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DURARARA!!x2 Review: Welcome Back to Ikebukuro

If you thought the streets of Ikebukuro were back to normal, think again. The craziness and mischief is back as Durarara!! makes a return with its second season titled Durarara!!x2.

With the series’ remarkable characters returning by adding some new faces and a familiar backdrop, Durarara!!x2 acknowledges our love for Ikebukuro in the start of a 3 season run.

Plot/Synopsis

Six months have passed since the war between the Dollars and Yellow Scarves, Ikebukuro has begun to return to normal. High school is in session, Izaya is back to scheming, and Celty, the legendary headless rider, is still chased by the police as she rides through the town. But a few unusual things have slipped into the mix. Gradually, thanks to outside elements, Ikebukuro will be thrown back into chaos.

Like the first series, the second continues to explore the lives of several characters involving into a broader story and how they are entangled with each other it be the recent murders by a criminal named “Hollywood” that wears various masks and make-up to conceal their face, Celty being harassed by the cops and chased by Russian assassin Verona, Mikado and Anri meeting this new person at their high school that may not be as innocent as he looks, a daughter from a powerful yakuza group has run away, Shizuo being himself (actually, that’s normal for this town) and the gangs making a resurgence of kidnapping young women. It may look like there’s hardly a break from these antics as the insanity level keeps going up but it doesn’t overdo it so much that the viewer loses interest as it allows the show to have some breathing room when it comes to debuting new characters and knowing their backgrounds as well.

Unlike The Rolling Girls, which tried to delve into a profusion of subplots but failed, Durarara!!x2 succeeds in carefully balancing a handful of subplots and characters and exquisitely blending those stories. It gives each character their own showcase of their beginnings and makes you understand their motives and aspirations. As a matter of fact, understanding these personalities is a theme to this chapter of the 2nd season since the subtitle Sho does translate to ‘understanding’.

Characters

As stated before, there is a plethora of characters to go around from the returning players we all know and love to the newer characters we get a chance to know about. One character in particular is Aoba Kuronuma, a first year student to befriend Mikado and Anri and while he may seem a friendly face at face value, he’s actually a cunning and manipulative character that’s not too distant from being a younger version of Izaya Orihara. Speaking of Izaya, his younger twin sisters Mairu and Kururi make their full debut here and for the little time they were featured, they were solid characters that had a distinctive charm to each other with Kururi being the shy and odd one and Mairu is the outgoing troublemaker although that changes once they go into the chat room with the other characters.

Another new character Rokujo Chikage is quite the ladies’ man and tends to help them in need, especially by viciously beating the men who harmed them in any way and frightening it may be, it’s deliciously entertaining.

For our returning characters, there isn’t much development among the majority of them but they still continue to be the outrageous witty people we knew and love from the first series. Their moments just being them does sell it whether it be from the growing relationship between Celty and Shinra, the ongoing rivalry between Izaya and Shizuo, the everyday antics of Kyohei and his crew and the budding friendship between Mikado and Anri.

Animation

There hasn’t been too many changes from its original animation style as the muted color palette still exists and backgrounds that resemble the city of Ikebukuro an otaku paradise is about as lively as the characters themselves. What did change is the animation studios as it went from Brain’s Base to Shuka, a relatively new animation studio that handled taking on a long-term series like this. However, the animation isn’t as nearly ideal as most people wanted it to be as there are a few off-model shots with awkward movements that doesn’t flow too well and the background extras looked like unfinished gray drawings.

Sound

The music is still interchangeable to the first series with its jazzy tone from the wild horns to the soft piano that meshes well into the show’s turbulent resonance. The opening theme “Headhunt” by OKAMOTO’S show is another example of its music matching the show’s tone every time an episode begins. However, I can’t say the same for their ending theme “Never Say Never” by Three Lights Down Kings as the song present itself as a flat, generic pop rock song that can heard out of any other anime.

English Dub

Following FUNimation’s broadcast dub strategy, Aniplex of America and Bang Zoom Entertainment decided to dub one of their titles early and the performances here are about as consistent as they were in the first season with an all-cast voice cast featuring Steve Blum, Crispin Freeman, Kari Wahlgren, Yuri Lowenthal, Bridget Hoffman among others. New additions have been made for the newer characters and each of them brought out some solid performances out of them including Kyle McCarley as Aoba, Brianna Knickerbocker as Akane and making her first anime role in a Bang Zoom dub, Brina Palencia as Verona. They only dealt with some small changes in minor roles and in ADR directors going from Kristi Reed to Kirk Thornton and he did kept the voice direction and script as persistent as he could and succeed in that level.

Final Verdict

Durarara!!x2 Sho retains what we all love about the anarchic and enchanting series as its equal on its kinetic action, intriguing character interaction and moments that never went stale. It offers so much in the first of the 3 seasons it has that you can’t wait for them to show the next one.

4.5 out of 5 stars

4.5 out of 5 stars

 

Cover image via

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Categories: Anime Reviews

Author:Mark King

Well, what is there to know about me? I am the creator of "Anime Discovery" and what is it you asked? I'm a story writer/reviewer for his one-man project website The Mind of the Hybrid One. He is also a fan of many things media, including movies, TV, music and, especially anime. my blog/review series Anime Discovery is aimed towards the people who might still consider themselves either as a beginner, rookie, or possibly even the most knowledgeable of anime. I review titles that are either the ones you know and love to the titles that need some love or some forgotten gems that needed to be….well, discovered.

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One Comment on “DURARARA!!x2 Review: Welcome Back to Ikebukuro”

  1. 06/16/2015 at 8:21 PM #

    Reblogged this on The Mind of the Hybrid One and commented:
    I visit the streets of Ikebukuro once again with Durarara!!x2 Sho!!!

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