The Impossible Possibilities in Durarara!!

As the 3rd arc of Durarara!! x2 began airing earlier this month, my excitement level has gone another notch.  But I wasn’t always a fan of this series.  My first experience watching it didn’t go well.  I dropped it just after 5 episodes.  After a few months, I took it up again and was surprised to find myself not only loving it but also praising its storytelling.  I’ve been converted into a fan and I almost wish that I’m a Dollars member!

durarara x2

My Rating: 😀 😀 😀 😀 (4 out of 5 grins)

Durarara!! (デュラララ!!) or just DRRR!! is an anime series based on the light novels written by Narita Ryōgo (成田 良悟) and illustrated by Yasuda Suzuhito (ヤスダ スズヒト).  It’s a smorgasbord of characters, sub-plots, and genres all interwoven ingeniously together that they appear to be bunches of confusing nonsense at the beginning but are actually parts of an amazing greater picture.

As my first experience watching this didn’t go so well, I’ll be the first to admit that it takes a certain special mood to become interested and ultimately to become absorbed by this series.  To those planning on watching this for the first time, I’m going to say this to you now:  It’s NOT going to make a damn sense at the beginning.  You need to watch at least more than 5 episodes, or better yet watch the entire first season, to appreciate the story, in my opinion—at least that’s how long it took for me.

I think that it’s more difficult for DRRR!! to suspend viewers’ disbelief compared to other obvious fantasy series like ONE PIECE or Fairy Tail.  With its type of “realistic” setting such as modern Ikebukuro, it has to work harder to make the fairy tale and other fantastical elements believable.  But I think that it successfully did just that.

Despite its outrageous elements that are deceptively made normal because of the setting’s nature, it’s quite a dark and deep series.  It’s like Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei and Death Note combined.  And because it has such a “realistic” location such as Ikebukuro as we know it, it has this eerie sense that “this can happen”, although we know that it cannot.

nozomu itoshiki hanging by the sakura tree - sayonara zetsubou sensei

light yagami angry - death note

If you just stop a moment and look beyond Celty’s missing head, Shizuo’s monstrous strength, and Izaya’s sexiness (wink wink), this series is packed with a lot of meaningful themes.

orihara vs shizuo - durarara

The theme that struck me the most is that the concept of “normal” is relative, and that if you spend enough time in an abnormal situation, it will become your new normal.  This theme isn’t only true within the series itself but also for its viewers.  At first you find everything so weird, but as you watch more episodes, all the weird stuff becomes normal.

Now I can say that DRRR!! is one of the best anime that I’ve ever watched.  It’s not very flashy compared to battle series like Dragon Ball or Naruto-–no visible aura or chakra, only bartenders throwing vending  machines and a sexy headless lady riding a motorcycle.  The premise is not as intriguing nor as clear either, unlike the genius premise of Death Note.  Compared to Death Note, DRRR!!‘s plot seems all over the place.  You get the feeling that the story elements were randomly picked and thrown together without any regards to logic.

Despite all of these, I think that what DRRR!! excels at is neither the flash of action scenes nor an amazing story, but in its masterful storytelling.  Now I know that many disagree with me on this, but this is my opinion.  I also want to let you know that before I’m an anime otaku, I’m a literary reader and writer first.  DRRR!! demonstrates many literary devices effectively such as flashback, foreshadowing, point of view, verisimilitude and so much more.  Blah blah blah.  I know you’re getting bored with my academic babble, but I just want to say that I was so impressed that it almost tempted me to write an academic essay about it.  Almost.

Now you know that Durarara!! is one of my favourite series.  How about you?  What do you think about this series?  Do you like it?  Do you hate it?  Have you watched it yet?

That’s all for today, folks!  Have a great day.  Cheers!

Links:
Durarara!! Anime (Japanese)
Durarara!!x2 Anime (Japanese)


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55 thoughts on “The Impossible Possibilities in Durarara!!”

    1. What’s your most favourite anime if this is your second?

      Yes, I’ve been told that the novels are being translated into English. That’s so awesome. I’ll look more into them. But I’ll probably focus on the anime first.

