They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Housekishou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei, 91 Days, Durarara!!x2 Ten, and more!
7: Housekishou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei
English: The Case Files of Jeweler Richard
MAL Score: 7.18
Possessing a deep knowledge of mineralogy, Richard Ranashinha de Vulpian is a young and handsome British jewelry appraiser who owns a small shop in Japan. One fateful night, Seigi Nakata, a righteous college student, saves him from drunks who were harassing him due to his good looks. Upon learning of Richard’s identity, Seigi hires him to appraise a pink sapphire ring that was left behind by his deceased grandmother.
Before long, Seigi becomes a trusted part-timer at Richard’s shop. Together, the duo solve various jewel-related requests from diverse clients of different backgrounds. Step by step, they unravel the hidden motives and feelings that lie within the gems in order to understand and empathize with the little stories behind each piece of jewelry.
Anyways, I’ll make the review quick, and start off with the characters. Both main characters are very much likable, and one can easily see the the chemistry that builds between them as you watch through the show. The story is decent at best. Having it revolve around mineralogy made it refreshing to watch. I feel like there are disconnects between some of the episodes, especially the later ones, but still, it was enjoyable. The artstyle is pretty good. Both characters are very pleasing to look at.
That ends my short review of the show’s main elements.
I thoroughly enjoyed this show, but I do think it has a severe problem of queerbaiting which is the issue I mentioned in the beginning.
Multiple times have Seigi and Richard mentioned their “love” for each other, and yet barely moved forward in their relationship after saying such remarks. Perhaps the biggest show of affection there was was Seigi’s heroic deed of traveling overseas to find Richard and free him of his family’s reins. Consequently, Richard did the same for Seigi in the final episode, although to a much lesser extent.
Now, I am telling you, I don’t think anyone who is merely a “friend” would casually travel overseas to find a”friend”, not especially a college student. If that deed isn’t an act of love for a significant other, then I don’t know what else it is. And yet the show denies from its viewers a deeper manifestation of the two main characters’ relationship, limiting it to shallow words of “I really like you” and “I do love you” while also almost coming to a point where the two could have married each other as husbands, despite it being a fixed one. If you fully paid attention to the show, I’m pretty sure you’d agree with me. Seigi and Richard ARE gay.
The bare minimum I expected from this show was for the two to at least acknowledge the fact that they have become lovers after all they have gone through, but the show has denied that to its viewers until the end.
This queerbaiting, I would think, is the pivotal issue of this show. It didn’t have to be labeled under the shounen-ai genre to show that two gay men could get explicitly into a relationship. It just really feels weird to me that both would visibly express their love toward each other, all while the show purposefully denies their status as gay lovers. I really think it’s about time LGBTQ characters have more presence in more slice of life shows like this. They don’t have to be the main focus of the show obviously, but just be granted the acceptance that they DO exist. All the writer/s had to do for the two main characters was to acknowledge and accept that glaring fact that both were gay. The show kept dropping subtle, verbal hints about their status as lovers throughout the show, but still failed to explicitly disclose it in the end.
The art and animation is as soothing and calming as the music – the ED is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard lately, and I haven’t skipped either the OP or the ED even once. The voice acting is perfectly done, but then I wouldn’t really expect anything less of seiyuus like Uchida Yuuma and Sakurai Takahiro. The story is the highlight of the anime, according to me, and I was really intrigued by Richard’s past till the unraveling and final reveal. Seigi’s character is easier to understand though, and he is kind of like the perfect foil to Richard’s personality.
Another thing that I can’t help mentioning is how the topic of sexuality is treated – it is approached with the kind of normalcy that you don’t really see much in anime. There is no internalized/externalized homophobia, no one freaks out when the topic is brought up; it is refreshing to see this kind of treatment for a topic that is always either brushed off to the side and never brought up or dealt with very badly.
This anime is one of the most wholesome shows I’ve watched in a very long time. If you’re into slice of life with a side of mystery and drama, then this anime is for you.
Houseki- shou richard shi talks about a foreigner with beautiful European features ( Richard Ranashinha De Vulpian ) who visited japan and unfortunately got hit on by bunch of drunkards, and his hero who saved him from the bunch, he was the ally of justice as everyone called him ( Nakata Seigi ). The foreigner thanked him and gave his card as they parted. Seigi soonly learned that this handsome gentleman ‘Richard’ is a jeweller, so he consulted him in a certain matter and ended up working in his jewellery store as a part- time job. Those two encountered various people and helped them in their lives.
It is the type of anime you would watch after a long anime who needed a lot of thinking, it’s a light-hearted anime that will definitely relax you. It was the episodic type where you can easily pick up with and understand. Surely original. I loved how each episode had a moral, and on top of that it was educational, as it displayed tons of information about gems and jewelries.
The art is just so spirit-lifting, it heals your soul. It brightens my day seeing their faces, totally not exaggerating. I love this style of art with the cheerful colors.
The ending and the opening are gold, they make my day and I can’t skip them, like never ever! Especially that they were sung by great Japaneses groups such as Da- ice for the ending!!
Each character had its own unique characteristics, I could say they are polar opposites, but that’s what makes them a powerful duo, they aren’t perfect, they had their struggles that helped them reach where they are standing now. Their back stories, past and childhood added a spice to the anime, as it gave a background on who we are watching. Even supporting characters were unique as they passionately supported the MCs
I definitely recomend houseki- shou richard shi as a light anime to relax, it’s heart-warming with simplified explanations about gems, if you are interested~
6: 91 Days
English: 91 Days
MAL Score: 7.83
As a child living in the town of Lawless, Angelo Lagusa has witnessed a tragedy: his parents and younger brother have been mercilessly slaughtered by the Vanetti mafia family. Losing everything he holds dear, he leaves both his name and hometown behind, adopting the new identity of Avilio Bruno.
Seven years later, Avilio finally has his chance for revenge when he receives a mysterious letter prompting him to return to Lawless. Obliging, he soon encounters the Vanetti don’s son, Nero, and seeks to befriend him using the skills he has quietly honed for years.
Set during the Prohibition era, 91 Days tells the story of Avilio’s dark, bloodstained path to vengeance, as he slowly ends each of the men involved in the killing of his family.
This is the cornerstone expression that drives 91 Days. An expression that it lives and dies by, down to the very fabric of its being. One that we’re quickly made aware of from the opening act that plants us into its world.
The arms of the clock tick in reverse, as we travel back to the days of the prohibition era. It’s a cold night in April, and our young protagonist, Angelo Lagusa, enters frame. In the warm glow of his household, behind the thick wooden walls that push the harsh cold out, he’s at ease with the comfort of his family filling in the spaces of his living quarters. Cushioned by a blanket of security, Angelo and his little brother, Luce, awaits their father’s return, hiding away in anticipation for the moment he walks through the door. It’s a brief hallmark moment, the siblings’ father cheerfully calling out their names, waiting for a likely response to ring out from within the closet. But little does Angelo know, that everything he’s known up to this point is about to come to an end with the sudden knock of a visitor at the door—dun! dun! dun!—… and so it begins.
Three burly figures draped in thick trench coats steps inside. And just like that, the warm radiance that once filled the house is immediately sucked out. In its place, the thick stench of malice creeps in, seeping through the floorboards, suffocating the very air around them. Something is about to happen, and every beating heart in that room could feel it coming. Angelo’s father lounges forward, blade in hand and his little brother bolts out the 2’x8′ coffin to come to his parents’ aid before Angelo could even react. Stifled by the linen hanging behind him and the fear of what he’s witnessing in front, our young protagonist is left frozen to look on, powerless to take action against the chaos looming right outside his hiding space. Peaking through the wooden panels of the cramped closet, he bares witness to a sight that will forever haunt him. Bullets leave their chamber, the thunderous clap marking their departure, as they tear through the flesh of what he once called family.
This is it. This is the event. This is the anger that fuels him. This is the removal of normalcy. This is the motivation that keeps him going. This is the beginning of something sinister. This is the landmark moment that will forever pave his path with blood stains of burgundy and the sulfuric stench of gunpowder. “Revenge is a dish best served cold” and Angelo is determined to deliver it, even at the cost of innocent bystanders that are oblivious to his vendetta. The cost of him ever living a normal life. And at the cost of what little shred of humanity was left during that cold winter night. When he goes through with this, there’s no turning back. No one to turn to. No one to pray for his godforsaken soul. And so we depart with him, down the topsy-turvy course of trust and betrayal, with a hit list in hand and a determination that refuses to yield. He begins his journey; the first steps are taken, day one begins.
