I’m not going to lie. Actually, I’m going to be completely straightforward with all of you and state that “Durarara!!” is weird. It’s difficult to grasp the overall arching plot of the show, but the pieces start to connect around the middle of the first season.
Now, don’t let this deter you from watching this anime. It’s also filled with unforgettable characters, interesting back stories, twists and turns, and one awesome headless rider. If you need more convincing, please continue reading as I give you five reasons why YOU (yes, you!) should watch “Durarara!!.” Please put on your helmets and tighten your grips because this is going to be a wild ride.
- Russia Sushi
Russia Sushi is a popular hangout spot for the main cast of “Durarara!!” The restaurant is owned by Dennis, who is also the head chef. His long-time friend, Simon Brezhnev, stands outside and tries to drum up customers by saying things like, “EAT RUSSIAN SUSHI” and “SUSHI GOOD FOR YOU.” Simon’s friendly demeanor, broken Japanese, and willingness to get business anyway he can makes him absolutely unforgettable. He acts as an amazing form of comic relief which can be needed sometimes as the show does get quite heavy when action begins to kick in between the characters around the city of Ikebukuro. Despite being viewed as a friendly giant, and detesting any sort of violence, he is one of the strongest men In Ikebukuro and is not someone you would want to anger because … you just might not make it out alive.
- Shizuo Heiwajima
Shizuo Heiwajima is one of the best characters. He’s multidimensional and has a range of different emotions, which is something that I feel can be lost on some other characters within the show. When he’s happy, he’s happy, but when he’s mad – oh my – is he mad. His temper stems from his experiences during childhood, and he will easily fly off the handle at almost any given moment. There’s no need to be alarmed, however, because he doesn’t hurt anyone who truly doesn’t deserve it … But if he begins to think you deserve it … My only advice is to run as fast as you can; Maybe hop on a plane, start a new life and never come back. Because this guy, who is a mere human, mind you, has the strength of 10 or 21 – maybe even 30 – men. Throughout the show you can see him rip stop signs right out of the ground, pick up cars and hurtle them toward enemies, and scale buildings as though they were ladders. In other words: he’s amazing. Also, the only human he truly hates is Izaya Orihara, so make note of that.
- The Color Gangs
The Color Gangs that reside in Ikebukuro make up most of the main storyline through the first and second seasons of the show. I don’t want to get into too much detail because ~spoilers~ but the basic thing to know is that all of the people who are in gangs, in rivals’ gangs, and the leaders of said gangs are all connected – they just don’t know it. You will see this come together in an online chat room that the show frequently focuses on through the episodes. The online chat room shows how connected these people are without even knowing it. They’re friends and acquaintances in real life, but what’s going on behind all the smoke mirrors? It’s much more than you could possibly imagine. CHALLENGE: After you’ve met all of the characters try to determine who their online persona is. (Pstttt. It’s not as easy as it sounds.)
- Izaya Orihara
Izaya is an informative who claims to love the human race. He loves it so much that he enjoys acting as a master puppeteer, pulling strings here and there, releasing new information to people as he sees fit and watching as his work ensues chaos and despair. He’s evil and gets much enjoyment seeing the people around him fall to their knees not knowing what to do with everything that has been thrown at them. If there is some kind of conflict going on in Ikebukuro, you can rest assured that, more likely than not, Izaya has something to do with it.
- Celty Sturluson (AKA The Headless Rider or The Black Rider)
Celty Sturluson is a dullahan from Ireland who came to Japan in search of her long lost head. (She isn’t called the Headless Rider for nothing!) She rides around on a motorcycle that is actually a spirit who can transform into a headless horse (its favored appearance.) Celty acts as an underground courier, which can easily get her into some sticky situations. She has been known to help many people who are in life threatening situations and tries to get them to safety. Due to dullahan nature, she has special skills that come in handy when riding around the city and getting friends out of bad situations. She is able to create a shadow-like substance which can be used to create nets, rope, impenetrable walls and even a scythe. She lives with Shinra Kishitani and together they create this cute (kind of weird) couple that gets each other in ways that other people don’t. (Shinra is so in love with her – it’s so cute. He didn’t even get mad when she trapped him in a large orb of her black, shadowy substance and left him there while she went out and about on the town. (I guess true love can only exist in animes, amirite?) Aside from all of that, she is a great character who tries to make peace with others and herself, making her more complex that what you see on the surface. Also, watching her perform all of these amazing stunts with her bike and dullahan powers makes for interesting show. If anything, you should watch “Durarara!!” for Celty – and only Celty. Fall in love with her like I did. It’s pretty easy.
“Durarara!!” is a truly great show that encompasses many interesting characters and stories. I will admit that it might take a while for you to fully embrace the show and get sucked in, but once you’re sucked in, it’s hard to get out. Twists and turns come out at you out of nowhere, and it’s really interesting to see just how all of the pieces of the puzzle come together to form a coherent picture. It’s a wild ride from start to finish that you just can’t get enough of, so fasten your seat belts, kiddos, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
See the English-dubbed trailer below.