At least I can still watch the first Matrix movie and enjoy it as its own self-contained thing, despite its dated nature.
I’ll never understand what it is about Durarara that still has people showering praise on it to this very day, because quite frankly it’s gotten so bad that the first season itself has been retroactively tainted. The characters are not the least bit fun or interesting, and there are too many of them to the point that I can’t tell who’s the glue that’s supposed to be holding everything together. The plot moves incredibly slowly, often trying to put in so many plot lines in a single episode at once to the point that it gets in the way of the action and the characterization. Japan doesn’t really acknowledge the show’s existence anymore despite it being so popular back in the day, not helped by the shitty animation. And the story itself is dull as sin, with its commentary on social media being shallower than a celebrity marriage, and its twisted takes on love coming off as incredibly gimmicky. I mean what exactly is it about anyways? That fucked up people can love too? Is that all you’ve got? Well it’s apparently all the final season’s got, because that’s pretty much the entire basis for this twelve-episode romp of boring.
So I’d recap the plot of Durarara at this point, but I don’t want this review to be longer than a Michael Crichton novel, so let’s just say that after that agonizingly bad cliffhanger from last season, some of the characters are trying to figure out how to deal with Nebula (the company that wants Celty’s head), some of them are trying to deal with the gang war stuff that only still exists for the same reason Bleach lasted for so long, and Izaya is doing his own thing whilst having absolutely no significant influence on what’s going on whatsoever despite the show making giant claims that he is. Durarara!!x2 Ketsu is dead set on resolving all these plot points considering this is the final season, and anyone who’s expecting some grand finale should be prepared for a giant letdown, because without spoiling anything in particular, the finale just sort of “happens”.
Seriously, if you can’t see what’s wrong with this conclusion to what once shone so brightly, then you have more tolerance for this show’s bullshit than I did with Crimson Moon – and believe me, I (sort of) stood with it up until Seimei left Raikou to his own devices. On the rare occasion that a light novel adaptation ever actually reaches a conclusion, more often than not, it feels like the author is paying obligation to the fans rather than creating the vision he wanted. And why would you want to pay obligation to fans? Don’t you know that there’s no human being more evil, more hypocritical, and more impossible to satisfy than the fanboy? I mean I used to like this show back in the day, and guess what I think of it now? Agonizingly dull is too nice an opinion at this point, but it’s an effective way to sum up my feelings nevertheless.
Now this review is going to be really difficult to do without spoilers considering how character-dependent Durarara’s narrative is, but even though I’m sure only die-hard fans of the show care about its existence at this point, that’s still a lot of people so I’ll do my best. Basically, Durarara’s previous problems that have become even more obvious since its return haven’t gone anywhere. The animation is still horrible – although nowhere near as bad as it used to be. The action is still shit, bar one fight scene between Masaomi and Chikage that was actually pretty exciting to watch even if the end to it was kinda lame. The pacing is still horrid, most particularly during the final fight between Izaya and Shizuo, which takes almost half the series to resolve itself on account of the show constantly interrupting it to focus on other plotlines. And the opening is even worse than the last one, which I didn’t think was possible.
You remember the Yellow Scarves arc from the first season and how one of its biggest problems was that the main villain spearheading that conflict was lamer than current-day Simpsons? Well Ketsu’s downplaying of all the big wigs and having that teacher from the Slashers’ arc spearhead the Saika zombie invasion that makes up the majority of this lackluster finale makes it clear that the creators have a different opinion of how to do conflict than the audience does. It doesn’t even make sense in his case since he was all but absent after that second arc and now suddenly he’s a big shot over Yadogiri Jinnai, the Russians, the Nebula company, and fucking Izaya? That’s like making the final villain in the original Star Wars trilogy that one guy who harassed Luke in the bar before Old Ben had to cut his arm off.
Oh, and if you think that being near the conclusion of this overly-long journey would mean dialing down all the exposition the characters spout out just to have an episode end on a certain cliffhanger, prepare yourself for a giant letdown. Dear god, doesn’t this anime know a thing about “show don’t tell?” Was there really something so profound about Anri giving a speech about how she’s learned to love even though she’s a monster that you had to drag it out for over ten minutes? Ten minutes that could have been spent on animating more action or something actually resembling plot progression. Clannad didn’t move this slow. Sword Art Online didn’t move this slow. Kaiji didn’t…okay wait, that’s still one of the slowest anime I’ve ever seen, so never mind.
I could continue listing everything wrong with this season – particularly the fact that the conclusion is just a rehash of the finales of the first three arcs badly smushed together and is just as anticlimactic as either of said finales – but basically every problem with Durarara’s return boils down to three words: extremely too late. By the time it arrived to quench fanboys’ thirst, so many anime have come out that surpassed it in everything it tries to do, from stories involving multiple characters to fujoshi-pleasing fanservice, that it has nothing to add to the mixture.. Hell, it was surpassed way back when with Paranoia Agent all the way in 2003, let alone with Concrete Revolutio now. It’s not funny. It’s not engaging. It’s milked to oblivion despite losing its main target audience. Its return had all the impact of releasing the air from a balloon and watching it fart all around you whilst you stare at the ceiling.
- Still trying to sell those DVDs, but given how the show is on Netflix now, that’s gotten even harder.
- I have a theory that the more I believe Durarara’s positive response doesn’t exist, the more I believe that that might actually be true.
- I heard that Narita’s Durarara sequel series is getting mixed reviews. I have no follow-up comment for that. I just wanted to point it out.