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Stop Riding the Brake Pedal, Durarara!

March 15, 2010

Poor Durarara! You used to get your own posts, but the past few week’s you’ve had to settle for potpourri.

Rather, that’s what I initially wrote, since I intended for this to be a segment in a larger scattershot post. Then I wrote too much. Oopsie.

The problem is that Durarara! is taking a little too long to build things up. I like that we’re getting to know several characters, with the Shizuo and whatever-they-are-Dollar-kids-with-the-otaku-torture-artists episodes being the coolest so far. The series has a good sense of humor, everything that happens is genuinely interesting, and I’m anticipating each week’s episode, but a guy can only take so much “just you wait” before he gets a little antsy.

As much as I like series that withhold information and let you guess at what’s coming next, I don’t like series that do this sort of thing only to have said reveal suck. Look at Lost. They play the cocktease game well, then when shit gets revealed I’m left thinking “that’s all?” Durarara! isn’t anywhere near that level of lameness, but I’d love just a scootch of payoff sometime soon. The Celty’s head bit from the other week was anti-climatic, and this week’s “Mikado is probably in change of the Dollars” reveal just didn’t have the oomph that it deserved.

I’m chalking this up to the animators having too much time to get the job done. Baccano!, a series by the same creator, had already established more characters with the same level of detail by this point and was well on its way to a big-time climax. Baccano! did all of this by letting us get to know everyone in the middle of the action, rather than spending time with flashbacks and monologues. I prefer to see things play out that way rather than seeing someone spell it out for us in their thoughts. I’m sure that’s the way it played out in the novels, since that’s the way novels usually function, but it isn’t the ideal way for a visual and kinetic medium such as animation to work. Baccano! got that right, but Durarara! seems to be a little too true to the source material.

At least that’s what I’m assuming, and I do love to make assumptions.

Part of my “frustration” (and I use that word lightly) is that Durarara! seems to be decelerating. It started off with a frantic pace, tossing out all sorts of stuff in the first episode and setting things up so we could piece them together as we went. Unlike Baccano!, which managed to maintain that level of energy throughout the entire run, Durarara! all but slammed on the breaks after that point. It’s as if it went straight from the highway to a podunk country town that makes all of its money off of speeding tickets. Every now and then things pick up, like when we saw Shizuo’s past or when we saw that “gang” take on human trafficers, but for the most part the series is being a little too leisurely.

I have a feeling things’ll speed up now that most of the “revelations” seem to have taken place, so I’m not too concerned. Just gotta get that stuff said.

And yeah, despite all of this Durarara! is still my favorite new series of the Winter season. Cobra’s a close second, but I’m still absolutely loving Durarara! It’s just a little too ponderous when there’s no need to pause and think about what’s going on. Stuff just needs to happen more franticly. Let us pick up the severed heads later.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2010 6:56 PM

    Interesting to hear a different perspective. I didn’t feel like this or the last episode slowed anything down — quite to the contrary. It feels, to me, as if we are building to a mini-conclusion.

  2. March 16, 2010 5:32 AM

    Except the theory going round is that it isn’t actually Celty’s head on Mika Harima. The theory is a bit long and complicated to type out here but if it’s true, then the not-so surprising grand reveal of episode 9 was actually just us being trolled.

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