Science where is doesn’t need to be, in Durarara! :
So I have a lot of problems with anime… This sounds like a bad start to an anime post but bear with me here! I’m currently at university studying Physics, so when I watch shows where characters run along walls or jump from buildings and land without being crushed into the ground (or even destroying planets…) my brain is wired towards disbelief.
Don’t get me wrong! I love anime and spend far to much time watching it to be healthy. So to bypass this, I have developed an ability to suspend this disbelief so I can fully get behind all of this craziness! But it recently occurred to me that some of these amazing stunts might actually be possible, if not likely.
I started thinking about this recently after I finished Durarara! season 2, and actually considered all of the crazy stunts from the first series. And with all of the madness in that I finally got around to starting this so hopefully it’s not too dull…
Looking back on the show, one of the things I remember most is ‘The Bike’. The shadowy steed of the Dullahan. This thing is capable of outrunning cop cars and climbing buildings… Hang on a second; climbing buildings!? I’m pretty sure that this isn’t normal behavior for a bike. I had shrugged it off as a supernatural ability, as it was probably meant to be, but then when I looked back on it I started to wonder if it was actually possible.
It’s clearly possible on a ‘’Wall of Death’’ where the wall goes forms a circle and the CENTRIFUGAL force on the bike from its momentum into the wall (or the floor for the bike) keeps it going. But it is also possible for the bike to travel along a wall! Even horizontally if there is enough of an angle, with enough speed. Honest! I even did the maths for it! The basic idea of the calculations is you draw a diagram with all of the forces individually and make sure they all equal each other so the bike doesn’t fall down. But this isn’t to say that it’s easy…
The speeds the wheel would need to be turning in order to have enough force and angular momentum to keep the bike on the wall would require an engine WAY more powerful than that of an Formula 1 car and still weigh a similar amount as the original. This would require a lot of work and money even if it were possible (which, unfortunately, I’m not sure it is). But ignoring this for now, assuming the engine was possible, the angle between the bike and the wall would need to be perfectly balanced with the speed of the bike for things to not spiral out of control. On top of this the handlebars would have to be fixed because if you turned at all there would be a reaction force causing you to pop a horizontal wheelie! Unfortunately, with no way to get down, this would quickly turn into a significantly less awesome tumble to the ground and eventually end in a crumpled heap of metal and fire…
To sum up, it’s probably possible (and I say that lightly) but definitely not advisable!
The other major feature I remembered was Shizuo and his ridiculous, almost herculean, feats of strength. He tears lamp posts and vending machines out of the concrete and holds them above his head as if they weighed the same as your average snowflake.
Now they clearly weigh more than that, likely several hundred kilograms as a minimum. Which means that you’d need about 2000-3000 Newtons of force! That’s roughly equivalent to a car going from 0-40km/h in 5 seconds. Imagine trying to push a car to do that and you might get an idea of how ridiculous this is! Not to mention the fact that he had to tear it out of solid concrete and subsequently threw it like a basketball before carrying on his rampage.
These are just some of the more ”feasible” stunts in the show, which should say something about how AWESOME the rest of it is. Seriously, go watch this!
It’s great to think about these things after you’ve watched it, and the exaggeration allows the writers some moments real impact! But this is ‘Unnecessary Science’ and reality like this never really needs to be looked at. That’s pretty much the whole point of anime … and that’s why we love it!