Durarara!! Episode #12.5 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ah, the thrill of coming back to Durarara!! with that opening music hitting exactly the right beats.

What They Say
The Headless Rider receives a mysterious red bag that creates big trouble. The Yakuza chase a gangster, and a wagon disappears on the highway, pursued by suspicious men in black suits. Mikado and his friends should be enjoying the summer festival, but have been swept up in the events. And, finally, a mysterious radiant object appears in the night sky over Ikebukuro...!?

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Following through on a promise made when Durarara!! really got going, Crunchyroll is back with the first OVA from the series which takes place in the middle and essentially serves as a good bit of extra material that's simply about the fun. Looking for some sort of key episode here is kind of pointless because all the material we really needed was in the series proper. These kinds of OVAs are meant to take us back to the characters after the fact, have a spot of fun with them again and remind us why we enjoyed the show as much as we did. And Durarara!! does that easily because it has such a fun and interesting diverse cast of characters.

Because of that cast, and the nature of the show, there are a lot of little interconnected stories going on about a bag that's gone missing, aliens and Celty's amusing fear of them which makes sense considering her origins. The bag is being sought after by a group of men in black which talks in standard very stilted English as they hunt it down and find themselves being tricked along the way, not all that intentionally at times. It's a comedy of errors involving an element of danger you don't often get in these kinds of shows because the English speaking folks are all bringing out their guns and shooting to get their goods back. It's only when you have a sequence like that that you remember that the show avoided guns throughout it.

Durarara!! also plays with the timeline in a way that has become familiar with the show as it starts in the present and then works its way backwards. Watching the origins of the bag with where it came from and how things got so confused and messed up is a good bit of fun, but it's also the kind of story that I think would have worked just as well if they had done it going forward instead of backwards. Admittedly, the charm of the series in a standalone story like this isn't the story itself, but the characters, so the added bit of style with it going back and forth adds only a little to it and in some ways I think takes away from how the flow of the characters would be. It's a little too reminiscent of Baccano! for me in a way as the back and forth became too central to things and detracted from the characters.

In Summary:
Durarara!! certainly had a good run overall and it's fun to revisit the show in this form with a side story that doesn't impact anything and just has fun. That's the key to all of it here as we get to see just about everyone running around with different things going on but it's all tied together and has the right nod at the end with the reveal about the bag itself. Durarara!! manages to maintain its excellent look and style here as this fits seamlessly into the larger narrative and doesn't make any real alterations to things. The characters are the stars once again, though the city of Ikebukuro is fun to see in this form again, and seeing some of their quirks dealt with a bit more is delightful, particularly when it comes to Celty. This OVA is a perfect reminder of what made the TV series as much fun as it was.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook 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: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Durarara!!