Bearing a similar tone and structure to projects done by movie heavyweights Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, 91 Days plays out like a love-child of these two worlds being brought together. This is immediately felt with the sultry musical backing, soft piano keys being carted off by bellowing brass instruments, stylistically cropped with titles cards and blood-curdling violin strings, as the camera slowly pans across the landscape. Traversing the fledgling stages of a city aiming to shoot their infrastructures towards the heavens, we’re made aware of this place that’s aptly named Lawless; a nesting ground for those trying to carve out a living for themselves, as well as the mafia families that make up the seedy underbelly of the booming alcohol smuggling trade. After laying low for seven years, Angelo makes his return to this city, reborn under the alias Avilio Bruno. Here he set the plans in motion for his revenge, enlisting the help of his childhood friend, Corteo, using his talents as a brewer to get closer to the crime syndicate that massacred his loved ones on that cold night in April.
And as his plans begin to unfold, everyone is slowly entangled within it. A sprawled-out web that’s inhabited by family feuds over the dominion of the city and pretexts made at a moments notice to insight altercations. A breeding ground for mutual partnerships and calculated backstabbing, with Avilio fanning the flames whenever he sees fit. These warring family factions include the Vanettis, Orcos, and Galassias. All of which participate in this codependent dance of charades that are set to the music of a zero-sum game. With lots of twists and turns scattered along the way, every chapter adds a new piece to the playing field. This, combined with the brisk, yet methodical pacing, made 91 Days a title that constantly had you wanting to see what would happen next. There were no guarantees on who will live or die, only the falsehood of plot armor that’s immediately revoked when two opposing parties meet.
This became one of the show’s greatest strengths; suspense backed up by tangible results.
Revenge stories that slowly taper off as it pushes forward aren’t uncommon. There have been many examples of this occurring across several storytelling mediums, with the usual morality message regarding the perpetual state of hate being the star attraction set on display. Thankfully, 91 Days isn’t another statistic. It sets the stage early on and delivers on its promise from beginning to end. There aren’t any trade-offs made to extend anyone’s relevance, if they’re ensnared in a situation that they can’t walk away from unscathed, they receive their just desserts like everyone else. There are still explicit messages regarding the cost of revenge, as well as themes that come default with these scenarios, but the story doesn’t bend at will to adhere to the warnings of it. Revenge isn’t just worn as a shiny badge before flipping the script to see the apparent wrongs of the actions being taken, no, in 91 Days, revenge is carried out without compromise. And nowhere is that made more prominent than with the cutthroat mentality adopted by the main lead, Angelo “Avilio” Lagusa.
If Angelo were summed up with one word, it would be merciless. An empty shell that lives solely for his objective, Angelo knows nothing else, adjusting his life around the need to make his targets pay. He isn’t just satisfied with merely killing them; he wants to crush everything that they stand for. Dismantling the very foundation of their family’s name by orchestrating events that will see them tearing each other apart. He’s determined to see his plans through to the end, becoming another cog in the machine without so much as flinching at the prospect if it benefits his cause. Step by step, he draws closer to his end goal, the phantom resemblance of a smile just below the surface as bodies begin to fall. It’s an obsession that borders on madness.
And it’s this same obsessive state that gives birth to paranoia among all camps of the conflict. Men hunched over in their local speakeasies, glancing over their shoulders in fear of other families taking them out. Restless faces marked off by bags under their eyes, dispatching hit men before someone else gets them first. And standing in the cross-hairs of this chaos is Nero Vanetti, a man deeply devoted to his Don and father, and the extended crime family, and unfortunately, another name on the checklist to be snuffed out. Where Angelo is driven to dismantle everything around him, Nero is committed to keeping it together, who, like Angelo, is obsessed with his cause, but instead of being duty-bound to some vendetta, he instead wants to maintain the integrity of his family’s name. A task that proves nigh impossible with Angelo offering a handshake in comradeship, while the other hand carries a pistol erected in his direction. A give-and-take relationship where one man stumbles in the dark, oblivious to the other’s malicious intent.
But not everything in 91 Days compliments this gripping narrative. For one, the art direction and presentation often fell short of expected standards. Instead of becoming an animated series that could go toe-to-toe with the giants it patterns itself after, it only manages to measure up by the skin of its teeth. By no means should anyone approach this work expecting something on Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, or Quentin Tarantino’s level. When I said, “similar tone and structure” that was the extent to which I think this anime achieves when pulling from its influences. At best, it’s a slightly better rendition of the 3rd movie in the Godfather franchise, which admittedly isn’t much of an accomplishment, but still, I’ll give it credit for where credit is due. Regarding general scriptwriting, cinematography, and fully developed personalities, 91 Days remains an imitation of these great creator’s works, but still a gripping imitation nonetheless.
The lack of eye-grabbing textures, unique shot compositions, color saturation, or other presentation nitpicks could be ignored if you’re invested in the story. Although, some aspects might stick out far too often to turn a blind eye to. Such is the case with characters like Fango, who might have been an honest attempt at creating a sadomasochistic individual, but ended up resembling an off-brand Joker villain instead. Where every character involved aimed for an early Film-noir performance set in the 1920s, Fango came flying in like a man transported straight from the 1970s; complete with the general attire and appearance to boot. And as detracting as his antics were at times when placed in a setting not meant for him, after a while, his role in the story meshed in more effectively. It May have been too late by then, but at least the effort was there to course-correct the problem. There are also a few character dynamics that could have benefited with a bit more time dedicated to it, like Angelo’s connection to his childhood friend Corteo, which felt too much like an afterthought at times, only there to get his foot in the door and serve as a catalyst for certain events to happen. With a bit more meat to their relationship, pivotal narrative moments could have become emotionally gripping ones as well. There’s an excellent storyboard there, just not enough attention-to-detail in-between plot points to make it moments with long shelf-lives in the collective conscious of the viewership.
And despite this list of shortcomings, 91 Days remains a welcomed addition to its niche genre appeal, because when everything is said and done, the self-respect in which it carried itself made it far easier to forgive where it may have stumbled. We’ve had a fair share of mobster-inspired works before this, from the more character-centric ones like Gungrave and Gangsta to the rule-of-cool beat-em-ups of Darker than Black and Baccano, but there’s never been a more faithful rendition of the traditional mafioso story in anime up to this point. Where those titles are riddled with supernatural occurrences that are dipped in the flourishings of the mobster lifestyle, 91 Days trades this in for a more grounded approach, containing characters that draw closer to real-world personalities than the more zany ones found in some of its contemporaries.
It may not have the energy of Baccano, the fully developed characters of Gungrave, the well-choreographed fights of Darker than Black, or Gangsta’s—… oh wait, Gangsta sucks. But what it does have is an appreciation for the classics that preceded it and the commitment needed to see its vision through.
As an original series, 91 Days isn’t being held back by any adaptation hindrances or an established fan base. However, the show is hardly anything original either. Picture this. It’s the Prohibition Era and mafia, gangs, and mobs rule the street. Liquor is like gold while the police force is anything but useful. Organized crime is almost everywhere you see and so common that it’s practically accepted. At the top of the food chain are the mafia organizations that controls the system. The Vanetti Family is one such mafia that emerged as a powerful group led by a man named Don Vincento. He also got a son named Nero who he hopes will protect his family’s treasure. Avilio is able to get involved in this family’s affairs as a subordinate while others remain oblivious to the fact that he wants to destroy them from within. Sounds quite appealing right? It’s almost sounds like a revamp of a gangster story from the 80s or something out of a James Bond movie.
Even judging by the promotional poster itself, the show can feel intimidating. You literally got two guys standing on opposite ends of each other while pointing a gun with the intent to kill. They are Nero and Avilio. As a story about crime, revenge, and murder, there’s also a lot that goes beyond that. 91 Days starts off by making its intentions pretty clear. Mafia really are like Gods in their world who plays by their own rules. Unfortunately, Avilio’s family were killed and the laws never delivered justice for him. It’s why he wants revenge. At the same time, Avilio is a clever man. He’s been hiding himself for almost 7 years until the moment he has the chance. On surface, Avilio is someone that is hard to approach. He hides his emotions and not easily befriended. His friendship with Nero is one of the most interesting dynamics in the series as they are very different. Nero is the one with the bright personality and also has full of pride for his family. We learn that Avilio lost his family already so there’s not many people he can turn to besides his childhood friend Corteo. So in his head, we got Avilio who tries his best to carry out vengeance that being transformed from a sweet kid to this avenger. At the same time, Avilio’s intentions aren’t just revenge. He wants to bring pain and suffering to his enemies so death sometimes may not be enough to satisfy. Talk about intense feelings. Living in pain may feel even worse than death itself.
I have to admit, cleverness alone isn’t just what describes Avilio as a character. The people he wants dead are often planned out in his head like a chess game, where he anticipates the moves of his opponents. In this game, Avilio uses tricks until he catches his prey off guard and goes for the kill or make them suffer. It’s like an assassination except Avilio does more than just carry out his mission. He wants the most out of them and even manages to get other people involved in such dangerous affairs when they weren’t to be. Remember, this is a society where trust is an obscure word. People have to rely on themselves and family feuds are pretty evident. The most noticeable ones are between the Vanetti, Orco, and Galassia. In the meantime, the show makes some families look like hypocrites, especially with they celebrate events. In essence, there’s really no sincere character coming from the families as they all seek to make themselves look good. One of the most noticeable characters in the show is Fango, someone that viewers will see as a psychopath. It’s pretty evident that he has murderous tendencies and really doesn’t care much about anyone but himself. The mind games you see he plays with others also makes him a manipulative individual as well. Perhaps Fango is a bit of extreme example but the point is that there’s pretty much no character in the show with a pure heart.
