Posted on 25 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

I think the problem with this episode was evident right from the opening scene. I had to do a double take when seeing a very poorly drawn Simon. I even questioned whether it was a new character entirely. But no, the animation budget took a nosedive. Or the guy who was to do the inbetweens got sick. The animation in this episode was bare bones. Movement to an absolute minimum. I mean damn, at several points there was no inbetween frames at all and you were graced with magic teleporting statues supposed to represent characters. It wasn’t done out of artistic sensibility. Of that I assure you. The fight between Vorona and Anri was really hurt by this. With the two portraying the furiosity of two mannequins in a staring contest. Even Vorona’s backstory had moments where the only background was a colour gradient.

That really did ruin the episode but truthfully the episode wasn’t that eventful. It was yet another backstory of yet another crazy character. In another story Vorona’s character might be a main antagonist or anti-hero. But here she’s the goon picking a fight with characters she is greatly underestimating. A one note conflict. So really it’s just a waiting game of seeing when she will discover what the audience already knows. Meanwhile Mikado looks to be disregarding every warning he was given about Izaya already and letting the guy play him like a fiddle. Though it is good to see the issues with Mikado’s indecision regarding his position in the dollars being pushed into his face. Speaking of which, it looks that the dollars conflict seems to have reached his doorstep.

Posted on 18 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

Turns out that assassination attempt got Celty to see her life flash before her eyes. I suppose taking a tumble off a moving motorcycle is a fatal thing. But well in the last arc we saw two people survive getting blown away at about the length of a football field. So I cannot say I was worried about Celty in the slightest. True to that, Celty is fine and ready to get payback. The time leaping is getting a bit out of hand with things happening in this episode that take place in the middle of last episode abound things happening around the same time as other things and past is future and future has past and ouch…my head. I would have better luck mapping out the Doctor Who timeline. Our new characters this time are a cold analytical assassin by the name of Vorona and her eccentric boss who gets hung up on odd questions which the girl then answers. So that’s why men have nippiles. Honestly wondered about that one myself. They have an interesting gimmick but thats about it. The would need to bring something new to the already bloated cast. Vorona though seems disappointed in how easy it was to take down Celty and is annoyed over the job of abducting a child. There’s some visage of a heart in that impassive exterior.

Shinra has got to be given credit. I don’t think there’s anyone else with the courage to openly mock Shizuo to the face and not end up in a hospital. Other than that we have the Dollars kicking up trouble without Mikado’s direction. This is something that I find odd about Mikado. The plot has clearly shown that he desires a more interesting life. Hence why he moved to Ikebukuro in the first place. Yet he seems to actively avoid using his power over the dollars and keeps preserving his normal life. His actions seem contradictory. He wants the excitement of the unknown and unusual, yet avoids and fears the consequences of such and sticks to a normal routine. It would be good for the series to push him into making a decision about this. The episode ends on the note of someone attacking Anri. I would be concerned if Anri didn’t happen to be the possessor of a sentient sword and didn’t have a legion of loyal followers to get her out of this. If it was Mikado then this might hold weight but Anri? It may be a better option than picking a fight with Shizuo but you still get beaten to a pulp. Or in this case, slashed to ribbons and turned into a mindless zombie.

Posted on 12 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

We have yet another new character entering the show. A motorcycle gang leader who has a massive fondness for woman. Personally I am not a fan of him. His brand of female overprotective crazy just seems like a downgrade from the shows already huge cast of crazies. He looks like a character whose introduction serves only the purpose to bring another conflict to the city. However he did spring a change to one of the characters. Shizuo, whose purpose up till now was to walk in and start beating people up, is getting some attention. It is good to see Shizuo express emotion beyond blind rage. Seeing him treat someone with respect for challenging him directly and admitting that he got jealous when the man remarked that he had a cute girl who would help nurse him back to health. Even shrugging off a taser attack from a little girl trying to kill him. Shizuo getting the spotlight at last.

The three plot threads we have this time is a motorcycle gang planning a all out attack, a little girl who is trying to kill Shizuo and Celty being tasked with finding said little girl. The only carryover was the motorcycle gang leader challenging Shizuo over the guys he beat up last episode. But even that is tossed aside pretty fast as he learns why one of the towns rules is to never pick a fight with the man dressed as a bartender. We also have yet another new character who ends the episode by trying to behead Celty. A fruitless task to be certain. But Narita, seriously. Keep adding characters like this and the opening won’t have time to cover them all. A fun little tidbit I noticed is with the Orihara sisters. Strangely when posting on the Internet, Mairu(the talkative one) writes very little. Yet Kururi(the quiet one) posts walls of text. Wonder what dice they rolled to get these traits? It’s too early to say where this is going but if this is a story about Shizuo then thats always welcome in my book.

