Spade of Trades’ Winter 2015 First Impressions: Durarara!!x2 Sho

Sho, ten, ketsu. Three different plans for three more anime’s worth of stories for the anime adaptation of Durarara. And despite the four gap in the anime’s season airings, everything in the crazy as hell town of Ikebukuro is just as we remembered it with only a few new faces around that will likely stir things up.

This new entry the in the series practically picks ups where it left off four years ago, though in the world of Durarara only half a year has passed. And this episode is mostly here to act as a reminder as four years can be a significant gap for today’s anime watchers, though it’s not a recap in any sense of the word. It’s like meeting up with old friends, Izaya’s still the shady douche he always was, Shizuo is still himself, Mikado is still the seemingly naive protagonist, Dotachin and the gang are as otaku-tastic as they have been, and most important of them all, Celty is still still the most interesting character in the series.

And a lot of the focus in the first episode is on Celty herself. Still getting chased by the terminator of traffic control officers and even offers herself to be examined by Shinra’s father, for cash money though. Speaking of Shinra, in the half year gap his relationship with Celty has gotten more intimate, she seduces him with provocative clothing and even lets Shinra latch on to her like an affectionate little puppy. They have become this anime’s cute couple, even Celty thinks of a possible future with him.

Whereas in the non-Celty side of the episode introduces and re-introduces a few new characters. Max, Shizuo’s younger brother Yuhei Heiwajima’s CEO, Shinra’s mother in law Emilia, and Izaya’s younger sisters Kururi and Mairu, whom were first shown in the OVA of season one.

I feel all I’m doing is briefly talking about characters, but the first episode doesn’t really start anything and due to the nature of Durarara’s story telling, it’s not really known when a story relevant plot point starts to go anywhere because of it being entirely character driven stories. There a killer called the “Hollywood” murderer that gets a small snippet early on and will surely become a focal point in a story arc later, but as first episodes goes, this one remains a mostly re-introductory one, making me feel like it’s aimed at the uninitiated audience, though that’s understandable.

I do want to add that the characters that do get briefly shown in the opening theme song Head Hunter, which is pretty good but not nearly as good as Uragiri no Yuuyake, gives me some Baccano and Yozakura Quartet vibes. I get the feeling that some really serious story lines are on the way, but the roster might be expanding too soon where they’re there for shits and giggles. But I feel a bit more relieved as the animation quality has returned to the first half of season one’s standards with some pretty exciting bike chases and continual creative ways to express Celty. All of this and with a three cour run confirmed, it shows how confident the studio is for this series.

Overall, I’m glad to be getting more tales from Ikebukuro and the first episode fills me with confidence in going back.

(animation by Shuka / distributed by ANIPLEX OF AMERICA / streaming on Crunchyroll & Hulu)

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