Among all the antiheroes and crime, the story itself is pretty much a dark thriller. It’s obvious already in the first few episodes so expect nothing less throughout the rest of the season. There is actually one breather episode that connects the friendship more between Avilio and Nero. However, most of the season is tainted with bloodshed, murder, and tragedy. Death is quite real and really, no one is safe. There may even be a few plot segments where you’ll feel like experiencing the unexpected. Every episode builds on the overall story and characters more whether they are from extravagant revelations or small pieces by pieces. The show is about revenge but the characters in them are more than just chess pieces in a board game. Sure, each of the have their roles to fulfill but most of the character also has a purpose. In the meantime, the comedy of the series is portrayed more as dark humor. The violence is portrayed as real. The crimes are lawless.
Animation wise, I was initially somewhat worried. The show is adapted by studio Shuka who is only known for their recent work, Durarara!! sequels. From a technical perspective, the show looks decent and portrays the dark thrilling mood quite well. The best parts about the show is the character emotions as we see how they show their feelings – hatred, sorrow, pity, regret. 91 Days portrays character expressions at their best when they are in conflict. The historical background settings of the Prohibition Era also has fine details although not as emphasized as the violence. Expect graphic violence especially during death scenes and murder. It’s a dark story after all.
The soundtrack makes sense in most respects with the eerie atmospheric setting. Even the OP and ED theme songs are haunting with a soft paced beat. Character voice mannerisms in the show is also a positive with Avilio being a believable character with his quest of revenge. However, my biggest impression of the character voice mannerism is Fango. His eccentric speeches, crazy personality, and psychopathic tone reflects exactly how 91 Days’ society can be so unconstitutional. And his voice is pretty damn good at showing that.
91 Days is a show that goes beyond the mafia wars, revenge story, and crime. Every now and then, we get a gangster story of violence. Some of them really is nothing more than pandering fans with fan service. Others really portray how dark humans can be while there’s a society without laws. 91 Days is the type of series that show the darker side of humanity. I must say…that is something to watch out for.
In today’s generation we strive for more fan favorite genre shows and it’s not often we get to see something different, “91 days” is one of those work which isn’t made to target all viewers,some may find it immensely out of their regular taste while others will take a great interest in it.
The story is set in the early 1900s during prohibition,it start with Avilio Bruno (The main character) receiving a letter and going back to the flashback of his past, when his family was brutally murdered by Vanetti Family and he was the sole survivor,running away for 7 years he’s finally back in his hometown to seek vengeance,with the assist of his father’s friend who sends him the letter earlier.
It’s a anime with a much darker theme and things like violence,gruesome killings,fast pacing are inevitable so it may not please all but with each episode,the story gonna progress and gets really compelling.
We won’t get to see too many distinctive characters but more or less,each one will have a salient role in the development of the story and Avilio Bruno is a man on a journey,he’ll make friends,enemies and will rise from dirt.
The art is pretty much decent,nothing out of the ordinary but still it befitted with the setting of the plot, so nothing to complain.
All the OST got some nostalgic old age feelings, this is something that makes you change the outlook.
I’m glad that we got something unusual this summer and being a fan of Baccano, this is the absolute work I was waiting for.
It got all aspect to make it a worth watching,give it a try.
5: Durarara!!x2 Ten
English: Durarara!! x2 Ten
Japanese: デュラララ!!×２ 転
MAL Score: 7.99
In Ikebukuro, the lives of its citizens continue intertwining with each other as if their fates are predestined. Mikado Ryuugamine is now one step closer to his goal of living an exciting life, and in turn, delves deeper into the darker side of Ikebukuro. After gaining absolute control over a former rival, he uses his newfound power as he pleases, purging the Dollars from the inside to mold it into the ideal organization. This proves to be as challenging as it sounds as Mikado must now deal with unwanted outside interference, most notably a re-emerging and dearly missed friend. Meanwhile, Izaya Orihara still has some schemes up his sleeve, although a rival information exchange center has proven to be quite the hindrance, lurking within everyone’s favorite downtown district. Undoubtedly, sooner or later, chaos will strike again.
But Durarara didn’t seem to get the memo and decided to take all the complaints we levied at the thing, arranged it on the wall, and then set it on fire. Because if you thought Shou was trying its damndest to imitate a politician last time, Ten is pretty much giving real-life presidents a run for their money with its empty promises and redundant dialogue. Do you remember how the first cour of this second season ended with Mikado becoming leader of the Blue Squares and that it signaled his first real step into the journey of darkness, getting the most naive of viewers excited for what was to come in three months? I mean even the fucking terrible opening was hinting that it’d focus on his continuing downward spiral as a merciless Dollars exterminator. Well you’ll be pleased to know that in this twelve-episode long cour, only one is dedicated to that plot point and the rest of it is spent on trying to forget it ever existed.
People say Durarara’s plot is hard to summarize, but I say they’re not thinking hard enough because it’s really quite easy to do, and in three words no less: “really badly written”. If you need more context, the gist of the matter is that the Dollars are starting to turn into the literal version of current-day 4chan and Mikado wants to purge the trolls so that the group will be back to the way it was before and, more importantly, Ikebukuro will be safe for Masaomi and Anri. Said friends decide to get their own factions together in order to stop Mikado whilst some asshole named Yadogiri Jinnai has certain plans regarding the monsters who live in Ikebukuro and Izaya has plans involving Celty’s head that are still vague at best, causing them to form their own factions in the process. Oh, and Mikado gets the yakuza involved when one of their best guys named Akabayashi join courtesy of Celty and…oh Christ, I can’t go on. This shit is fucking stupid. I’ve seen Jodorowsky films that were easier to keep straight.
It’s pretty safe to say that if you’re not up to speed on Durarara at this point, you’re not welcome, because Ten assumes you remember all the complications from prior seasons and then adds in a few more for good measure. Every single person who’s not part of the main cast gets focused on this go-around despite having virtually no storyline significance, and then the show decides to give Izaya some backstory for good measure despite the fact that he hasn’t been relevant to any of Ikebukuro’s going-ons since the Yellow Scarves arc. And Celty hasn’t been relevant ever, despite Narita’s assistance that she’s the main character. About the only way that’s true is that everything is connected to her and forgive me if we have different definitions dude, but I’m pretty sure main characters are supposed to do more than that. Like, y’know, driving the story with their character arc?
So does anything actually happen in Ten beyond establishing shit? Sorta. It’s just that it’s all incredibly inconsequential to the point that Mr. and Mrs. Filler are denying any allegation that they know the stalker arc or the “Dotachin getting run over and ending the show after what feels like the halfway point” one. You see, Durarara – and Baccano to a lesser extent – has always had a problem with tension because all the good guys are massively overpowered to the point that I’m surprised no one’s made an official fighting game out of the Naritaverse yet, and all the bad guys are fucking pathetic by comparison. You honestly can’t expect me to believe that Rui was in any trouble in regards to that kickboxing weirdo given that Masaomi and Mikado went through him shortly afterwards with only a few bruises, and she’s around Celty’s level in terms of fighting off thugs. So you’ll forgive me if I nodded off several times watching it apart from a slightly amusing minute when Shizuo thought his brother and the famous pop idol were getting married.
This somewhat changes when Izaya assembles his own Suicide Squad of capable fighters, but none of them ever directly confront the protagonists unless you count Aoba’s sunglasses-wearing brother, and Izaya seems to have no plans in regards to letting them. They’re pretty much only there for the sequel hook, and I seriously doubt much will come from it, because even when you take the one-sidedness into account, Durarara’s fight scenes are unbearably bad. This is the first time I remember noticing it, but the action seems to always end right when it’s about to get good and whenever the opposing parties are equally matched, it always ends with them walking away from each other with the promise to meet next time. Shizuo hasn’t had any interaction with Izaya since this show made its return last January, so it’s no wonder the fangirls have been going to other sources when it comes to slash-fic material this year (and incidentally, there’s quite a lot this season alone). I mean there is that episode that showcased how important Shinra is to Izaya and all, but it’s just not the same.