Posted on 4 February 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

The current story arc ends abruptly and unexpectedly. I am rather surprised that it came here. From how this was portrayed it felt this would be a longer arc than it turned out to be. So with its end I must think back and wonder. What exactly did this arc accomplish? We got introduced to new characters and they did get integrated into the cast. But other than that this arc didn’t really do anything. The bounty on Celty disappeared as fast as it appeared. The biker gang have been wiped out by Shizuo. Hollywood and the russian hitman have no loose ends to cover.(Well unless you are interested in Hollywoods family. Or the budding love between her and Shizuo’s brother) And the Orihara sisters were introduced and that’s about it. Really this was a story of how Celty lost a lot of money and unknowingly reclaimed it thanks to a little plotting of the Orihara sisters, featuring special guests. Because Hollywood, the Russian hitman and the Orihara sisters did more or less nothing despite getting a significant amount of screen time.

And here is one of the major problems with Narita. Here we have a story that was by all means self contained. Because in truth Narita is an episodic writer. By arcs end, everything returns to zero. Yet Narita always seems to try and present this as “only the beginning” Like this arc was just setup for a greater overarching plot. However if previous experience says anything it’s that the only thing that lies in the future is a weak climax and a return to zero. Yet here he is again building up a conflict within the dollars, Saika growing out of control and Izaya plotting something big. But I know how this works. These things will get wrapped up quick and then other things will be foreshadowed which also will get wrapped up quickly and unceremoniously. If you want to write episodic stories Narita then do so. But stop trying to tease the possibility that you will move beyond that. It’s a pet peeve really. Even if Durarara is essentially the daily hijinks of the eccentric cast it would still be entertaining.

Posted on 29 January 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

If its one thing you to can credit Narita for it that just when you think he cannot possibly make a stranger character, he then does. So the monster that Shizu smashed into the air in the last moment gets their story told and I am sure there are not many who would have guessed what was under that makeup. Yes not only is the serial killer Hollywood female but she also happens to be a famous idol called Ruri Hijiribe. Really question how she fits killing into what is most likely a packed schedule. My issue with this is that on the episode in which she is introduced is also the episode she essentially reached the end of her character arc. Her problem was that she felt like a monster that couldn’t be understood. Only to find that this town is filled with monsters living normal lives. I really don’t see how her character can evolve from here. At most she’s now just a love interest for Yuhei. Yuhei is also quite the character having reacted to his guest trying to kill him with the same apathy one would reserve for a school play. Well according to him he was actually quite scared but is bad at expressing himself. Saving his life by weirding out or potentially charming Ruri. The dialogue between these two was so off that you can’t help but feel they are strangely made for each other.

The time jumping is getting rather confusing now. Seeing as this episodes beginning takes place at the start of the first episode but jumps to the middle of the second episode and it turns out the Orihara section of the second episode took place before the beginning of the first episode and…like I said. Laying out the timeline is likely an endeavor. On one note it’s a little unbelievable that the guy who was previously dying in the last episodes ends up fine with some bandages. It’s true that if he did die that would mean that Shizuo murdered someone under false pretenses but it’s a little hard to believe that this guy survived a hit like that. But then again this is a world where a man can pull up lampposts to use as makeshift baseball bats. The Orihara sisters still manage to be endearing despite their incredibly messed up personalities. Just what kind of childhood can create monsters like this? They seem to have taken on the job of the injured Russian and look to be getting wrapped up in what looks to be this arcs climax.

Posted on 22 January 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Durarara

If this episode had a focus then the stars would be Celty and the Orihara sisters. Though there were other events such as Anri and Mikado going to karaoke with Erika and Walker but it wasn’t really all the important and seemed to be there to foreshadow a new character and set up what looks to be future hijinks. Though we have the standard of Narita storytelling going on, namely jumping around in time to past and future events with little to no context.

Celty truly is a interesting character from an animation perspective.  Its easy to overlook but when you think about it she must be one of the trickiest characters to animate. Why you ask? Well how do you show a character is sad without words? The easiest is to turn her eyes to the ground and give them a frown. Add in a tear and a slight head droop if they are really sad. But in Celty’s case, how would you do that? The girl doesn’t have a head therefore removing the large emotional range a face can provide. Of course they could have easily made her a deadpan snarker but instead Celty is presented as a fairly emotional character. All of this through body language.  I am reminded of the Raimi Spiderman movies where Tobey needed to exaggerate his movements to act when Spiderman. Celty twirls when happy, fidgety when embarrassed and puts her hand to her chin when thinking. In a strange way it makes her seem the most human character in the show. Odd considering that she is by definition, not human. Its this that makes her so likeable. The voice actress does deserve credit but the animators really did a great job.

