Reviewby Mark Sombillo,
Durarara!! - Part 03
All the major players of the game have now been revealed. The leaders of each of the factions have all begun to mobilise. At the centre of each of them are Anri, Mikado and Kida, as always there for each other and directing their side with the ironic goal of protecting each one. It is ironic as each of them in the end begin to realise just who it was exactly they were fighting against. In this final instalment to the story of the chaotic underbelly of Ikebukuro, their friendships will be tested and who the victor will be may not be as clear in the end.
As I highlighted in my review of the second volume of Durarara!!, I'm apt to say that the best of this magnificent show has already come and gone. I certainly haven't been as entertained and left guessing at each plot twist as I was with the last volume. One thing that Durarara!! most obviously needed however was a conclusion. So despite sounding like it isn't worth buying, I have to profess now that this last volume is still a must see release.
The three main protagonists have stuck true to their personalities, which eventually meant frustration arose as they tried to break the stalemate of the conflict surrounding them. This is a good study in the art of communication, or more specifically, the lack of it. Audiences will be left yelling at them, hoping that they talk to each other honestly and that this simple act would clear up everything. But you know, that's exactly why this will not happen because that will present a most mundane conclusion.
Long time viewers of anime will however have seen this kind of plot device before. It's fairly common to see characters resort to silent treatments rather than openly addressing a conflict thereby escalating the tension. It's either a clever way to engage viewers or a reflection on the Japanese psyche when concerned with saving face or holding on to quiet dignity; being too open is often seen as brash and uncouth. It's probably both.
Thing about being common however is that it's prone to predictability and this is more or less how the ending of the show fizzles out. You've also got this great cliff hanger at the end of volume 2 where the scene is set for major confrontations to occur but the fact that it began to feel dragged out meant this cliff hanger in retrospect felt more anti-climactic instead. All in all, it's a victim of its own momentum in that things eventuated in fever pitch too early only to realise they had more than half a dozen episodes left to play around with.
One other thing that's frequently sited as a negative about this volume is that not all of the loose ends were tied up. You still won't know how Celty's head will roll nor did Izaya get his comeuppance (save a well placed punch to the face by the Russian sushi vendor). I don't think however that this is too much of a negative and in fact can form one its charms. As much as there's gang wars, headless riders and a whole heap of other tangled up intrigue, I finally come to the conclusion that at its core there is still some semblance of a slice-of-life anime in it. In that sense, as it emulates life, there will always be things left unresolved and that maybe, things don't need to have an answer to leave you satisfied that things will be ok from now on.
This Siren release follows its predecessors by being encased in a nice box with glossy artwork. Though there's a predisposition today to have entire series released on one set, I think (contrary to my previous review) it was ultimately good that this show was released in segments; if not for the heightened anticipation for it, then at least for getting 3 boxes that are worthy of being collected. Quality of the dubs was still fairly good and the video quality was just as pristine even when upscaled on larger television screens. Though perhaps given the swathe of details in the backdrop, Blu-ray would have really made the visuals pop.
Durarara!! has become a favourite for me in the latest lot of shows to come out of Japan. In a market where more and more of the anime being released all too often devolve into a clutter of fan service or lolicon (most times, it's a bit of both), Durarara!!'s far darker undertones and complex plot offered a welcome relief and proof that when it tries, the anime industry is not yet completely devoid of original thought. The series' underwhelming parts are a product of its own need to saturate itself in details, which can be both hard to follow at times and also prone to exacerbating pacing problems. But this is one that you have to view in its entirety because when you look back at the journey, you'll realise that it was all worth it.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B-
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B+
+ Fantastic characters that grow to love.
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