デュラララ!! (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Brains Base
R1 License - Aniplex of America
This story takes place in Tokyo in the Ikebukuro district. The streets are troubled by teenage punks who gang up and fight against each other. But the gangsters are all afraid of an urban legend called "Dullahan": a headless rider of a black motorcycle without headlights nor sounds of engine. Ryuugamine Mikado is a normal high school boy who seeks out the legends of these peculiar beings. When he moves to Ikebukuro and begins researching the Dullahan, he sets off a mad scramble for its missing head.

(summary compliments of Solistra Sora).

Inspired by a light novel series by Ryohgo Narita, who also wrote the story for Baccano!. New anime series announced in ANN.

The ↗Dullahan is a mythical creature of Irish/Celtic folklore - a headless spirit who rides a large black headless horse, carrying his head under one arm. The Dullahan myth probably has it's roots in the ancient ↗Celtic head-hunting tradition and may have inspired the '↗Legend of Sleepy Hollow' story.

Read the (English) translated manga online at MangaFox.

Animation by BrainsBase.
Series first aired in January 2010.
24 TV Episodes (~24min each).

[edit] The ↗Durarara!! franchise:

OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 8 8 8 9 9 Dreamer [series:2216#2279]
Both the synopsis above and the handful of good reviews forced me to pick this one up. I'm glad I did because this one was one wild ride!

Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork was excellent. There were plenty of details, rich nicely blended colors in both the background and foreground. Character designs were equally as good... although not exactly rich in detail but good nevertheless. All around well done.

The OP was good alternative style with male vocals. Enjoyed it. The soundtrack had some interesting pieces consisting of light piano arrangements with flutes that gave the sense of a light classical.... think of small birds twittering and tweeting around on a mildly sunny lazy morning. That's the best way I can really explain it.... lol. Other times, we get some fun jazz pieces then went well with some of the city scenes.

Series and Episode Story
What the heck do I say about this series? It's a crazy mash of strange characters, confusing plots and a weirdness far and beyond where a typical anime would go. And man, this series is definitely not your typical.... wow! It's not just the characters that make this series strange, but also the interesting mix of modern civilization in big city life, irish tales of headless horsemen.... er, woman, gang warfare and school life. All this somehow blends together nicely and throws at you a crazy yet interesting story.

One thing that really shines here are the countless sub-plots, all either crossing paths, diverging or somehow, someway intertwining to make for a spectacular storytelling. Love it!! Then there are the characters, a large cast at that. For the most part, we don't get to explore them all as the story focuses mainly on our three main ones. But we do get enough screentime and with a handful of other notable characters such as Celty, Shizuo and others.... which all lend greatly to the engaging plots, subplots and arcs.

Overall, this was an amazingly fun and wild ride. With a unique set of characters and countless crazy arcs, it made for a few long nights of back-to-back episode watching. It's a must watch!

Last updated Tuesday, June 14 2011. Created Tuesday, June 14 2011.
Buy 9 9 8 8 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:2216#1552]
If you want a gritty, yet intriguing, title dabbling into the supernatural, gang wars and Internet anonymity while exploring coming-of-age dilemmas involving three teens, then look no further than Durarara. The series as a whole is about accepting one self and others despite one's insecurities over parts of yourself you may find negative or not believing you can be around others. Many of the major characters that are seen throughout Durarara, for whatever kind of personality or unique abilities they have, have some form of self-doubt or problem that affects their confidence in their self or being too close to others. And the cast of the series is quite the colorful bunch. Consisting of down-to-earth people like Mikado and Kida as well as the not-so-normal people like Dullahan Celty and superhumanly strong Shizuo, the presence of not-so-normal characters makes Durarara isn't quite down-to-earth in its focus on character backgrounds and developments. The series is mainly focused on teens Mikado, Anri and Kida who are given their own arcs over the dilemmas and groups which they lead with all three using them as an escape from the insecurities they face in their lives. In the case of the two former characters, their arcs are a bit on the grand side blending into Ikebukuro's rep of urban legends while Kida's arc is more down to earth involving gangs, another area Ikebukuro is notorious for in the world of Durarara. In the exploration of these major characters, subjects such as parental abuse, Internet anonymity and the generation gap between young and old get addressed that help shape the character mentalities and conflicts faced throughout the show.

