Anime Review: Durarara!!

mikado_friends.jpg

I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Years. I got a ton of things that I wanted and then some, which was pretty nice.

Out of all of that, I got two shows, though one is only partially complete.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those shows, which is called Durarara!! (part 1, part 2, part 3).

mikado_ryugamine.jpg

Mikado Ryugamine has moved to Ikebukuro to experience an exciting life, because things back home got boring.

However, things really start to change when Mikado meets a few strange residents and becomes wrapped up in much of the chaos that occurs on his new home turf.

simon_brezhnev.jpg

Even though I had already watched this show before on Crunchyroll, where I was also introduced to Another, I kind of liked this show. Within the first few episodes of the show, I did not want to stop watching, though I did have to do so, in order to tend to my own needs, as well as the needs of the dog that I got a few months back now. I felt like I got to know some of the characters, which is certainly something that I, as well as many others, want to see in their shows. I think this is because the pace was not that bad. I liked how the relationship between Mikado and his two friends seemed to develop. It seemed like it was the kind of relationships I want to have with people. While Mikado and his friend, Kida, were friends since childhood, they went included Anri, their new acquaintance, in almost everything they did and they developed a true friendship in which each of them seemed to genuinely care about one another. There are people like that in my own life, but more often than not there are people that I feel are either not genuine or apathetic, because they think that something that is neither necessary nor desired will help me with whatever issues I have, not realizing what the costs are, such as that thing being taken for granted, like most people take their ability to walk for granted, or it may become like a penny, which many people have a hard time distinguishing one from another, even though they practically see a penny every day. Of course, the worst result, in terms of that situation, is the fact that people seem to not know why the answer they give may be correct, because it is what they know the instructor wants to hear. Such people seem to only care about what I am, instead of who I am, making me not want to associate with them. With Mikado and his friends, I do not get that feeling, but that may be because I have not encountered the original source, like I have for Another. I also liked how each of the three friends had something to hide from one another, because they did not know how the others would react. That makes each of them seem to be human, because we all have things we want to hide. After all, as mentioned in my review of Railgun S episode 17, there may be something that we would b embarrassed about, though embarrassment has nothing to do with what any of the three characters are hiding. Another thing that I liked about this is that unlike Puella Magi Madoka Magica, is that the episodes were in the correct order. In my review of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the out of order episodes ruined my enjoyment of the show, because it seemed to have too many endings, and I had to edit the metadata myself in order to correct it. Because the episodes were not like that in any of the three parts distributed on iTunes, I was able to experience the show in the way it was meant to be seen and I did not need to pull out MetaZ. However, I am not too sure that I can call this an improvement, because the Durarara!! dub seemed to be released in 2011, according to Amazon’s first volume listing, and the Puella Magi Madoka Magica dub seems to have been released in 2012, according to the oldest Amazon reviews I can find for the first volume. Also, I do not exactly know when each show was added to iTunes. The thing that I liked the most though was that I do not think that there were very many scenes where I was not laughing my head off. As nice as things can be in shows that try to be serious can be, I think that there is room for some humor and still have a pretty decent show. The fact that the relationship between Mikado and his friends is something that I would like and the fact that the episode are in the correct order, as well as the fact that there were quite a few funny scenes, made this pretty enjoyable.

shizuo_heiwajima_angry.jpg

Although I liked the show, there are some issues. However, the only thing that really bugs me is subtitles. There are practically no subtitles that get displayed at any point of any episode, in English at least. If I got these episodes straight from DVD, I would understand, but like Puella Magi Madoka Magica, I got this show from iTunes, so there should have been English subtitles in a few places. For example, there are scenes where characters speak in languages other than Japanese, or in the case of this dub, English. However, the closest thing to subs that we get in those situations are Japanese subs. I thought that Aniplex of America distributed only to North America, while Aniplex’s Japan branch distributed to the Japanese. Because of this, there should have been English subtitles instead of Japanese subtitles. In fact, both Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Sword Art Online, which I plan to cover when the order I recently placed to RightStuf comes, have English subtitles where they need to be. Besides, I have a limited vocabulary when it comes to foreign languages, just like most other people in the world, and Russian, which is supposedly featured in some scenes, is one language where I do not know any words, or even how to count, like I can, up to 99, in Japanese. By doing this, Aniplex or whoever put the show on iTunes for them seems to expect me to either be fluent in foreign languages or be able to read writing systems that do not utilize the Roman alphabet. This makes me kind of glad that this series was not my first known encounter with Aniplex of America, because I never would have supported them again. True, this may not be an issue with the DVD/BD releases, since the Amazon listings for the DVDs say that there are English subtitles, but it does not change the fact that the iTunes edition needs English subtitles in a few places. While the show does have one flaw, which might be exclusive to iTunes, that flaw ruined my enjoyment of an otherwise decent show.

Despite the good things about this show, the fact that there were practically no English subtitles when there should have been makes this a bit of a waste of time. I recommend this mainly to those who are already fans of Durarara!!. As for everyone else, this may be worth giving a shot, but I recommend getting it on DVD or Blu Ray instead of iTunes.

What are your thoughts on Durarara!!? Do you agree or disagree with my views? If you have the DVDs or Blu Rays, do they have the same problem as the iTunes edition? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

Use an app on your phone (e.g. Scan for Android) to capture the image above. If successful, you should be taken to the web version of this article.

Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.