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  1. Fantastic story; I love it! BTW, speaking of not making sense at first, have you seen Baccano! by the same author? All over the place (and time), but similarly excellent storytelling–just lots of blood and gore too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I haven’t seen “Baccano” yet. It’s been recommended to me before. Wow. I didn’t know that DRRR and Baccano have the same author. That’s so interesting. I’m currently just watching Gundam, but I’ll put Baccano near the top of my next to-watch list. That’s so interesting. Thanks for the info!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I’m on the same page with I first started Durarara!! Long ago when it was airing at Adult Swim Action, I didn’t bother with it but when I give it another watch 3 years ago, I regretted skipping it out the first time. It’s now one of my favorite anime and the sequel series still cements that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so interesting. It’s kind of weird that most of the people I encounter online have the same experience as us. We drop it the first time and then try again and end up loving it. Are you watching the currently airing season right now?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the series in all of its forms (light novel, anime, and manga). It all started when I saw a clip of Shizuo beating the crap out of people after a guy smacked him in the back of the head with a wooden plank (season 1). There are a lot of things I enjoy about the series, from the plot, to the characters, to the awesome cast of seiyuu working on the anime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only watched the anime. I don’t know if the novels are available in English, do you know? I think I would like to read the novels, and I have no patience reading them in Japanese. I’ve been slacking with my Japanese studies lately that my reading and writing are no good. And oh my gosh, I forgot to mention the awesome cast of seiyuu in this post. Good thing you reminded me. I’ll probably write another post about that in the future. We’ll see. A lot of my fave seiyuu are in the cast. I think all of them are my favourite! XD
      Have you finished watching all the series except for the currently airing one?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup, they’re available through Yen Press. They’re translating both the novels and the manga. I’m reading and watching everything because I find it helps to flesh out Narita’s story quite well.

        The anime is my favorite medium for the series because the cast really bring the characters to life. That cast is full of my favorites. All it’s missing is Sakurai, Sugita and SuzuKen lol. I have too many favorite seiyuu now.

        I’m caught up with all episodes that have been aired. It’s something I look forward to every Saturday. Have you seen the Durarara X2 Shou 4.5 OVA? I think the actual title is something like “My Heart Is Like a Hotpot”. It’s pretty good. I wish Crunchyroll would post it, but all I could find was a fansub.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, that’s great to hear. I might have to wait until all of them gets translated. I’ll be keeping an eye on them. Thanks! I hope that they become available here in Canada, so I don’t have to personally import them.

        Ahahah! I know, right? It’s like a convention of the some of the best seiyuu in the industry. Yay, Sugita! Nakamura’s already there, so I wish he can join his partner. 😉

        Noooooooo! What the heck? I don’t know about that OVA. I don’t think I’ve watched that. -____-
        But thanks for the info!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think the OVA had limited theatrical screenings in Japan. I heard it’s bundled with the X2 Shou DVD release. One of the stories is about why Shizuo dyed his hair. I’d like to buy an official sub release eventually.

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      4. The reason why he did it is very Shizuo too. I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t say anymore. There are also two other vignettes. One with younger Mikado and Masaomi and one with younger Anri and Mika.
        I did see it with fansubs. The subs were a little off which is why I want to get the official release someday.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Aaaaaaw. No spoilers? I LOVE spoilers. Ahaha. But I guess it’d be better if I watch it myself. Thanks for the info. I had no idea about this before you mentioned it. 😀

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  4. Durarara!! is actually one of my favorite series. I indeed find it weird when I first watched it. And the “It’s NOT going to make a damn sense at the beginning” statement really did apply to me. So when I recommended it to my friends I couldn’t describe it well. I would just tell them that they gotta watch it, without further say. Haha. Because that made them confused, they ended up watching it too. Lol. And I do agree that it has lots of meaningful themes. And that I’ve been setting the new season on deck. >_<

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    1. Ahahaha! That’s true. It would be weird for you trying to explain about a headless lady riding a motorcycle, a bartender with monstrous strength and all of those oddities to your friends. How did they like it?

      I’m waiting for all episodes to be released before I watch the currently airing one. I’m a marathoner and that usually gives me NO patience for waiting for an episode to come out every week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be very weird indeed. Lol. Two of them told me that they didn’t get the anime’s plot. Haha. But they didn’t say they hated nor liked it, though. I guess they’ve been trying to be neutral since I was so eager in having them watch it. Which I would have perfectly understood. Haha. I am not too patient as well when it comes to waiting for the next episode, so I am waiting for all episodes to be completed just like you.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. DRRR!! Is a weird anime when you watch but it gets better. I was totally lost in the firsr couple episodes when I started to watch the series but then I ended enjoying the oddities. It’s one of my favorite anime series besides Sword Art Online. The music is awesome for both opening and ending themes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It is a weird anime but then it becomes more normal when we watch more episodes, that’s what’s weird about it. We expect weird things. It’s enjoyable. Are you watching the currently airing season now or are you like me who and waiting for all the episodes to be released before watching?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, it is that kind of weird where we can enjoy it; almost like Alice in Wonderland. So far I am barely on the first episode of DRRR x2 Ten. I want to finish this second arc. I might wait until Ketsu is done and wait until there is an English Dub XD.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly! I love the Alice books. I didn’t like the films that much. I prefer DRRR anime than the Alice film adaptations.