Setting aside focus on characters, Durarara is littered with multiple plot threads delved into throughout the show which involve the gang wars in Ikebukuro, the whereabouts of Celty's stolen head, Izaya's manipulations and the pharmaceutical company's human experimentation. This aspect of the series is a bit of a mixed bag as there are hints to a bigger picture than what had been shown yet the series fails to cover or resolve these plot threads. Then there's also the issue of certain characters, despite being around to contribute to the grittiness of Durarara, lacking any background or depth to their characters. In particular, I'm talking about Simon, the crazy traffic cop who chased Celty and the group of former Blue Squares gang members who joined up with the Dollars. Despite their frequent appearances throughout the show and their spots in the show's opening sequences, there wasn't really much told about their characters.

Getting beyond issues with the lack of complete resolution with plot threads and depth on some characters, Durarara was a worthwhile title for its gritty environment in Ikebukuro and the emphasis on accepting one self and others. From what I hear, Aniplex of America has licensing rights to the series. So definitely plan to buy the show in the near future whenever it's available on video.

Last updated Saturday, June 26 2010. Created Saturday, June 26 2010.
Unevaluated Forbin [series:2216#1573]
12 Fansubs Watched.

yah want weird. This is WEIRD.

I watch it but I don't know. It's too odd where the girl is looking for her head but the boy killed another girl who's a friend of another girl who might be dating the leader of the Dollars.


I will review properly when it's over.

Last updated Friday, April 02 2010. Created Friday, April 02 2010.
Buy 8 9 10 10 8 8 Silence [series:2216#2939]
Buy- / Rent+

Right from the start, I thought that Durarara is a very unique show. Despite a large cast, each character is made so well and likable, there will definitely be a few that one would root for. From the 3 main characters, to the main antagonist Orihara Izaya, to the supporting cast of Celty, Shinra, Shizuo etc, and even the less featured characters like Simon and Kadota, all get their chance to shine. Hence they become very defined characters, ranging from likable to awesome. The cast is definitely the best element in this anime.

And where can the cast be without a good plot to bring out their awesomeness? Right from the start, intrigue is abound as the perspective is constantly switched between episodes to look at the same event through different eyes, allowing us to learn more about this world, as well as the characters. With plots and subplots showing up, major twists take us in a completely new direction, and brings out sides of the characters we have never expected. Up till around episode 16, the story could be considered absolutely wonderful. However, towards the end, the plot starts to become more straightforward because we now know most of the information, and lacks the intensity of the initial episodes. Perhaps it is because my expectations have been inflated unrealistically by the initial quality such that an otherwise decent ending seems subpar in comparison. Either way, the ending seems rather bland.

The music is very good; both sets of op/ed are awesome, and the bgm is well done too. No problems with animation whatsoever.

Overall, a very special and interesting anime. Would be a definite buy if not for somewhat disappointing conclusion.

Last updated Tuesday, July 06 2010. Created Wednesday, January 13 2010.
Rent Stretch [series:2216#628]
(All episodes watched):

Episode one left me thinking that this seemed like a deeper, more complex story than most, with a big cast. On the other hand, it kind of went without saying that the headless rider guy would come down hard on the two-dimensional kidnappers. I found it hard to get excited by the fight, which took place in darkness and was difficult to follow. The presentation as a whole didn't leave me particularly thrilled or excited; no doubt the bad guys had taken a beating, but I hadn't really learned anything more about the mysterious motorcycle man than I had known going in. Still, this might turn out to be a neat show, and I'll be glad to watch some more.

Episode two was largely a retelling of the kidnapping incident from episode one, but from the victim's point of view, and also with what happened afterwards. Somebody who doesn't particularly like humans (does that mean he's not human himself?) is nevertheless curious about them, especially their emotions, and therefore stages potentially traumatic incidents in order to see how they will respond. He also seems to employ the rider (probably a girl based on the ED sequence) as a "deliverer" (whatever that means). The way she communicates with people was neat, and so was the indication that whoever/whatever she is, she has feelings and convictions of her own. This was interesting, though as of yet I detect no guarantee that the story as a whole will make complete sense. I worry that with so many characters I may not be able to keep track of every plot thread. But so far, so good. Baccano began with an episode which scrambled my brains and made me extremely reluctant to progress with the series, but that definitely hasn't happened here.

