Durarara!! – review

June 30, 2010 at 9:08 pm 7 comments

“In the same way a town exists, so long as there are people, the Dollars will continue to exist.”

This series has got Simon's approval.

Okay let’s get back in business for another big review. This time it’s Durarara!!, Brains Base’s latest series. In a nutshell, the series ‘follows’ the life of  Ryuugamine Mikado, a newcomer to the big flashy city of Ikebukuro. Toss in a man as strong as steel, a headless Irish Dullahan and a manipulative sunovabeech and you’ve got a pretty amazing concept.

Now that's what I call a Falcon PUNCH!

I said ‘follows’ because unlike many series out there, and much like Narita Ryougo’s Baccano!, Durarara!! doesn’t really have a set protagonist as such. This is most evident in the first half, where we were presented with VERY Baccano!-styled material, using an often non-linear approach, and multiple perspectives of a single event. Heck, we even ended up with a very cool cameo by Isaac and Miria, which would have pretty funny for those acquainted with the series.

Kida can haz skillz

Most people, including me, tend to agree that the first half was amazing. It was a fun ride which kept us wondering where the series was going to head off next. However, the series had to show some direction in the second half, and when it did, it inevitably lost the fun and humour that we saw in the first. Even the tone of the OP changed, from a lively Uragiri no Yuuyake to the more dour Complication.

"EEEEEEEEEEEH?! I thought we were going to have more screentime!"

One of the great things about Durarara!! was its range of characters. Everyone has a favourite. They (most) are interesting to watch and follow, and Durarara!! seldom succumbs to cliché. I think bonus points should go to Ise Mariya who voiced the stalker Harima Mika. She really got Mika’s voice and character down-pat. I don’t think I need to talk about the otakus Erika and (especially) Walker. They’re always fun to watch.

Russian Sushi - evidently not palatable.

However, like another series I JUST reviewed *cough Angel Beats! cough*, character developement also suffers. Earlier in the year I mentioned how this could turn out to be one of the main weaknesses in this series… and it did. Ideally there should have been more time dedicated to developing characters such as Shingen (Shinra’s father) who only appeared twice or thrice, and Officer Kinnosuke (who’s addition barely made a ripple).

This guy REALLY needed to appear more.

A GOLDEN TURD should go to Shizuo’s brother Kasuka, who appeared in the 2nd half OP, yet never actually appeared IN the 2nd half.  Heck, Isaac and Miria appeared more times in this series if you count the billboards and banners that appear in Ikebukuro. Besides that, the three ‘main’ characters in Durarara!! were probably the most boring/less interesting compared to the other ‘major’ characters. I never liked Kida, and I doubt I ever will.

Okay I admit, Kida can be pretty funny at times.

While Durarara!! is of decent length (24 episodes), it just begs for more of what we saw in the first half. There’s so many characters in this city, and Brains Base clearly couldn’t give all of them their due. The ending was pretty damn open, with a couple of things unresolved, so here’s to a few OVA episodes, or if we’re lucky, another season.

Yeah I'd be pretty damn shocked too....

Soundtrack is pretty unusual, ranging from some Irish strings to some jazz. However it all fits well on the screen and it just goes to show what weird and wonderful things you’ll find in a big city. As mentioned before, the voice actors are all pretty cool. Kamiya Hiroshi was great as Izaya, and Kana Hanazawa was a cool and calm Anri.

The three main players

There’s not much else I can say about Durarara!!. The animation was great at the start, but started to get a little boring in the definitely more lacklustre 2nd half. The bouts of comedy were actually pretty damn good, and I had plenty of laughs watching the first half. Although it’s nowhere near legendary status, I give Durarara!! a solid thumbs up. Well done Brains Base for another good watch.

Animation: 8.5/10

Sound: 8.5/10

Story: 8/10

Characters: 8/10

Enjoyment: 8.5/10

Overall: 8.3/10

"WHY WASN'T I MENTIONED?!?!?!?!"

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Entry filed under: Anime.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Baka!  |  June 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this review cos I agreed with a lot of the things you said xD. Shingen and Officer Kinnosuke SHOULD have appeared MORE. They were begging for more appearances which just didn’t happen. Overall the characters were really well done (as expected from the author who wrote Baccano!) and it was a very colourful and entertaining series. It sorta died at times with Kida being an absolute dick at times but on the whole, it really kept me hooked. It begs for a second season…

    Reply
    • 2. ippius  |  July 1, 2010 at 11:00 am

      haha cheers. i also want to mention Kamichika Rio the suicidal girl. I thought she was a really great teenage character whose angst WASN’T actually annoying to watch.

      Reply
  • 3. Baka!  |  July 1, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Baccano was waaaay better executed though. At the end of Baccano I was really quite moved but here, that just wasn’t there. The characters were better done in Baccano as well and the twists and turns in the plot were great. This just wasn’t here in DRRR

    Reply
  • 4. Troy (トロイ)  |  July 1, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    HAHAHA Falcon PUNCH!!!!

    Reply
  • 5. Reltair  |  July 7, 2010 at 6:53 am

    I remember seeing Kasuka in the OP and wondering who he was since I never saw him appear in the series. >_>

    Reply
    • 6. ippius  |  July 7, 2010 at 7:40 am

      lol that’s ok. my brother only just realised he was in teh OP lulz

      Reply
  • 7. Manga Therapy  |  August 11, 2010 at 4:22 am

    Have you read the light novel series? The plot gets a lot better. I think they need to do a 2nd season for the series, showcasing the new developments and new characters.

    DRRR!! is a very interesting series and I like it. Kasuka thankfully plays a huge role later in the light novel and possibly in the manga, since the manga is based off the light novels.

    I did a look at Durarara!! and its emphasis on chat room psychology. You can read it at: http://www.mangatherapy.com/post/932185689/chatrooms-durarara

    Reply

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