Anime Review Final Thoughts: Durarara (final)

Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 3/24/11:

Anime Review Final Thoughts:

What this is about: Wrapping up the very last of the 2010 anime shows that I have watched. Rather than in-depth reviews with lots of pictures, here’s just a few quick thoughts to finish up everything before I move on to 2011. Just get it all out of the way, already!

My Thoughts: I knew I was going to love this series from the moment I saw the original moody preview trailer back in late 2009. But for some reason I did not actually pick up the series until several months later. Perhaps I thought it was imposing for such a grandly large ensemble cast of characters, requiring lots of attention and effort to keep track of it all. I’ve grown wary of overly-large casts in anime shows, because it often serves more as a replacement for actual plot and story development (getting boring? running into a problem? add another character!!).

The good news is that my fears were ultimately proven misplaced. Sure, they keep adding and adding characters, but the series is long and complex enough that pretty much everything is fleshed out. Plus, many of the characters are just plain to watch. Celty goes from a supernatural gimmick into a well-realized *person*, Heiwajima is just plain insane, Anri goes from colorless wallflower to a powerful force…oh, I could go on, it’s fun to see my perceptions of the characters change over the series.

And frankly, it’s the strength of the characters that ultimately drive Durarara, the never-ending conflicts between them that drive the story. The story itself…is kinda hard to follow, and takes many episodes to really gel into a coherent plot. The first several episodes are somewhat disjointed, jumping all over the place, sort of like feeling out pieces of a big jigsaw puzzle before putting them on the table. It’s not until well into the second half that the plot really gets rolling, and by that time you’re hooked.

The story is quite complex, and you really gotta pay attention to all the details to fully understand what is going on. But rather than detracting from the series as a whole, it actually strengthens the show, building a rich palette to explore. Durarara is not a show to be taken lightly, or just watched with minimal attention in the background.

FINAL SERIES GRADE: A – One of the best shows of the year? Yeah, this one really grew on me over time. I’m going to have to watch it again, I’m sure there’s plenty of little details I missed the first time around.

What’s Up Next: Final thoughts and final grades on Katanagatari, and that’s the end! Hooray!

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