Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Durarara!! Review (English)
"I understand how you feel... If you ride the train, people treat you like a molester. If you walk in the streets, you get weird invitations. And when you go home, you encounter troubles with your neighbor. And there's the Dollars and the headless rider to worry about. This is what Tokyo, the jungle made of concrete, is about. But, you must get over it. If you swore to yourself to become an upstanding Ikebukuronese, you must undergo the ordeal, Mikado.... Well, don't worry too much, you got me on your side."
Durarara!! is an Action/Comedy originally based on the light novel by Ryohgo Narita back in 2004. A manga adaptation by the same author and published by Square Enix was released in 2009. The 26 episode anime comes from Brain’s Base (Baccano!) and originally aired in January of 2010. It’s currently licensed by Aniplex and premiered on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim in July of 2011.
The story isn’t the complete jumbled mess like Baccano! was, but there are bits and pieces that are interconnected with all the characters in the series. There isn’t one consistent plot, but there are a few elements that are used throughout. The rest of the plot pretty much revolves around these pieces. One thing Durarara!! does that Baccano! did not, was use narration in every single episode. But the good news is, it’s not one person narrating the entire series. Each episode has a different character narrating the events from their point of view. This makes the story more about the characters themselves rather then the plot as a whole. The story itself is broken into two halves. The first half is about Celty and her search for her missing head, while the second half is about the conflict between the Dollars, the Yellow Scarves, and the Slasher. These plot lines are introduced well and aren’t cramped in there all at once.
And now, onto the voice acting. When Aniplex picked it up, they seemed to have gone all out and recruited a lot of veterans to play some of the minor roles, aside from Michelle Ruff. As for Mikado Ryugamine and Masaomi Kida, a couple lesser known actors stepped in, Darrel Guilbeau (Higurashi) and Bryce Papenbrook (Vampire Knight). This didn’t hurt the series much, especially Papenbrook’s performance. He certainly fits the role of Masaomi Kida very well, and I can’t imagine anyone better. Two of the most fun choices of the series in the dub are defiantly Crispin Freeman (Hellsing) as Shizuo Heiwajima and Jonhy Yong Bosch (Code Geass) as Izaya Orihara. I’m very pleased to see Bosch take on a more cunning and slimy character like Izaya since the last time he played this type of character was in Code Geass, and it’s always fun to watch Freeman be the bad ass mother f***er. Other voice actors in the dub include: Michelle Ruff (Bleach) as Anri Sonohara, Kari Wahlgreen (Last Exile) as Celty Sturluson, Yuri Lowenthal (Naruto) as Shinra Kishitani, Patrick Seitz (Monster) as Simon Brezhnev, Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop) as Kyohei Kadota, Brain Beacock (Digimon Tamers) as Walker Yumasaki, and Mela Lee (Vampire Knight) as Erika Karisawa.
At the end of the motorcycle ride, Durarara!! lives up to the expectations the viewer would hope for after it’s predecessor set a really high bar when it comes to it’s story and characters. It doesn’t go above and beyond Baccano!, but it does reach just about the same level. The characters are so much fun to watch, and the story told through each of those characters makes for a much more interesting and good story. The dub is solid, the animation is solid, and it certainly gives the viewers the funny. Highly recommend this series for fans of Baccano! and even for those who haven’t seen or didn’t like Baccano! Trust me when I say, you won’t be disappointed.
If you want something else to take a look at, then turn your attention to Baccano!. The elder cousin of Durarara!!, Baccano! is from the same author and same production studio. The only difference is, it takes place in the 1930s, and it's AWESOME.....ER!! If you're not a fan of Baccano!, then I can't really suggest anything else cause there isn't really anything that even comes close to this and it's younger cousin so you might be stuck skipping it.