DuRaRaRa!! x2 Vol. 2 (A J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 28, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“Durarara!! x 2” has transitioned from being a bit enjoyable to ramping things up and becoming more riveting. Things really get chaotic and crazy and what happens to the characters after these episodes, I guess we’ll have to wait until volume 3! If you enjoyed the first season of “Durarara!!”, definitely give this second season a chance! Recommended!
Images courtesy of © 2015 ANIPLEX INC. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Durarara!! x 2 Volume 2
YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2015
DURATION: 7-12 (175 Minutes)
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, English Subtitles
COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.
RATED: Suggested 13 and Up
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Originally created by Ryohgo Narita
Directed by Takahiro Omori
Series Composition by Noboru Takagi
Music by Makoto Yoshimori
Original Creator: Ryohgo Narita
Character Design by Takahiro Kishida
Art Director: Akira Ito
Chief Animation Director: Akira Takata
Anime Production: Shuka
Featuring the voices of:
Miyuki Sawashiro/Kari Wahlgren as Celty Sturluson
Toshiyuki Toyonaga/Darrel Guilbeau as Mikado Ryūgamine
Akio Ohtsuka/Doug Stone as Shingen Kishitani
Atsumi Tanezaki/Karen Strassman as Emilia
Ayahi Takagaki/Mela Lee as Erika Karisawa
Daisuke Ono/Crispin Freeman as Shizuo Heiwajima
Hiroshi Kamiya/Johnny Yong Bosch as Izaya Orihara
Jun Fukuyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Shinra Kishitani
Kana Hanazawa/Michelle Ruff as Anri Sonohara
Kazuma Horie/David Earnest as Seiji Yagiri
Mamoru Miyano/Bryce Papenbrook as Masaomi Kida
Mariya Ise/Kira Buckland as Mika Harima
Sanae Kobayashi/Bridget Hoffman as Namie Yagiri
Takaya Kuroda/Patrick Seitz as Simon Brezhnev
Takuma Terashima/Spike Spencer as Saburou Togusa
Yuuichi Nakamura/Steven Blum as Kyōhei Kadota
Yuuki Kaji/Brian Beacock as Walker Yumasaki
Falling right into Izaya’s trap and framed for the murders of their members, Shizuo finds himself on the run from the Awakusu Group. Meanwhile, the rumor that the Dollars members are engaging in assaults against the Toramaru gang enrages Chikage Rokujo, the leader of Toramaru, and he rushes to Ikebukuro for revenge. Mikado is frustrated with the current situation that the Dollars are in but is unable to do anything to mend the situation. At the same time, Aoba proposes that Mikado become the new leader of the Blue Squares. Mikado makes a decision that may damage his friendship with Masaomi and Anri. Various emotions come together as an ominous scent fills the city.
Who are the two Russian assassins? A gang war between the Dollars and the Toramaru? Shizuo accused of murder? And Why is Aoba Kuronuma visiting Mikado?
Chaos has once again returned to Ikebukuro and things will never be the same again!
Find out what happens in “Durarara!! x2 vol. 2” now available on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex!
What is “Durarara!!” all about?
Back in 2004, light novelist Ryohgo Narita, who won a Gold Prize in the 9th Dengeki Novel Prize for “Baccano!” returned with “Durarara!!” and teaming up with illustrator Suzuhito Yasuda (known for his video game work “Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor”).
With a total of eight volumes published in Japan by ASCII Media Works (ala their Dengeki Bunko imprint), a manga adaptation would be created by Akiyo Satorigi and published in the shonen magazine “Monthly GFantasy” in 2009. The popularity of Narita’s works, especially with “Baccano!” would lead to an 26-episode animate adaptation of “Durarara!!” in January 2010 and an ongoing series in 2015 titled “Durarara!! x2”.
The anime production for “Durarara!! x2” is now by Shuka (first series was by Brains Base) and the series is directed by Takahiro Omori (“Aruna”, “Gakuen Alice”, “Kuragehime”, “Zoku Natsume Yujin-Cho”) with series composition/script by Noboru Takagi (“Baccano!”, “C”, “Koi Kaze”). Character design is by Takahiro Kishida (“Cheburashka Arere”, “Dragon Half”, “Ninja Cadets”) and art direction by Akira Ito (“Elfen Lied”, “Shadow Star Narutaru”, “Street Fighter Alpha”).
