My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Let me start off by saying that Durarara!! is probably my absolute favorite series.
The reason for this is the characters.
I have watched the anime countless times, read parts of the manga, and searched up everything that a person could possibly search up about this series. Everybody has that one series or novel that changes their life on a massive scale, this is what Durarara!! is to me.
Heck, I even read the afterword at the end of the book. That is how obsessed I am.
I'm not going to bother talking about the plot, which by the way is pretty well written. But for those of you that watch only the anime, don't feel bad, I was just as confused as you. After years of rewatching drrr, reading the novel has made me realize two things:
1. The story is nowhere near as confusing as you think.
2. The novel IS WAY better.
Reading the first novel really cleared everything up, I didn't struggle at all trying to follow along. But, let's forget about that for now, I want to get to my favorite part; the characters.
Mikado Ryuugamine. Oh my God, the anime did injustice to his character. Yes, he is shy, and a bit soft-spoken. But oh boy, does he have a sharp tongue. Half the novel is just him sassing other characters. Sometimes he holds back on his thoughts, but a lot of the time, he's just downright snarky.
'Ugh, is there anything sadder than having to explain a failed joke? What does that make me?'
'Probably an idiot.'
He jabbed a finger at Mikado's face and leered, "You're going to be reduced to tears over the loss of my skills soon enough! You're gonna wind up getting played by one of those ganguro girls..."
"What does any of that have to do with your skill?!"
"Shut it, shut it, let your mouth be a door and shut it!
Before she could finish her thought, Mikado cut in, his voice cold and clinical. "Actually, the worst part of it is that you're telling someone else."
I think three examples is enough, although that third one is a little vague, I left it that way on purpose to avoid spoilers. Anyways, you get my point, Mikado is shy, but the way the anime portrays him his downright wimpy. While I love the anime too, I don't think I'll ever be satisfied now that I have the novels.
Izaya Orihara. I'm pretty sure Izaya (and Shizuo) is probably the most loved and hated character for the entire fandom. Which is great, but what is kind of disappointing is that the anime plays up his "craziness" while downplaying the eccentricity of every other character. Which usually results in him stealing the spotlight. What I've learned about him from reading just one novel is that he's actually a lot more normal than how he likes to make himself appear. What's hilarious is that he (Narita) has even succeeded in tricking the audience (go ahead and disagree with me if you want). I could write an essay on the psyche of his character, so I'll just stop here with this one last tidbit; he actually has pretty normal morals and values - albeit very well thought out - he just chooses to occasionally ignore them for his own greed and goals. Again, they're only my opinions, but here's a scene that I found very interesting. (view spoiler)[After he drugs those "suicidal" girls, him and Celty stuff them into suitcases and drop them off at a parkbench. While this is awful, I caught something that contradicted with his "evil-mastermind persona".
"Normally I'd drag them to a loan shark and leech some money out of them, but I'm tired of all that."
[...] "I'm tired of it, and it's not a very efficient way of getting rich. The more it goes on, the more the police and mobsters will start looking into my activities. And this is only a hobby for me, not a job. Oh, thanks for helping on short notice. The professionals I usually ask were all busy. Usually I'd get a car to take them back to their parents, but with your motorcycle this is probably the best we can do."
It struck me as odd that one minute he talked about leeching money off of them, and the next second he's talking about dropping them off at their parents' place? Also, what would a guy like him with millions of yen be needing a few chump change for? One of those girls didn't even have a job. The only conclusion I could get from this was that he was lying about one of the above statements. Or maybe he did leech some money out of the first group, and then stopped. But, honestly, that last statement felt deliberate, if he just stopped at telling her that he would just leech off of their wallets, then he would have succeeded in Celty seeing him as evil. (hide spoiler)]
Izaya is the only character that is constantly lying to the reader, constantly contradicting himself. It's even mentioned in the novel multiple times. He's still an ass, but nobody in this novel is really that good of a person either.
Well, I'm stopping here, all I have to say of the other characters is that they are also far more interesting in the novels as well.
This review was in no way meant to be helpful, just me ranting about this series that I love oh so much.
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