How can an anime do so many things right and yet end up being just alright? Welcome back to reviews for things relating the to the next book I’m going to have published and this time we are going to be looking at Durarara!! So how does this relate? As I said, Durarara did a lot of things right, and one of the things I tried to steal from it was its ability to create a large cast of characters linked through seemingly invisible connections to do with the plot’s mystery and how they come together like a puzzle.The plot focuses on three students who, through some means or another, gain a following, a man who is attempting to pitch those followings against each other, another man trying to beat the crap out of him, both who were childhood friends with a doctor who is in love with headless horseman looking for her head, as that doctor’s sister, who is using it for experiments, works in conjunction with the man that is trying to manipulate everyone while another group of friends try to discover their secrets Scooby-Doo style. See? I told you it was a big cast, and each of the characters gets an episode that adds a piece to the puzzle of Durarara’s plot, and for most part it’s a pretty fun ride.
I really like this premise and enjoyed all of the different characters and paranormal elements surrounding them, for the most part. Although it worked well for the first two seasons, it later went off the rails with unnecessary character entries and blown up plot tools that nothing became of. That being said it did a lot of other things well, the visuals, music and interconnected nature creating an overall atmosphere that really made the slice of life parts bearable and the fact that the little mysteries were slowly given up while the overall mystery was kept intact was good enough to keep me watching. The problem it suffered was from escalation, to the point that new mystery being revealed seemed take all attention away from the main plot for the point of dragging the story out.
Being from the same writers as Baccano, one can expect a neat interconnecting plot from this anime. However, like Baccano, it overstayed its welcome a little until it was focusing on characters that no one really cares about. Also like Baccano, it has a great first opening and I think it has an even better first ending that really pushes the theme of invisible threads linking the characters together with the main mystery effecting all of them. The animation is nothing special but the character designs are unique enough that you can get a thrill when a random character you recognize appears in the background, and you know shits about to go down if that character happens to be Shizuo. Another similarity with Baccano is the BGM, which is jam-backed with jazzy tunes.
I would recommend watching at least the first two seasons. Although not ground breaking, it does what it does well, and by the end of Izaya’s plan you can decide whether you want to sit through another three seasons to see his larger master scheme come into effect. Either way, this anime’s story of connecting characters through invisible plot threats really inspired me to do the same in my own story. This was a prefect example of a anime that I could show to people for the very point of asking the person watching it how they think it should end, simply because the premise is creative and open enough to allow watcher to fill in the gaps themselves.
Total Rank: 8/10