Durarara!! (TV Series 2010) Poster


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Another great anime from the makers of Baccano!
Tweekums8 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This series is made by the same people who brought us the excellent Baccano! and it shows; like the earlier series it features a large cast of characters whose relationship to each other is not immediately obvious and there is also a supernatural element to the story. There are major differences too; this is set in modern day Japan and follows a far more linear structure, the level of violence is lower too making this suitable for a less squeamish audience.

Mikado Ryugamine has moved from the countryside to a suburb of Tokyo where he is reunited with his childhood friend Masaomi Kida. Here he is introduced to the various characters and told which of the areas inhabitants he should stay away from; not surprisingly these are the very people the two protagonists get involved with. As the story progresses they come across a headless motorcyclist who is searching for her head, a black Russian sushi seller, a man with unnatural strength and an information broker who likes manipulating people. Into this mix there three gangs and a mysterious slasher can be added. As the various plots are worked out the two male protagonists along with Anri Sonohara, a girl from their class, get in a variety of scrapes and reveal many secrets that I won't spoil here.

I really enjoyed this series; it was packed full of interesting characters and even though I had a little difficulty remembering all the names they were animated in a way that made it easy to know who was who. Talking of the animation; I thought it looked really good, the main characters were distinctive and interestingly all the background people were grey so in crowd scenes the viewer knows who to watch. I found the stories to be interesting enough for me to want to watch the next episode as soon as I could. As well of containing plenty of thrills there were also quite a few laughs to be had. Fans of Baccano! will be pleased to spot a few references to it along with an amusing cameo from Isaac and Miria! These comments are based on watching the series in Japanese with English subtitles.
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Welcome to Ikebukuro.
ethSin16 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"Durarara!!" is the story of a boy who came to the big city with hopes of escaping his boring and ordinary life, as he encounters many extraordinary people and strange events in the big city that is Ikebukuro.

The photo-realism of the background and simplicity of the characters generated a unique atmosphere for this series.

The background has extreme detail, with enough deliberate flaws (such as fading street lines, stained asphalt, individually colored bricks etc) and natural reflection of light to make them seem more than just drawings. What makes them seem even more realistic is that certain locales are exact reenactment of the actual city. The JR station in the first episode, for example even used JR's actual, un-altered logo. There were many other scenes where I actually recognized the backgrounds, and even the stores like Tokyu Hands and Wendy's had the original logo designs with minimal alteration in spellings.

The background characters (or extras, if this was live action) were sketchy outlines. I personally don't like this technique being overused throughout the series, but as usual, it worked very well in certain scenes to show the busyness of the city and one's insignificance in society. Of course, it also brings out the main characters.

I would say there was very little room for improvement in animation considering the atmosphere they were trying to create. Although there could've been a lot more surreal scenes.

Voice acting done very well, especially for Kida, whose voice was somewhat unique and showed massive variance from when he's serious to joking. The entire cast were noticeably motivated. You can tell they gave everything they've got, especially in dramatic scenes.

This may be a personal opinion, but I firmly believe a seiyuu's skill is measured by quality of his/her narration. It's something that you can't BS through, and truly talented voice actors are capable of moving the audience by subtly expressing emotion in seemingly unemotional dialogs. "Durarara!!" had different narrators for almost every single episode, and I feel I really connected with almost every characters by the end of the show.

Music score was pretty good, often essential in setting the atmosphere. There was a particular clown-ish, jovial piece that really impressed me.

This may be a bit harsh since we live in an era where everything's been done before and recycled plot lines are hard to avoid, but the story of "Durarara!!" is like a bunch of previous Japanese works patched together.

Unveiling of the characters and exploration of loneliness in Tokyo in first half, as well as the intertwining events/lives and search for the exciting life is a carbon copy of 2009 film "Lala Pipo" (based on 2005 novel). This may be excused since this series was produced by many of the same staff from "Baccano!", but the similarity was disturbing.

The general atmosphere and gang war aspect in the second half is almost identical to the infamous dorama "Ikebukuro West Gate Park" (IWGP). In fact, the main color gang even had yellow identification color just like IWGP, so was the gang leader's jester personality and Heiwajima Shizuo as the invincible fighter (though he's in different gang and strength was significantly beefed up).

