Hey, I'm curious. Is there anything psychologically different between Novel-Izaya and Anime-Izaya, and is there any difference between Novel-Shizuo and Anime-Shizuo?
Oh my, where do I even begin?
There are definitely things psychologically different from Novel-Izaya and Anime Izaya.
(Fun fact - Anime is an anagram of Namie, I just mispelled it lol)
I talked about it in this post some time ago. Generally, anime Izaya is made to seem invincible especially in the first season. And because they left out important novel scenes, there’s inconsistency in his character. For example, how did he get knocked out so easily by Slon while talking to Kujiragi when he had the advantage before? It was actually because Kujiragi mentioned Shizuo and Izaya ‘fell silent’. She spoke about Shizuo being a hindrance and thanked Izaya for landing him in jail.
Whether he was worried about Shizuo or not, Izaya’s moment of silence and the description of his bad feeling shows that he’s not invincible even though he suddenly seemed to gain the upper hand. He was affected by his human feelings and emotions when Kujiragi mentioned Shizuo, for whatever reason.
I took that as a Shizaya moment because it was very unusual for Izaya. But the point is, Izaya has human feelings and emotions that can render him vulnerable to unexpected consequences and is definitely not invincible, even though he may seem like it.
This link was something the anime left out, the novels expands on this further with his conversations with other characters and the telephone pole scene where he punched a telephone pole as he thought of betraying Shinra.
In retrospect Shinra, who lived confidently above this world, did invoke some jealousy in him.
Yet he was attempting to betray even a friend like that. Not a friend by Izaya’s standards, but a “friend” as defined by most people in the world.
He’ll probably be mad at me if he finds out that I went to meet Celty taking the head with me.
Izaya couldn’t help but laugh slightly as he pictured his only “friend” by the world’s standards getting mad at him.
There is nothing to be afraid of.
This is the way I have lived my life all along, he laughed as he thought –
Laughed – Laughed –
He clenched his right fist and slammed it hard into the telephone pole next to him.
- Durarara Volume 9
This was a very important scene in Izaya’s character development especially after they showed his past with Shinra, his only friend. It shows Izaya’s conflict over his own desires which has governed the way he has lived all along and one of his only two relationships - the friendship he has with his only friend. Izaya was affected by a human relationship, and it really shows he isn’t some villain but just an abnormal human who is eternally true to his own desires (but is still affected by relationships like everyone else)
I’m working on a theory for Izaya’s attachment to humanity. It’s taking much longer than I thought since I lack the time to sit down and finish it. But I intend on showing how Izaya is actually very human. It will of course include reference to the Shinra stabbing incident as Izaya said himself it was probably the only thing that affected the formation of his personality in a significant way. I’ll also refer to the interviews about Izaya in his novel. So I’m currently integrating all the information together, both old and new about Izaya to formulate a theory that may explain Izaya’s attachment to humanity. You might want to look out for that if you’re interested in the psychology of novel Izaya.
Other than novel Izaya not being invincible (both psychologically and outwardly), I guess another psychological difference would be that Izaya is actually a very private person. The impression I got from the first season was that Izaya was a very open person (not open-mindedness, as in socially open).
But Izaya behind all his talk and interaction is actually very private. You don’t see it in the anime, but in the novel he thinks to himself a lot, reflects quite a bit, and generally is…very confident in his own identity internally. For example, Mikado’s first impression of Izaya was not that he was a weird person, but that he looked like an ‘intellectual that gave tuition in some remote district’. It speaks to the demeanor novel Izaya has that Mikado would form such an impression of him.
Even though he might seem open with humans, Izaya actually keeps to himself a lot. Shinra said himself in his interview that Izaya’s not the type to stand in front of people. You can see that in both the novel and anime version of middle school Izaya. While he was portrayed like a rebel in the anime, in the novel he was just distant and enjoying observing humans. He was actually a model student, not a rebel, so that’s another difference in portrayal there.
What a strange guy.
I’ll just keep observing him in the future.
But I have to watch out. Getting too close to him might be dangerous.
