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Durarara!! X2 Ten UK Anime DVD Review

10 min read

Dammit, it’s teasing me now…

What They Say:
Ikebukuro, a city teeming with the most peculiar characters and the twisted schemes they indulge in–. In the aftermath of the assault against the information broker, signs of a new disorder begin to develop like ripples across the water. Holding his own ideals, the young man who gains the powers of both the Dollars and the Blue Squares treads the path to total annihilation. Someone struggles to save their best friend while a psychopath creeps up on a popular idol. Slowly but surely a new threat gains power within the citys shadows…

The Review:
Set up in 2.0 Stereo and Mono English and Japanese language, whilst disappointing there isn’t a 5.1 release the general quality of the audio isn’t diminished in terms of set up, as I required no changes to my audio settings and the quality in both languages is very good, with no issues of poor synching with the subtitles, or any cuts with the video. The quality is overall very good, and with a show like Durarara where the music changes on a whim with the scenes from comic to dark, there is a good range of music to act with the voice acting, whether it is Vorona kicking butt or Celty trying to escape the cops on her horse…er…motorcycle…er….help?

Set on a 16×9 anamorphic format, the video quality I set full screen with no slow down or transition issues, no crossed animation when pausing and with the show being mostly dark and gritty, it is coming out very clear. The subtitles sync with no issues (with two choices of full subtitles with songs, or just for the signs if you are watching the English dub or are confident about your verbal Japanese) on either language, though at times because of the dark backgrounds and characters like Celty, there are rare moments when I had to adjust the brightness though this wasn’t very often – as otherwise a quality release.

The menu is very basic – a dark background with a grey slab in the middle with the shows name in the middle, no music, no characters, just that. The menu is easily accessible with options of Play All, Chapters(episodes), Set Up and on disc 2 extras, it goes fast (not to Blu-Ray level) and easy to switch back to main menu, just very basic.

Also basic are the extras which are just the clean opening and ending on disc 2.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Durarara is one of those long journeys that has had a lot of characters, but also with intelligent writing, the gathering of many journeys without knowing what the end has to come. With the Dollars, Saika, Celty’s head and whatever is going on with Izaya just 4 sub-plots still unanswered yet seemingly meld together as you wonder…what the hell is going to go on? Ten is the latest and the last but one in the anime arc (more in the novels/manga) and the anticipation combined with the cliff-hanger means there is more chaos in the way AND on the way…

We start from what happened at the end of the previous arc, Izaya finally got some comeuppance when he gets stabbed by someone named Yodogiri and is actually waiting in hospital for someone to take advantage of it, signifying his ‘I love humans’ mentality of his manipulation and observation. We see all the main cast in various forms, Shinra and Celty having a day off to have a date, Shizuo about to get a kouhai in the beautiful Russian assassin Vorona, and Mikado after the infamous pen-stabbing incident with Aoba is about to fully cleanse the Dollars with his help…

The Izaya incident does happen though it isn’t one of the expected and Izaya being Izaya, manages to make it work to his advantage – but whilst he is dealing with that, we get Namie bored in his workplace so she goes to stalk her brother Seiji…yeah, that is still a thing…with his girlfriend Mika (who still has her Celty face) – Namie being Namie, is of course jealous as hell and lures Mika up for a meeting, which leads to a surprisingly smart fight between the two (which for Namie actually gets a bit of a moment near the end of the series). But perhaps the most interesting character that gets returned is Akabayashi, a leader of the Awakusukai yet seems to be working on his own merits – a legit tough guy despite having a cane, he works with Akane’s grandfather but has his own morals – we focus on his hatred of drugs as we see flashbacks when he met Anri’s mother who had been possessed by Saika and what led to him killing his old boss…he’s a very interesting character who is surprisingly caring and with him friends with Anri giving him a backstory like that sets in what is a catalyst in the future…

We get some fun with probably the most popular character of the show in Shizuo, everyone’s favourite overpowered bartender. After facing her in the previous arc, Vorona is not exactly settling in as a member of Russia Sushi after being subdued previously. So instead they ask her to join Shizuo and Bob in their debt collecting work – keeping in mind Vorona still wants to fight Shizuo but hanging round him shows something most fans know, Shizuo outside of his rage moments is both social awkward but actually genuinely nice. He treats Akane like a daughter even though she is still trying to kill him (even though this was due to Izaya and it is clear Akane doesn’t want to), and treats Vorona like her kohai/underclassman, as Vorona learns a bit more what makes Shizuo tick (and she also gets to kick ass a bit – there’s a great bit where Shizuo leaves her, who has been joined by Akane, and Izaya’s two strange sisters Mairu and Kurari, some gangsters try to kidnap them…and when one is a top Russian assassin, two are martial arts experts and the sisters of the biggest troll in the universe, and even the little girl HAS A TASER…yeah, curb stomp battle ^^) you can tell she is developing respect and perhaps even feelings for him.