The series features an ensemble cast and their experience living in Ikebukuro, Tokyo but how their storylines are somewhat connected to each other.
Mikado Ryugamine is a young man who transfers to school from a small country town to the big city in Tokyo and his childhood friend Masaomi tries to show him the ropes of Ikebukuro, which can be dangerous as color gangs have corrupted the city.
Before the yellow scarves were the dominant gang and now on top of the gangs are a mysterious group known as the Dollars, with a leader that no one knows about, all that is known is that members are chosen and are hooked up through the Internet. But recently, there have been several deaths causes by a murderer dubbed “The Slasher” and also rumors of a headless woman riding a motorcycle.
In “Durara!! x 2” Volume 2 (episodes 7-12), chaos has once again returned to Ikebukuro as two Russian assassins are creating problems, Shizuo is accused of murder and kidnapping of a young girl (Akane Awakusu).
Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, tensions between the Dollars and the Toramaru gang is starting to heat up as Chikage Rokugjo exacts his revenge against the Dollars. Leading to a gang war!
Varona and Sloan pursue Celty and Aoba Kuronuma reveals himself as the leader of the Blue Squares and confronts Mikado about being the leader of the Dollars.
The main characters of “Durarara!! x2” are:
- Mikado Ryugamine – A first year high schooler who moves to Ikebukuro, Tokyo after his childhood friend Masaomi had invited him. A shy guy, Mikado is trying to learn the ropes and restart his life. He becomes a class rep and starts to follow for the female class rep, Anri and because his friend Masaomi also likes her, it becomes a bit of an interesting love triangle. Mikado just wants to change and not be normal.
- Masaomi Kida – Mikado’s childhood friend. He seems very over-confident with girls, when actually he is not good at it. Also, he has a mysterious backgrounds and something happened to a girl he knew… Like Mikado, he also likes Anri.
- Anri Sonohara – A girl who wears glasses and is a class rep. She is shy and timid and hangs out with Mikado and Masaomi.
- Celty Sturluson – A headless rider who is looking for her lost head. Celty is a Dullahan from Ireland (a headless woman) who has black smoke coming out of her body. Despite being depicted as monster and killer during the old days, she has been taken in by doctor Shinra Kishitani and carries out missions. Despite not having true emotions, she feels love towards Shinra but unable to understand the feelings that she has due to not having any living DNA.
- Shinra Kishitani – A underground doctor who lives with Celty. His father was the first to operate on Celty (in exchange of giving her a place to stay) and even was given a chance to learn how to do surgery at the age of 4. He works for corporations underground in trying to help them remove memories from people. He is also in love with Celty and is able to understand her emotions despite her not having a head. He also a childhood friend of Shizuo and Kasuka.
- Izaya Orihara – Known as the information broker. He sells information and likes to start trouble or loves to examine human’s when they are conflicted. He is a master of using a knife and causes problems for Shizuo Heiwajima.
- Shizuo Heiwajima – A blonde guy with a very short temper who wears a bartender suit and has enormous power. He can take a lot of pain and it is not known how he is able to have enormous strength and to heal from major injuries. He is friends with Celty, his brother Kasuka (who goes by Yuuhei Hanejima) is a popular actor in Japan and if there is anything he hates more than anything, it is Izaya Orihara. Izaya’s presence makes his blood boil so much that he ends up destroying property around him.
- Simon Brezhnev – A Black Russian who works outside a Russian sushi restaurant. He is known for his great strength.
- Kyohei Kadota – Also, known as “Dotachin” (a nickname that he hates), he is a member of the Dollars and leader of his group of friends which include Walker, Eri and Saburo.
- Walker Yumasaki – A carefree otaku and manga fan who hangs out with Eri. A member of the Dollars and hangs out with Dotachin.
- Eri Karisawa – An otaku and close friend of Walker, a member of the Dollars and Kadota’s group.
- Saburo Togusa – A member of the Dollars and Kyohei’s driver.
- Seiji Yagiri – A classmate of Mikado’s. He quit school to be with Mika but in truth, he is obsessed with the severed head of Celty’s that was put on Mika.
- Namie Yagiri -The older sister of Seiji. A chief of Yagiri Pharmaceuticals and regrets introducing her younger brother to Celty’s head and for his obsession with it. She appears to also have feelings for her younger brother. She is also responsible for the human experimentation going on in the city.
