The story takes place in Ikebukuro, a dazzling city with a deep darkness, where people come 'looking for something, seeking something and trying to change something'. It has some mysterious gangs like The Dollars, The Yellow Scarves and The Blue Square, and there are special residents whom ordinary citizens would not dare upset. The story is complex and very rich in plots and ideas, many of which are daring and even insane. A beautiful head without a body is admired by obsessed characters; while Celty, a headless rider of a motorbike that makes sounds of a horse and has mysterious smoky stuff floating out of her neck, lives in a home with someone who loves her. In fact, many of the love relationships are just about as twisted as those seen in Sion Sono's 4-hour long masterpiece Love Exposure.
Durarara!! is also an amusing show. Quite often, the situations the characters find themselves in are outlandish and will make you laugh out loud. The characters are also strangely funny. For example, the most explosively violent character keeps saying he hates violence. Plus some keen observations are thrown into the dialogue, and clever comments like 'empty lots are weird because once everything is gone, you forget what was there' will surely put smiles on many viewers' faces.
Very early on, viewers learn that there are a couple of characters called Izaya Orihara and Shizuo Heiwajima that one is 'absolutely not to piss off', and there is also a Russian sushi chef called Simon Brezhnev who looks like a giant. Soon after, the three characters are seen together for the first time, and viewers discover how overwhelmingly powerful and dangerous these guys really are. Ikebukuro, as it turns out, is truly a place of crouching tigers and hidden dragons because the characters' real talents are often not apparent at first, which evokes memories of Pig Sty Alley in Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle, except of course one is set in a modern city and the other in a run-down apartment complex.
Durarara!! is so entertaining that it's addictive. Little pieces of the big puzzle are given to viewers a few pieces at a time. As the convoluted story unfolds, the connections between the many characters and different plotlines are revealed and it is hard not to get hooked. How the internet brings everyone, even total strangers, together is absolutely relevant to today's society. It is true that not everything is satisfactorily resolved by the end of the series, but the fact that viewers are left wanting more is a sure sign of a great show indeed.
Durarara!! is released in Australia on DVD by Siren Visual. The complete collection is now available as a beautiful boxset featuring some colorful artwork on the various covers. The video is fantastic, with rich backgrounds and scenes set in the dark being particularly appealing, while the characters (especially Celty) appear beautifully designed and drawn. The audio, with a mix of classical music and jazz, also sounds wonderful. Overall, this is one outstanding package.