The Meaning Behind Ryuugamine Mikado’s Name in Durarara!!


Ryuugamine Mikado is the protagonist of the light novel turned anime, Durarara!! His story is that he decided to from a “gang” online on a whim called the Dollars, and due to its lax rules for membership (if there were truly ever any at all), it becomes a social phenomenon both on and off the internet. Mikado himself is not a very strong-willed individual, he rarely ever actually has to act upon his role as the anonymous founder of the Dollars, and even then he is not a leader in the traditional sense.

Ryuugamine (竜ヶ峰) is literally “dragon’s peak.” Mikado is more complicated.

The term “mikado,” generally written either as 御門 or 帝, refers to the Emperor of Japan or his estate, but is an extremely archaic and obsolete term. However, while Japan had long since dropped that particular term, probably since at least the 13th century, Western texts still continued to use it well into the 20th century. In other words, in current context, “mikado” has connotations of misunderstanding and mislabeling. Mikado the character’s name is written as 帝人, which literally means “emperor man” but is more a way to make “Mikado” look like an actual Japanese name.

In other words, “Ryuugamine Mikado” is very fitting when you think of the Dollars, with its enormous reach and influence, as the “dragon” and Mikado himself as its misunderstood and illusory “emperor.”

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The Fujoshi Files 32: Karisawa Erika

Name: Karisawa, Erika (狩沢絵理華)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: N/A
Origin: Durarara!!

A member of the mysterious online gang “Dollars” and a former member of the “Blue Squares”, Erika has had a hand (albeit a small one) in many of the strange events that have occurred in Ikebukuro since the arrival of the mysterious Headless Rider. She is often seen in the company of a few other Dollars members, the stoic Kadota Kyouhei, driver Togusa Saburou, and fellow otaku Yumasaki Walker, with whom she is closest.

Together, Erika and Walker make endless anime and manga references, though Erika naturally tends more towards BL. Her taste in anime, manga, and light novels is wide and varied, with a particular fondness for ASCII Media Works products. However, her favorite pairing is not from any manga she reads, but the combination of mortal enemies Heiwajima Shizuo and Orihara Izaya.

Fujoshi Level:
Like most fujoshi, Karisawa Erika is capable of pairing many different guys. Unlike many though, she has the gall to do it right in front of their faces using them as the ingredients.

I’d Kill Kill Kill Kill Kill For That Ability

Heiwajima Shizuo of Durarara! is a man of many traits. He’s a berserker. He’s a man who wants to be a pacifist but can’t seem to get it down. There’s one quality in particular that I want to focus on however, and that is how unusually perceptive Shizuo can be.

All of us to some extent set up walls and barriers in our lives. Sometimes they’re to keep people out, other times we reinforce them and build upon them and even decorate them to the extent that we expect others to see us as these walls. But Shizuo’s personality is such that he sees the “truth” more readily, as if his senses are more animal than human. Wall-building is not a trait he’s familiar with, so he ignores it entirely. He’s naturally attuned to human nature, even if he isn’t aware of it.

Shizuo’s perceptiveness reminded me of  another show I’d been watching alongside DRRR! last season, Kimi ni Todoke. In it are two characters who could best be described as “simple-minded,” but it’s that simple-mindedness that allows them to sense deception or the absence of true honesty, much like Shizuo.

The first is Chizuru, the tomboyish friend of the main character Sawako.

The second is Pin, the loud-mouthed, belligerent teacher.

In both cases, you can see how much finely-tuned their instincts are to seeing past the elaborately constructed walls of human life when they interact with the character Kurumi. Kurumi is seen as beautiful and sweet, but her looks hide a manipulative personality. When Kurumi tries to turn on the charm with both Chizu and Pin, they can’t help but feel that something is amiss, even if they can’t pinpoint it. They can see the walls for what they are.

Personally speaking, I really wish I had a trait like this. Or maybe I do, and I don’t realize it. Or maybe I don’t, and I’m just kidding myself.

First there’s a Du, and Then I Couldn’t Hear the Rest

When it comes to uniting fans, Nico Nico Douga and episodic blogging have quite a bit in common.

Nico Nico Douga is a popular Japanese streaming video site which helped push popular Japanese memes such as the fusion of voice synthesis and moe, Hatsune Miku, and creating a small revival in the career of gay porn actor Billy Herrington by making clips from his videos running jokes among the community. Its most notable feature however is its unique comments system, where user comments are scrolled from right to left as the video plays. For some it’s an annoying feature which gets in the way of watching the video, but for others it’s the very lifeblood of Nico. Despite most of its content not being live, the comment system allows site users to experience a sense of “community” within the comments, by seeing what people had to say about a particular video at exactly the right moment.

Episodic blogging, or the act of reviewing and discussing individual episodes on a blog, usually as they are released, is even more removed from the concept of “real time,” but just like Nico Nico Douga it has the ability to unite fans by actively engaging in the very zeitgeist of internet fandom itself, by experiencing a series almost as it is airing, and having the format feel a little more permanent and a little more focused than simply sharing talk on an internet forum.

However, the ideal of episodic blogging is not often met, and in some cases this has to do with the shows being blogged about not being particularly good for the concept of episodic blogging. These are the kinds of shows where the blogger might simply go, “Eh some stuff happened this episode. It was all right, I guess.” While knowing that an episode of some show might be average is still something possibly worth knowing, after a while it bogs down episodic blogs as a whole.

Now if there is one current show that I think is very well-deserving of episodic blogging, it is Durarara!

Here you have a show where every episode is so packed with information that the normal custom of summarizing the episode extensively can become a great boon, especially when it comes to recalling the events of a previous episode. It’s also an ideal show for episodic blogging because the theme of the show itself is related to “living in the present,” and practically reflects upon the online anime fandom itself (which is no doubt helped by having a couple of characters who are otaku). Most importantly however is that while the show is an on-going story, its structure is such that each individual episode stands as something to be scrutinized and discussed, with the next one building on top of that.

So for those bloggers out there who have been tackling Durarara! episode by episode, keep it up. It’ll be particularly interesting to see just how your opinions and predictions change over time if at all.