>Streaming video review: The "Durarara!!" Gang Wars

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“Durarara!!” leads anime fans into an entertaining world with one of the deadliest political dramas between high school kids.

You heard me right. High school kids involved in a frightening battle of wits and violence.

The first 12 episodes were a simple introduction to the different gangs of Ikebukuro. The series starts as an unusual story about a Celtic fairy known as a Dullahan. The fairy is searching for her head, which was shipped into Japan in Ikebukuro. Although many of the characters tried to hunt for the head, most attempts have failed.

The head was traded amongst many hands, including a pharmaceutical company. However, the head has now reached the hands of Izaya Orihara, a shrewd entrepreneur. Orihara heard that the only way to awaken the Dullahan’s head to its full potential is if he starts a violent battle. His vague plan is to start a big gang war in Ikebukuro between three gang leaders.

However, these gang leaders are not people you’d expect to rule the underground world of Ikebukuro. No, these leaders are simple kids, each of which have different philosophical views of their typical lives.

There are a few spotty moments, especially during episodes 16 and 17. The director has a difficult time explaining the entire origin of the slashers that are appearing in Ikebukuro. Celty and her friends learn that the slasher’s code name on the Dollars chat website is Saika. At this point, the show takes a complete turn from a mystery show to a horror series, involving an army of zombie-like people invading Ikebukuro with knives and swords. Fortunately, the zombie invasion ends once the leader awakens to her powers. And yes, the leader is a high school girl.

Certainly the story will not make very much sense at first. When the pieces come together though, you’ll find that this is a dark piece that depicts the social war between three gangs. The leaders are caught in a desperate struggle to stop the onslaught of brutal attacks and murders in the city. The war is ironically created by a shrewd trickster, whose intentions don’t clear up until the very last episodes.

This is possibly one of the greatest shonen anime shows ever made, for its depiction of how political leaders are nearly unable the power to stop the incoming contagion of violent warfare. The anime studio, Brains Base, deserves high praise for using its incredible animators to create a world that completely redefines how we depict reality with two-dimensional drawings.

This is a must-see series. Even though you’ll never know why all these superheros are all living in Ikebukuro, you will have to see this series, because it will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Watch the show for free at crunchyroll.com.

Image courtesy of photobucket.com

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Filed under action, Durarara, gang wars, masterpiece, violent

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