Durarara! a Modern Anime with Punch
A Pleasant Surprise
I will admit that this anime surprised me. I watched the first episode and, aside from the catchy opening, I was not sold on it at all. In fact, I almost didn't watch the next episode, but I did, and it wasn't much better. So, why is this anime one of the best ones out there right now? Wait until you get to episode three.
Yes, this anime has a slow start. The first two episodes consist of the some of the main characters, Mikado Ryugamine and Masaomi Kida catching up. Mikado is a country boy and has come to the big city for adventure, or at least that is what it seems like at first. Masaomi gives Mikado the lowdown on what's going on in the big city and who to avoid and we get a glimpse of these supposedly shady characters like Izaya Orihara who is an information broker and a bit of a con man. The second episode let's you see just what he is capable of doing. That's all interesting and all, but this anime explodes in episode three.
Episode Three is What Sells This Anime
As you can see in the clip, episode three is all action. I was hooked after that. Shizuo Heiwajima, the strongest man in Ikebukuro, is amazing. His character is brilliant, and like all the characters, he has his own story and past that we get a glimpse of later.
What's a Dullahan?
One of the main characters is Celty Sturlson, a girl all dressed in black with a yellow bike helmet riding around on a motorcycle--and she's headless. At first I wondered if she was supposed to be the female version of the Headless Horseman but they refer to her as a dullahan, so of course, this being an unfamiliar term to me, I looked it up.
A dullahan comes from Irish folklore and is basically just a headless rider, usually on a black horse, carrying its own head around, so yeah, just like the headless horseman. In Ikebukuro, however, a bike attracts less attention than a horse, and instead of carrying her head around, she wears a helmet.
Celty is an awesome character. Having no mouth, or head, she doesn't speak. Instead she communicates via cell phone by texting. How spot on is that? Anyway, she is looking for her head in Ikebukuro, but falls in love along the way. It gives this anime a romantic touch.
Another theme I found quite interesting in this anime was this anonymous on-line gang called the Dollars. I won't spoil it by saying who the leader is, but rest assured, there is a leader. It's pretty consistent, though, with spreading news on Facebook or something. That's another thing I loved about this anime--it is really up to date on all the current trends.
But the Dollars are a different kind of gang. It isn't exclusive--anyone can join, and they participate in flash-mob style antics--usually for a good cause. They are no charity, but this is a different kind of gang. The climax comes when the Dollars are set to clash with the Yellow Scarves, another gang, but your typical get-into-trouble kind of gang. And they have a leader, too.
A Slasher, Too?
Yes, there is even a slasher in this anime. Saika is this mysterious killer that is on the loose that everyone is afraid of. Just like any other urban legend, this one comes with all the trimmings. It adds another layer to this already packed anime, but it fits. And all of the characters get involved in figuring out who it is. If you're worried that the picture on the right will give away who Saika is, don't worry, it's not who or what you think it is. You'll have to watch to find out.
It's all of these elements that make this anime one of the best ones out there right now. All you have to do is get past the first two episodes, and who knows, you might just like all the talking and reminiscing of those first two episodes, so I'm warning you for nothing. But if you are someone who only got past the first episode and decided not to continue, GET TO YOUR COMPUTER A.S.A.P. and finish watching this anime!