Durarara!! Episode #03 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, January 22, 2010
Release Date: Friday, January 22, 2010

The diversity of the cast and the intensity of some of them fleshes out the latest episode of Durarara!!
What They Say:
Masaomi is out on the town, fervently trying to pick up girls. Confused, bewildered, Mikado goes along for the ride. Out recruiting for the Russian sushi restaurant where he works is Simon Brezhnev. Also out is Heiwajima Shizuo and Tom Tanaka, out to collect on a debt they're owed. Yagiri Seiji is feverishly searching for someone and Sonohara Anri is walking around looking for her friend who hasn't attended a day of school since opening ceremonies. All sorts of stories intermingle in Ikebekuro as rumors of the Dollars spread. Mikado runs into his classmate, Anri, who is about to get into a fight. Thinking he'll rescue her, he calls out to her. But then, the info broker, Orihara Izaya, who he has been warned to steer clear of, appears.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the third episode of Durarara, we’re starting to get a bit more of a feel for the show but it’s one that’s really hard to pin down. The opening episode of the series was intriguing as it exposed Ikebukuro to the viewer in a truly beautiful way while the second episode showed us the story that played out behind the scenes of that first episode. Understanding the things that were tying together as Mikado became familiar with the city as Kida showed him around was spot on and really gave the whole place a lot more of a life of its own.
The third episode changes things up a bit though as it moves the story forward in a few ways, but they’re such small incremental ways that it’s hard to pin down exactly what’s going on. More than anything, it’s a small moment where we see several characters interacting that we haven’t yet, and going by what we saw in the second episode, the ties are important in general in this series. For Mikado, he’s now found himself in a class rep position which has him getting closer to Anri whom he likes. She of course has eyes elsewhere and is easily distracted by other people, but she also has those who are not happy with her based on some of her past relationships. The main focal scene of the episode revolves around Anri getting mildly accosted by a group of kogals about this. It’s the lead-up and what follows that makes it work.
The lead-up is a closer look at the gang nature of Ikebukuro where we are told a bit more about the color gangs and their nature. The one that garners the most attention is the Dollars, which is unique in that they don’t have a color and that lets them stand out more. What’s even more interesting about them is that it’s a gang that thrives on rumors without ever being seen. Every event is slowly being attributed to them though and rumors fly about their activities, made even stranger by the way they apparently recruit online. Naturally, there are your simple stupid street roughs that use the Dollars name to cause trouble even though they’re not a part of it and that often causes them to get into even more trouble as time goes on.
The kogal scene brings together one of those stupid toughs at the same time that Mikado is trying to figure out how to rescue Anri from her tight spot. Where it goes wonky is when Izaya struts into the scene and shoves Mikado into it. Izaya’s really off kilter, the kind of mildly controlled crazy that’s irrepressible and fun to watch. He seems to attract the wrong element and the whole situation eventually brings in a man named Shizou that he has some longstanding problems with. This is where Durarara!! takes on a Baccano! feel as there is an intense yet comical fight that breaks out as Shizuo wants to kill Izaya but others get in the way and it goes all helter skelter with even Simon literally dropping in out of nowhere. It’s a great piece of animation and the kind of brief burst of action that’s needed to add a little extra punch to the episode as well as show that the series may go in some even more unusual directions than we’ve already seen.
In Summary:
Durarara is a series that has a lot going on at a leisurely pace that’s both confounding and highly intriguing. I want to know more about all of these characters – especially Shizuo now – and to see how they’re all interconnected. The focus on Ikebukuro is spot on and the way the city is such a character itself is great. The use of technology to tell part of the tale with the chat rooms and regular phone use is also a great little bit that adds to the modern day realism of it and gives it a different flow in how they can tell the story. It’s not necessarily an infodump like you’d find in various novels, but they achieve the same end in a creatively visual way that helps it along while also being relevant to today’s audiences. The show has me hooked rather well the more I think on it, and it’s a show that does get you thinking about itself a lot.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment

Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: No Rating
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 25
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Durarara!!