This review contains minor spoilers which may also border on major spoilers. Read at your own risk.
And please, don't ask what does "Durarara!!" mean. Me no know. Okay? Good.
The story of Durarara!! is a complicated one made simple through brilliant use of narration by various characters of the anime as the plot seamlessly unfolds before our very eyes, we are introduced to the characters we will learn to love and hate in one swift motion of narration.
The main characters(left to right): (front)Mikado Ryugamine, Anri Sonohara Masaomi Kida. (back) Izaya Orihara, Shizuo Heiwajima and Shinra Kishitani. (background)Celty Sturluson.
The story begins with the narration by Mikado Ryugamine, one of the many main characters. He's a high schooler who has moved to Ikebukuro, an enchanting city controlled by powerful gangs, with the encouragement from his best friend, Masaomi Kida. His main excuse for moving to Ikebukuro was to find adventure and escape from his dull daily routine. When he arrives in the city, he meets up with Masaomi who proceeds to act as the local tour guide. After the initial tour, we are introduced to the characters of the anime who will be featured more prominently and thus the entire picture unfolds.
I say many because unlike other anime, this one has no set protagonist. Each character is leading his/her own individual story which intertwined with everyone else's. It's a clever approach previously employed by Baccano. Offering a non-linear approach to a story and presenting different points of view on a single, thus giving the viewer a clearer picture. Hell, we were even given an awesome cameo by Isaac and Miria, which was a gesture towards Baccano.
As I progressed through the series, I couldn't help but admire the different spectrum of emotions displayed by each character. And unlike the many anime nowadays, in this one, love isn't the driving force. It's the motivations of the people. Many people who had the chance to watch the anime will agree that the first half of the anime was amazing and rather fun to watch with it being ladden with humour and making the viewer guess which solid direction the show was going to ultimately take but take it did. And with it, consequently, we lost the humour and were introduced into a more dark world of Durarara!.
The characters classification was extremely well done and, considering the number of episodes, the episodes were effectively used to make us fully understand the characters and their respective goals and obligations. Despite the characterization, not everything in the anime is black and white. With some very odd alliances cropping up and several plot threads resolved in curiously unexpected ways. For example, our main protagonist Mikado, despite his innocent demeanour carries with him a deep secret which if exposed, could have a lot of painful effects on those around him. And there's Izaya, an Informant of the city, who despite his proclamations that he loves humans, enjoys watching people suffer.
Our local otakus.
And then there are the people who border in the area of supernatural. You have Shizou, a short-tempered body guard of a dept collector, who despite his insistence that he hates violence, is know as the most violent man in the city. and then there is the mysterious black rider, rumoured to have no head, a local shinigami if you will. Both of these people are feared for their power and tend to keep away from them. Although the many confrontational scenes of Shizou are rather fun to watch
The art style of this anime is absolutely gorgeous. It's not your close-to-reality Angel Beats!! style but it definitely is fun to look at. The art style is consistent through out the series and gives a very nice feel to it. The opening scene is one of the best I've seen and the soundtrack is absolutely a treat to hear.
A lovely anime which completes the criteria of being a wonderfully made anime. APPROVED!
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