There’s not really much more that needs to be said about Durarara at this point other than that it needs to be put out of its misery and fast because it has long since passed the point where its conclusion could possibly be worth it and anyone who says otherwise is either incredibly shallow or incredibly delusional. That said, I am surprised at how much this sequel has eroded people’s goodwill towards the franchise as a whole, as with the exception of maybe Moyashimon, most people seem to agree that the first season still holds up well to this day and everything after is non-canon in the same way most people only acknowledge the first Matrix movie or the first Pirates of the Caribbean. And whilst that’s certainly true to an extent, I’ve seen way more people turn against Durarara as a whole than I did when Chuunibyou 2 caused people to explode in a fountain of moe tears. But I guess I shouldn’t talk. I mean I bought the Aniplex DVDs back in the day and now they’re just crying in a far corner of the room whilst I try to figure out how selling things on eBay works.
Not selling the key chain though. After all, it’s not Celty’s fault that she’s stuck in a poorly written, poorly directed, and poorly animated mess.
Durarara is a series where the normal meets the abnormal, and not everything is what is seems at first. But what is normal? What lies beneath the mask that any particular character has? And where is this entire story going?
This season answers these questions and leaves more wide open to interpretation. What many people often complained about ever since the first half of the first season is that they miss the lack of a particular main character, and equal focus from character to character. There’s also the argument that the show focused on the most boring characters instead of the more interesting ones, which hurt people’s enjoyment of the second half.
These arguments are irrelevant, and all that build-up has found an extremely interesting and satisfying answer in this season.
The story for this season follows a semi-episodic format similar to what we’ve gotten used to in Durarara so far. The only difference is that instead of leading to anti-climax to anti-climax, which was a major complaint in the second half of the first season as well as the first third of the second season, there is finally a feeling of real tension, that things will no longer remain the same and that the story finally has a purpose of sorts.
The characters no longer are walking aimlessly into one another without purpose, and instead are setting up factions to confront one another and find the answers that they seek in Ikebukoro. Everyone has developed and changed, and not everyone picked the faction that people assumed they’d pick at the beginning of the season. And yet the reasons why every character picked the faction they did makes sense and is logically consistent with their development up until this point, instead of the show having plot twists for no other reason than having plot twists.
The deciding factor behind the enjoyment of this season, however, is whether or not you enjoyed Mikado’s development throughout the show. I personally felt his character made sense in the context of the show from the very beginning, and this season only made that more clear through the various actions he took (controversial as they may be). There was build-up to his character and it finally paid off here, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
The soundtrack is as consistent and fluid as it always was, and the voice acting was absolutely amazing and spot on. Particular mention needs to go to Mikado’s voice actor, Toshiyuki Toyonaga, who did an utterly fantastic job at voicing Mikado from scene to scene, switching between calm and composed to absolutely chilling very naturally and consistently.
The artwork and animation is the same, though I must add that it was a definite step up from the various awkward scenes in Shou. The backgrounds look fantastic and the movement feels smooth and consistent, so no real problems here.
Overall, this season was a blast. It finally feels like the amazing climax we’ve been waiting for is arriving next season, and to say that I’m excited for the final season of Durarara is the understatement of the century.
Basically the theory implies that everyone is connected to everyone else, in one way or another, within six acquaintances or less. So in some way, you, the reader, is connected to me, the writer. I find this theory to be not only appropriate but also an essential insight when talking about Durarara!!. Not only does it adhere to this philosophy in the way it approaches its story but also in the way it brings it all together. Despite the ignorance that the characters of Ikebukuro have towards each others’ personal affairs, when the layers are all peeled back, they’re all a part of an intricate, interconnected web. And it’s seeing this interconnected web all flow into a central stream of consciousness to form one overarching narrative that sets DRRR apart from its contemporaries. But despite being able to encapsulate this kind of story better than most titles, Durarara still suffers from the same issues that plagued its prior installments.
Without question, DRRR’s unique approach to storytelling is its biggest highlight, and that isn’t something that has changed as it continues to build upon its franchise’s name. Picking up from where we left off in DRRR!!x2 Shou, we find ourselves following up on the events that happened in the Shou’s climax after the dust has settled from the turf wars. Since Shou was mostly dedicated to gradual buildup, this season was able to benefit off of its coattails by zeroing in on a more focused narrative. The plot doesn’t feel as scatterbrained as before, which automatically makes it more engaging than the season prior.
By far the most significant change comes with Mikado Ryuugamine’s new methods of dealing with the Dollars. While he never believed in establishing any sort of law-and-order and let the gang operate without his interference, his new actions are almost night and day, as we see him become more abrasive and hands-on with his approach. No longer is he a bystander in the turmoil that occurs in Ikebukuro, now he’s an active player, as we see him roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty. Whether Mikado is the proprietor or merely a pawn being used by someone else is up for debate, but his new outlook is undeniable. While the actual buildup to this extreme mindset change was, to be quite honest, half-assed, it still does wonders for keeping the audience engaged. Since the pacing of DRRR has always been notoriously slow, this plot development was one that was greatly welcomed. It brought much-needed change in what can be considered a monotonous dribble at times. While there are still episodes and moments where the meandering became overwhelmingly apparent, the payout at the end of each plot point at least delivered more than the season prior. But like the seasons before it, the sluggish pacing coupled with the “beating around the bush” approach of storytelling still prevented it from having any significant progression in the narrative throughout. This is an anime where most of the intrigue comes from piecing the puzzle together, than the actual finished product you’ll get from it when it’s all said and done.
As mentioned before, the most prominent character transformation comes from Mikado Ryuugamine, but another noteworthy standout this season was also Izaya Orihara. While what I’m about to say may seem like a minor detail, I still think it’s worth mentioning. If you look at the show’s cover art, it gives hints as to who the focus of the season will follow; this is also evident when compared to the cover art of every season so far. A quick glance through the catalog will show an abundance of characters in the prior season’s cover pictures, but this time, the show only highlights the 2-star attractions (with exception to the show’s mascot Celty separating their profiles). This can allude to the show shifting focus from the ever-expanding cast and take on a more compact narrative approach. Instead of branching off into several plot lines, most will now revolve around Izaya and Mikado. Both characters are now using their influence to stir things up in the city and have ultimately become the puppeteers for a lot of occurrences that happen throughout the show’s run-time. Even the supposedly “stand-alone” story-lines find themselves being distorted and warped by the actions of these two important figures. The turmoil that comes, as a result, gets the other side characters caught up in the cross-hairs. In typical DRRR fashion, the “point of view” method of storytelling is the process used to show the influences Mikado and Izaya has on others. This also includes several of the characters that will provide a new piece to the puzzle, regardless of their awareness of the situation at large or not. This perfectly ties back to “6 Degrees of Separation” theory, showing that Ikebukuro is connected on the most rudimentary of levels.
Izaya was always something like Ikebukuro’s version of the Joker, and now with the extra screen-time finally given to him, he’s able to get the proper characterization and fleshing out that he greatly lacked before. This was an issue that the seasons prior suffered from since the show spread itself too thin by trying to cover every character under the sun. While the same can’t be said for a majority of the cast, it should be noted that there were some improvements to be found, as more life was breathed into a few characters that came off as wooden before. This isn’t to say that most of them aren’t still heavily reliant on one personality quirk to stand out, it’s just that the ones that do get the extra minutes of screen-time are slightly more tolerable than they were before.
But despite the much-needed improvement to some characters, it’s still almost nauseating at times trying to keep tabs on all of their involvement in the plot. Not to say that it’s hard to follow, but there are still far too many irrelevant characters that serve close to no purpose to the show’s overarching narrative to warrant their presence being anything worth keeping track of. And for those that do have a connection to the bigger picture, a lot of them remain underdeveloped. Some did get a chance to be fleshed out, but even then, it was only covering the fundamentals that should have already been done by the seasons prior. If a show takes 40+ episodes to meet the basic standards of characterization expected of it, then that show isn’t being handled well. As I said, there are improvements found but far too little to support the increasing demand placed on it by the content provided.
All in all, the downsizing of the character focus helped to make this season a little more tolerable than the scatterbrained approach of Shou. While this could be a direct result of Shou serving to set the stage and x2Ten piggy-backing off of that, regardless of the reason, it was less taxing as a result and therefore easier to invest into the scenarios that were playing out.
The art and animation, for the most part, remained relatively the same as the quality found in Shou. This made the transition into the new season to feel like one cohesive piece, which will help to maintain immersion for those watching them back to back. This also applies to the character designs as well, which didn’t show any noticeable changes in the way they were drawn. The contrast between the opaque textures found in the background and the figures in the foreground also helped in giving everything depth of field. The soundtrack from the prior season is also carried over as well, but with the darker tone shift that this season seems to be taking on, the track choices are more on the drearier side of the OST, than the usual upbeat songs like “The Sought-after Extraordinary.”
Enjoyment | Overall: 5/10
While I’ve found more to enjoy out of this season than what the prior had to offer, it still isn’t all that much to enhance my opinion of the franchise as a whole. There are still many dead time moments and focus placed on tag-along characters for me to get fully invested. For the most part, the show just ends up being a snore fest. It’s just not my cup of tea.