Though it was the Orihara sisters that stole the show. They certainly prove to be Izaya’s family, being completely strange and insane. If Izaya’s word can be trusted they chose their personalities on the roll of a dice. But ended up with a disjointed disconnect between personality and appearance.  So we have a girl with the look of a quiet library girl being talkative and proclaiming to be a outgoing bisexual. And a girl in a gym outfit whose sullen and quiet. Naturally the two stand out and I sighed as the stereotypical bullying starts. But luckily the bullies a taken care of quickly. Its good that these throwaway villains were just put in to point out that the Orihara sisters are just as dangerous as their older brother. I am willing to bet the two have become fan favorites by episodes end. Though I wonder what their role will be in this particular arc? From the looks of things they are getting involved as near the episodes end they find a dying man that Shizu bashed into the air. Well we have set up two dynamic characters so at least make use of them Narita. Don’t toss them to the sidelines.

Posted on 2 March 2011 with categories: Durarara



Not as good as the first DVD-special, but still a nice little aftermath to the series. Like with the actual TV-series, the first special had all the events running through each other, and threw many flashbacks and -forwards at the viewer, only to have everything come together at the end, while this one had that a lot less, aside from one single scene at the beginning of the episode. The creators did succeed however, to put as much characters on the screen as possible.

Instead, whenever this episode had the chance it would show different characters, cleverly using Shizuo’s brother who was doing a live report and finally giving him the chance to show off his acting. This episode was full of these little details and subtle characterizations that ere also prevalent during the first half of the TV-series.

The least interesting parts of this episode were probably the subplots that were already dragged out in the TV-series: Mikado vs. Anri and Shizuo vs. Izaya. As dynamic as this show is, the relationships between these people somehow refused to really go anywhere throughout the series. After 26 episodes, Shizuo still is running after Izaya, and Mikado still is trying to tell Anri that he likes her. (Though granted, at least Anri behaved differently from what she would have done 20 episodes ago).

This episode also provided a few hints for an upcoming season in the form of some new characters. If that’s going to happen though, it’ll probably still take a while, because the director first is going to be busy with Natsume Yuujinchou.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 27 August 2010 with categories: Durarara



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)

Posted on 25 June 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Durarara




I personally like those series who manage to make their setting come alive, and Durarara turned out to be quite a fine attempt in this. In the middle of Ikeburkuro, it intertwines the stories of all kinds of interesting people as they live their daily lives. From seemingly average teenagers to invincible fighting machines to Russian waiters at a sushi restaurant.

It’s at its best when it can really intertwine these stories with its a-linear pacing. Especially the first half of the series manages to bring a lot of colour to the combination of different characters that parade the screen. It’s fairly episodic, but that format really allows the creators to show a lot of different things about its setting.

A lot of character-development can be found in the second half, which for better and for worse, is completely different to these colourful first parts. The story becomes a lot more linear, it becomes a lot darker and a lot more straightforward. Personally I’m a big fan of character-development when used right, but it felt to me that in this part, the creators sacrificed a bit too much for the sake of this character-development. Be prepared for a number of characters who tend to act rather illogical, refusing to solve problems that can simply be solved by talking to each other. Personally, for me it just wasn’t as good as this first half: it lacked energy, and it tried to look a bit too much like Baccano, which it most definitely wasn’t.

The animation varies throughout the series. It really starts off excellent, and especially the background art is gorgeous, though you can see that the budget becomes a little tighter as the series goes on, and more shortcuts show up. The music is also pretty good, and it has some excellent tracks for both the lighter parts and the darker ones.

Overall, this series has been created by the creators of Baccano, and the director had done a ton of other stuff including Jigoku Shoujo, Fancy Lala, Natsume Yuujinchou and Koi Kaze. Durarara isn’t among the best of them, and in that way it turned into a bit of a disappointment. From most other directors however, this series would have been gold. It suffers a bit with its characters (quite a few of them have their unlikable moments), it has a bit of a wonky pacing in the second half, but it has a pretty inventive plot, a ton of nice ideas and while not the best, it’s definitely worth your time.

