Something different… that excites me. This anime is episodic in nature, but tends to build towards a conclusion. I especially appreciate the depth behind the characters. A new kind of slice-of-life anime I could get used to.
There’s a narrator and prime perspective given to each episode, but the perspective doesn’t stay limited narrowly following only a few characters. No, the focus roams freely and doesn’t necessarily follow what’s happening to the narrator at the time. The narrator gives their direction and thoughts upon what’s happening and we as the viewer gain a broader knowledge of them and the events taking place. Those narrations, along with what’s being shown, make up our perception of the characters in the anime. We listen to their thoughts and we see their actions.
While various plot lines unfold, the characters are laid out and help the viewer grasp the nature of Ikebukuro. There’s a lot going on this city and so equivalently many peoples stories are being told. At first it may seem like these stories are disjointed and unrelated from one another, but as things progress the fuller picture will be seen.
Initially the anime starts off slow. The plot being as unique as it is, involves characters and events to be brought to light slowly. Further along things begins fitting into place and better understood. I say it starts off slow, but what’s happening is enough to grab my curiosity and interest. With my attention in tow it doesn’t take long to get into this story. There really isn’t a main character. As I said, the perspective changes during each episode and those episodes tend to follow different characters as well. Interesting bit after bit leads to the growing form of the plot.
Ryugamine Mikado has just moved to Ikebukuro and is very apprehensive. He’s never been to Tokyo before and well, he’s never been on any school field trips either. Okay, he’s never been out of town. Perhaps a sheltered life? Anyway, the reason he has come here is that he will be attending Raira Academy. After some convincing by his old friend from elementary school, Mikado had decided to make this endeavor. Upon arriving, Mikado quickly meets up with this friend, Kida Masaomi.
After meeting up with his friend, Mikado gets a small tour of Ikebukuro, and we meet a few more characters along with him.
Many introductions are made to viewer, so its a lot to take in all at once. There are the “dangerous” people not to get involved with: Heiwajima Shizuo and Orihara Izaya. There are also the color gangs as well as the mysterious urban legend of a headless motorcycle rider. Oh and let’s not forget Simon Brezhnev, one of the owners of Russia Sushi (the name speaks for itself). After some introductions and a few peaks into the shady side of the city, Durarara!! follows the various lives of characters in Ikebukuro.
Strongest in Ikebukuro
What I love most about Durarara!! are the characters. The cast of characters is definitely my favorite thus far out of the anime I’ve seen. And if I’m talking about Drrr!!, then it’s all about Heiwajima Shizuo!
“It’s pretty scary how dangerous he is. […] He’s like a wolfman or a devil or something. […] It’s impossible to compare him to anything.”
This is someone who you don’t want to to be on their bad side.
And what is it like to be the enemy of violence incarnate?
Something like that.
Dressed like a bartender, with a temper unmatched, Shizuo is more of a natural phenomenon than a human.
The main cast of characters get some good background story treatment. Somehow each character’s story weaves together into the complete fabric of Ikebukuro. As the interweaving stories come together, they tell an overarching plot line of intrigue, deception, and friendship.
Colors and Colorless
Ikebukuro can be divided out among the most influential groups. The most noticeable of these being the colored gangs and the so called, “colorless” gang called the Dollars. To describe the colored gangs is straightforward: they are gangs who use a single color as a sign of their membership. The Dollars are a bit unconventional. Little is known about them except that they have no color. They are “invisible.” Rumor has it that the Dollars are involved in all kinds of dubious activities, though whether there is any truth to that…
The other consistuent parts of Ikebukuro are an urban legend known as the headless rider, the yakuza, and the mysterious one known only as “the Slasher.” The forces of the city tug and pull on one another bringing about some intriguing events.
What is this? A troll? Ah yes, the mysterious Saika. During the anime, there are times when the scene cuts to an online chat forum between three unidentified characters, each with their own alias. They are: Tanaka Taro, Setton, and Kanra and they are usually discussing relavant events taking place in the story. These characters are definitely in the know. Anyway, the chat begins to be trolled by Saika, with messages like the above (the kanji for mother over and over which reads out “hahahahahaha…,” as in laughter). Apparently this alias has something to do with the so called “Slasher” incidents, but exactly what I leave to be found out.
The Breathing, Living City
“I’m finally seeing the world I’d only witnessed through comics and websites…”
The setting of our story can be considered a character in itself, Ikebukuro, the entertainment and commercial district of Toshima, Tokyo, Japan. As there are so many characters and side characters, one begins to feel an affinity for the life here in Ikebukuro. The soul of the city lives in its people. We see the shady side along with bright side of this city. Often times that soul of the city clashes against itself and the drama is something to behold.
The plot is diverse, and so too are the characters. What plays out is the story of the city. The characters are great: realistic, urban, ancient, powerful, manipulating, conspiring, captivating, and scheming. A plethora of ideals clashing together, how can I not love it. This series also has a nice animation style that is somewhere between realistic and moefied with more weight towards the realistic side. Be patient! This anime starts slow, but its well worth hanging in there for a few episodes to get into the series. A few twists and surprises with each character having some secret to tell and an interesting story. I’m looking forward to watching Baccano!, which I understand was made by the same author and anime studio. Apparently some Baccano! characters made a cameo as well.
At center of all that’s happening, there is definitely a prime mover. Exactly what the motives are behind this person remains unclear.
I hope to actually see more of Durarara!! considering that the light novels and manga are still coming out. It’s a matter of some of the loose ends and some less developed characters.