Most DVD-specials are simple side-stories. This one is too, but in this case I really recommend it because it was everything that made the first half of Durarara so addictive. It doesn’t have anything to do with the main storyline, but it’s a really fun ride from beginning to end.
I’m not sure whether this is an anime original chapter or a side-story taken from the light novels, but whoever it came from, they really went all out here. The time line was more screwed than ever. Because of that, the first scenes of the episodes are completely random and nonsensical, but as the episode goes on they all fall wonderfully into place. There are some great plot twists too, I especially had to laugh when the creators explained the source behind those sparkly ufos. The only thing I didn’t get was that really weird Daffy Duck laugh at the five minute mark…
Central to the plot were a number of mysterious red bags that kept travelling from one place to the other in this episode, and even though they mostly served to confuse the viewer rather than the characters apart from the Americans, it worked really well, considering how different their contents were. I also loved how ridiculously cheesy those American thugs were: their accent was horrible, and yet they had no problem pronouncing Japanese names. Ah heck, for all we know they could all be Japanese people who are forced to talk in English for their jobs. Oh, and Isaac and Miria made their comeback again!
Mikado and the others had no purpose whatsoever in the story, but I still like how the creators found something interesting for them to do, just portraying them hanging out and doing nothing with strange ears on. The TV-series should have had more scenes like those.
Speaking of which, yeah. I now fully understand why I didn’t like the second half as much as I would have liked: it had none of this addictive pacing, and instead went for a very straightforward style of storytelling without pretty much any kind of warning. It tried to make up for this with its character-development, but that just wasn’t enough. A second season would completely fix the problems I have with it, though at this point this seems unlikely, considering how the director has already moved on to a new series Kuragehime. I’m really looking forward to what he can do with a josei-series, though at the same time it looks to be one of the weakest premises he worked on for a long while. I don’t really like the thought of yet another one of those otaku-aimed shows. On the brighter side though, I just discovered that the Series Composition Guy has this habit of completely disregarding his original source material, so we might be in for something completely different from the original manga it’s based on. That provides opportunities, both good and bad.
Rating: ** (Excellent)