Durarara!! (デュラララ!!) is a very misdirecting and different story which focuses on a number of separate plots and hidden meanings. Plot twists are not stranger to Ryohgo Narita’s original light novels, neither are they to the anime adaptation.
As you may have already noticed, I enjoyed this show a lot, as I did with the novel volumes I’ve read by now.
So, read on for the festival of urban spoilers and a very positive review (although I will try to keep things as objective as I can).
To start off from the beginning, I will explain to you how I plan on handling this review – I will focus on each of the plot lines instead of focusing on the individual parts of the show such as graphics, music and characters.
Yellow, Blue and Colourless – The Gangs
Ikebukuro is a world of its own, filled with men and women of all ages who want to become stronger.
The Yellow Scarves and the Blue Squares are rival gangs from the near past of Ikebukuro. Led by unknown teenagers for reason unknown outside of their own headquarters, both gangs became the reason for the appearance of the term “Coloured Gangs”.
You could always distinguish them because of the symbols – a yellow scarf or a blue square (larger piece of accessory of the same type). They will be at a very visible place on the gang member.
The whole idea of the coloured gangs is unique, special and very well through of. It involves personalities and a lot of intriguing facts, mind games and, in later episodes, brutal physical confrontations for a greater good.
The leader of the Yellow gang was one of the leading trio in the show and he did know how to rule, until a certain information broker ruined it all for him. This very scheme led to the downfall of both coloured gangs.
The Dollars in Depth
Ikebukuro is a world of its own, filled with men and women of all ages who want to change the world they live in.
Soon after the fall of the two coloured gangs in Tokyo, a new, mysteriously colourless gang appeared. It became known as the “Dollars”. They have a secret chat and only those who know where and how to look for it know the password for this chat. Entering the Dollars is only by invitations, but everyone can do it.
The Dollars care not of your profession, age, the deeds you’ve done prior to entering the group… They only care about what you do after that.
No one knows who the chief is, no one known who anyone is. They all use online nicknames.
What’s the idea? To change to world, to make it a better place and to make a certain member of the main trio’s life a bit less boring.
When the Dollars took on the big names in the Pharmaceutical business, they won. When they took on the mischiefs of random citizens, they won. When they had to fight against the evil within… they almost won by themselves, as well.
This is the epitome of urban romanticism and I am totally up for it.
The Headless Rider
Ikebukuro is a world of its own, filled with men and women of all ages who want to obstruct her search for a lost reason.
The headless rider – a myth, a living urban legend in Tokyo. The rider passes like the wind, leaving a trace of darkness behind. The rider… a mythological being from a faraway land who is constantly looking for something dear, something lost… something taken. This very same something is another one of the many interchanging links between the different segments of this show – ideas, facts, schemes, relationships, items – they all pass from the mafia to the gangs to the random citizen to the students… to the mythological ones.
A web that thickens with each new change.
Ikebukuro is a world of its own, filled with men and women of all ages who want to rule through knowledge.
There two types of evildoers in Ikebukuro and the first one of them is the large-scale evildoers. One of the most prominent representatives must be the young Miss Namie Yagiri, sister of Ryuugamine Mikado’s classmate Seiji Yagiri. During the most part of the series, Namie rules over Yagiri Pharmaceuticals. She is a direct, strong-willed woman who loves her position in life. She likes to rule and be in charge.
For many reasons, it is exactly she that clashes with the Dollars during their first ever official face-to-face meeting. Naturally, the leader of the gang never let her and her guards overpower him…without using strength.
Her tale ends as a sad one. Against the wall, she must sell her company “merge” with a larger one. The beautiful, powerful and prominent lady must make-do with her salary as the secretary of a certain Izaya Orihara. Izaya-kun is another type of evildoer – the almighty evildoer who controls the puppets.
Two other members of the large-scale type are Shingen and Shinra Kishitani, especially the father. While Shinra is desperately trying to fix what has been done by his father, the latter keeps on adding misfortune after misfortune. Shinra, Celty’s lover and employer in a way, is working as an underground doctor. Yes, the ones who do plastic surgery for millions and help mafia bosses escape the law. Shingen, on the other hand, is part of The Nebula Corporation (found also in Baccano! and Etsusa Bridge).
The Joker and the Knight
Ikebukuro is a world of its own, filled with men and women of all ages who want to have fun, no matter the means.
Two main characters received a lot of female attention, without being appreciated enough for the positive sides of their characters. Izaya Orihara, the joker, and Shizuo Heiwajima, the knight.
Why make the playing card reference? Because everything is a game, and who said cards have no place in a Durarara!! review?
The two of them, having met during their years of studying in school, have continued an ever-so-strong friendship. Through hardships and happy moments, through success and fall – their lives would always be entwined, no matter how much Heiwajima disapproves of it.
The bartender of evil, the man who cannot be defeated and the most dangerous Ikebukuro occupant – Heiwajima Shizuo. He will never give in to fear; he knows not what it means. Even being run over by a truck won’t keep him away from the prey.
The prey of his… usually being Orihara-kun himself. Blamed for all evil, it is practically not far from the truth. This information broker influences everything – from who goes to eat at Russia Sushi to what information reaches the Dollars in their hidden chatroom. Nothing escapes the joker.
Ikebukuro is a world of its own, filled with men and women of all ages who want to deserve to be killed… saved
The way this is written in Japanese tells us all we need to know about where it comes from and how it will end: 罪 – the Japanese for “sin”, “crime” and 歌 for “song”.
Saika is one of the main antagonists during the show, although the very essence of Saika is one of the main protagonists. Forming the last point in a triangle of menace (Dollars<>Yellow Scarves<>Saika), Saika is the everlasting edge that will never die. Saikais “The Slasher”, she is also the Mother-weapon and a spammer in the Dollars’ chatroom.
Saika is much more, though. The very character is innocent and pure, but at the same time the being to create a number of mean and sinister existences, craving blood, death and power. Saika is a mother to many, and a deathbringer to even more.
This one caused the whole Tokyo to fear, to tremble and to be scared for their lives. Several murders, a lot of blood and an unknown reason. Quickly, Saika became the epitome of evil, wanted by both gang leaders, later to be chased by them.
From the best friend to the most hated being, to the best companion once more. This is a show of friendship and teen years, as you will never experience them in real life.
Ikebukuro is a world where everything is possible and everyone can find their hidden troublemaker within. With so much evil around the town, how do normal people survive?
Durarara!! in The List
Official Durarara!! Website
Do you feel adventurous?
Images and Video ©成田良悟／アスキー・メディアワークス／池袋ダラーズ・MBS