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DURARARA!!x2 #1 -- Special Review

“A police squad chasing a headless horseman past a cyber-space gang-leader, and his girlfriend who happens to be possessed by an enchanted magic sword. Just another day in Ikebukuro.”

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For those of you who somehow missed season one of this smash hit when it came out back in 2010, Durarara!! Is a series which deserves special distinction as it somehow manages to be a calm, laid-back slice of life anime series and an exciting supernatural action-adventure anime series at the same time.

The show revolves around a…colorful cast of main characters living in Ikebukuro, Japan who, on the surface, appear to be normal people that spend their days going to school, going to work, spending time with friends, and doing any number of countless other average ordinary hum-drum activities that normal people engage in on a regular basis.

What sets these main characters apart from nearly all the other citizens of Ikebukuro, however, is that while our protagonists may appear to be ordinary human-beings on the surface, in reality they are anything but. Nearly all the main characters in Durarara are, in one way or another, “Clark Kent-ing.” Pretending to be ordinary human beings by day, while secretly leading unbelievably extraordinary (and in many cases supernatural) double lives by night.

And unlike other shows involving characters who live double lives, when I say the characters in Durarara keep their double lives secret, I mean they really keep them secret, even from one another. In season one, this led to several interesting (or frustrating, depending on your point of view) situations where each of the main characters believed themselves to be the only one out of their group of friends blessed (or cursed, as the case may be) with secret abilities. And so, when supernatural threats would occasionally endanger the city (and it really only did happen occasionally. Season one tended to spend more time on slice of life antics and character development than on supernatural action) the heroes would, instead of coordinating, joining forces and working together, often try to handle their trials and tribulations alone.

Despite their lack of organized cooperation, over the course of season one the heroes managed to defeat a mad scientist who was stealing people’s organs, and stop a supernatural slasher (who enjoyed cutting people with enchanted blades that turned them into brainwashed slaves) and avert a gang war.

This first episode of season two picks up a few months after season one left off and spends most of its time demonstrating that, now that the action-packed events of season one are behind them, the characters have mostly returned to their usual routines, and are living their normal lives (the term “normal” is relative here of course) in calm laid-back slice-of-life-anime peace.

However, a new danger may be lurking on the horizon. It seems that a serial killer (whom news reporters have nicknamed “Hollywood) has been breaking into innocent people’s homes and murdering them in unfathomably brutal and bloody ways.

Will this new menace in Ikebukuro eventually cross paths with our heroes? (The answer is almost certainly yes.) If so, what are his motives? What are his goals? What, if any, strange abilities does he possess? And will our heroes be able to work together to defeat him? The answers to these questions are less certain. And I’m just curious enough that I think I’ll continue watching this show.

Watch this pilot and decide for yourself.

(Special thanks to Hyper-User Takashichea for the screencaps)

Kaita Mpambara works every day to try and create shows, stories, and characters that are as exciting, energizing, and entertaining as the very best works that have been given to the world by both the western and eastern animation industries. Keep up with his musings on life, the universe and everything by following him on Facebook.

metalsnakezeroon Jan. 19, 2015 at 3:28 p.m.

It is an odd series but it is the few that can juggle multiple characters around a story.

Kino88on Jan. 19, 2015 at 3:34 p.m.
I loved the first season right up till the very fustrating ending That gose absolutely nowhere, despite teasing the audience the whole Way that we would get to some kind of awesome climax, but really I'm talking exclusively about Celty's story, every other subplot Was given a proper close, execpet that one, so I'm aproching this new season with some doubts as to whether or Not poor Celty will ever get her head back, or if that was only ever cruel bait, also it's worth pointing out that this show was made by the creator of Baccano, Which I thought was a much better series,
Donwunon Jan. 19, 2015 at 4:36 p.m.

completely agree... and it seems the manga is still ongoing... so i'm not sure if i should expect another unfinished story or not at this point

reiyoon Jan. 24, 2015 at 6:24 p.m.

This series is awesome to the extreme.

Dig Deeper into Durarara!!x2

Half a year after the events of season one, a new phenomena emerges within Ikebukuro that will plunge the area into a new breed of trouble.

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