I thought I’d start doing anime reviews,given the amazing anime released these past seasons. First up is the popular shounen anime Durarara!!. This anime is based off of the light novel series by Ryohgo Narita, the author who wrote the series Baccano! . The series incorporates the same style of storytelling as Baccano!and would appeal to fans of the latter series. This show also goes under the names Dulalala!! and DRRR!! .
The story revolves around the happenings in Toyko’s downtown district, Ikebukuro. This is the only clear thing about Durarara!!. In fact, even this isn’t a clear-cut fact, given that events happen in Saitama and Russia also.
The rest of the show is, to use a popular simile, as clear as mud.
Durarara!! is the story of a teenaged boy, Mikado, who moves to Ikebukuro for high school. He meets up with an old friend, who explains the many workings of the city, including people to avoid and, of course, the urban legends. But one thing in particular intrigues him…the mysterious Dollars, a color gang without color. The show tells the story of Mikado’s involvement with the secretive Dollars and the brewing gang war.
Wait, wait. Sorry, I think I got a little mixed up there. This isn’t Mikado’s story, its Celty’s! Celty is a dullahan, which is a headless Irish fairy that rides on her headless horse and dumps blood on people who open doors. Or something like that. Anyway, her head went missing one day, and somehow it ends up in Japan. She travels there to find her head and her missing memories…and coincidentally ends up working in Ikebukuro as a courier. Her headless horse can apparently also transform into a black motorcycle, don’t ask me why. My suspension of disbelief is still gawking at the headless Irish fairy part.
God, this show is weird.
Anyway, I must confess to making a mistake. This isn’t Celty’s story, not really. It’s Anri’s! Anri’s also in Ikebukuro for high school [in Mikado’s class too] and she has a few problems at the start of the year. Her best friend has gone missing after trying to stalk the younger brother of the head scientist of a pharmaceutical company that kidnaps people for nefarious reasons [the company, not the younger brother]. One of her teachers is most certainly a pedophile. A group of girls start bullying her. Oh, and there’s a mysterious attacker called the ‘Slasher’ that’s killing Ikebukuro residents and seems to be targeting her.
Wait, god, what am I saying? Anyone watching the show for five minutes can see that it’s not Anri’s story! It’s clearly Kida’s. He just wants to spend time with his best friend [Mikado] and show him the sights [and also some girls]. Unfortunately, his past comes back to visit him as the fight between the Dollars and the Yellow Scarves delves into straight-out war.
…Yeah, well, it’s not really Kida’s story either. The point is, it’s not anyone’s show. There is no main character and the episodes combine the point-of-views of most the people in the opening song. There’s the hot-tempered debt collector who is strong enough to throw vending machines. The black Russian tout for a Russian sushi shop. The wily information broker who has all of Ikebukuro snared in his complicated web. The underground doctor who desperately wants the love of his flatmate.
And so on and so forth.
But, despite all the confusion and chaos, Durarara!! still manages to not contradict itself. Loose plot ends are masterfully wrapped into the main story. Plot threads of all the main cast coil around each other. Flashbacks and flash-forwards leave the audience in tenterhooks as the story twists and turns.
And most of all, the plot wraps around, back and forth, left and right, up and down, with a conclusion that ties together everything. And with ten million thousand main characters, you’re certain to find a plotline you enjoy.
Watching Durarara!! may be emotionally hazardous to your health. But when you reach the end, you won’t regret watching.
RATING: 4 Stars
Neha Upadhya (Medical Electronics)