One day, someone thought: “Hey, I’ll write a light novel that confuses my readers!” And that’s how Durarara was born. Well, that’s probably not how it went, but in my mind it did go this way. What other reason could there be for making a story this complicated and full of plot twists?! I haven’t read the light novel, but I can imagine it’s just as complex and fascinating as the anime.

What do a headless motorcyclist, two highschool students, a violent bartender and a mysterious man with a fascination for humans have in common? Nothing much, or so it seems. Strange things are happening in the district of Ikebukuro, though, and each of the characters seems to be related to these events in some way or another.

24 episodes
Action, supernatural

The story is extremely fascinating. It’s part of the task of the viewer to put together all the pieces of the puzzle in order to see the larger picture. The anime gives away tiny bits of information and a time, and we have to put make sense out of these little pieces of information. And just when you think you understand part of the story, they decide to throw in a major plot change that makes sure you’re in the dark again. Damn you, plot twists! The focus of the story shifts all the time, and this makes it complicated and interesting at the same time. If you’ve seen Baccano (written by the same person that wrote Durarara), then you probably know what I talk about. Personally I think that Durarara is easier to follow than Baccano, because at least the timeline does not really change in Durarara. Now that I think about it, the way the story is presented reminds me of an experimental postmodern novel: instead of narrating everything through the perspective of one person, we get to see a lot of perspectives, and the focus shifts from one person to another very easily. Seems like the definition of postmodern prose, no?

The art is perhaps the aspect that is least impressive about this anime. While it’s definitely not bad, it’s not the best art I’ve ever seen in anime. The character designs are appealing, though, and by moving the focus away from art and animation, the makers make it easier for the viewers to focus on the amazing story and characters instead. Art-wise, I really like the openings and endings, because not only do they give us some hints about the story, they also do that in a visually attractive way.

The characters are highly enjoyable. Each and every one of them has their own quirky habits, and it’s truly amusing to see how they interact with each other. No one is who they seem to be, and throughout the anime we get to see many sides of them. Everyone has secrets, but we, as viewers, only find out about those secrets after we’ve already formed an image for ourselves of how that character is (talk about shattering impressions…). None of the characters come across as boring, because every character is unique in his or her own ways.

I liked the experiments concerning the music. Sometimes they used a rather simplistic, even ridiculous-sounding tune during a scene where that was rather uncalled for, and therefore transforming that scene drastically. Also, one of the themes sounds Irish, so there was the obvious reference to Celty there. The seiyuus belong to the top of today’s Japanese voice acting business, so no complaints there!

This is one of these anime that haunt you even long after finishing it. The original style in terms of storyline and plot and its unpredictability are top-notch, and make that the series stands out from the mainstream anime. Of course this anime has its flaws, but because of the complicated presentation of the story, you tend to forget about inconsistencies (well, also because you simply have no clue what is going on half of the time). Durarara forces you to think along, because if you don’t you won’t understand the story. And for those that want to think even more, there’s a huge amount of symbolism. If you haven’t watched Durarara yet, go and watch it now. It’ll blow your mind.