Then you have Orihara Izaya, who's pulling strings from behind the scenes like controlling chess pieces, much like the duo from "Death Note".

Individual segments of the components may be unoriginal, but they were fused well together to make a story as a whole. The entire show had a consistent atmosphere and pacing, and surprisingly, the modernized Dullahan didn't seem to be forced into the story.

The ending was slightly disappointing for me, since everything worked out too well. It felt like they were trying too hard to make an 'everyone's happy' ending. Fortunately, we can expect much darker story if they ever decide to make a sequel, judging from plot synopses of following novels.

Characters are the most intriguing part of this series.

The protagonist is Ryuugamine Mikado, seemingly an ordinary boy who's curious about everything about the big city he moved into for high school. Other than his super-cool name and secret background, I would say that he is THE Mr. Average, even that he doesn't have a personality since he's so bland.

Like "Baccano!" there are many main characters with nearly equal screen time, each of them with unique backgrounds and interests that eventually converge. (Amazing use of cameo and that particular episode was the highlight of the series too.) The most interesting of such characters were Celty and Heiwajima. Celty Sturluson represents the mystique this big city Ikebukuro has to offer. Other than having kick ass 'horse' and method of communication, her character was the most complex out of all the cast in the series, ironically making her the most human out of all. Then you have Heiwajima Shizuo on the other side of the scale. Despite the fact that he is a human being, his monstrous power is just absurd with attention span of a child and serious temper tantrums. He's like the coolest walking destruction.

Most of the story focuses on the unveiling of the characters' unique backgrounds and secrets rather than actual development.

"Durarara!!" attempts to explore a large number of extremely common themes in Japanese media such as personal barrier, search for meaning in life, violence as a form of love, responsibility as leader etc, but none particularly as in-depth as they could've been.

It is still the series that left me the most lasting impression this season though, with unique animation, sounds, and characters. The story lacked focus, but the pacing was excellent and kept me interested throughout the 24 episodes. Those who liked "Baccano!" and "IWGP" will most likely to enjoy "Durarara!!".

What this series had, was the magic, and I will definitely watch the sequel if it ever comes out.
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It's a story with a lots of humour and full of entertainment
Cat-Wings14 November 2015
"Ikebukuro", though it is a city, differs from Shinjuku with its prominent business district dominated by towering metallic skyscrapers and its pulsating entertainment district that swallows up all sorts of bars, karaoke, restaurants, and adult entertainment businesses. Ikebukuro also differs from Shibuya, the glittering city, which attracts hordes of young people with its. It is one of the three biggest sub-centers and yet remains somewhat nostalgic forest of neon. It's a waypoint for the residents of Saitama prefecture to be able to easily feel the Tokyo-like atmosphere. Therefore, I call it the "Saitama Stopper". Also, it is my town that I grew up in.

"Durarara" is an ensemble story with an animated TV series based on the light-novel*. Its 24 episodes were televised between January and June 2010. Set in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, the story is made up of the episodes with a blend of interesting characters such as; the Headless Rider, the color gangs, the information dealer, the underground doctor, Yakuza and the Slasher . What astonished me was that the reproduction of Ikebukuro is amazingly accurate with the exception of the fictitious sushi restaurant and the hospital used as one of the core factors, so it can instantly be recalled for those who are familiar with Ikebukuro which is the original setting. And there are the characters' model as if it reverses their precise depictions. As likely scenes depicted in Ikebukuro along with the outstanding characters, it makes you feel strange between reality and this fictional story.

