is what makes a monster and what makes a human. Celty spends almost the entire book in a state of pure emotional rage, not even remotely resembling a human being. Anri is still (always) thinking that she doesn’t think or feel the way “humans” do. And then there’s Izaya, who finds the idea of Shizuo offensive, but let’s face it, is the most monstrous of them all.
Getting back to Anri, the scenes with her and Saki are some of my favorites in the series, if only as the whole thing is so anticlimactic. Saki arrives trying to gauge if Anri is a threat. Why wouldn’t she? Masaomi talks about her constantly, she’s cute, and is literally defined in the DRRR!! universe by her large breasts. But of course Anri is a sweetie-pie with no self-esteem, and once Saki gets that everything gets more relaxing. Anri also takes a large step forward by being the first of the trio of friends to actually break their “agreement” – she asks Saki to tell her about Masaomi’s past. Given that said agreement has only hurt everyone involved, I have to approve. Of course, Anri is still hiding some things (Saika is not brought up in front of Saki), but it’s still a step forward, and might lead to her making a big emotional leap forward.
Narita confessed in the afterword that this was meant to be the final volume and it got too long, which is not a surprise – there’s no more setup in this book, and though there are strings of long conversations as always, they’re not there to drop hints for the future. Haruna’s teacher is trying his hardest to become the Big Bad of the series, using Saika to possess half of Ikebukuro and create a “zombie attack”, but I suspect his chances of making us respect him are nonexistent. We’re far more interested in the final fight between Izaya and Shizuo, triggered by Izaya’s attempt to kill Shizuo accidentally injuring Vorona. The fact that Izaya is finally going to try to kill Shizuo is mentioned several times in the book by various groups and people, and they all have the same reaction: Izaya is going to commit suicide. Given that the two rarely confront each other in the novels, I expect the fight to be epic.
Oh yes, and Mikado’s got a gun, so things ain’t never gonna be the same. I didn’t talk about Mikado at all this book, but given that I suspect the 13th and final volume will revolve around him, it’s best to save something for later. Till then, enjoy a very good DRRR!!, though I’d sort of like it if Anri’s breasts weren’t a separate character of their own (complete with the usual “lol, molestation is funny!” interior art).