“Durarara!!” is a new masterpiece which combines a motley of unusual characters with a story rich with scientific experiments and controversy.
Produced by the same studio behind “Baccano!”, this series has garnered plenty of attention for its fantasy characters. Some possess superhuman strength. Others are involved with genetic mutation experiments. One of them has no head. All of them live in the eclectic Tokyo neighborhood of Ikebukuro, where gang violence runs rampant.
This review covers episodes one through eight. Each episode is narrated by a different character in the series, with each person bringing their own unique characteristics and powers to the story. The series begins behind the perspective of an incoming high school student named Mikado Ryuugamine.
Although he comes from a rural neighborhood, he grows ever intrigued by the fascinating urban legends of Ikebukuro. Certainly the area is a dangerous hot spot for the Japanese color gangs, including an obscure group known as the Dollars.
But the area is also the home of a headless motorcyclist, known simply as Celty. Her background is based on a Medieval legend of the fairy named Dullahan, who carries her head under her arm and rides a headless horse. However, Celty isn’t carrying her head anymore, because someone stole it. She’s now a mere transporter who rescues innocent people. She’s still hoping to find what she lost.
As far-fetched as the entire story is, the pacing of the series is excellent. There isn’t any single time where you feel as if the characters are spending too much time in boring conversations. Something suspicious always runs amok in Ikebukuro. Gang members kidnap innocent people. Superhuman characters are battling hordes of gangsters. A sleazy gang boss calls his minions to kill off students.
And even if most of the story involves a bunch of high-intensity encounters with extraordinary fighters, a headless motorcyclist and a Russian wrestler, nothing ever feels wasted. Every event somehow progresses the plot in subtle ways.
This is a unique tale surrounding many people who are trying to discover something they loved which was lost. All the characters are caught in a swirling cloud of mystery, in a neighborhood where anything and everything is possible.
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