From the renowned author who created Baccano! comes its spiritual successor Durarara!!, an urban thriller taking place in modern day Japan. Brain’s Base produced the Durarara!! anime adaptation which aired during the winter of 2010. The show was highly popular during its initial broadcast, garnering an American license the next year, a rare sight to behold in current times.
The show walks a blurred line between reality and the supernatural, employing a wide variety of themes ranging from modern technology to Irish folklore. Like its spiritual ancestor, Durarara!! follows the lives of several people, all of which are mysteriously interconnected with one another. Its storytelling aspect is by far one of the greatest in recent history, playing around with each of the characters on screen and letting their actions spiral out of control until finally reaching the climax.
A huge amount of focus is put on the setting. Ikebukoro, based on the real life downtown district of Tokyo, feels very much as if it were a character itself. The setting is very immersed and the city feels as if it comes to life. The story is very comedic in nature, perhaps more than its premise makes it out to be. Aside from the three main trio of characters, most of the side characters are rather laid back and often times harbor inhumane and nihilistic morals.
The show’s only downfall is the stark shift in narrative during its second half. The first half, in many ways, captured the essence of what made Baccano! so entertaining: insanely portrayed characters, sporadic focus, and pure unadulterated style. While the second half of Durarara!! is great in its own ways, it shifts noticeably into a more-focused and linear narrative. Angst and dramatic irony replace much of the comedy and mystery that made the first half enjoyable.
Final Thoughts: 8/10
Durarara!! is a great show that hasn’t even begun to tell its full story. It all depends on Brain’s Base’s willingness to adapt the rest of Narita’s novels. Until then, Durarara!! is 24 episodes of thrilling style that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. One of the best shows to come out of 2010.