For every decent payout that Durarara offers, it is followed up by a stagnant and often tedious buildup that makes the endless journey not worth it. Every time I consider suggesting DRRR to someone, I’m constantly reminded that the pacing is still abysmal, the characterization is still lax, and no matter how “cool” the idea of an interweaving narrative sounds, it doesn’t amount to much if very little is being done with it. Durarara isn’t a bad show; it’s just one that is poorly realized at this point, being stretched out entirely too long for its own good.
4: Durarara!!x2 Shou
English: Durarara!! x2 Shou
Japanese: デュラララ!!×２ 承
MAL Score: 8.00
Although peace has finally returned to Ikebukuro, many of the odd occurrences have become common sights around the city. One such case is the police’s constant pursuit of Celty Sturluson, the Headless Rider. Moreover, someone has placed a large bounty on her, igniting the motivation of gang members all over to begin searching for the supernatural creature as well. Meanwhile, Mikado Ryuugamine is approached by Aoba Kuronuma, a mysterious underclassman with unknown intentions, who reveals that he knows Mikado’s true identity.
But Ikebukuro’s state of tranquility is short-lived, as a new threat appears in the form of a murderer who goes by the pseudonym “Hollywood,” known for wearing a different mask each time they commit a crime. As the various events taking place prove to be connected yet again, Ikebukuro is thrown into another conflict that threatens to engulf the entire city in chaos.
The most prominent aspect of DRRR is by far its method of storytelling. Instead of focusing on a linear narrative and plot that goes from point A to point B, it takes on the more unique “vantage point” kind of structure. A structure that’s uncommonly used and rightfully so, as it’s inherently more difficult to pull off without becoming muddled and taxing. This ability to not only capture but adequately present this method of storytelling is something that DRRR deserves credit for. Very few anime titles dare to tackle this approach, one other famous case being Baccano!, but we’ll talk about that later.
The story, when boiled down to it, is about gang disputes in the city of Ikebukuro and all the people that are either directly or indirectly affected by it. Through the “vantage point” method mentioned, we see events slowly unfold from one of our many characters’ point of view. At any given time, we as viewers are taken to a different 1st person point of view and see where they fall into the show’s overarching story. Together, these collective of 1st person POVs help provide the platform for the main one to take form.
Sounds fun right? Well here’s where the REAL problem begins. You see, this unique method of storytelling is possibly the show’s greatest strength and weakness as well. Because we are always switching between characters to piece together any given story slowly, it can often result in a very dragged out narrative, of which plot progression feels non-existent for long periods of time. And because of the constant back and forth between what POV shot we’re following, the personalities themselves are never given enough time to reveal any further dimension. This forces the creative team to resort to personality quirks in place of actual character focus. May that be the smart guy with a sinister motive, the airhead genius professor, the short-tempered bartender, the plethora of one-note baddies, and the list goes on and on. All of the characters just comes across as just that, “characters.” None of them ever getting the chance to feel like flesh and blood because the material at hand has simply robbed them of the opportunity. It feels like you’re watching the writers just doodle in any archetype that comes to mind and pushing them onto the set to some silly kids stage performance. And for a show that depends heavily on the characters and their interactions to sell its narrative, this becomes a huge letdown. In fact, the city of Ikebukuro itself has more personality than the characters living in it. Even if that was the intention, when the narrative restricts you to following one person at a time, a growing sense of disinterest easily festers.
Also back to the other topic at hand, the pacing, my God is it sluggish. A plot point that would typically be wrapped up in 1-3 episodes takes an ENTIRE season to unfold. Again this due to the unique storytelling since it takes a “beating around the bush” approach to everything. Every characters’ perspective is needed to bring forth any kind of progression and given that 20+ characters are masquerading around the city at any given time, needless to say, it takes a lonnggg time before anything of great significance happens. This is made even worse by the excessive padding since scenes are stretched out longer than what’s needed. Attempting a Tarantino-style narrative isn’t the problem here, it’s the show itself that’s fumbling the formula.
Not much can be said about the art and animation; they’re pretty standard fare by today’s standards. However, the animation was very inconsistent at times. It shouldn’t be anything to take away from your experience, but for anyone paying close attention, it could become a glaring issue. The characters designs, on the other hand, are quite unique. Each given a specific appearance to match their personality. Many of which are easily recognizable when compared to the attempts made by other series. It has a particular trademark style that sets it apart in that regard.
The soundtrack remains relativity the same as its prequel. It is another standout of DRRR, with music that ranges from various genres and samples. You can go from a booming jazz section to a soft piano ballad accompanied by a xylophone and flute. It gives everything a certain pizzazz; like the zaniness of the city itself captured in auditory form. Standout tracks being “The Sought-after Extraordinary,” “Russian Bodyguard,” “Stumbling Samba,” just to name a few. It’s a great stand-alone listen for those with time to spend.
And now it’s time to address the obligatory comparison whenever this title is brought up: Durarara!!
In many ways, it can be said that if it wasn’t for Baccano! Durarara!! wouldn’t have seen the light of day. Seeing that both were animated by Brains Base, was created by the same person, and contain the same setup, from the gang feuds occurring in a big city to the intertwined storytelling, used to chronicle the tale. Almost everything you can find in Baccano you can easily find in Drrr, except for one thing; Baccano! was never dragged out to a snail pace. You see, that debate you may have or have not come across with people saying “Baccano! is better than DRRR” actually holds merit. Baccano did the same thing but never outstayed its welcome. It told an interesting story about immortals and gangs, got to the point, and ended, that’s it, case closed. It’s a prime example of a show that utilizes the same method of storytelling the right way. Now, if Drrr had followed suit and took the same “to the point” approach there wouldn’t be an issue…, but here we are, 30+ episodes later.
Durarararrarararararararara isn’t necessarily a bad series by any means, but whenever I view it, I find myself wondering what the point of it all is. Quirky characters doing quirky shit. The only saving grace is the intertwined storytelling, and even then, that aspect has its issues. It’s too flimsily handled for a show dealing with gang feuds and spreads itself far too thin to leave any impact.
If we remove the kooky ever-changing storyline, what will be left is just another perpetual show no different from what’s produced every year. With characters that lack dimension and a story that spreads itself too thin, DRRR definitely outstayed its welcome.
For a bit of recap, the series takes place in Ikebukuro where many abnormal events takes place in this seemingly normal city. The way Durarara!! X2 Shou operates involves many characters and events together that are intertwined. As such, expect the narrative and perspective of the season to follow their stories. The first few episodes reintroduces you the feel of Durarara again with the wild fun of the show. This cour covers several arcs that details various events that is immaculately engineered.
The first few episodes already sets up an arc for a wild frenzy taste when the audience is introduced to mysterious murders. Dubbed the ‘Hollywood murders’, the season involves a variety of characters you may already be familiar with. Infamous headless hunter Celty returns as well in a cat-and-mouse game thanks to the Yadogiri Shinning Corporation. Then, there’s also Mikado, Izaya, Shizuo, Anri, Shrina, Aoba, and most of the others returning to reprise their roles. For the Hollywood Murders arc, the series dubs it more about plot transition rather than background enforcement. We don’t find out too much about the culprit’s background but we do learn about their motives. Unfortunately, the first arc feels rushed. What is refreshing though is that it introduces some forgotten characters such as the Orihara sisters. Honestly, a show like this is packaged with characters. And from that package, there’s all sorts of personalities. I guess the Orihara sisters would fit a bit into the bizarre type because of their relationship. In fact, the show offers a lot of relationships. It’s about connection and building up events that relates one another. If there’s one thing that Durarara dynamically shines, it’s the chemistry. Almost every character relationship in the series has its moments. It tempers with feelings and emotions to bring out the best of each other with relationships.
As the series goes on, we learn more about some of the new faces introduced in this show. Having an established cast is important but also introducing fresh new ones can also be refreshing. One such character named Rokujo Chikage brings in his gentlemanly charm into this season with his ladies’ man personality. His involvement in one of the arcs becomes intriguing as we see different sides of him; especially when women are involved. Then, there’s also a cute girl named Akane that gets introduced this season. Rather, there’s actually an entire arc that focuses on her that all started because of the manipulative schemes of Izaya from the backgrounds. It’s a misunderstanding that turns into a frenzy as Akane seems to want to hunt down a certain someone that Izaya dubbed as a dangerous man. (oh the irony) But besides that, the arc also focuses some interesting points involving gang wars and a potential new rival for Celty. Rather, I could label her more as an assassin when we see how reckless this woman named Vorona really is. Interestingly enough, the show dedicates time to focus on her background including her lonely childhood. There’s also a certain similarity and contrast between her and another character from Ryogo Narita’s other work, Baccano that stands here.
