It may seem like this show is messy and convoluted at times, but I think Durarara is a living breathing city just like the place it is set in. Durarara is set in the city of Ikebukuro and has a cast of characters that range from normal high school students to famous actors to otaku characters that ride around in a van to Irish supernatural figures who are trying to find their heads. No, these characters aren’t only people who show up in a show, they get their own segments in the show like they are main characters, kind of like a Song of Fire and Ice Novel. If any of these characters were ever given their own show they could easily carry them, but they show up in Durarara were they are as well textured as everybody else, which in my eyes is a point of a show.
Talking about Durarara!!X2, it starts off where the original series left off with the three friends separated physically and emotionally from each other and go on their own paths to discover how they want to meet each other again. This continues solidifies my theory that this show is a study of humanity. We all react to similar situations in different ways and everybody is a unique person in a sea of people that are unique. It also includes social media and how that effects as a whole. Durarara fully takes advantage of all these elements and gives us its own point of view of what makes us human and that’s why it’s great.
Any huge complaints I have about DurararaX2 are very superficial at best. The art and animation are wonky at times and there isn’t a large variation in its soundtrack. Also, some characters only appear for a small amount of time and don’t add much to a seemingly convoluted story, but then it’s like a city and people go in and out of our conscious of being all the time.
Utawarerumono: The False Faces:
This is another show that I have history of liking its predecessor a lot, but a twist from Durarara!!X2, I really don’t like this series. Like the original series, the series starts off with a guy with no memory, but his name is Haku this time, getting saved by a girl with animal ears and tail, Kuon in this one, in a seemingly fantasy world were everybody else has animal ears and tails. Also, apparently both are adaptations of games that do not have an official release in the United States and The False Faces is a sequel. That is about were the similarities end,
The best part of Utawarerumono: The False Faces were the first three episodes were most of the show was focused on Haku and Kuon. They bounced off each other very well and had great chemistry. If this show was episodic and it followed the adventures of Haku and Kuon going on an adventure working in different places each episode, it would have been fun. The show became a lot worse when it gained standard harem characters that can be more described by the quirks they have instead of their personalities. I know in some ways that the original Utawarerumono was somewhat harem focused in some ways, but each character was a person. They had a back story and very strong personalities. Actually, I can’t really call the first series a harem because the love between two characters was obvious throughout and everybody was respectful of it.
To get more into why I didn’t like this series, the show is paced horribly. I was told by people who have played the game unofficially that the show really starts up half way through because that’s how the game works and in some ways that is correct. After three episodes, the show goes to a halt and is more slice of life then action, adventure. Half way through it does pick up, but it doesn’t pick it up extremely well. All in all, the show has some good episodes and most of them are around the cast of the original series, so don’t watch this show. The best thing I can say about this show is that it got some people to watch the original.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans:
From a pretty huge Gundam heavy post I made a while back, you know that I am a huge Gundam fan and let me tell you, that in no way sways my opinion about this show. That being said, I really like this show. It is in no way perfect and has some flaws, but it’s a solid watch and a along with OO, iss an entry into a franchise that is really hard to get into. Iron Blooded Orphans is most likely the least Gundam, Gundam shows that has ever existed. The story focuses a lot more on relationship between characters then the relationship between the pilots and their giant robots themselves. Each mech is a more of a tool then something that has its own personality and grows with each character, but I see nothing wrong with that. It is a great way to keep the show grounded and believable.
As you can tell from the title, Iron Blooded Orphans is about a group of Orphans. They are a bunch of kids that are under the leadership of an older and charismatic kid. This group of kids is in a bad spot on Mars due to oppressive Earth leadership and are eventually by a female member of the upper class who wants to fight against the oppressor. It sounds very basic in some ways, but there is a whole lot more to it than that. On their travels to Earth, this group goes through challenges that you would expect. Who to make alliances with to insure the people that didn’t head to Earth are alright, social experiences like learning to read, the appearance of the upper class, and so on. Also, the group of Orphans isn’t just characterized as a single human being but as people with actual names and interests.
The most disappointing part of the show was the main character. A lot of the times, he didn’t feel like he had a lot of personality. I think they were going for the strong but silent type who is emotionally in distressed and detached from time, but it was off putting at times. I have to say that there are a few good things about him, like he didn’t automatically have an answer for everything automatically or has a goal that he wants to obtain in the future away from fighting. When the show focused away from him, the show was pretty great. Another issue is that changes of opinion between characters seemed heavy handed and you knew that something bad was going to happen to them because something just changed. I think the ends justified the means for these things though. The show was also a little clunky in its storytelling, but it found itself and became a very solid show. I highly recommend everybody to watch this and possibly start your Gundam journey.
Next up: Grimgar, Dimension W, and Shirayuki season 2.