"The Headless Rider", Celty, who is a courier and seen as an urban legend in Ikebukuro. She takes her job from Shinra who is a genius underground doctor. As her head is lost, she can't remember part of her past, and besides without a mouth, her communication is made through a PDA or laptop. Mikado Rugamine, is a seemingly timid guy and comes to Tokyo introduced by his close friend, Masaomi Kida. The yellow scarves gang called "Dollars", with no color and no sense of purpose, created on the Net by Rugamine, just to satisfy his curiosity and to escape from his ordinary life. Against his speculation, the Dollars has become a power in Ikebukuro. Izaya Orihara, who loves people's unhappiness and distresses, who loves "loves", philosophy, and people-watching, and who is a mastermind based in Shinjuku. A violent man who hates violence (Shizuo Heiwazima). Anri Sonohara who is a quiet girl with big breasts and a twisted old memory. She shows her other face by created from her past. A strange Russian guy (Simon). A guy who is fascinated by a beautiful head, and a girl who has changed her face because of her obsession towards him. Shinra's father wearing a gas mask all the time because of the dirty air of the city.

The battle behind the scenes between the Dollars and their perennial nemesis, the Blue Square. A chatroom where no one knows their real faces, yet they exchange information. Truth and falsity. A hidden past behind the lost head. The true love recognized as a false love. While being a mixture of each character's story, the time when the true features of the Dollars, the Headless Rider and the magical sword are revealed, it is melted into the hidden past.

It's a story with a lots of humor and full of entertainment.
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natewal-2448515 June 2018
This anime is like a puzzle when all the pieces come together you feel a sense of accomplishment and it just feels so right but seriously this anime is awsome and makes you really think and make theory's and they don't always tell it in order but all in all it's a very good show with good characters and good character development
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Mediocre at best
nalo_lg29 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I truly don't understand how this show has been so well received. I almost stopped watching completely, multiple times, simply due to the horrid soundtrack alone, but it was recommended to me by a friend, so I held on and finished the show...and was left with basically nothing at the end.

The writing was mediocre at best. The plot builds up a confusing and dull sense of strife by throwing the characters into a half sci-fi half punk gang war, while completely ignoring Celty's story that was built up in the first half of the season. It's like they completely forgot about her in the second half. None of the "special" character's powers were truly explained, or given a detailed back story, so we're left confused about that, not only throughout the show, but even at the end (as nothing is really tied up at the end). This issue is also the same for the main villain. There's no explanation as to why he's there or what his motive is, other than some obscure allusion to his "love of humans," which is vague and unsatisfying.

Everything about this show except the art and the voice acting was simply unsatisfying. It wasn't good, and it wasn't terrible, it was just...meh. Nothing stuck, nothing felt complete, and nothing felt valuable. None of the characters really mattered to me, except maybe Celty in the first half while her story was being told. The story telling for every other character was so sporadic and choppy that I found myself simply not caring, or being too confused to care.

I probably would've given at least +2 more stars if it weren't for that god awful soundtrack. Music is supposed to flow well with, and enhance, the emotion of the story that is being told. Half the time, all this music did was distract and annoy.
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Confusing plots & characters, with flaws
ajrcvr1 July 2016
This is a series where the creators attempted to do a lot, and they shouldn't have - they did too much. There are many things happening, many characters with many backgrounds that have many problems, and the series is just incapable of resolving them all. Making a story with this many diverse elements in it is a problem because in order to make sense out of everything - why are the people like that, why do they do what they do, where is this all gong - you have to tell much more story, develop the characters much more deeply, and let the viewers get attached to those characters and what is happening in the storyline. They didn't do that here, and gave us lots of characters, plots, motivations, & actions - basically a city of people interacting - so that what you get is a hodgepodge of elements occurring that are painted broadly and lightly, without the time it would take for the viewer to care about what's going on or to know the characters well enough to become emotionally involved with them.

The characters don't ever really get deeply involved with each other, but occasionally the authors ATTEMPT to have them do that, sort of promising that, but they never truly get there. In having so many stories revolving around each other, none of them is ever explore adequately, and we are always left hanging with "almosts." It's as if the creators are are afraid to have their characters bond with each other and show those powerful emotions that would be normal in situations like that.

The animation is fair, certainly not overwhelming, the artwork & coloration okay, & the music inappropriate, like something out of a "Peanuts" cartoon, all of this giving us this once-upon-a-time random cityscape of young characters.

So, in the whole, as an animated piece which generally & sparsely depicts some occurrences in this particular city, it has some interest; but, too much talk, too many side issues which take away from having a main story, & too little character development to get one emotionally involved. Watch it, but do so lightly.
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