Mikado, the primary protagonist from the previous and current season also gets quite a decent amount of spotlight. A show like Durarara never neglects his face especially with his responsibilities being in part of Dollars. The story gets more complex as Mikado realizes the complications he gets himself in with others that challenges Dollars. It escalates to a climax when gangs becomes involved in a war that pits each other. It’s time like this when Durarara really spices up the fun while effectively getting to its plot’s climatic point. By pitting certain prominent figures in a rivalry between gangs, you get an entertaining revolution. That’s what really makes Durarara enjoyable to watch as you anticipate what may happen next. Plot twists, difficult decisions, and concrete story transitions. You get the picture. It’s almost addictive to think about it….
As addictive the show can be for anticipating events, it’s also quite relaxing when it takes time for a breather. I don’t mean the Dollars chat room though because there’s all sort of chatter there. But for a talky show like Durarara, there’s a good degree of comedic moments that all happens over the course of this season. From Shizuo’s priceless reactions to Shrina and Celty’s relationship, Durarara knows what it needs to craft comedy. This can also be emphasized in conversational format with characters like Izaya. If you remember how manipulative he was during season 1, then you’ll definitely want to get the full scoop on what he’s up to this season. It’s not only the comedy that brings in entertainment though because action also takes place. Whether it’s the gang battles or the Shizuo’s fierceness, this season never forgets to show the potential of our characters. All that aside, it takes a lot of focus to understand everything especially with the characters. Almost every episode of this season is busy with events going on. Getting lost will end up no good and this is something that can be frustrating at times.
I have to admit though, the art and visuals suffers a bit with this season. Apparently, a new studio called ‘Shuka’ is in charge with producing this sequel. Durarara!! X2 Shou is apparently their first work and it doesn’t make an impression in the first half. Some particular episodes are off balance with the coordination of the visual quality while other frames are lazy. Luckily, the second half does get better with smoother backgrounds and in general, better quality with its artwork. Character designs remains generally the same with our returning cast. New characters such as Vorona and Rokujo brings style to the show with their looks. And while the series isn’t entirely dedicated to action scenes, it does make it noticeable during some of the gang battles. Celty’s infamous “Shooter” also makes its appearance decorated with peculiarity.
From a technical perspective, soundtrack is performed on a strong standard. The OP and ED songs for this season not only has style but retains its upbeat. There’s also a very distinctive range of character voice mannerism that all makes a good impression. The OST also is fluid that flows well responding appropriately depending on the scenario. I expected nothing less when it comes to soundtrack with this season.
12 episodes. That’s how many it takes to cover the first cour. And although some arcs does feel a bit rushed, it’s highly entertaining. The seductive cast of characters will enthrall you to learn more about them for this season; whether they are new or old. The comedy is genuine with well-timed dialogues and reactive scenes. As a show that connects characters and stories together, Durarara!! X2 Shou is a solid example that knows understands such a mission. This is the 1/3 of Durarara’s sequel project that celebrates the franchise’s 10th anniversary. And I have to say, it’s off to a pretty damn good start.
The first of three scheduled Durarara series, x2 Shou is divided into two arcs. The first of them is a simple 4-episode story pieced together from multiple perspectives. The story itself isn’t all that impressive, but it is improved by its use of multiple perspectives. However, the real point of this arc is to introduce the new characters, and because of the arc’s laid-back nature it’s extremely fun to just watch the characters intersect and interact.
Durarara’s most noteworthy feature has always been its huge cast of memorable characters, and x2 Shou follows suit by introducing a lot more. With the entire first arc dedicated to this, some excellent standouts emerge, most notably Mairu and Kururi Orihara, Izaya’s younger twin sisters, who steal the show for their entire duration onscreen. However, while some of the new characters are excellent, the sheer excess of them is Durarara x2 Shou’s biggest problem.
Once the second arc gets into full swing, we’re treated to a plot built around remnant factions of the Blue Squares, a new gang called Torumaru, multiple corporations, several Yakuza factions with links to said corporations, a serial killer, a pair of Russian assassins, and a young girl with a tazer, along with all the previously established Dollars from the previous season. This arc lasts 8 episodes – there are as many groups of characters involved as there are episodes in this story arc. Durarara has always utilized this kind of chaotic clusterfuck well, but in this instance it bit off more than it could chew.
Because of that, it can be a struggle at times to remember which characters are involved with which other characters, and why. It also results in a very unfocused story. There are several smaller stories that all tie into the bigger picture, but the most important part of the story revolves around a small faction of the Blue Squares emerging within another gang and trying to take it over from within, and them inciting an all-out war with another gang, while their leader tries to stop it, and realizes that the gang’s own structure has worked against him, creating a situation where he is powerless to control his own creation. This entire situation is deliberately set off by a manipulative genius to serve his own ends. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because that’s exactly what the last arc of Durarara’s first season was about.
I always considered the Yellow Scarves arc of Durarara season 1 to be its weakest, so a rehash of that arc, in theory, should have been a bad idea. However, the Torumaru arc has proven itself to be a big improvement, despite sharing the same structure. This time around, it revolves around a better set of characters (despite an unfortunate lack of Izaya), and has replaced teenage angst and irritating misunderstandings with crazy Russian assassins and HILARIOUS misunderstandings. However, it does still feel a bit redundant.
The ending, however, single-handedly justifies the entire season. The final episode begins with several minutes of Shizuo at his best. It then follows it up with three shocking and dramatic twists that promise great things for the upcoming season. While I won’t go into too much detail on said twists for spoiler reasons, the best of the three makes use of everything that has happened to Mikado in the last eight episodes, and results in his characterization finally taking a brilliant new direction.
All three twists leave the series ending on a fantastic cliffhanger, which I think says it all about this season: it’s transitionary. Its main purpose is to introduce new elements to build onto the first season, and prepare them for the excellent third season it promises.
(EDIT: The third season was most definitely not excellent.)
As such, we’re just lucky that three new installments have all been confirmed, as x2 Shou would have been a bit of a waste otherwise. This series has been on a very low budget – the first series occasionally had some awkward or cheap animation, but it was only sporadic. x2 Shou has constant off-model shots and horribly animated fight scenes, along with a case of Noodle People the like of which is rarely seen outside of Clamp series. Hopefully, the BD sales from this season will result in an increased budget for x2 Ten and x2 Ketsu.
Final Words: Even on a bad day, Durarara is still a very entertaining show, and this holds great promise for subsequent seasons.
Acting (JP): 7/10
For Fans Of: Baccano!, Mekaku City Actors
3: Durarara!!x2 Ketsu
English: Durarara!! x2 Ketsu
Japanese: デュラララ!!×2 結
MAL Score: 8.08
As Mikado Ryuugamine continues to purge the Dollars from within in accordance with his warped sense of justice, Masaomi Kida hopes to bring his friend back to his senses by bringing the Yellow Scarves together once more. Little do they know that a far more dominant force is about to enter their struggle for power, one that their friend Anri Sonohara is all too familiar with.
Meanwhile, the group that has gathered at Shinra Kishitani’s apartment realizes that they are on the brink of something life-changing, an event that will throw Ikebukuro into a spiral of confusion. Their anxiety is realized when reports of Celty’s head being found in public start to appear all over the news as Kasane Kujiragi begins to make her move.
Gone are the brief periods of tranquility as the current turmoil sets the stage for one final performance in this thrilling conclusion to the story of Ikebukuro’s finest.
So I’d recap the plot of Durarara at this point, but I don’t want this review to be longer than a Michael Crichton novel, so let’s just say that after that agonizingly bad cliffhanger from last season, some of the characters are trying to figure out how to deal with Nebula (the company that wants Celty’s head), some of them are trying to deal with the gang war stuff that only still exists for the same reason Bleach lasted for so long, and Izaya is doing his own thing whilst having absolutely no significant influence on what’s going on whatsoever despite the show making giant claims that he is. Durarara!!x2 Ketsu is dead set on resolving all these plot points considering this is the final season, and anyone who’s expecting some grand finale should be prepared for a giant letdown, because without spoiling anything in particular, the finale just sort of “happens”.
Seriously, if you can’t see what’s wrong with this conclusion to what once shone so brightly, then you have more tolerance for this show’s bullshit than I did with Crimson Moon – and believe me, I (sort of) stood with it up until Seimei left Raikou to his own devices. On the rare occasion that a light novel adaptation ever actually reaches a conclusion, more often than not, it feels like the author is paying obligation to the fans rather than creating the vision he wanted. And why would you want to pay obligation to fans? Don’t you know that there’s no human being more evil, more hypocritical, and more impossible to satisfy than the fanboy? I mean I used to like this show back in the day, and guess what I think of it now? Agonizingly dull is too nice an opinion at this point, but it’s an effective way to sum up my feelings nevertheless.
