The Headless Biker
It’s cool. ‘Nuff said. Mostly.
I dig how meaningless background characters aren’t colored. That way you can focus on the characters that matter. Yeah, it’s an obvious cost-cutting move, but if you gotta stick to a budget at least do it with style.
I dig the juxtaposition of brutal violence and what passes for “everyday” crap in anime. We have two kids cruising around a trendy Tokyo neighborhood and meeting “eccentric” characters, then we cut to kidnappers getting murdered by a chick who rides a motorcycle and plays at being the Headless Horseman. The “normal” scene have decent dialogue and interaction while the Headless Biker scenes are pleasantly harsh. You don’t see suicidal girls getting tricked into being sold into sex slavery (or whatever it was) in too many anime series. That sort of nastiness is welcome.
I’m also digging the fact that the only thing that makes Durarara! similar to Baccano! is the large cast and the “let’s throw the viewer into the mix” first episode. Had I not know this was done by the same dude that wrote the Baccano novels, I’d been none the wiser (Save for the awkward insertions of scenes from that anime playing on screens in the background.). It’s a sign that we won’t be getting “Baccano! with hipster Japanese brats.” While seeing a Baccano! redux would be welcome in the sea of mediocrity that’s the past year or so of anime, I’d rather get something completely different. I’m happy to see that this first episode isn’t giving me the sae vibes.
The only thing I’m not digging is the aforementioned inserts of crap from other series. The Baccano bits didn’t jive with me, since it doesn’t make sense for those scenes to be playing anywhere in Japan considering it supposedly bombed over there. And that furry chick from Old Spice and Wolf or whatever it’s called? Annoying, if only because that’s the one screenshot every other fucking blogger has used in their reviews. Really hope this stuff is just a little fanservice tossed into the first episode and isn’t a regular thing. It wouldn’t make me stop watching, but it’d be super lame.
If anything sucks about Durarara!, it’s the opening and ending songs. The opening song is generic Japanese rock. Not terrible but not the least bit memorable. And the ending song was sounding decent until that auto-tune shit kicked in. Robotic voices are cool when you’re trying to sound like an 80’s electro band. It isn’t cool when you’re trying to mimic a real voice. I thought we were over that “make my awful voice better” shit back when Cher used it in the 90’s. Now it’s used in half of the hip-hop songs made today and it’s creeping into anime? I want to cry.
And yeah, my venom is directed at all those Vocaloids as well. They’re cute-looking and all, and I dig what’s-her-face and her leek-waving in terms of character design, but their actual voices are crappy and you’ll probably go to hell for liking it.
That said, the background music used in the actual episode is pretty good. If the only real criticism you can levy against an anime is “your opening and ending songs suck,” you probably have a good series.