Friday, April 29, 2011

Durarara! Where's your head at?

With my second semester of graduate school done (at officially 8am today). I am free to get back to what I love and that is blogging about my Otaku sensibilities. <3

Durarara started off as a Light Novel in April 2004. It was then adapted into a manga in 2009 and an anime in 2010. This post focuses on the anime since that is what I have been exposed to.


A still of by far my favourite scene in the series

What has gotten me thinking is the origins of memory and how it connects the brain to the heart. These thoughts were inspired by the character of Celty Sturluson, a headless rider from Ireland. She is in Japan in search of her missing head. She senses it to be in Ikebukuro and has been living there for 20 years as a transporter. Because of her disconnection from her head, she can't remember events prior to having her head stolen. She believes that obtaining her head will give her a greater sense of who she is.

Celty Sturluson

Celty and Shinra, another character in the series.

Having taken a class on Cognition and Perception, I have been fortunate enough to read introductory psychology on how memory works. Basically, the brain takes information from the senses (sight, touch, smell, hearing) and interprets it based on similar experiences that has happened in the past. If it a completely new sensation, the brain still tries to tie it to the closest similar past experience as a means of trying to understand it. It is like when people eat frog and claim it as tasting like chicken.

Since Celty is a supernatural being, we are allowed to ignore how she perceives the world without the use of a brain. We are even allowed to ignore how she stores information of events from the past 20 years. Despite this, I keep thinking about what about a headless body makes someone soulful and human. And the obvious answer at first is the heart. But upon coming up with this conclusion I come to wonder, How does the heart exactly tie to emotional connotations? Its literal function is to pump blood throughout the various organ systems. Why does it hurt when we're sad or feel light upon happiness? Is this simply a trick achieved by the brain because this is how we are expected to feel? I leave this thought to you, the reader, in hopes that you come up with the answers I could not. :)

In terms of the anime itself, I highly recommend it. The character development is excellent. The plot line isn't painfully linear. The art itself isn't too stylized but sophisticated. As show above, it also makes you think.

Rating: 4.5/5 -> simply because I am not done the series

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