Based on the popular light novel series by
Ryohgo Narita, who also penned the much-loved Baccano,
Durarara!! is as frenetic and action-packed a series as the two
exclamation marks in its title and its author’s artistic pedigree would
Like the source material this 2010 anime
adaptation takes place in the gritty Tokyo suburb of Ikebukuro and
follows the exploits of high school students Mikado and Masaomi, both of
whom will go on to become the leaders of rival gangs, the Yellow Scarves
Durarara!! takes place almost
exclusively in the seamy underbelly of the city, a lawless realm in
which carjackings, kidnappings and mass suicides are casually discussed
over coffee and where violence is a daily, even hourly, occurrence. The
deceptively innocuous animation style and cover artwork mask what is
really quite a violent series, with many of the principal characters
full of regret in spite their youth and with things in Ikekeburo
frequently spiralling out of control.
The third and final instalment of this
really rather singular series contains the final seven episodes and a
bonus episode, number 25, which takes place after the ’Gang War’ story
arc and was originally only available on Japanese DVD editions. This
comparatively light-hearted coda proves a satisfying counter to the
drama and calamity contained in the preceding episodes, and after so
much emphasis throughout the series on character development and back
stories the closing episodes boast a pleasing emphasis on plotlines,
snappy dialogue and an abundance of present-day action.
Replete with pop culture references, anime
in-jokes and a headless motorcycle riding ghost as a central character,
Durarara!! is a snappy and sharp-looking series which boasts dark
humour and thematically complex plotlines in roughly equal measure.
It’s perhaps a little harder to warm to than Baccano, thanks in
part to the fact its characters are such a patchwork of moral
ambiguities, but there’s still plenty to admire, and never so much as
the hint of a dull moment in sight.