- Mika Harima – Anri’s good friend who, for some reason, has Celty’s head. She was Seiji’s stalker and now lover. Namie wants to get her revenge on Mika because Seiji just wants to be with her fulltime. Meanwhile, Celty is looking for her (because she has her head).
- Kasuka Heiwajima – Shizuo Heiajima’s younger brother.
- Ruri Hijiribe – An idol singer with a mysterious past.
- Aoba Kuronuma – A mysterious 1st year student at Raira Academy and what is his connection to the Blue Square gang?
- Shingen Kishitani – Shingen is the father of Shinra who wears a gas mask.
- Mairu Orihara – Youngest sister of Izaya and twin sister of Kururi. Wears glasses.
- Kururi Orihara – Youngest sister of Izaya and twin ster of Mairu.
“Durarara!! x 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition. I praised the first season’s animation and character design as Brain’s Base really put everything they had into the series. With Shuka now in charge, there is not much divergence because nearly the same crew behind the first series, is back for the second.
“Durara!! x 2” continues to feature great character design and wonderful art backgrounds. Art director Akira Ito and crew continues to do a magnificent job in capturing the look and feel of Ikebukuro, Tokyo. There is a slight difference in quality but Shuka did a good job.
“Durarara!! x 2” is presented only with a Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 soundtrack. Both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-acted and with that being said, dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels.
“Durarara!! x 2” comes with the following special features:
- OVA 4.5 – Hot-Pot in My Mind – (24:03) Mikado comes home to find his friends at his home for a hot-pot party. Meanwhile, we get to see the past with Mikado and Masaomi.
“Durarara!! x 2” comes with a slipcase with an illustration Takahiro Kishida (Character Design), six collectible postcards, a 16-page deluxe booklet.
The craziness in Ikebukuro continues with the release of “Durarara!! x 2”!
Once in a while, you will find an anime series that just surprises you for its storyline, animation, art background and overall presentation. The original “Durarara!!” is an anime that literally surprised me by its quality and I have to say, this is one of the coolest anime series I have seen in awhile and I’m so thrilled that an ongoing series is now being aired in Japan.
For anime series, you often seen the banality of reused storylines with slight changes and different animation and for the most part, while characters and storyline are different, things are much similar in concept. With “Durarara!!”, while not as dark as “Boogiepop Phantom”, and the fact it is created by “Baccano!” writer Ryohgo Narita, he still manages to craft a fresh, urban, fantasy, supernatural storyline.
And what makes it so fun is how certain scenes of different characters and storylines are interconnected.
While watching the first episodes for the first volume, I noticed that it was focusing on a lot of different characters. Characters who usually are in the background and the only character you really see the most (from the first season) is Celty.
But now with this second volume, things get more chaotic and crazy as the storyline becomes more complex and another gang war is about to erupt in Ikeburo. The first two episodes continues the storyline of secondary characters having their own plot lines. In this case, the focus shifts to two Russian assassins in Japan, who are murdering and killing people.
And of course, this leads to fingers pointing towards Shizuo, who had nothing to do with it. But his name is being thrown around that he is a murderer and a kidnapper (trying to kidnap Akane Awakusu), when he had nothing to do with it.
Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, tensions between the Dollars and the Toramaru gang is starting to heat up as Chikage Rokugjo exacts his revenge against the Dollars. Varona and Sloan pursue Celty and Aoba Kuronuma reveals himself to be the leader of the Blue Squares and he and his gang confronts Mikado with a major proposition. And after this meeting, it’ll be interesting if Mikado will ever be the same person due to the aftermath of all the chaos that transpires.
As for the Blu-ray release, the original crew is back but while produced by Shuka, overall quality for the series is still good. Colors are vibrant in HD and you get an LPCM 2.0 Japanese and English soundtrack. Once again, the English dub for “Durarara!!” is awesome and very well-done. I was enjoying the Japanese soundtrack but after watching the English dub track, everything fits and each voice actor that was cast is perfect for the role they play.
For those who haven’t watched the original series or forgot how the first series went, the good news is that a pre-air special is included as a special feature. You also get the Aniplex swag of postcards and deluxe 16-page booklet as well.
Overall, “Durarara!! x 2” has transitioned from being a bit enjoyable to ramping things up and becoming more riveting. Things really get chaotic and crazy and what happens to the characters after these episodes, I guess we’ll have to wait until volume 3! If you enjoyed the first season of “Durarara!!”, definitely give this second season a chance! Recommended!
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