The GoodThe third and fourth episodes of Durarara!! are mixed bag of positives and negatives, but let's get to the good first. Already a handful of questions from the previous episodes are being answered, most prominent among these is the issue of just what The Headless Rider and its human companion are. In fact, the fourth episode is essentially one big infodump on the matter. In the process of putting those issues to bed, however, a whole new raft of questions props up in their place, but hey, there is the mystery element of this show to consider.
On other fronts, brief as it may be we get to see Simon throw down against Ikebukuro's resident "avatar of violence," Shizuo, catching a flying vending machine in the process and further establishing him as the most entertaining character to date as he then tries to placate the rampaging bartender with some wonderfully naive Japanese. Then, as the two flee from the ensuing carnage, the first inklings of a relationship between Mikado and Anri (like you didn't see that coming) presents itself, so get ready for several more episodes of the quaint little romantic missteps and misunderstood signs that act as the strong nuclear force binding together high school dramas.
Far and away the highlight of these episodes is the uncomfortably macabre scene where 4-year-old Shinra Kishitani's father goes from being the world's coolest dad to nightmare papa in the swift change of a scene. Watch episode four and you'll know what I'm talking about.
The BadEmphasizing the series' setting as Ikebukuro doesn't strike me as at all necessary. In fact, it's cheapening the entire show for me now. It seems like a flagrant location name drop to make the series seem "cooler" than it might otherwise be. Unless the setting is going to become a character in and of itself and affect the plot then it only need be mentioned once or twice and never emphasised again. So far Durarara!! has not demonstrated to me that it couldn't take place in, oh, say Umeda, Gion, Tenjin or the like. See, I can name drop popular districts of Japanese cities too. Doesn't make me cool, though.
It's a small thing, but I hope they stop mentioning the whole "color gang" concept. It's a patently absurd stereotype of American (particularly Southern Californian) gangs and Japan has a much cooler underworld to tap if the writers are in need of ideas. Finally, adding a voice to Celty's typing confused me at first as I didn't know whether or not she could speak. That distracted me from what was being said.