OP: 「HEADHUNT」 by OKAMOTO’S
「百聞は一見に如かず」 (Hyakubun wa Ikken ni Shika Zu)
“A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words”
Durarara!! is back, and even though it’s listed under a different animation studio it still mostly looks the same, sounds the same, and feels the same. It’s almost like we haven’t been gone for a full five years. Much of this first episode of x2 Shou is intended to call back to the first season of Durarara!! and basically say, ‘Hey, remember us? We’re still cool!’ (which is basically the main reason any story starts with a car chase). Not only are all the familiar faces brought around, but the OP and the ED are more or less just updates of the original ones. And that’s a fine thing. Everything good about the original Durarara!! is still good today, and we can just do it all again.
So this is less of an introductory episode and more of a ‘re-introductory’ episode. Even that is a tall task though, because Durarara!!‘s cast is unreasonably large. There is a lot of jumping around just to accommodate appearances for the established cast, not to mention the new faces. Therefore, if you’re new to Durarara!! I recommend that you start with the original series. You’ll need time to take in all the players and quirks in this setting, or else you’ll spend too much time in x2 Shou wondering why there is so much shameless advertising to follow the plot.
For now, it’s good that the plot is still burning relatively slowly, because it allows us to adjust. Yes, the episode is still the non-linear, madcap experience that many Durarara episodes often are, but nothing has really happened yet. A storm is brewing (as it always is in Ikebukuro), but the rain has yet to fall. As is common with Durarara, building up a new plot also involves building up a bunch of new characters, to throw more ingredients into the pot, so to speak. The most prominent new feature, Celty’s hopeful mother-in-law (Tanezaki Azumi), is no less crazy than any of our old hands. Frankly, anyone who would marry into the Kishitani family, and be so comfortable snuggling a headless body oozing unidentified dark matter, cannot have it all together in the top drawer. She’s even nuttier than the twins (Kitamura Eri, Kanemoto Hisako), who keep to snuggling each other. It’s like we have an enforced sanity deflation in Durarara!!, where each new character must be weirder than the last. Considering that they’re bound to introduce even more characters, I wonder how Ikebukuro is going to survive as a functional piece of civilisation.
Looking a-head ~ stupid puns
It’s good to see Durarara!! chugging along without missing a step, and I’m looking forward to see what more its planning to do in crazy-alternate-Ikebukuro. It’s setting up a lot of subplots right now—like the the strange masked murders, continued experimentation on Celty, new kid in town, and all things Hanejima Yuuhei—and there’s going to be a lot of plates to keep spinning. One of Durarara!!‘s traditional strengths, though, has been in ultimately tying everything together, so I’m not all to worried about how it’ll turn out for now.
One thing that has me pondering, though, is the feeling that the mystique of Durarara!!‘s Ikebukuro is being peeled away this season. With Celty’s horse being captured on camera, the headless horsewoman is not really an urban legend anymore. It’s like actually finding a dinosaur in Loch Ness; the game changes. I don’t think Ikebukuro can remain an undiscovered paradise of weirdness with this much publicity. I do think that the moon was a lot more interesting before we landed a man on it. So I expect them to find a way to bury it all again before this story arc is over.
Even if they don’t, I’m sure they’ll keep Durarara!! fun. As Mikado says, everything has changed, but nothing has changed. Even five years on, the entertainment formula of Durarara!! is sustained, and I expect it to remain so into the future.
ED: 「NEVER SAY NEVER」 by THREE LIGHTS DOWN KINGS