A few years ago, I saw an announcement through Adult Swim that they were bringing a series called Durarara to their line up for Saturday night anime. I had never heard of the series but the premise seemed really interesting. I read the light novel and manga by Ryohgo Narita and I was totally hooked. Located in Ikebukuro, a famous Japanese city that’s used very heavily in video games and anime, we see who we beleive to be our main protagonist, Mikado Ryugamine, moved into the city from the country. Within the first episode, Ryugamine almost gets mugged, sees an almost supernatural streetfight break loose, meets a Russian Sushi maker, and sees and Urban legend, the Black Bike. The show gets more interesting as we meet and learn more about it’s fascinating inhabitants. “Normal” is not a word you hear often and if you do, it’s almost derogatory. The series ran it’s course and I was sad to see it go. Roughly five years later, season two rolled out and it didn’t disappoint!
The story picks up about 6 months after the end of the first season. Everything has seemingly returned to the status quo. Or at least that’s what everyone is thinking. We are immediately introduced to some new faces and their wackiness sparks the begging of a new conflict. There’s a weakness and strength that comes from the way Durarara handles it’s story. It’s the fact that it has so many things going on all at once. It’s a weakness in the way that its hard to keep track of everything as the show moves from even to event. It gains a strength because the things that unfold are so ridiculous and interesting there wasn’t a time I wasn’t interested . The way it weaves the threads of story into a finely connected web is at a near perfect pacing. It never felt it was moving too fast and it was never really slow either. Character development is crucial when you have a story that involves so many characters. By the end of the the first part of the series, it feels like you know all of the new characters very well. I personally grew very fond of Chikage (a biker gang leader with a soft spot for all women) and Varona (a bookworm of an assassin who is as intelligent as she is beautiful). They’re fine examples of how different people can add a lot to a scenario. The only real downside to the story is that it assumes fairly heavily that you know who all the older characters are and be somewhat familiar with the city’s myths and places.
When it comes to this anime’s second run through the usual season ringer, animation changes can be a big issue. This is most definitely not the case for DRRRX2. a Studio known as Brain’s Base (BACCANO!, PRINCESS JELLYFISH)out their skills to make this series really feel alive. stylistically speaking, the anime’s style is closer to the manga illustrations and they nail it. The color pallet I find to be a little dark, but there’s not exactly a lack of color either, it’s more or less balanced. The action in the show isn’t particularly intense but the animation allows us to see everything very clearly. It also helps that everything moves very smoothly, I didn’t see anything that looked rough.
The previous voice actors all reprise their previous roles here. If you loved the original Japanese dub of the first show, then your in luck. All of the new characters are finely voiced by a new host of people and they are not to be underestimated. Each character feels unique and has plenty of depth, so the voice cast had their work cut out for them. I found that the sound work was rather interesting here. The synchronicity between the sound track were in perfect tandem. Hearing fast, jazzy music while the roar a motor cycle’s motor or the cacophony of a telephone poll as it hits a target at 50 mph.The composing was done Makoto Yoshimori (Baccano! , Hamatora) and there are several fine pieces that makes me wanna Jazz hands. Speaking of good tunes, then ending and opening are both fantastic! The opening has the same style as ther first season but a headbangin’ new song, “Head Hunt” by “Okamotos” . The ending maintains the same style as well, but it has a slightly more upbeat song as well. The ending leaves us on a catchy note with “Never Say Never” By “THREE LIGHTS DOWN KINGS“. I would recommend this to new comers of the series simply because there’s so many characters and events to know beforehand. It’s easy to catch up with both seasons available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu!