This first season is a little bit connected to Baccano! The password to get into the Dollars website is Baccano and you see two of the characters from the show in the background of this series. After that, there’s just other references to other anime series such as Spice and Wolf, Black Butler, Shakugan no Shana and more.
The first season is made up of 24 episodes and sets the tone for an epic anime about people living in Ikebukuro (a part of Tokyo). This series has so many elements: gangs, action, strange characters, love and so much more!
Overall, this anime focuses on the Yellow Scarves and the Blue Squares; two color gangs that exist in Tokyo. Then, a new gang pops up, The Dollars. Intertwined in this mess is also a chick who is missing her head and her crazy scientist boyfriend, the yakuza, some Russian people who run a sushi shop, a girl who can turn her hand into a blade, and who can forget the bartender with strength to throw vending machines and his arch nemesis who just loves humans!! Sound interesting? Well, it is!
Three more seasons that have 12 episodes follow this, but for someone who waited months to years between each season, that was a struggle. For those who sit down to marathon it, it can seem daunting. I promise you that it’s well worth the watch.
The character development alone for this series makes me love it. You get so connected with some of them and try and figure out everything about them. Other great elements about this anime are the music, the story and the edge of your seat feeling you get after each episode ends.
I watched season 1 dubbed, then couldn’t wait for the next one to be dubbed, so I watched it subbed and then dubbed when that became available. I did this with all 3 of the shorter seasons. There are pluses and minuses to the sub and dub…
For the dub, I heard a lot of familiar voice actors and actresses, but I feel that the accents are a bit forced on some of the characters. In Baccano, they seemed a bit more natural. However, if you can get past that, the story line makes a bit more sense in English because you don’t need to rapidly read the subs. For someone who speaks Japanese, it was still tough for me to not only read the subs and keep up with 100% of the story.
However, in the Japanese version, the anime references and culture references make sense to those who know the culture. The jokes also make a bit more sense because they didn’t need to be translated and then set up for an American audience.
If you watch it in English or in Japanese, please just check it out. Both are great and I loved every minute of it!!
For me, the best part about this anime was the detail to how close this series is to showing what Japan really looks like. I lived where the anime took place (Ikebukuro) and from any place where a character was standing, I knew how to walk back to the dorm where I lived. I shopped in the same places they did, I ate at that Denny’s once, I often won plushies from the UFO catchers at that arcade and I even picked up a bunch of movie posters and saw the Rurouni Kenshin movie at the theater there. So for those who have never been to Japan, this is the best show to pay attention to the background of if you really want to see what Tokyo looks like.
Since this series is a bit of a “bank breaker,” you can watch it here on crunchyroll http://www.crunchyroll.com/search?from=durarara&q=durarara