The premise is in the title, eh: Why Durarara makes me want to go to Japan. I’m going to be pretty transparent here. So, I guess that will require a little bit of an explanation.
Spoiler: Early warning here on this article. I’ll be sprinkling in details of Durarara to help support my wish to visit Japan. I’ll be doing my best to not spoil any major reveals. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this anime as a must watch. With this in mind, let the details here become motivation for you to give it a try!
Durarara – what is it?
Durarara is a large cast, multiple point of view anime that explores the secrets and conflicts that arise in (mostly) human relationships. The story has a prime motivation – that of the Dullahan (Celty) and her quest to reclaim her stolen head. However, there are a myriad of secondary (and tertiary) actors (and reactions) to the pursuit of her goal. Celty ends up being like a pebble in a pond – her actions touch the existence of all the other characters. Their lives are in a state of irrevocable flux due to her presence.
Durarara touches on a variety of different, disparate, and diverse character groups. There are high school kids, members of color gangs, affiliates of the Yakuza, motorcycle gangs, the cops, elements of the Russian mob, legitimate magical beings, movie stars, serial killers, black market doctor, information dealer, otaku, and a superhuman/super angry bodyguard in a bartender’s outfit. Somehow all these groups come in to contact with a mythological Irish fairy within the confines of Ikebukuro.
On one hand, Durarara is about the unusual happening in the usual world. No one has a “normal” life in the story. In a way, that kind of makes everyone normal, doesn’t it? It is like the thinking that “if everyone is super, no one will be”. Because everyone is abnormal, every one of their interactions are both irregular and normal simultaneously.
Durarara: Why #1
“In my hometown, the sky seemed endless…but there was nothing to see.” Ryuugamine Mikado
Let me begin by constructing some background for you. I have lived my whole life in a small Midwestern town. I’ve seen everything worth seeing innumerable times. In reality, maybe it is a case of thinking the grass is greener on the other side. Don’t get me wrong, I love my hometown, but these sights are all too familiar. As an avid book reader, connoisseur of anime and lover of travel, I crave new adventures. Correspondingly, the world of Durarara is one of adventure – there are no meaningless or mundane interactions. Under the manipulation by secrets they don’t know, characters find themselves off the path.
Durarara: Why #2
“Wow! A world that I’d only seen in manga and online is right here in front of me!” Ryuugamine Mikado
Mikado finds himself taken by the energy of Ikebukuro. Ikebukuro is a place that demands attention to experience. How can I not want to experience that place to feel those same overwhelming feelings? Watching Durarara I can only imagine that people (mundane and extraordinary) exist like they do in this series. I find myself wanting to untie the knots of relationships between these characters. Again, I wonder if there’s a master manipulator pulling the strings hidden from view.
Durarara: Why #3
“Look around and what do you see? You find yourself thinking, ‘I’ve seen this before. Today’s just like any other.’ Sometimes, though, when you least expect it, you’ll get a tiny glimpse of another reality seeping into yours. A crack appears in your peaceful life. It throws you off guard, makes you rethink things.” Celty Sturluson
In fact, I know that my everyday “boring” life is a peaceful one. My chances to travel have shown me glimpses of realities that are a bit more exciting. I know for certain that an adventure to Japan would expose me to opportunities I’ve only seen in anime up to this point. I understand that exciting people live all over the world, but there’s something about breaking the norm that is enticing. This feelings inexorably draws me towards the land of the rising sun (and towards a shade of black that only exists there).
Durarara: Why #4
“It’s a city overflowing with strangers. They all come here looking for something, and they come to the city hoping to change something.” Simon
So many disparate entities come together in the same place. There’s a cursed sword that just wants love…a man with inhuman strength and no control…best friends that lead opposing gangs…a Dullahan looking for her head and the back-alley doctor who loves her…the mob, Yakuza, and shady pharmaceutical company disappearing people all over the city. Where do you look and who do you focus on? Regular life has a limited cast of characters, but you can see that this chance to see so many different people is alluring. Even if the only thing I change is saying that I’ve been, then I believe that’s worth the journey.
Durarara – Conclusion
“It may not look like it at first, but everything that happens in this town is somehow related. It’s all part of some larger, awful truth that’s beyond our comprehension.” Masaomi
I’m guessing that this article would make way more sense if I could guarantee that you watch Durarara before reading it. There’s a scene early in season 2 where my favorite anime best friends are planning a tour through the city. If I could plant myself into any scene, that’d be it. Give me that one wish!
All these moments are caught in a spiderweb. Characters interact in the most surprising ways. Although, they try to keep secrets – they try to survive their chaotic world. Some of them are attempting to make that world a better place. It is a world filled with magic, street brawls, and mystery. I hope my explanation made any sense at all. Feel free to leave a comment here or let’s talk on via social media (Facebook – Instagram – Twitter)!
Featured image: Aniplex