Sunday, January 6, 2013

Durarara!!


Plot: Mikado RyĆ«gamine yearns to escape the humdrum of the country for the excitement of the city, at least that is what he says, perhaps he is just looking to connect with friends on deeper level. On a limb invite from his old friend Masaomi Kida, he moves Ikebukuro, Tokyo in order to seek his excitment, and excitment he finds. From headless motorcyclists to corporate conspiracy to and invincible warrior to Russian sushi, a mysterious killer called the slasher, the annoymous guardian internet known as the dollars, to the very real rival gangs seeking to regain control the town, and twisted information broker catalyzing it all; there are stranger things to be found in this world than people know. The strangest thing for Mikado, however, may just be how much his newfound, trusted, and beloved friends are involved in it all, and how much they are not telling him, or perhaps it is how much he is not telling them.

Verdict: The series is the spiritual sequel to Baccano! in that it takes place in the same world just in modern day. Like Baccano! it begins as character driven ruckus, but unlike Baccano! it is building to a theme. The secrets and lies that we keep from each other do not always have to be terrible, in fact often they can be what makes this crazy world of ours all the more beautiful, provided we are ready to face the truth and responsibility that comes with it. Sometimes the best kept secrets from those we love are the ones that are shared willingly. It does not quite stick the landing. There is a lot of brooding towards the end on the part of the leads, but it nothing that comes out of nowhere, nor does it get overblown. It is just something that slows things down for a bit when the tension has been building to an explosive end, which comes, just not as soon. Give it a watch and decide for yourself.

Facts: It is based on a series of light novels, at least the beginning of it. The subtitled version is availalbe on Crunchyroll, however, if you can find it, the dub is great. As Heath Ledger has before him, Johnny Yong Bosch proves fully that he can act with more range than just hero.

Justice
  • Bechtel-Sarkeesian Test: There are plenty of women in the story who talk to each other for over a minute, but I am not sure if it is about much than the men in the story, at least tangentally.

    (The closest pass is the dialogue and mutual protection between Celty and Anri and their mutual secrets.)

    (This is Anri with her missing best friend Mika Harima. They talk a lot in flashbacks.)
  • Better than Star Wars: Unforuntatley there is only one black, and Russian, man in the story. Simon, the character, is a bit of a Magic Negro, but he does do something that no one else can in the story that will make you cheer.

     (Almost everything you need to know about Simon...)

  • Awkward Angle Syndrome: Not really, Masaomi and Shinra do hit on the main women (Anri and Celty respectively) in their lives in somewhat innappropriate ways, but this is used for character development later. Unfortunate that it is there, but it is not bad much at all really.
  • The Die Hard Test: Nobody dies in this show.
  • Suck it Disney: Eh, this is not really a thing in this show, but it does not hurt it. Its absence just does not help it, that's all. 

    (Erika and Walker, with action figures, are the most off-beat and expressive characters, but it is fairly typical. It must be said though that the van crew they are part of, which is lead by Kyoshei Kadota (front) and literally driven by Saburo Togusa (back) are the biggest group of heroes in the show. None of them come of as all that special, until push comes to shove.)

    (Oh, and then there is Shizuo. He really hates violence...)


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