Just before I watched the first episode of Durarara, I found myself flicking back through old entries on Animenano and seeing how little an impact Baccano left when it first hit the air. The only posts I found on it were people wondering why on earth this show wasn’t more popular. However you can’t keep quality down for long. Word of mouth spread, ratings rose and slowly but surely word filtered through that anime fandom had missed one of the best shows of the year. Popularity rose as more recommendations flooded in until, fast forward to 2010, and Durarara becomes the most anticipated new show of the winter season based mainly upon the fact it’s done by the same team.
Now to give you a brief glimpse of how much I loved Baccano, let me list out all the anime I’ve watched in order of how much I like them until I reach Baccano. Death Note. Baccano. There, see? Find me someone who loves Baccano more than I do and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t watched Death Note yet. So even though this will obviously be the most over-blogged show of the season, I could hardly let this oppertunity pass. I’m not so much hopping on the bandwagon as calling shotgun on the passengers seat in the front.
Right off the bat there are several similarities between the two. The most obvious of which is the huge explosion of characters right in episode one. The opening in Baccano certainly helped with that and the names again are listed by in the opening to Durarara. While we may have a full 24 episodes to remember these names, I can already see a potential problem there. This show is on Crunchyroll. CR never translate the opening so I have serious doubts that they’ll translate the names in the opening either. This first episode was done by gg fansubs but I’m pretty sure they’re not going to continue. I hope the names get translated in the opening but just in case they don’t I’m gonna screencap all the names from the opening and stick them at the end of this post. I’m hopeless with names and even worse trying to remember Japenese names. Actually I can’t remember a single characters name, not even this guy.
He spent the entire episode yapping away and I haven’t a clue what his name is *checks screenshots at the bottom* Masoami Kida? Good for him. Being bombarded with so much information in the first episode, it’s impossible to keep up but, again comparing to Baccano, they don’t expect you to keep up. All they expect is to leave an overall impression of the show and little bits of info will have trickled into your mind. So many characters, so many personalities and yet the only thing I can remember off the top of my head is that the main character, err…*checks bottom of the page again* Mikado, is an eensy bit racist. That ‘a guy who just so happens to be black’ made me laugh. OK, I remember a bit more than that. How on earth could I forget her?
Yes her. I’m sure you all noticed those curves in that full body leather catsuit, even fit with a nice pair of ears on the helmet. To think you usually associate fairies with pretty, prancy little creatures with sparkles and flowers. Not in anime I’m afraid. Nope, those things with sparkles are called ‘bishies’. Assuming she is a dullala (no spell checker, not a dullard), one of those headless Irish fairies, you can see we make our fairies slightly differently in Ireland. We give our fairies motorbikes and scythes and then ship them off to Japan.
One thing I liked about the whole fight scene was the the ‘baddies’ (they kidnapped a poor, defenceless and suicidal girl, of course they’re baddies) weren’t all a bunch of panicky wimps. OK, I’d panic at the site of my pal getting his face smashed in by a catgirl on a motorbike doing a wheelie too but at least these guys fought back. Stun gun, quick braking maneuvers. OK, hardly epic stuff but so often you would just see these guys panic and run away, with their trousers falling down for comic effect or something equally dumb. Durarara has more quality than that though.
That’s the most promising aspect of Durarara. No, not the random Horo, although that was certainly welcome, but the fact that it oozed quality from every pore. The true test of quality is whether a show can still be good even when not much is happening. The dialogue is witty, the characters are a wacky bunch (ok, not as wacky as Baccano but I really should stop comparing the two now) and nothing ever feels forced. In the same way that the first episode of Eden of the East embarrassed everything else that season without even doing very much, Durarara does the exact same. Not that this episode was a good as the first episode of Eden, but it definitely eclipsed every other first episode of the current season.
Time for some theorizing. The girl who bumped into the main character towards the end with that scar on her neck will obviously show up again. Now if I remember correctly from the synopsis, this crazy Irish fairy is looking for her head. Any chance that this is the head and that she was running away from the fairy? Think about it, the fairy appeared about 30 seconds after she ran off. I probably shouldn’t be theorizing so early in the game but it’s something to keep in mind.
And now, character names! Sorry about the song lyrics but there was no way of separating the translated names and the lyrics.
What I used to do when watching Baccano was try to name the characters before their names came up on screen. Jacuzzi Splot was the easiestbut I could never remember the name of the Gandor family characters. With them all having Japanese names in Durarara, this will be a considerably more difficult task.