Durarara!! Review

One of the most recommendable shows I was able to watch this month is Durarara!! Often romanized in Japan as DRRR!!, it’s pretty reminiscent to the awesome and mind-blowing plot execution of Baccano!! where you’ll be immediately presented with a number of facts where you won’t remember them right away and all the main characters are given the chance to be the protagonist, but come the time the story arc climaxes and the plot twists are revealed, you’ll definitely be left with a huge grin on your face subconsciously saying a loud “WTF” and “Oh shi…!!!!” on your mind.

Plot: The story starts with the shy and gullible Ryugamine Mikado transferring from the mundane province life to the hustle and bustle city of Tokyo, as per request of his childhood friend Kida Masaomi whom he hasn’t seen for years. Kida gives him the grand tour of the infamous town of Ikebukuro where he will stay, and meets a couple of significant people along the way.

The scene sometimes cuts to this 4-chan-ish online chatroom view where three people Tanaka Taro (blue), Kanra (orange) and Setton (grey) gossip about the hottest rumors going around Ikebukuro, and is used most of the time as a pre-text for the plot progression that will follow. At the middle of the series, you’ll know who among the characters these chatroom users are. Finding out who they are is part of the fun.

Now let’s have a quick tour of the characters.

After the chatters gossip about how kidnappings are becoming rampant in town, the scene cuts to this unknown girl meeting another unknown guy. And as she willingly accompanies him to a dark alley, she gets kidnapped by him and his accomplices. It is later revealed in episode 2 (spoiler alert!) that the one responsible for her kidnap, and ironically, her dramatic rescue, was none other than the twisted Orihara Izaya– an information dealer bent on using his resources to play with people’s emotions and putting them in life or death situations just to see how they’ll react. He’s crazy enough to play a triangular chess board with mahjong, Chinese checkers and chess pieces in them.

Yet another band of seemingly insignificant characters is Kyohei Kadota‘s group which comprises of himself, Saburo Togusa, Erika Karisawa, and Walker Yumasaki. They are first introduced as otaku friends of Kida Masomi in Ikeburo who love going to conventions and idol concerts, but of course that’s just what they want you to think at first.

Among all the characters, it is safe to assume that the cornerstone of this great anime is the rumored legendary “Headless Black Rider“, or other-wisely known as Celty Sturluson. I thought her being headless was just a metaphor of some sort or maybe a hallucination of the people who saw her, but she’s the real deal. It is explained in episode 4 that she’s an Irish Dullahan derived from Celtic mythology– a female headless horse rider that roams the land, and splashes a basin of blood to the faces of those who are soon to die. The only difference is that a dullahan usually holds her head in her waist, but Celty is in desperate search for her head. While doing that she works as an underground courier under Shinra Kishitani.

Next we have a Russian waiter of Nigerian descent who works for a Russian sushi bar, Simon Brezhnev. He doesn’t like fighting so most of the time he butts-in in other people’s violent affairs, especially when the inhumanely strong Heiwajima Shizuo goes on ultra-rage mode that’s usually triggered by his life-long nemesis Orihara Izaya.

Adding to the confusing mix are the classmates of Ryugamine Mikado: Seiji Yagiri and (name censored), his lover who coincidentally has a wound on her neck which I won’t dare spoil to you since it’s just gonna be that awesome. And of course it’s related to the headless black rider! I bet it’s not what you’re thinking though. Oh yeah, Seiji also has a incestuous doctor sister named Namie Yagiri, who loves him to the depths of bro-con insanity.

Here we have a black market doctor named Shinra Kishitani, who’s been crazy in love with, and also living with, Celty Sturluson for 20 years. How they met and what really happened in Ireland is initially explained in episode 4, and then slowly climaxes before the first arc ends on episode 12.

That’s it for the main characters. After getting to know them one by one as you further watch the episodes, the more their seemingly separate lives get chaotically tangled with one another- in the end, each character in general would want to leave the regretful life they had, and start a new one- as this is one of the said reasons why people go to Ikebukuro. They’d try to live earnestly, but gets misinterpreted by the whole population all thanks to the manipulative influence of one conniving anti-hero-ish character. You’d probably know by now who that is.

One of the things that keep me hyped up in watching DRRR!! are the opening sequences- recaps from the previous episodes are literally incorporated in the OP. The recap visuals and dramatic dialogues butt in after the first part of the OP but the awesome and spot-on music just keeps on playing as if to blend with what’s happening, and then PERFECTLY bounces back to the scripted second part of the OP. Definitely the best juicy parts in each episode!

This 24-episode anime from 2010 is definitely a must-watch. If you liked Baccano!!, you’ll love this one. And if you haven’t watched it yet and happen to like Durarara!!, you’ll love Baccano!! as well. Heck, there’s even a surprise in one episode where two characters from the latter show up here, not to mention fanservice visuals like showing epic video scenes from that anime in this anime’s colorful city background. You just have to have a keen eye.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this one! More reviews to come soon. :)

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TAGS: , blue squares, butterfly, celtic mythology, celty sturluson, complication, drrr!!, dullahan, durarara, erika karisawa, headless black rider, heiwajima shizuo, ikebukuro, kasuka heiwajima, kida masaomi, kinnosuke kuzuhara, kyohei kadota, mika harima, namie yagiri, orihara izaya, ROOKiEZ is PUNK'D, ryugamine mikado, saburo togusa, seiji yagiri, shingen kishitani, shinra kishitani, simon brezhnev, sonohara anri, tom tanaka, trust me, Uragiri no Yuuyake, walker yumasaki, yellow scarves


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