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Durarara!! Episode 24 – Some Things Never Change

July 5, 2010 4 comments


Most anime series are scheduled for a finite number of episodes. As long as they’re not something like Bleach or Dragonball Z that’s going to run for more than six straight years, they have 13 or, if they’re lucky, 26 episodes to tell their story.

They might get another season, if they turn out to be popular enough. For the most part, however, that’s it. And yet most properties popular enough to get their own anime are going to be long-running manga or light novel series. Like any American comic or novel series, these can be massive productions that span years of an author’s life. There’s no way you can cram all of it into even 26 episodes. So how can you adapt such a property into a series that, eventually, has to end?

In most cases, you don’t. You try to finish your run at the end of a story arc, then bow out without necessarily tying up the loose ends you’ve been laying pipe for over the last 24 episodes. You’re praying the show is popular enough for a sequel, because a sequel to a popular series is basically money in the bank. And if a sequel never comes, oh well. Die hard fans always have the manga or the novels.
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Durarara!! Episode 23 – Thousand Yard Stare

June 29, 2010 Leave a comment


One of the disadvantages of serial storytelling is that there’s not always a clear delineation of episodes. Especially when the story is itself adapted from a medium which isn’t episodic in nature, like a novel. This has frequently been a problem in Durarara!!, but there’s so much to talk about that it hasn’t really been a problem.

This is an episode that doesn’t really stand on its own. It begins with the event that the previous episode ended with, Celty going to Mikado to bring him to Anri, and sets up what is certain to be an explosive first 5 minutes of the finale, but it doesn’t stand alone on its own right, with one big exception.
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Durarara!! Episode 22 – Your Personal Army

June 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I said in the last post that, when put to the test, Mikado does something to help Anri. And he does – he rallies the Dollars and enlists their aid to help them out. What follows is a sprawling chase scenes that lasts for over 10 minutes, as random passers-by assist Anri in escaping the pursuing Yellow Scarves. It’s got all the classics you’d expect: rapidly closing gates, boxes strewn everywhere to hamper pursuers—even Anri in a bunny suit. It’s all cut together with posts from the Dollars message board narrating the action.

This scene is perhaps the best testament to the excellent animation and direction of Brain’s Base. That they can manage to make a footrace stay interesting for ten minutes, and add to the tension by showing screenshots of message boards on the Internet is a feat few anime studios—or even live action TV shows—could pull off.
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Durarara!! Episode 21 – Stuck in a Rut

June 20, 2010 Leave a comment

In anything you do in life, there typically comes a time when you get frustrated and start to question why you’re doing it at all. Some problem arises, or you just get worn down by the sheer repetition of it all.

Let’s say, for example, that you have a site where you write about anime regularly. The first month or so you really enjoyed it: you were working your tail off everyday, writing for 6 hours after working a full day of work, but you got to write about shows you cared about and slag off on the shows you hated. Life was good.
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Durarara!! Episode 20 – When We Escape

June 12, 2010 2 comments

There’s an element of escapism to any popular entertainment. The point of a story, after all, is to temporarily replace the reality we live in with one suited to the story. It can be for many different reasons: to educate, to advise, to frighten, to titillate, but most of the stories that are widely distributed—stories that people are willing to pay money for—are designed to entertain.

When people read, they want things that are enjoyable to them. That’s why popular novels about vampires or lawyers (or vampire lawyers) sell far better than literary works. Literary works can be entertaining—to the minority of the population that perversely enjoys such thing, anyway (disclaimer: I am one of them)—but their primary goal in creating realities is to create a world that mimics our own in some way, in order to reveal something the author thinks is important.

That’s not to say that artistic revelation is incompatible with entertainment. While I think the works that are the more incisive and revealing do tend to be less enjoyable to read, it’s perfectly possible—preferable, even—to create a work that is both enjoyable and formed in such a way as to highlight something meaningful. In fact, I’ve tried to argue that Durarara!! attempts exactly such a thing.
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Durarara!! Episodes 18-19 – Don’t Look Back in Anger

June 6, 2010 Leave a comment

We all have things we regret; dark secrets that we can’t tell anyone. The three high school freshman that form the trio of friends/secret enemies at the core of this arc are no exception. In fact, in keeping with Durarara!!’s dark tone, they’re all dire indeed.

Previous episodes dealt wiith Anri’s abuse at the hand of her father, and her assumption of the demonic sword Saika, whom she keeps at bay solely because she is incapable of loving other people. Masaomi Kida’s problems, while no less dark, are fairly mundane by contrast.
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Durarara!! Episode 17 – Three’s a Crowd (of Violent Thugs)

May 27, 2010 Leave a comment


One of the problems with being incredibly complex is that plots in Durarara!! take a lot of time to build momentum. The last five episodes have been building up slowly, laying a foundation for some future episode, when everything will come crashing down in a frenzied mess of plot that will take us into the conclusion of the series.

That time is now.
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