Well.....damn.....

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Sweet merciful Jesus did this show take a sharp turn down Darkness Alley in this stretch of episodes! As my title choice for this meeting implies, there was a lot of sharp, pointy objects, a decent sized amount of blood, and a lot of focus on female characters in these five episodes. So I guess all that there is left to do is to jump right into these episodes.

First up is Episode 15. This starts out more or less like what was up to this point a typical episode of Durarara!! as we follow a reporter named Shuji Niekawa, who we eventually learn is the father of Haruna, the last girl the creepy teacher hitting on Anri had...um..."relations" with. Shuji is trying to find the strongest person in Ikebukuro, which he suspects is Shizuo. However during his investigation into Shizuo, he gets stabbed by our friend the Slasher. This results in him gaining red eyes just like the Slasher, implying that the Slasher can pass on their craziness to their victims. Shuji goes around town looking for Anri to attack her, but before he can, he's stopped by Dotachin and his friends and, ironically enough the person he was searching for in the first place, Shizuo.

Episode 16, however, is when things get really interesting as Anri comes face to face with the Slasher, who turns out to be Shuji's own daughter, Haruna. Haruna tries to attack Anri because she doesn't like how the teacher's attention has turned towards Anri. Meanwhile resident badass Shizuo goes out looking for Izaya simply to beat the crap out of him when he runs into Celty who is trying to protect Shizuo because she thinks Shizuo could be a target of the Slasher. While traveling through a park Celty and Shizuo get surrounded by people who have been victims of the Slasher, including the Ganguro Girls, and Shizuo does what he does best, he begins kicking ass and starts accepting his Hulk-like strength. The episode ends on a massive shocker, though, as Haruna tries to stab Anri, only for Anri to block the blade unharmed. For you see, Anri has the true Saika, and is in fact the real Slasher all along.

Episode 17 is more or less a continuation of Episode 16, as we get to see more of Shizuo kicking ass of Saika-possessed people in the park, with literally dozens flying through the air in just some good old entertaining scenes. But on a darker note, we also learn the truth to Anri's past, why she can't feel love, and how she came to possess Saika. It turns out that Anri's father was an angry, abusive man, who took out his frustrations about his failing antiques business on Anri and her mother. One day he was strangling Anri to near death, when her mother took Saika and used it to kill her father. Sadly her mother then turned the blade on herself, leaving Anri alone in the world. Anri can keep Saika in control, because Saika hones in on the love people feel for each other, and Anri's lack of love means she can't be corrupted by the blade.

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Anri defeats Haruna and assimilates the portion of Saika that was in her, causing all of her victims to return to normal, much to the good luck of the Ganguro Girls, as Shizuo was about to knock the crap out of them. Meanwhile, Izaya being the troll that he is, reveals he had a big hand in the whole Slasher mess as he has even bigger plans. He aims to turn Ikebukuro into a battlefield by pitting three different factions against each other, the Dollars, the Yellow Scarves, and Saika's Army. After seeing the injuries Anri gained during her ordeal with Haruna, Kida retakes his position as the leader of the Yellow Scarves and plans wrongly-aimed revenge against the Dollars, for he assumes they were the ones to harm Anri.

Next we have Episode 18, which is a flashback episode to the time Kida ran the Yellow Scarves before the series started and his relationship with Saki, a girl who is under the guardianship of and is a fangirl of Izaya. For the longest time Kida and the Yellow Scarves get their asses handed to them by the Blue Squares. Eventually Kida caves into Saki's suggestion to get help from Izaya. With Izaya's help, the Yellow Scarves turn the tide and start beating the Blue Squares. This has dire consequences, though, as the Blue Squares go low and kidnap Saki and, in one of the most chilling scenes I've ever experienced in anime, break her leg while making Kida listen in over the phone.

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Kida rushes to her aid, while trying to call Izaya the entire way, but Izaya simply looks at his phone and tosses it out of reach. When Kida reaches the entrance to where Saki is being held, he freezes in his tracks cold, unable to will his body to save the girl he loves. Instead Saki is saved by Dotachin and his friends who were all members of the Blue Squares until they heard about the kidnapping of Saki. Kida meets up with them outside of the hospital, but still can't face Saki, who he wants to break up with now, only to be informed by Dotachin that Saki was told that Kida was stopped by the Blue Squares from saving her, instead of being frozen in cowardice. We then return to the present where Kida is in the Yellow Scarves' hideout as he gets word that they spotted a girl spying on them, and he orders them to harmlessly capture her. The girl in question was actually Anri.

And lastly we have Episode 19 where we see Anri running from the Yellow Scarves in shock after seeing Kida as their leader. She ends up hiding between stacks of wooden pallets, scared of what Kida might do to her after finding her. During some flashback scenes, we see that Anri has members of her Army inside the Yellow Scarves, and it is through them she heard that Kida was the leader. She was spying on them to see if it was true, and was horrified by the fact. Anri gets saved by Celty, and as they are leaving someone throws a pipe at the two of them, which Anri knocks away with Saika. Seeing this makes Kida certain that Saika sides with the Dollars. Meanwhile, Izaya clues Mikado in on the gang war between the Yellow Scarves and Blue Squares from the past, and how some of the Blue Squares are now members of the Yellow Scarves. In addition to fighting for Saki's sake, in a last bit of irony, Kida wants to fight for Mikado's sake. However, he is unknowingly heading into war against Mikado's own group.

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Man, this was another good string of episodes. Sure Episode 15 was kind of weak compared to the rest, but the other four were really good. Especially 16 through 18. There is just so much to talk about with these episodes that I know for a fact that I didn't cover them all in my brief write ups up above. For example, Celty is still very, very scared of the police.

I can't wait to see what happens in the last six episodes, I just know it can't be good. Damn that Izaya for manipulating three friends to lead their respective groups into a three-sided gang war! And so far it appears he's doing all of this just for shits and giggles! I hope Shizuo kicks his ass something fierce......

Anyways, have at it! What did you like about these episodes? What did you dislike? And feel free to mention anything I forgot to cover! Like I said, there was just so much stuff in these episodes!

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Please remember to watch episodes 20-25 for the final Durarara!! meeting next week!