Could it be? A ray of light in the darkness of the new season? I’ve been fooled before (Trapeze and to a certain extent Bakemonogatari), but so far Durarara!! is shaping up nicely.
To be honest there isn’t a lot to base my positive reaction on; so far all we’ve seen is a ton of character introductions that didn’t actually say much and a so-so fight scene. The art is passable but not really anything to write home about (E Minor points out that like a lot of lazy animators they can’t be assed to color in background characters). The plot has only barely started to unfold, for all I know it could devolve into harem antics.
That said, anime these days is so formulaic that you can partially judge a show by what it doesn’t have in the first episode. And so far there’s been no whiny little sisters, no magical quests to save the world, no fanservice, and no fucking highschool uniforms. When so many shows have been striking the same note for so damn long it feels like you’d watch anything to get away from the same old routine. So while I can’t yet recommend Durarara!! on its own merit, I can say that while it has a chance of sucking, most everything else this season is guaranteed to suck. Really now, what else are you gonna watch? Chu-Bra?
And in fairness to Durarara!!, the first episode was pretty engaging. It’s set in a fun part of Tokyo and there are a ton of characters, mysterious online chats, gangsters, and some kind of demonic headless catgirl. If nothing else it should prove interesting, which puts it head and shoulders above the pack.