Review: Durarara!!

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Anime: Durarara!!
Animation Studio: Brains Base
Number of Episodes: 24
Length Per Episode: Approximately 24 minutes

“Mikado Ryuugamine has always longed for the excitement of the city life, and an invitation from a childhood friend convinces him to move to Tokyo. Witnessing the Black Rider on his first day in the city, his wishes already seem to have been granted. But as supernatural events begin to occur, ordinary citizens like himself, along with Ikebukuro’s most colorful inhabitants, are mixed up in the commotion breaking out in their city.”

NOTE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS. THEN AGAIN, THERE ARE SOME THINGS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT, TOO. SO I GUESS IT EVENS OUT.


Durarara!! is a unique show mainly in how the story is told. As with its spiritual prequel, Baccano!, we are given a decent amount of characters, and they all take turns sharing the role of the main character. Frequently you will see the same event through more than one character’s perspective.

Also like Baccano!, the story is not necessarily about beginnings and endings. All of the excitement in the show comes from the characters in the story crossing paths at any given time, sometimes for surprising or unexpected reasons.

While the main cast is quite sizeable, I will only over a few of the more notable main characters.snap2

You could almost say Mikado Ryugamine is the whole cause of everything happening. The missing gear to finally get the machine running, if you may. Of course all he did was move to Ikebukuro, so it’s not very fair to put the entire blame on him.

Mikado is a pretty soft-spoken guy for the most part. He never seems to initiate any conversations unless he’s asking a question, but he will speak when spoken to.

He’s best friends with Masaomi Kida, and gets a crush on Anri Sonohara almost immediately after meeting her.snap3

Masaomi Kida is almost the exact opposite of Mikado. He’s very outspoken, and is often very dramatic with his actions and choice of words. He also enjoys acting like a womanizer, though often it seems like he does it out of humor rather than actually meaning it.

Masaomi is the kind of character who you know is normal when he’s being dramatic or funny, but when he’s calm and collected, it usually means something bad is going on.

Masaomi is also one of the main reasons that Mikado moves to Ikebukuro. When it was time for Mikado to choose a high school to go to, Masaomi told him to join him in Ikebukuro.snap4

The Black Rider is a very enigmatic figure. It’s seen very little, and the few times it is spotted, it’s usually driving extremely fast somewhere on its black motorcycle that almost looks like it’s nothing more than a shadow.

There are a lot of frightening stories to go along with the Black Rider, but nobody knows for sure what its true purpose or goals are. It hasn’t seemed to cause any significant harm, but just the fact that it’s a being that is difficult to comprehend is enough to make people afraid.

That, and the fact that the Black Rider has another name that people use to identify it…

The Headless Rider.snap5

One of the most important characters to mention is the guy who is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, character on the show.

He’s feared as one of the most powerful and dangerous people in the town, and only an idiot would pick a fight with him.

That man, is Shizuo Heiwajima.snap6

Shizuo is not actually a violent person naturally. In fact, he hates violence. However, almost ironically, he is very, very easy to make angry, and once he’s angry, you’re done for.

Shizuo is pretty much instantly recognizable due to the fact that he always walks around in a bartender’s outfit, and is usually wearing sunglasses. Because of this, people are able to avoid confrontations with him quite easily, unless he’s after someone for a specific reason.

It’d be a good idea to clarify one thing: Shizuo is not actually a great fighter or anything, and his moves are clumsy at best. However, Shizuo is capable of tapping into absolutely inhuman amounts of strength, usually what people would get during an adrenaline rush in a dangerous situation, except amplified by about a hundred.

He’s not invincible, however. Shizuo does not actually like his own strength due to his inability to control it most of the time, and using such strength almost always causes his body too much stress and he breaks a few bones in the process (though he’s capable of just ignoring the pain, since he’s used to it by this point).

Though it does also give us some of the best/funniest moments in the show.gif1

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There’s only one more character to cover, and he most certainly is not the least important by any means (pretty much every character in this show is important, though). This last character is also the one person who Shizuo absolutely cannot stand, and also one of the only people capable of facing Shizuo and getting away without scratch on him due to his evasive nature.

I’m talking, of course, about Izaya Orihara.snap7

While Izaya is almost always operating from the sidelines, he is undoubtedly one of the most vital characters in the show. He’s probably the only character in the show who meets almost every other character due to his own free will.

The reason for this is because of Izaya’s favorite hobby: he loves to observe people. Unfortunately, the way he observes people is usually by controlling them without them realizing it. And Izaya has a whole town full of main characters at his disposal…

 

Durarara!! is a fantastic show, though oddly named. The reason for that is similar to Gosick, in that it’s a play on words. What word that is exactly, I won’t spoil.

When I first started watching Durarara!!, I really liked the first episode, but then I actually got bored afterwards until about episode 11. This is the first show I’ve watched that has such a heavy focus on character story-telling. The first ten episodes just focus on different characters and such, but then afterwards all the dots start to get connected and you’re dying to know where the show is going to go from there on out. You won’t necessarily be bored for episodes two through nine, just keep in mind that it’s very heavily focused on character story-telling.

One thing that’s important to note, however, is that if you’re interested in this show, you should watch Baccano! first. It’s Durarara!!’s spiritual prequel, and there are cameos that you’ll miss if you don’t watch it first. Don’t worry, Baccano! is similar in style to Durarara!!, and it’s just as good. It won’t be a waste of your time.

Long story short, watch the show. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed.

RATING: 10 out of 10. Actually planning to rewatch this soon.


*I wanted to put “teaser” images into a slideshow, but WordPress forces you to use all of the ones in your gallery. Just skip the ones you’ve already seen in this post.*

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


3 Comments on “Review: Durarara!!”

  1. Feeling nostalgic I guess; therefore I’ll give some very late feedback.

    Durarara!! is one of my borderline favorites. I say that because while it’s enjoyable most of the time it doesn’t quite hit full stride like with some of my other favorites shows. That aside, as you said, it’s a great example of character development and the story greatly benefits from it’s panoramic cast and all the side-stories showcased.

    The biggest points I want to emphasize though are the technical aspects of the show which I’m sure you noticed as well. The animation and character designs are razor sharp, and as with Baccano!, Brain’s Base did a spectacular job adapting Ryohgo Narita’s work. The show is completely exciting to watch just for animation let alone ponder over all the characters and subplots in action. Secondly, the music is incredible. Done by Makoto Yoshimori who also did the music for Baccano!, the music is a treat in itself sampling different genres and even styles within those genres. I’ve listened to this OST and his music a great deal and he just has a knack for turning genres and sounds we’re all familiar with into totally new experiences.

    Durarara has some flaws with pacing and a scope that is almost too ambitious but those aren’t big enough to detract from how good Durarara is in so many other aspects.

    • Riyoga says:

      Oh god this review is so old. So much nostalgia. I almost forgot I used to review assuming the reader was curious about watching the show, rather than assuming they had already seen it and were looking for opinions. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t prefer my current method.

      You make some excellent points, though. Admittedly, I don’t often notice or even care for the technical aspects of a show unless they majorly stand out, but Durarara!! was actually one of those.


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