Durarara!!x2 Ep. 1: Like a high school reunion

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Anonymous asked me on Ask.fm if I ever got around to watching the first season of Durarara!!, and the answer would be no. I was simply too busy this holiday season to watch anything, much less a series that was two cours long. But as you can see, I’m going to blog Durarara!!x2 anyway. Why? Well, why not? I’m sure this will piss someone off — like how dare I watch it without first completing the original series — but I figure that people are just going to get mad anyway. I mean, someone seriously suggested that I shouldn’t watch Fate/stay night – Unlimited Blade Works until I had played the visual novel. For the self-proclaimed fans of the world, nothing you do — short of unbridled praise for their beloved series — will ever be good enough in their eyes anyway. No, I get it. By not watching the first season, I won’t know anything about the characters or what had happened to them. By not watching the first season, I won’t be fair to them! Well, that’s my problem. In the end, if my posts on Durarara!!x2 is shit, then it’s on me and me alone. So why does it matter to anyone else?

I actually gave Durarara!! the five-episode try. I dropped it, because a compelling plot had failed to show up in those five episodes. Back then, I wasn’t interested enough in blogging anime to stick with a show even though I didn’t like it. If I didn’t like something, then poof, it was gone. These days, I’ll stick with a show long after it has worn out its welcome. Some people wonder why I bother with shows I don’t like, but Moe Sucks has never been about shows that I do like. ‘Cause if that was really the case, I’d only be blogging three shows this season. On the other hand, I want to capture a significant slice of every anime season, and that requires biting the bullet sometimes and watching shows that aren’t quite up to par. No, I’m not as comprehensive as I would like. I still won’t touch shows like The Idolmaster. But Durarara!! was no Idolmaster, and if I could go back in time, I probably would’ve blogged the entire series. Not only that, the show came out four whole years ago. A lot can change in four whole years. Maybe now that we’ve moved onto the second season of Durarara!!, I won’t have to sit through a bunch of setup and character introductions.

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At the same time, I’ve certainly changed over the past four years. You want to know something? When it first aired, I actually thought Bakemonogatari was an interesting show. I definitely don’t think that now. Likewise, it’s just not a surefire bet that just because I panned the original Durarara!!, that I’ll pan the sequel as well. The point is, I won’t know until I watch the series with my very own eyes. Anyways, I’ve written enough of a disclaimer. Let’s actually talk about the show. Do I even remember anything about the characters? After four years, the only person who still stands out in my mind is Celty. If I recall correctly, she’s from Ireland, and some doctor dude is in love with her. After that, everything is a blur. Oh wait, there’s the bartender dude who is supposedly super strong. But yeah, that’s about it. So y’know, getting to know everyone else will certainly be a challenge, especially since I’m dropping myself directly into the middle of a story (in some respects).

Luckily (or unluckily), this first episode merely serves as a re-introduction to all of the characters. In fact, I can hardly discern any sort of plot. Watching it is basically like, “Oh hey, it’s that guy! And it’s that girl! And it’s that other guy. And then that other guy. And then that other guy.” Personally, I prefer a strong plot right from the get-go. I want to know up front what a story is about, then we can fill in the details later. Durarara!! takes the opposite approach. Here’s a colorful cast of characters, each with different personalities! Then eventually, after a few weeks of getting to know them, something akin to a plot might emerge. If anything, the first season had more of a hook. Before I lost interest, I sort of wanted to know if Celty would ever locate her head. I’m not sure what the hook is in the sequel. Maybe the mysterious serial killer who is known only as Hollywood?

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To put it another way, the first episode is like a high school of reunion. If you had fun hanging out with those people back then, you’re going to have a blast this second time around… even if you’re not really doing anything. Even if you’re just sitting around, shooting the shit with some old faces you haven’t seen in a long time. That’s how I imagine a fan would react to this episode. It’s probably fun for them the same way that the first Durarara!! was fun. And it doesn’t really matter if we’re just catching up with some old friends, because goddammit, what’s wrong with just having fun? For me, on the other hand, I feel like the odd one out. I feel like I just tagged along with my SO to her high school reunion, and shit, I don’t know anyone here. I can’t really blame anyone, because I put myself in this situation (watching the sequel without completing the first season), but at the same time, it’s a little awkward.