So this is just a small scene when Izaya thinks as he watched Shinra leave to go home to Celty (though he didn’t know that yet). But even with Shinra Izaya is already distancing himself. He tells himself he can’t get too close to Shinra, can’t let himself be too affected and involved in their friendship. Perhaps he’s apprehensive Shinra wouldn’t satisfy his expectations, perhaps he just doesn’t want to become like everyone else - whatever the reason is, Izaya has, since young, kept a distance between himself and humans. So much that he has to be ‘wary’ when he feels himself getting closer to Shinra than necessary.
At first sight, he looked like a gentle-natured man of slender build, but his features had a relative sharpness in them, making him the perfect exemplification of the word “handsome”. He was smiling as if willing to accept anything in the world as part of him; yet at the same time his eyes shone without mercy as if he held contempt for everything except himself. The way he dressed was idiosyncratic, but it was hard to point at why. Overall, he gave an elusive and mercurial vibe.
- Durarara Volume 5
What are the implications of this? Well, it just shows how distant Izaya is from humans. And how he keeps to himself. Even though he’s handsome, it doesn’t matter to him, and he may only use his good looks for human observation and not any socialization. He has a stable internal perception of his love for humans, so he’s willing to accept anything, but at the same time he’s the only one who understands his love for humans so he holds a contempt for everything except himself.
One reason why could be his tendency to keep things to himself and how he’s a private person. Like, he says he loves humans and declares love for humans but except with Shinra (and a reluctant Shizuo), doesn’t try to form any sort of relationship with them. He doesn’t try to connect to them in a way they can understand (maybe because he can’t because of his upbringing) and so they can’t understand him. And so he’s left with him only understanding himself and being shunned and outcast from society, which will naturally breed contempt.
That might be why Izaya seems mysterious and ‘elusive’ - because he’s such a private person. He’s more introverted in the novels, in that it seems natural for him to be alone with his thoughts. I guess you can kind of see this in Volume 5 where he’s shown to have stayed at an internet cafe alone while working on his plans for the city, left alone and walked away alone, he basically just does things alone.
Novel Izaya is also not in control of everything. Well you can see that in the anime as well when he got knocked out twice. But I mean, he’d move the piece that will give him the most advantage, but generally he’s open to any result. He just seems like he’s in control all the time because he accepts everything that happens (except with Shizuo). Because he loves humans unilaterally and doesn’t have any personal feelings or relationships with them (except Shinra and Shizuo) So again, he’s not invincible in his predictions. He does have some idea of how things will go and what he wants to see, but he’s less of a ‘mastermind’ in that sense. He’s still a mastermind, but has less of the ‘mastermind mindset’? In that he doesn’t expect everything to go according to plan.
And I suppose novel Izaya is more sensitive. You don’t see it in the anime, but when he was left out of hotpot, it was mentioned he ‘felt more lonely than usual’. Tsukumoya said that he’s lonely but accepts that loneliness. And he was not happy at being left out of the events of Volume 4, which is part of the reason why he wanted the ‘city’s holiday’ to be over. He’s more human in that sense. Like, he’s a logical minded man, but he actually acts on his feelings quite a bit. He is affected by his feelings, sometimes even driven by them (like in the death match with Shizuo) and is definitely human.
Also, novel Izaya is more like a child. As in, there are various times in which he’s described like a kid having fun. So in that sense he really doesn’t have any malice. He just wants to see, like a kid discovering more about the world. Shiki agrees with this, in both the novels and his interview for Izaya’s novel. I’ll be expanding on this with my Izaya attachment theory in the future.
He spends almost the entirety of
the main Durarara canon running; mainipulating, yes, conniving and plotting and
doing his utmost to cause as much trouble as possible, but also running, from
Shizuo, from his feelings, from what he wants, from all the unhappiness that
becomes more and more clear as the story continues. And finally it catches up
with him, when he’s too tired or has lost too much of his will to keep running
There’s much to be said about that
final fight he and Shizuo have with each other: how structured it is, how
different Shizuo’s approach is, how half-hearted all Izaya’s attempts to fight
back seem; but most important is that Izaya was never meant to survive it. He
makes this more than clear even explicitly in canon, when he says that it’ll be
worth dying if he can take the monster of the city down with him; and while
Shizuo’s own death doesn’t seem to be a necessity, Izaya certainly views his
own that way. (“Do it, monster.”) He goes into that fight ready to die,
prepared to die, expecting to die; and then he doesn’t, and he’s forced to
confront exactly that future that he had hoped to avoid.
