All good things must come to an end, but should Durarara!! have ended twelve episodes ago?
What They Say
Filled with resolve, Masaomi burst into the abandoned factory, but there he met someone he didn't expect. At last Masaomi, Mikado, and Anri meet. As each carryies within them inexpressible emotions, they reach an answer... What answer do they come to? And what will be the end of the Gang War that has involved so many of the people of Ikebukuro?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Durarara!! has been a challenging series at times, but one that I started off with by having a huge amount of affection for because it had a sense of style and showed an intriguing approach to telling a layered story, especially in those first couple of episodes. While it hit a few mild lulls here and there, the first half of the show culminated in one of the best surprise moments of any series that I can think of and it closed out that chapter on an incredibly high note. Unfortunately, the second half never seemed to capture the same kind of cohesion as the story went forward and it seemed kind of listless as it told the other half of the tale about the two young men who ended up taking control of massive gangs in Ikebukuro for very different reasons.
The dual focus on Kida and Anri worked well at times, but it lacked something compelling since it shifted out the main characters of the first half in favor of them. Anri's story worked well as we started to understand who she is and the connection to the Slasher past, but it felt a little too disjointed at times to be really enjoyable. Kida's story felt contrived from the start when it became obvious he was dealing in the Yellow Scarves. Having that follow Mikado's revelation about the Dollars did not help it in the slightest and really trivialized it. If it had been done in parallel for a revelation, it might have worked better. What hamstrung it even more was that the supporting cast in the Yellow Scarves are largely unmemorable. That was acceptable with the Dollars since nobody knew anybody. But here, where they pushed a stronger sense of camaraderie in order to remove Kida from his position, it's very important but none of them leave any significant memory.
The finale plays things out about as expected with a large chunk of the first half given over to the action side of things. Lots of fighting going on with the Yellow Scarves in disarray and the main "leaders" of it now fleeing, though they can get only so far before they have to deal with Shizou and a few other characters. A fair bit of focus is given to Anri and Izaya as well as she confronts him about the things he's done and he manages to use some wordplay and distraction in order to get out of a sticky situation with her. It does land Izaya into a really fun moment with Simon though which gives is a visual of Izaya that I don't think we've really seen of him in the series. He's manipulated many and been hands off, so some hands-on time is amusing to watch.
Unfortunately, as Durarara!! draws to a close, I found myself more and more disenchanted with it. The final episode of the broadcast run has some decent material to it as it serves up some good epilogue moments in the second half, but it essentially returns things to a semblance of normal with a few mild changes. The second main arc of the series, with its focus on Kida and the Yellow Scarves, just never felt fully fleshed out or plotted in a way that made it compelling watching. While the first half of the series had many intriguing moments throughout, the second half lacked that as it tried to keep it down to a couple of things. The end of the series definitely goes out with a whimper rather than a bang, but there are a number of very good character moments here that helps to salvage it. Durarara!! was a lot of fun at times, but it turned out to be terribly uneven to me.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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.