        Wait, are they doing the English dub for Ketsu simultaneously while the original Japanese airs or is there a waiting period after the episodes are released?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I always like the cartoon version of Alice; the Tim Burton version was decent. I am assuming they will eventually Dub the episodes after the show gets finished. They did the English Dub on all the Durarara episodes except for Ketsu. So once Ketsu is finished, they would probably Dub the series.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Me, too. But I liked the books better. The Disney version will always have a special place in my heart, though. The Tim Burton one was okay. Made my eyes pop and was a treat to watch because of all those 3d effects, but other than that, it was so-so. I saw a trailer for the next Tim Burton Alice Through the Looking Glass. Have you? I think it’s going to be released soon. I have a feeling that my siblings will beg me again to watch it with them. Oh well. It’s me who have the credit card, so story of my life.

        I see. I’m not really familiar with the dubs, but yes I saw that they’re available through Crunchyroll. Yeah, maybe you’re right. Perhaps they’re already working on it right now.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I haven’t seen it but I heard that the Mad Hatter will have a huge role. I guess your siblings expect you to pay for the film; sorry that you have to deal with that.
        I am assuming they are working on the English Dub of the anime. I enjoyed the English Dub more than the subbed, but that’s my opinion. Besides the dub, I love the opening and ending songs.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes. It’s basically about him. Well, I like Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the Mad Hatter so I’ll probably enjoy it. Ahahaha. No problem. Did I sound like I was complaining about paying for my sibling’s movie tickets? Ahaha. I wasn’t. I actually enjoy watching films with them.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Johnny Depp is a great actor. He really knows how to be a character. It’s been a while for the Alice in Wonderland movie. I hope people haven’t forgotten about it. Oh okay, my bad. I thought it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I agree. Hmmm. Indeed, it’s been years since the last Alice film. Well, I haven’t forgotten it yet and my siblings haven’t. Perhaps the younger ones wouldn’t remember it well, but I don’t think that matters much. Ahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. True. As long as there Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, we should be okay. I haven’t forgot about the movie and I had a feeling there would be a another film. I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be sequel or spinoff.

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  6. I didn’t read past the intro because i was afraid there might be spoilers after I saw what i assume is Celty’s head in the picture.
    Funny thing. I also dropped it after 5 episodes. I think we’ve talked about this before. I still haven’t picked it up again yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahahaha! I don’t think there are any major spoilers in this post. I think this post is unusually tame when it comes to spoilers. But I think that’s a good practice when dealing with my posts when you’re trying to avoid spoilers, since I don’t shy away from them. In fact, I LOVE them.

      Oh wow. That’s cool. Yes, I think I remember us talking about this before. Aw. I hope that you get to pick it up again. Maybe when you get into a special mood like I did, then perhaps you’ll like it as much as I do. I hope that’s the case.

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  7. For me its more like my interest in Durarara peaked during the first season, but I feel the quality of the series has been dropping >< I can’t really pinpoint why though, perhaps its the feeling that the narrative is deliberately messed up for no purpose other than being unique, contrary to how it felt more tight in the first season. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw. I hear that a lot, although I find it odd that I don’t feel that way when most say that the quality dropped per season. I like the seemingly randomness of the narrative and plot because it makes it more suspenseful for me that I can’t wait to see how they all makes sense at the end. Have you watched all the seasons before the currently airing ones? Are you planning on watching the current season?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah well, I don’t think that it’s meant to be a unanimous sentiment. I was pretty shocked myself when lots of people felt the same, when I thought it was just one of my personal feelings/mood.
        The most unique thing about Drrr is its narrative randomness, I agree. And how all the pieces fall into the puzzle.
        I have only finished its second season haha. I may not actually continue watching it, seeing that it doesn’t even come on my mind often enough for me to remember to start it xD but who knows, maybe I’ll get into a Drrr mood and be less critical of it enough to try the later seasons xD

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  8. I was watching it while it was airing on TV but then our cable got cut and I didn’t finish, which sucks because it was in that phase where all the action was about to happen (dollars, yellow scarves, and others)

    At this point I’m not sure I wasn’t to go back because I’d have to rewatch the series 😛 but what I did watch I was impressed with

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahahahah! You should’ve called the cable company and complained. I hope that you get to continue watching it when you have the time. I really like it. Some say that the quality decreased every season, but I really disagree. I think that the pacing and the quality are just fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would have if they would ignore the fact we hadn’t paid it LOL (no such luck)

        I’ve seen so many stuff come out, not sure if it’s just another season or like specials so that’s telling me to check it so I’ll most likely come back to it :3

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahahah! It seems like you’re watching a lot of stuff right now, Crimson. Oh well. This is still airing right now anyway, you still have plenty of time to watch it later when you feel the urge to. Anyway, thanks for dropping by. Cheers, Crim!

        Liked by 1 person

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