Genre: Action, Supernatural, Romance, Mystery
Director: Omori Takahiro
Studio: Brains Base
Original Airtime: Jan 8,2010 – June 25, 2010
In Ikebukoro, a downtown district of Tokyo, out of all the rumors of various gangs and troubles the one that particularly stands out is the existence of a ‘headless rider’. A biker who wears all black and drives a jet-black motorcycle through the city.
Mikado Ryugamine arrives at Ikebukoro with the dreams of getting free from his monotonous life. His friend Kida Masaomi persuades him to Ikebukoro. Upon arriving on the first day he gets to witness the headless rider. Just when he was starting to think he is going to lead an exciting city life more supernatural stories unfold and more details of the gangs are revealed. Mikado realizes there are some under the guise of the glamorous exterior of the city.
The story of Durarara!! starts in a puzzling way. There is a large number of characters and the show tries to introduce those characters within a short span of time with each having their own different stories. This results into a rather confusing start to the show and if might cause difficulty in understanding where the show is actually going. However, it quickly ties up the loose end and pieces start falling into place. It really kicks off from the midway and turns into this one whole story with all the characters intertwined in it.
Written by Ryohgo Narita, the writer of Baccano! and a master storyteller, the story of Durarara!! is quite captivating if you get the hang of it. The set up is really good and the constant turn of events with one great revelation after another will keep you hooked. If there is one thing this show is really good at it is its ability to constantly surprise you.
The greatest and strongest aspect of Durarara!! is its mind blowing set of characters. All the characters have some fascinating qualities and features that make them unique and stand out exceptionally. From the mysterious but somewhat clumsy headless Rider Celty to the very bland and ordinary Mikado to the twisted master strategist Izaya, each character massively influences the story of the anime. I personally believe Durarara!! rivals Fullmental Alchemist: Brotherhood and Fate/Zero when it comes to incorporating massive number of important character and yet is able to portray them to perfection. Since this review is just for season 1 so you would hardly notice any character development but once you go through the other seasons you will realize Durarara!! excels in character development as well.
What we get to see in terms of character in Durarara!! is the background stories of some of the main characters in details. The 1st season quite heavily focuses of the headless rider, Celty and the three high-schoolers Mikado, Kida and Anri. Later on we get to see them develop further as the story progresses.
The art style of Durarara!! is a bit different. It’s not bad but it’s not high end either. To be honest it’s actually refreshing to see an anime that doesn’t possess the stereotype art and animation. They did not over-complicate things with the art and kept is simple. The use of color was on point. Overall, it’s really great to look at. Brains Base did a good job with the animation of Durarara!!. I have nothing to complain here.
Here are some screenshots from the anime:
Durarara!! simply nailed it in the music department. The songs that are used fit perfectly to the theme. For an anime that deals with mafia, street gangs and urban legends you could not have asked for better soundtracks. I liked both the Opening and the Ending themes. But I feel like at times the background scores were over used. My favorite track was the opening theme, ‘Uragirino no Yuuyake’ by Theatre Brook.
The irregular start to the show can be a hindrance to the enjoyment. I would say it could even discourage you to watch the show if you’re not the patient type. However, if you can look past that Durarara!! is nothing short of astounding. The next seasons are even better. So, if you are a fan of action packed anime Durarara!! is more than worthy to properly serve your purpose.
When Durarara!! came out there was not too much talk about it. As such it was surprising to see an under-hyped anime surprise us like that. However, things have changed. After the success of its first season it has definitely created a massive fan-base across the globe and I personally wait for each season with much anticipation. I would definitely recommend this anime to anyone who’s looking for a great story with character dynamics.