Genres: Drama, Crime, Urban Fantasy
Creators: Takahiro Omori, Noboru Takagi, Ryōgo Narita
Studio: Brain's Base
Length: 26 episodes (season 1) and 36 episodes (season 2)
Years: 2010 (season 1), 2015-2016 (season 2)
Hello everyone, and welcome back to Carter Sigl’s Guide to AnimeLand! I must admit, its been so long since I wrote a full review of an anime series that it feels a bit odd. I must also admit that during part of the hiatus for this series I was also taking a hiatus from watching anime. The reason for this was because I had frankly watched most of the series I really wanted to watch; I think I burned myself out on anime as a medium, and I went back to watching live-action television. However, I eventually found an awesome show that knocked me out of this lull: Durarara!!
The district of Ikebukuro, Tokyo, is a city of many stories and many secrets. One of those secrets is of the city’s “color gangs”, such as the Yellow Scarves and Blue Squares. Another is about how a shady corporation called Yagiri Pharmaceuticals is supposedly engaging in illegal human experimentation. There have been attacks by a mysterious serial killer known as “the Slasher” (due to all of the attacks being committed with a knife). And strangest of all is an urban legend about a black-clad motorcyclists known as “The Headless Rider”. And yet, all of these conspiracies have the same cast of characters associated with them, and at the heart of them is –strangely enough- three high school students named Mikado Ryugamine, Masaomi Kida, and Anri Sonohara.
Durarara!! Is based on a series of light novels by Ryōgo Narita, the same author who penned the Baccano series. And like its predecessor, Durarara!! possesses an enormous cast of characters. In addition to the three high schoolers, we have a manipulative information broker named Izaya Orihara, a man with inhuman strength named Shizuo Heiwajima, a back-alley doctor named Shinra Kishitani, and a small group of anime fans/small-time gangsters led by Kyohei Kadota. There are many more characters, but I can’t go into all of them, especially if I’m trying to avoid spoilers.
Unlike, Baccano, however, the story of Durarara!! is told in a single linear narrative. This, along with the fact that it has many more episodes, in many ways make it a simpler series to follow than Baccano. It doesn’t sit neatly into a single genre, however. On the hand, there is a lot of action stemming from the criminal and semi-criminal associations of many of the characters. On the other hand, the show places a lot of emphasis on the interpersonal drama between them as well. And the series also has a strong element of urban fantasy running through it as well.
Overall, Durarara!! is an incredibly well-rounded series. It has a complex and intricate plot, well-developed and interesting characters, high-quality animation, and a good balance between action and drama. Whether you’re just joining us on this trip through the wonderful world of anime or you’re a veteran looking for something new and fun to watch, you can’t go wrong with Durarara!!