I find it ironic that even though Shizuo and Izaya are like equally obsessed with each other, when it comes down to it, Izaya is the one who is able to move on.
Izaya was jealous with Shizuo gaining friends and hurt he didn’t come to visit him in the hospital. But they had their death match and after he expresses everything he’s felt in that, Izaya leaves Ikebukuro and moves on.
He can’t truly move on because he’s physically scarred by Shizuo and scared of him, but he’s trying to move on. He’s attempting to move on, reflecting on his mistakes and how his love for humans was impure and how he wants to know more about humans. Izaya is still tied to Shizuo by his scar, but he looks to the future. He moves on to new humans, dealing with a new environment and new people. He has less difficulty moving on than one would expect from a man so physically and emotionally scarred. He gets people to interview Kadota, Shiki, Shizuo and Shinra but that’s about all the connection he allows to the past (excluding that of his physical disability)
On the other hand, two years have passed in SH and Shizuo hasn’t forgotten Izaya. Everyone else has forgotten Izaya, in idle talk of Ikebukuro’s residents people joke if there was an information broker like that. Shizuo even has to ask Celty if she remembers Izaya, and Celty deals with Izaya in business the most. It’s natural to forget Izaya who hasn’t shown a trace of himself in years.
But Shizuo can’t forget him. Shizuo has always wanted to live his life in peace and thinks it’s because of Izaya that he can’t have peace. But Izaya is gone and he still doesn’t have peace. He has all the capacity to live a peaceful life but his fuse is shorter, he’s more (seemingly) tamed but he’d even lay his hands on Kuon, a kid, because his anger outlet is gone. He even misses Izaya so much despite wanting him to disappear from his sight and leave him in peace that he asks Celty what it would have been like if Izaya and him had been on better terms.
Shizuo says it would have saved the city a lot of trouble, but is it really? He said he was looking at the building they destroyed the other day. That building of their death match. That’s only like one smidgen of what Izaya and him have done to Ikebukuro’s infrastructure. So why that particular building?
Because it was where he last saw Izaya. Because he probably regrets almost killing Izaya that day, because it caused him to leave Ikebukuro and him alone.
Because Shizuo is alone. Shizuo doesn’t have to be alone. He has friends. He has Celty, Shinra, Kasuka, Tom, he even knows the Raira kids somewhat, he has Yahiro now, someone who’s seen as a monster like him. He may be seen as a monster by most but when it comes to the people who really matter, he isn’t.
But Shizuo is alone, because Shizuo has isolated himself in his self-hatred propagated by society’s view of him as a monster. He doesn’t think he can be a normal human, he truly believes he must be a monster deep inside and should be away from humans. But Shizuo is human, and so he wants to make connections with humans, even if they’re shallow. While not realizing the connections he makes are not shallow at all.
And Izaya is the only one who has been able to deal with that. Because to Shizuo, Izaya is his only equal. Izaya is the only other monster. Because Izaya is the only one who can stand up to him without fear.
Whether he loves Izaya or not, that much is true. Shizuo misses his equal. He misses the person who could face him without fear and would even provoke him even though he’s a monster. He misses the man who would come back to him no matter how many times he pushed him away with his violence.
He misses the person who is just as bad, or worse person as him, and whom he doesn’t have to feel afraid of hurting.
Because Izaya is a flea. He’s a monster in a different way. Shizuo is a monster like a demon, one you want to never piss off and one you want to stay far away from. Izaya is a monster because he’s just not like normal people even though he’s an ordinary person, and Shizuo has given that monster the name, ‘the flea’.
And that’s why Izaya can’t be human. Because if he becomes human, Shizuo will be the only monster left.
And if he’s human, was human all along, then Shizuo would have done what he’s feared and tried to avoid all along -