Durarara!! is an anime that started airing in 2010. It takes place in a major part of Tokyo called Ikebukuro. To give you an idea about the show’s feel, think of a classical Chinese style epic taking place in a massive modern metropolis. The show focuses on three main characters, but also includes a plethora of minor characters that help move the story forward. This combination of characters help create a structure that allows you to have a better grasp of the three protagonists individual and collective stories.
One of my favorite things about the show is it’s openings, which work to introduce the myriads of characters as well as fill in this vast landscape of Ikebukuro. I especially love the feel of the second opening and how it illustrates the city.
Durarara!! is highly episodic, as it focuses on the cause and effect of every individual and takes a massive amount of effort to display every interaction and action and their proceeding consequences. It is a beautiful tale. Unfortunately, most of the show is surrounded in layers of the mysterious (kind of like the real Ikebukuro.) This means that if I go into the major directions of plot, I could potentially unravel a major part of the draw to the show. I will say however that the first episode is slow. Very slow. However, it is important but is about half introduction to the show and half filler. If you have the long suffering to put up with it and love the mysterious, it will pull you in quickly. It is a bit strange, but I love it.
Durarara!! is a visually beautiful anime, with a very intense and layered story. Every conversation is important. It is dialogue heavy, but much of that dialogue is littered with humor and intrigue. Some characters are annoying. Some are lovable. All of them have their own stories, and many of those stories are wonderful. Every character in the show has an element of humanity that either makes you love or abhor their actions. Honestly, it is hard to adequately explain this show. It is like trying to explain Doctor Who. It is just impossible to do it justice. I do feel like the show really fits it’s real world setting. I spend many days a week in Ikebukuro, which is such a mysterious, worrisome, intriguing, and utterly unbelievable part of Tokyo. (Then there was that time R86 and I were kind of literally dragged into a Buddhist Temple, but you know that is another story).
The West side of the station (the tobu side) is a major University and art side. With Rikkyo University, the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater, Nishiguchikoen (West Exit Park,) and The Toshima Ward head office. Just north of the station is a small area that is controlled by yakuza (but you wouldn’t know it if you went in unless it was night) and an education area that is farther north across the tracks (where the main characters school is). Out the east side of the station (the Seibu side,) is a massive amount of electronic stores, and farther out is Sunshine City, which is full of electronics stores, otaku stores, Tokyu Hands, and farther out the Sunshine City Mall/Tower. To the south is mostly residential areas and a couple of major Buddhist Temples. One of the main characters, Kida-kun, even says in the first episode, “Anything can happen in this city,” and this absolutely explains everything.
Not to mention that the second season is finally airing and is so strange to watch, because I have been to all those places. All that to say if you like mystery, epics, or have a longing to visit this strange part of Tokyo, you will love Durarara!! After five years, this show still has such a pleasant place in my heart and I just hope this new seasons will continue with this.
Also, just to note. The name for the show came from an onomatopoeia for a motorcycle revving its engine. Here are some pictures of the real Ikebukuro.