Now this review is going to be really difficult to do without spoilers considering how character-dependent Durarara’s narrative is, but even though I’m sure only die-hard fans of the show care about its existence at this point, that’s still a lot of people so I’ll do my best. Basically, Durarara’s previous problems that have become even more obvious since its return haven’t gone anywhere. The animation is still horrible – although nowhere near as bad as it used to be. The action is still shit, bar one fight scene between Masaomi and Chikage that was actually pretty exciting to watch even if the end to it was kinda lame. The pacing is still horrid, most particularly during the final fight between Izaya and Shizuo, which takes almost half the series to resolve itself on account of the show constantly interrupting it to focus on other plotlines. And the opening is even worse than the last one, which I didn’t think was possible.
You remember the Yellow Scarves arc from the first season and how one of its biggest problems was that the main villain spearheading that conflict was lamer than current-day Simpsons? Well Ketsu’s downplaying of all the big wigs and having that teacher from the Slashers’ arc spearhead the Saika zombie invasion that makes up the majority of this lackluster finale makes it clear that the creators have a different opinion of how to do conflict than the audience does. It doesn’t even make sense in his case since he was all but absent after that second arc and now suddenly he’s a big shot over Yadogiri Jinnai, the Russians, the Nebula company, and fucking Izaya? That’s like making the final villain in the original Star Wars trilogy that one guy who harassed Luke in the bar before Old Ben had to cut his arm off.
Oh, and if you think that being near the conclusion of this overly-long journey would mean dialing down all the exposition the characters spout out just to have an episode end on a certain cliffhanger, prepare yourself for a giant letdown. Dear god, doesn’t this anime know a thing about “show don’t tell?” Was there really something so profound about Anri giving a speech about how she’s learned to love even though she’s a monster that you had to drag it out for over ten minutes? Ten minutes that could have been spent on animating more action or something actually resembling plot progression. Clannad didn’t move this slow. Sword Art Online didn’t move this slow. Kaiji didn’t…okay wait, that’s still one of the slowest anime I’ve ever seen, so never mind.
I could continue listing everything wrong with this season – particularly the fact that the conclusion itself is once again an anticlimax that’s only slightly better than usual – but basically every problem with Durarara’s return boils down to three words: extremely too late. By the time it arrived to quench fanboys’ thirst, so many anime have come out that surpassed it in everything it tries to do, from stories involving multiple characters to fujoshi-pleasing fanservice, that it has nothing to add to the mixture. Hell, it was surpassed way back when with Paranoia Agent all the way in 2003. It’s not funny. It’s not engaging. It’s milked to oblivion despite losing its main target audience. Its return had all the impact of releasing the air from a balloon and watching it fart all around you whilst you stare at the ceiling.
Seeing Shizuo ride a bike going over 60 mph in episode 5 made the rest worth it.
Although the story was a bit of a turn off because it involved a lot of miscommunication, it really portrayed what lengths people will go to if they truly believe in something, whether it be for good or for harm. I very much recommend this series as something to learn from, because it definitely shows that clear communication of feelings and a sharp understanding of a situation are the most important aspects of today’s society.
Durarara!!x2 Ketsu is the 3rd and final sequel of Durarara!!! (DRRR shortly) after DRRRx2 shou and ten. Imagine that DRRR was a Phoenix, DRRR reaches it’s peak when around 2010, since many newcomers come one after another, DRRR was slowly buried.
At least in 2015 DRRR have it’s sequel twice so she slowly rise from the ashes. But the problem is, DRRR rise too slowly and come back to live with more wings than before. Many people confused how much wing DRRR’s have in their previous live? Some of them just enjoy the new wing and continue to watch, but some of them are looking to the old wing that they loved before and can’t find it.
This review aren’t suitable for the one who doesn’t know DRRR before, they should read the the prequel reviews. But I give some general explanation of it. DRRR are adaptation of light novel by Ryohgo Narita, the story are focused to it’s character rather than usual linear storyline. While usually and anime made their MC to be most interesting, yet we see DRRR made their MC just ‘normal’ character compared to the others. Almost all characters on DRRR were interesting to the extend of no other anime can’t mimic it. You can’t see characters like Izaya, Shizuo, Celty, and Shinra in your everyday anime. Not to mention some of them aren’t even considered human. You can see tons of characters, tons of theory, tons of relation, tons of conflict. One word to describe this, COMPLICATED!. (oh I forgot to said that the OST and BGM are godly present too…)
The conclusion is, DRRR have high base value, no matter how the story goes or how many new characters introduced, it would remain the same as DRRR we once loved. For the watchers who come this far, you should now what I mean.
So, don’t doubt the baby Phoenix who even doesn’t fully hatched from her eggs, she has potential to born better than her previous life with more wings, the new one has begun to shine, and the old one can reappear with beautiful feathers than before.
In the end when she’s reborn, the Phoenix can fly beautifully. DRRR x2 Ketsu have successfully deliver the potential of previous DRRR. Of all the complicated characters and conflict, it didn’t lost the purpose of the story : (Mikado – Masaomi – Anri), (Shizuo vs Izaya), and (Celty x Shinra). And what make me satisfied the most is everything was resolved. It’s just sad that we can’t see DRRR anymore (T^T).
Story : 9/10 (Great, everything resolved beautifully)
Art : 8/10 (Although slightly below standard of animation nowadays, it’s still good)
Sound : 9/10 (DRRR sound, BGM, opening, and ending always fun to listen)
Character : 10/10 (This is the strongest DRRR point, perfect)
Enjoyment : 10/10 (My personal enjoyment of this series is perfect)
Overall : 9.2/10 (Great Series)
Must watch to everyone who watched DRRR before, if you’re open minded person, certainly you will enjoy this.
2: Natsume Yuujinchou Go
English: Natsume’s Book of Friends Season 5
Japanese: 夏目友人帳 伍
MAL Score: 8.58
Season 5 of Natsume Yuujinchou.
Story: (10/10) As always, we follow Natsume Takashi, an orphan high school student who had an unfortunate childhood and now adopted by the Fujiwara. Natsume helps the different yokai/humans who are connected to the “Book of Friends” accompanied by Madara (Nyanko-sensei) a powerful yokai. Natsume also comes to humans’ aid not affected by this “book”. (You know the story if you want to watch the 5th season…)
Overall, the series has an episodic format that could discourage you because it would be repetitive and it would become tiresome after a few episodes. However I would like to point out the inventiveness of Yuki Midorikawa will impress you with every episode and you will be surprised by the turn of events.
The stories are very often moving and I won’t fail to tell you I have cried many times while watching an episode.
Don’t expect a “forced drama” series, no, the direction is very subtle and prefers to go through the narration to reach his audience.
This 5th season focuses more on the secondary characters and their past. More specifically Touko and Shigeru Fujiwara, Natori, Taki and Reiko.
Characters: (10/10) As mentioned earlier, many episodes focus on Natsume’s friends and family, more than Natsume himself which changes a bit from previous seasons.
I won’t say any more at the risk of spoiler.
Art: (7/10) Always great despite the studio change. (The staff is almost similar to previous seasons)
Overall, we will very rarely find badly drawn characters when they are close to the camera.
Sound: (10/10) It plays a very important part in the atmosphere of the series. Many older OSTs like “Furusato no Nioi” or “Daiidaro no Toki” are used and I can’t explain the reason but I feel calming by listening to them. There are other new soundtracks I don’t know the titles yet to recommend.
We owe this work to Makoto Yoshimori.
Enjoyment: (10/10) Needless to say that I spend great time with each episode. My favorites are the 1st, 5th and 10th, and what are your favorites?
Apart from the fantasy/supernatural aspect that plunges you into a universe inspired by the myths of Japanese folklore, this series is a slice of life and also talks about daily life. For example, the moments spent lunching with his adoptive parents, traveling with friends, etc. Things that most of us live. And here the series accentuates these passages and tries to make us understand to what extent these little moments of happiness are precious and that we must cherish them. And to see it from the point of view of Natsume is important insofar as he had a very difficult childhood, rejected by his classmates, and the previous adoptive families.
In conclusion: I highly recommend this series and this S5 even more.
+ Narration: in many series adapted by Takahiro Omori, we find this narrative system with a character telling his story, his past.
+ Characters: very interesting development of Taki, Natori and Fujiwara that you shouldn’t miss.
+ Slice of life: I insist but this series has a certain beauty that sets it apart
+ OP (by Sasanomaly) and ED (by Aimer) which correspond perfectly to the atmosphere of the series
+ mmh … 11 episodes, it’s too short, I want more.
Thank you for reading this review.
There is though some episode that is meh at certain part but they fixed quite quickly, the art is beautiful they always upgraded their art every single single season. The ending in this anime is one of my favorites
Overall i’m going to rate this 9/10
OVERALL – 9
Always happy for more Natsume Yuujinchou. Heartwarming. Fluffy. Pure. Activates the “I must protect this smile!” instinct. Feels. Feels that are sometimes happy. Feels that are sometimes REALLY KINDA HEARTBREAKING??? Iyashikei but with an undertone of constant melancholy that almost makes you have multiple existential crises but then your heart is healed into a pure state? Aw yes!