I was slightly disappointed by episode three because we didn't learn anything new about the rider, instead it seemed to be a contest among several characters for the title of toughest, coolest, most badassed guy in the district. Episode four, however, pretty much explained everything. I was a little surprised that a mythical being, a "Dullahan"(sp?) is presented to us without any attempt to explain it or make it plausible--sort of like a vampire or werewolf, except those are relatively commonplace in anime while I'd never heard of these. But even if it's origins remain a mystery, I remain intrigued. The story seems to be doing a pretty good job of remaining comprehensible even if (or because?) it is packaged as a number of different people's largely seperate accounts. That is, for the most part these subplots have yet to merge together, and presenting them in this manner may actually make them easier rather than more difficult to understand. So far, so good.

After all, it is Selty (Celty--I finally get it) who most interests me, and if the countless supporting characters ultimately have little or nothing to do with her, then they are a waste of time. In episode eight yet another one comes along, and we realize that she does have a startling tie to Selty--this is just the way the story should be going, and I am intrigued. Episode ten had a neat scene where Ryugamine gets a chance to talk with Selty and ask her if the urban legends are true. Somehow this particular bit made me sit up and take notice; perhaps because this is something which could never really happen, so it is inherently original.

Episode twelve was surprisingly powerful, in particular when Selty demands an explanation from another character of seemingly deceitful actions and gets a very good one. On the one hand an exciting plot element turns out to be a false alarm, but on the other we are compensated with a moving expansion of (at least one) character's personality. Work of this caliber doesn't happen often in the shows I watch, and I am now confident that every plot string of Durarara will fit nicely together at the end.

Some shows have intriguing plot twists, occasionally two or even three of them, but Durarara serves up a major surprise in about every other episode. That's a lot to keep track of in my memory, but they tend to be so bizarre that they are difficult to forget. And for the most part they fit smoothly together, due to the nothing-is-impossible attitude of this show. Something about Shizuo's single-handed fight against a horde of freaks in episode 17 bothers me, though. As weird as they are, each twist so far has made some sense, perhaps because some sort of explanation is provided. Yes, there really is a headless rider, because she's a Dullahan, for instance. But absolutely no explanation for Shizuo's incredible superhuman strength is offered to us--is it supposed to be a joke? Nor does anybody ask for one; Celty just remarks that he's even stronger than she had thought. Somehow this scene seems to violate the storytelling 'rules' that Durarara has followed, at least in my opinion.

With time, more and more twists left me confused regarding the main plot (would there be one?). I still didn't completely understand what Anri's relationship to that strange sword was, and what influence it had on her. Weird stuff can be neat, but it needs to be thoroughly explained (maybe more than once). The conflict between Kira and Mikado over their secret gang allegiances seemed kind of corny to me; too many coincidences and jumped-to conclusions are behind it, and the Dollars are hardly a 'gang' at all. Also, a man who can yank light poles out of the ground ought to be immune to mere pistol bullets, right? So, the question was, would all of these countless subplots come together at the end, or were many of them already finished?

Well, they sort of came together; maybe half of all the countless supporting characters played small, unremarkable parts in the conclusion. But I can't help feeling that all sorts of interesting characters were carefully set up, then little was done with them. Another series based on an incomplete manga, perhaps? The conclusion was just 'eh'... it felt like an arc conclusion (and not a thrilling one) rather than a series conclusion. It feels like Durarara focused on a relatively minor and uninteresting plot strand and ignored the really good ones. I mean, the romantic triangle between Mikado, Anri and Kida works out OK, but there's a f---ing sword with a mind of it's own out there! And what about Celty's head? I'd much rather have learned something new about that, even if it didn't solve the problem altogether. The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that the story as a whole is still far from finished. A show with the sort of wild, twisted plotlines which Durarara had really needs some solid answers to make sense of it all, but they weren't forthcoming.

Last updated Tuesday, July 13 2010. Created Sunday, January 10 2010.

Other Sites
TVアニメーション「デュラララ!!」 (Japanese) http://www.durarara.com/

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