Everyone’s talking to each other across the table, and I’m just sitting there. They’re referring to the good ol’ times, and I’m just trying to piece together some sort of picture with the limited information that I’ve got. Masaomi has disappeared off to some other place. The bad guy (sort of) is just waiting for something to happen. Celty and Shinra haven’t considered marriage, but they’re practically a common law couple. Bartender’s brother is so different that he was willing to cut his own fingers off. And oh yeah, that cop still gives no fucks, and will chase Celty to the ends of the Earth if he could. Some blue-haired kid shows up for just a second, but we don’t even have time to talk about him yet. What else am I missing? A lot, I’m sure. But this high school reunion isn’t over in just a night, so I’ll have plenty of time to lurk and suss something out of this series just yet… maybe. Maybe I’ll just give this sequel the same five-episode treatment. I’ll decide later.

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But for now, I’ll just accept the set-up episode where relatively little happens, and see if something truly compelling grips me in next week’s episode. Unless, of course, all those recent anime references get to be too much. What am I talking about? I’m talking about this:

Durarara!!x2 Shou - 0101 Durarara!!x2 Shou - 0103 Durarara!!x2 Shou - 0102welp fuck it

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15 thoughts on “Durarara!!x2 Ep. 1: Like a high school reunion

  1. ronanwills

    I understand the Sword Art Online and Mahouka references from a “these characters are supposed to be contemporary otaku” angle, but Black Bullet? Did anyone actually like that? It didn’t seem to make any lasting impact.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      They’re all light novels, I guess. And maybe the Black Bullet light novel is far superior to the anime adaptation or something. I personally doubt you can do much to dress up a show about a kid forming creepy relationships with abused lolis, but whatever.

      Reply
      1. superdolphin

        If I am not wrong Durarara, Sao, Mahouka and Black Bullet are published by “ASCII Media Works” and imprint by “Dengeki Bunko”.

        I assume that most(if not all) of the anime references in “Durarara” are from anime adaptations of light novels or mangas that are published by “ASCII Media Works”.

        Reply
  2. Iron Maw

    I’m gonna suggest you at least read the episode summaries on Wikipedia, because the actions and events that several returning characters end up involved in or taking are going to be done under the assumption you know their motivations from Season 1 (which covered the first 3 novels more or less faithfully) so they won’t be reexplained. New characters (or those who didn’t much screentime at that point) are exempted from this of course.

    Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Well, I also probably won’t ever get around to it. I’m personally content to just approach Durarara!!x2 as is. It’ll mostly be the fans who will have a problem with my lack of knowledge about the show. But like I’ve implied in the post up above, if they’re not satisfied by my commentary, I’m sure they have better places to discuss the show anyway.

  3. Iron Maw

    And far the plot for this arc is concerned… let’s just say that the ground work and foreshadow has already been layed in this premiere in the same fashion that S1 first episode did. Beyond that I’ll be looking forward to seeing your reactions on how it all unfolds. Even more so at the end of this season if stops where I think it will.

    Reply
  4. Chakraborty

    I think it’s important that second seasons come out relatively quickly or else it loses its “stickiness”: that is to say that the average viewer forgets the plot, the character motivations etc. I watched the show back in 2010 and a full five years later, I cannot remember anything in great detail: Main character had a secret identity, megane chick had a secret identity; Celty could drive a bike without having eyes (or a head); Scientist dude likes Celty’s oppai and is not phased by the lack of a head; annoying-as-fuck dude who stomped on somebody’s cell phone in the first few episodes and what happened in the finale I have no clue.

    Then there’s your bartender and cellphone stamper who have a bromantic love-hate relationship akin to “FAVAROOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! ” and oh yeah…a stoic college student whose sister sews back the head of his girlfriend whom he has killed in cold blood. Yes, One-chan will take care of it, yosh yosh…

    Durarara was so over the place in terms of characters and plot devices, it was hard to follow. But I was five years younger and so much more tolerant for shows like these. I tried watching this first episode to see if anything clicked, but when you keep moving your mouse to see how many minutes are left to play, it’s a good sign to give this shit a pass.

    Good luck in blogging this and god-speed, EMinor

    Reply
  5. jose peres

    Well… In fact, I do like more the reviews that are not biased. And its a lot more fun to know the reactions of someone who doesn’t know who is who.

    I watched an liked the first season, but I remembered the same thing as you did (plus the girl with glasses), so this chapter was nice as it did refresh my memory.

    With all that, It felt different somehow, like the intrincate story (wich I’m ignorant of as I didn’t read the novels and the spoilers on the Net aren’t as strong as other shows) was more linear or something.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    2 of the 3 references were about shows you despise. I was thinking there was no way you’d stick with it. Then I saw the gif and laughed. Godspeed.

    Reply

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