STORY – rounded down 9.5
Short stories. Always superb. Some used this season were more dynamic than I’ve ever seen Natsume Yuujinchou show us before—more than enough to make up for some of the more forgettable ones (sorry).
ART/ANIMATION – 9
So we have moved from Brain’s Base to Shuka. There’s reason to be skeptical of this infant studio that tends to slack of halfway, but they poured a lot into consistantly making Natsume beaut– I mean, Natsume Yuujinchou beautiful, haha. The softer colour palette and more pencil-like lines compliment the iyashikei feel. And it’s hard to not melt a little bit (or, you know, a LOT) at the very gentle and fluid animation every time Natsume smiles. Good to know Shuka knows where to pour the most effort.
SOUND/MUSIC – 8
Natsume Yuujinchou uses the same lovely OST every season with only some new tracks, so let’s just talk about the OP/ED. Like the OP: makes me excited for more Natsume. Love the ED: reminds me of Zoku’s ending which is my personal favourite.
CHARACTERS – 9
It’s season 5. You know who you love and who you disapprove of by now. (If you don’t like Natsume himself within 1-3 episodes of the first season… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Sorry, he’s the MC and a boy of kindness & good intentions whose Shuka-animated smile I will always treasure.)
ENJOYMENT – 10
It’s season 5.
Additional Ratings : SEIYUU – 10 (Kamiya Hiroshi. Jun’ichi Suwabe. The usual cast. The usual greatness) ; CINEMATOGRAPHY – 9
1: Natsume Yuujinchou Roku
English: Natsume’s Book of Friends Season 6
Japanese: 夏目友人帳 陸
MAL Score: 8.64
Takashi Natsume has grown accustomed to his encounters with youkai through the Book of Friends, which contains the names of youkai whom his grandmother, Reiko Natsume, has sealed in contracts. These encounters allow Natsume to better understand the youkai, Reiko, and himself.
The Book of Friends is a powerful tool that can be used to control youkai; it is sought after by both youkai and exorcists alike. Natsume just wants to live out his daily life in peace but is constantly disrupted by these experiences. If he is to end this torment, Natsume must explore more about the book and the world of exorcism, as well as begin to open his heart to those who can help him.
After six seasons, Natsume Yuujinchou excels as much in the art of conveying powerful emotions during each episode without ever giving the impression that the series becomes tiresome. If I were to describe this series most appropriately, I would say it’s heartwarming, moving and (personally) exotic.
The synopsis is simple. We follow Natsume Takashi, a 15-year-old orphan boy who can see supernatural creatures called “youkai” or spirits, a capacity he inherited from his grandmother Reiko, who had died for many years. He also receives his grandmother’s “Book of Friends” which contains all the contracts she has made with youkai. With the powerful youkai Nyanko-sensei or Madara, Natsume gradually releases the various spirits that were linked to his grandmother.
Natsume Yuujinchou has a simple structure. Each episode relates a new story featuring relationships between youkai or youkai-human relationships, and generally a difficulty concerning youkai(s). Each story is well written, sprinkled with mystery while disseminating hints enabling the viewer to arouse his curiosity. Some episodes focus only on Natsume, his adoptive family and friends. In all cases, the interactions between the different characters are very well-developed and in a natural way. The episodic format might suggest that in the long term it would become repetitive, but the diversity of stories is impressive with a relatively unpredictable style, sometimes resulting in a happy ending, sometimes a separation. It depends.
Even if the universe is fictional, the relationships are real. Natsume understands that youkai aren’t so different from humans. They also have qualities, defects and feelings of all kinds: regrets, love, sadness.
The storytelling is executed masterfully. Usually we follow the story from the point of view of Natsume. We have therefore access to his thoughts, remarks on what he sees, other characters, etc. But at times, it happens also that the story is told to us by other more secondary characters. This season, there were Natsume’s two friends: Kitamoto and Nishimura. It was interesting to have their opinion on Natsume and generally their point of view when they surprise Natsume helping a youkai (which they can’t see of course).
For the characters: Natsume is a truly endearing character. Each of us can identify with him. I think at some point in life, we all spent moments isolating ourselves from others. (It was my case) And his kindness and timidity can’t leave you indifferent and… it’s impossible to hate him !
His relationship with Nyanko-sensei is very fun to see. Nyanko-sensei can be seen as the pet of Natsume but thanks to its very powerful powers, Nyanko-sensei is also present to protect Natsume against a possible danger. Although this aspect isn’t explicit in the series, I think it’s really the key figure that has filled (at least partially) the solitude of Natsume.
Concerning the supporting characters, I can say that after six seasons, they have received a complete development and are very endearing. Whether Natsume’s friends, his adoptive family or his friends youkai, all have a real involvement in the plot and have their own personality. None of them is actually unidimensional and can’t be classified in the “dere-dere personality”. There are some runnings gags as when Taki is in ecstasy when she sees Nyanko-sensei because she finds him cute. But overall I can’t define the characters with basic archetypes. The entourage of Natsume is undoubtedly composed of people who are fundamentally good (although Natori …) since Natsume is himself a kind and caring person. I suppose the good people draw attention of the good people.
The atmosphere of the series is marvelous. Whether its splendid soundtrack with comforting music and others more adapted to the action scenes or its backrounds representing a calm, peaceful and mysterious countryside. The animation of the series is satisfactory without being exceptional either: mostly traditional animation. To come back to the scenery, I can say unequivocally that I have rarely seen such beautiful scenery in anime. Each image of the opening deserves a screenshot.
Rei Yasuda’s ending song is magnificent. This is probably my favorite ED for this past season. The melody and the lyrics correspond perfectly with the themes of the series.
I also add that there is a new OST in this season that I appreciate very much: the one we hear during the preview after the ending song.
Finally, this narrative tells of self-fulfilment of Natsume. At the beginning of the series, Natsume is a lonely character who doesn’t really have friends and is often suspicious when he meets new people, youkai or humans. It’s difficult to open to others because of the feeling of rejection that he has known since his childhood. But then, thanks to the “Book of Friends”, Natsume meets different spirits with which he become friends. We can notice that the opening of this new season emphasizes the evolution of the character especially when we see the “current” Natsume watching the “child” Natsume. He also became friends with many of his schoolmates. Whether it is his friends who know his abilities or his friends who do not know the existence of spirits, everyone will encourage Natsume to go ahead and support him if he needs help. Similarly for his adoptive parents, the Fujiwara, who really take care of him. Natsume doesn’t wish to break his relationship with them and they never informed them either of his capacity or the Book of Friends. I hope one day Natsume will reveal them. Maybe in season 7?
In short, the series succeeds brilliantly from a simple plot to show us gradually what I can call a masterpiece. Each story, whether tearful or joyful, offers a life lesson to its viewers.
With this, I take leave of you and I hope we’ll see the sequel in the future.
Thank you for reading the review.
the everyday life of Natsume while protecting the Book of Friends inherit from his grandmother.
His character become great he gain more trust to his friend he still learn a lot from the everyday experience (Story 10/10)
Art is great too the animation better and better from season 1. they portrait the characters really well (Art 10/10)
The Opening and Ending Songs are great have deep meaning and its perfect for the characters in the anime
The characters are great even there are small cameo roles in some episode but they portrait it really well
The Enjoyment watching the anime is great I cant get enough with it I will miss them . (Enjoyment 10/10)
I really recommend this anime the story is a masterpiece I think this is the anime that I watch with this many season and hopefully many more to come
Like every season, Natsume Yuujinchou plays to it’s strengths. It’s a very relaxing anime. It’s quiet, slow(for good reasons), full of lovable characters. It’s a vibe, a very spirtual vibe that it gives off through it’s country side atmosphere and it’s fantasy elements. It sometimes gets pretty dark and mysterious which adds a lot of flavor to this show. The storytelling in every episode is superb, It’s always fresh and simple, The use of symbolism and Goblins to tell a new tale every episode shows how well scripted and cohesive it is.
Every season it slowly pushes the story, this time it got to a point that a lot of people were biting their nails for a pretty long time, and they kinda ended it there, so I can’t wait to see what happens next, I might read this manga before Attack on titan if they don’t make any announcements soon.
I honestly don’t have anything major to complain, sometimes it’s a little unbelievable how some people react to Natsume, But it happens very rarely and it’s something I can slide because of the characterization. That’s it. The animation is good too, it’s not anything crazy but it works very well for it’s environment and the vibe that it gives off, The music is always spectacular, I’ll say this, during exam times or if you have any stress, just listen to this OST it’ll help. It’s just beautiful.
Overall just another amazing season of my most favorite slice of life ever, Some people might not find it interesting but I would definitely recommend watching this and all it’s previous seasons.
I would give a 9.5/10.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Natsume Yuujinchou Roku
2. Natsume Yuujinchou Go
3. Durarara!!x2 Ketsu
4. Durarara!!x2 Shou
5. Durarara!!x2 Ten
6. 91 Days
7. Housekishou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei