There’s Something About Celty

image credit: デュラーーー!!! by アガハリ

In a cast filled with unique characters, one needs to have a special something to be noticed. Or maybe, like in Celty’s case, the lack of one.

I finally finished Durarara!! last weekend, and as I’ve mentioned before, one of the advantages of watching it well after broadcast is that having minimal knowledge of what the rest of the anime-blogging/watching community thought of this series. At the same time, hey, I’m not dumb — I know the fangirls love Shizuo and Izaya. They’re all right, but I wouldn’t call them my favorites. From the get-go, I was more intrigued by the trio dynamics of Mikado-Anri-Masaomi and I’m glad that the plot of second half of the series was driven by events centering around their friendship (yes, as trite as that sounds).

But what about Celty? There’s gotta be something about her that prompted me to write this blog post in the first place, right?

In the noise and chaos that is Ikebukuro, Celty is a familiar figure. She is the Black Rider, an urban legend in the flesh. A headless person clad in black who speeds along the streets on a motorcycle. Everyone in the city fears her, but as soon as she passes by, they all take out their cell phones to document their “close encounter” with her. It’s such an interesting cultural phenomenon of the 21st century: we all want to be there and to let others know when things happen, but we don’t want to get too close lest we get hurt in the process.

In a sad way, Celty is probably used to people being scared and running away from her. An early episode of Durarara!! explains the myth of the Dullahan, a Celtic fairy known to be a harbinger of death. Each time the dullahan arrives on the scene, people would probably start peeing in their pants in fear.  But in In a sense, the dullahan’s job isn’t that much different from the grim reaper or the angel of death: they only arrive on the scene when it’s the person’s time to die. They don’t show up otherwise. Maybe they’ll punish people who interfere or try to prevent death, but overall, the dullahan are neutral, non-judgmental beings who are only doing their jobs.

Somehow in the move from Ireland to Japan, Celty transformed into an entirely different being altogether. Literally “losing her head” did a number on her, but it unexpectedly brought about a ‘person’ who was more than her job.  With her head separated from her, Celty has lost her primary identity. Without her head, she has no memories of her life prior to Japan.  Though just as people who lose their eyesight in adulthood then learn to compensate with their other senses, maybe Celty losing her head was a good thing in that she then learned to think with her heart.

Okay, that was sappy, but hear me out: Celty the Irish Dullahan is not the same being as Celty the Ikebukuro Rider. In Ireland, Celty seemed to do things by rote; go to a village, call out the dead guy, move on. Whereas in Ikebukuro, without her head, Celty has more freedom to explore and to do normal things… like watch tv, play video games, or troll  chatrooms. In Ikebukuro, Celty (for lack of a better phrase) is more human. If you’re a supernatural being, do you really need to take showers and sleep? Possibly not, but because she’s been around people so long, it’s almost as if she is one.

So maybe that’s why it’s okay for now that Celty doesn’t have her head back. Maybe it’s a deliberate conspiracy that they’re kept apart. Without it, (headless) Celty has the freedom to explore and grow on her own terms, to have people to care for and who care about her, and  to experience what it fully means to be a person.


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