However, the most interesting development in terms of one character is easily Mikado. Despite being weak, he is incredibly influential and after his act with Aoba in the previous arc, he is slowly cleansing the Dollars and making it a place to belong…with some not so subtle methods. With Kida later returning and Anri getting a bit more uncomfortable about that smile, Mikado is clearly planning for something big – this culminates in a mini-arc when we get the return of Ruri – a.k.a. Hollywood. She is just in her pop idol persona but she returns to Shizuo for protection along with his brother as we discover her past and how she discovered how she is part vampire and what her previous bosses did to her – unfortunately they want her back and she is being tracked by a stalker…who is also at the dojo that Mairu and Kurari train at. The guy is quite the psycho and even targets everyone close to her, including people like Anri and Shinra, who gets badly beaten up by him. However, when Kida returns to save him beating up some people trying to protect Anri’s place – we see who is thought to be Aoba is in fact Mikado…and he’s been sending messages to Celty and Anri keeping an eye on him – so is he being heroic, something set up for more…or both?

With Mikado starting his own scheming, it is time for Izaya to get discharged and return to his own scheming. We get a mini-arc where he infiltrates rather brilliantly an underground casino via the Awakasu gang (headed by Aoba’s big brother of all people), before we get a surprising flashback where we reveal why Shinra maybe the only person he has close to a friend. It’s really strange seeing young Izaya and the fact he does go through so much to make sure who stabbed Shinra suffers so much over the years. It is probably the only moment of weakness Izaya ever shows, but it is just a moment, so when he asks Celty to deliver a package, it turns back into the events right at the beginning of the arc when he got stabbed by Yodogori…

The final few episodes put a lot of stuff together, Kida resurrects the Yellow Scarves as a way to try and stop Mikado – or at least get to properly talk to him, Kadota gets hit by a hit-and-run which brings a lot of friends together whilst trying to find out who did it, Akabayashi hires Izaya to find information on Mikado, and it leads to the finale with Izaya finding out who Yodogiri is…but is unexpected by the person truly pulling the strings…

Durarara is one of those series that has loads and loads of characters and yet still makes them memorable. It also manages to link every plot into one big one – usually with Izaya at the strings but Mikado is starting to all fill this spot. Ironically the three other core characters (and my personal faves) Celty, Anri and Shizuo are more subdued in this arc though they all have their moments – the focus seems to be on Izaya for once not trying to screw with Shizuo, and wondering what the Dollars are up to and investigating people, especially Mikado.

The slow way that Izaya gets through after being stabbed, investigating other organisations and then blackmailing them into working for him (the first episode when he nearly gets killed, he gets the girl to work for him – his ‘I love humans’ mentality really showing to a weird level here) combined with Mikado’s increasing bravery and cleansing of the Dollars – you know it’s going to come to a head with the three original Amigos (Mikado, Kida, Anri) with both Kida and Anri having concerns over Mikado – it sets up the last arc nicely and entices the viewer.

That doesn’t mean both old and newer characters don’t get their moments – I love the dynamic between Shizuo and Vorona – Shizuo has always been one of my favourites because he’s really a nice guy under all that anger and pretty dorky too, it’s just that when his buttons are pressed, all you remember him for is throwing vending machines. Here, he pretty much becomes a sempai/upperclassman for Vorona, who if you remember, not long ago tried to kill him. And Vorona does have a similar mentality, but she grows to respect him and care for him, even want to learn from him…whether it is to fight him again and/or to keep up her work it is pretty unique in this world. Add to that his moments when his brother and girlfriend show up, his caring side comes out a lot more here than usual. And the mini-arc with Ruri where you learn her vampiric backstory and just how much you cheered when Mikado managed to set the stalker on fire, a weird cheer yes but it’s another one of those moments that tie in the characters together.

And Mikado really is the one focus – he is changing bit by bit – physically he’s still a wimp and is beat up by the stalker at first, but he is very resourceful, using Aoba now to his advantage, and his networks are expanding, to the point that even Kida is fooled when he thinks it is Aoba sending the messages, but when it is revealed it is a bloody and beaten Mikado, it starts the whole ‘I’m going to save you/beat the crap out of you’ mentality of Kida. It is all coming to a head – especially when you tie in Akabayashi’s story with Anri (who is a very likeable character in his own right), you know stuff is going to come down.

I guess the only disappointment is that Celty was pretty much only a minor figure in it – she has a fun date with Shinra and we know (and she does) that Shinra has her head, but didn’t get to save the day when Shinra was beaten by the stalker, and only really had a comic moment with the police (her motorcycle….it’s a horse so therefore it is exempt from driving laws!) – that said, she was on a delivery for Izaya and senses her head so again, sets up for the end. With moments for characters like Namie, Seija and Mika who aren’t as well liked, they actually seem to work out better and with the apparent mastermind now revealed, this should be interesting…

In Summary:
Durarara x2 Ten continues our tracks with our favourite characters, but ties in a lot with the Dollars, the crime syndicates and even a lot of more minor characters all together, and it still doesn’t feel overbearing as everyone is still memorable. Mikado and Izaya take centre stage for the most part, but everyone else gets their moments it, there is quite a bit of fun and quite a lot of turmoil but you know it is going to set up for an epic conclusion. Continue on your way Durarara, you and your wacky cast.

Cleaning Openings/Endings

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C-

Released By: Anime Ltd
Release Date: November 27th, 2017
MSRP: £14.99
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: PAL
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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