Storytelling: 8/10 – The disjointed format in the first half has a great effect, so much that it feels empty when it’s not there in the second half. Tries to give too much pointless hints to Baccano.
Characters: 8/10 – Some characters are well developed, but the show ends too fast to actually use this, and others remain rather stereotypes. The teenagers aren’t really that likable throughout large parts of the series.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Some great stuff, some standard stuff.
Setting: 9/10 – Ikebukuro (a neighbourhood in Tokyo) is well fleshed out and especially comes to life in the first half, but also gets well fleshed out in the second half with a number of pretty interesting ideas and concepts.

Suggestions:
Birdy the Mighty Decode
Kaze no Youjinbo
Mobile Police Patlabor

Posted on with categories: Durarara



This episode did exactly what the past arc should have been doing for bloody ages now: having people actually talk to each other. So yeah, I liked this ending quite a bit.

I expected something epic or over the top, but this works too. The conflict between the yellow scarves was actually solved quite quickly. There were a couple of bugs here and there, like how Shizuo knew where those punks would flee to, but overall I liked how the Dollars were indeed still acting on their own even though the website had shut down, and that under the lead of Kyohei they organized a mob to get back at the yellow scarves. It’s interesting to see that in the end, they did go to the path of violence.

But I liked what happened afterwards best. It allowed everything to wrap up for the series’ conclusion, so that it could leave an as good impression behind as possible. That particular background tune with the flutes also finally returned, as if to suggest: everything is back and peaceful like it used to be, yet characters have visibly matured and moved on. The past arc would have been perfect as a middle arc to flesh out characters, though not so much as a conclusion. It just lacked the energy and variety of the first half for that for me. I really appreciate that Brains Base is finally getting to work on 24 episoded series instead of just single season series, but it still isn’t enough I’m afraid. I’ve said this plenty of times by now, but there really need to be more series that go beyond 26 episodes.

Overall, Durarara certainly isn’t my favourite series from the director Takahiro Omori, but nevertheless it was pretty good. My main problem was that it just failed to live up to my own expectations, for which I only have myself to blame. Oh, reviewing the entire series is going to be quite difficult.
Rating: * (Good)

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:30 AM)
    Watchmen was deemed ‘unadaptable’ for about thirty years, so just getting what Snyder got out of the material is a huge success; it is said that what he did was to write a book version of Ingmar’s Holy Mountain. Watchmen is the only graphic novel to ever win a Hugo award and is easily the most intricate and multilayered Alan Moore comic, so it’s no surprise that it continues to top ‘best comics of all time’ charts to this day.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:20 AM)
    I beg to differ. Doctor Manhatten is the most intriguing character of Watchmen and the comic is a giant in ,not only in the comic world, but the history of literature itself. It is a deconstruction of superheros and Dr. M shows how afraid the world would really be when faced with a ‘superman’ and how a creature in such a higher realm of time and perception would show apathy toward humans and their foolish struggles.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:15 AM)
    GitS just won’t work. Maybe in a world before the Matrix, but not now with so many elements of it borrowed liberally by so many franchises in various mediums. Scarlet Johansson is decent in roles that fit her. She was enjoyable in Lost In Translation, but race aside she has nothing in common with Kusanagi. This is a travesty and the franchise is dear to me so it especially burns my ass.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:10 AM)
    While I am no fan of man of steel, Nolan and Snyder, just about anyone would have a hard time taking a difficult character like superman and making him work on screen.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:08 AM)
    Apart from Veidt and Rorshach I could never get into the characters all that much in watchmen. I also found the film overly long and mediocre acted for the larger part. But to each there own. For Alan moores works I always preferred his Miracleman, swamp thing, V for Vendetta stories.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:06 AM)
    Nolan can produce the action plus personal and dark story that Alita would need, and he also brings talent such as composer Hans Zimmer and Cinematographer Sally Pfister to the table. Him and Snyder have too much combined integrity to make a mockery out of Alita like Spielberg did with the GitS license.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:03 AM)
    Well Snyder has respect for his source materials and that is key in anime-to-film adaptations. Hell I’m a big Watchmen fan and I thought his version was (almost painfully) close to the comic. You’re not going to get that anywhere else in Hollywood. Also the combination of Nolan/Snyder is quite different than them individually.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:34 AM)
    And directed it as a co-production with America, using a Japanese cast.
    Yeah…this is impossible…
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:32 AM)
    The only way a live action ghost in the shell film would work is if Mamoru oshii directed it.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:29 AM)
    Wait wait…his Van helsing film is a reboot sorry I confused it with the other one.

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