Durarara!!×2 Shō Volume 1 review – Return to Ikebukuro

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It’s not unusual for anime series to release a sequel a few years after the original ended, but for Durarara!!×2 Shō, it felt like an eternity. Durarara!! aired back in 2010, and after watching a few episodes, I was very impressed with how the series progressed; not just focusing on one or two main characters, but instead following a whole group of people. In the first season, we met Mikado Ryūgamine, a young boy who moves to Ikebukuro to enjoy a more exciting life and enters high school with his best friend Masaomi Kida. Ikebukuro is a place that has Mikado having a more exciting life, but it also holds secrets even after Masaomi warns him to avoid a few people (including a blonde man with superhuman strength).

Durarara!!×2 Shō continues almost immediately after the last episode of Durarara!! We are reunited with all of the familiar faces we’ve met in the first 26 episodes, with some of the smaller characters becoming more involved along with a few new characters. It’s pretty easy to get lost with what’s happening in the story; sometimes you have to wait an episode or two for it to make sense, and coming into the series without watching Durarara!! only makes things more difficult to understand since there are many important things to know.

I can’t help but enjoy the complex story and the variety of characters, including the new faces. Durarara!!×2 Shō makes it worth the long wait to sit back and enjoy waiting for the rest of the series to come (especially in these first 6 episodes of Shō).

Movie Rating: 4/5 Atoms

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Video

The series is presented in 1080p and 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. While there are plenty of times when a series returns years later, there are quite a few noticeable changes in the series that can make it feel different from the original in terms of animation. Durarara!!×2 features studio Shuka taking over production from Brain’s Base, who handled the original series and does a great job keeping the same flow and art style of the series while improving it visually with better attention to detail to the characters designs and scenery.

Video Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B(1)

Audio

Presented in Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, Durarara!!×2 Shō features both English and Japanese audio tracks (which both sound great), but for me, it’s still the original Japanese audio all the way to hear Izaya Orihara talk, and Simon trying to speak Japanese along with a few other characters with all of the original voice actors returning from the first series. While not all of the original voice actors return for Durarara!!×2 in the English version, luckily it doesn’t affect any of the important characters. I think Johnny Yong Bosch does a great job playing Izaya, giving his normally heroic voice, along with Crispin Freeman, Steve Blum and a few others.

The music doesn’t catch me the same way the first series did, but it’s still enjoyable and fun to listen to. It has a good mix, never overpowering any of the dialogue.

Audio Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms          

Special Features

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The Durarara!!×2 Shō volume 1 set includes:

  • 16-Page Deluxe Booklet
  • Illustration Postcard Set 
  • Pre-air Special Talk Show (by Japanese Durarara!!×2 Shō cast)
  • Textless Opening & Ending
  • Package Illustrated by Takahiro Kishida (Character Designer)

Volume one contains what I like to call “your average Aniplex items”, which include a 16-page booklet filled with art, designs and an episode synopsis; an illustration card set (which I’ve enjoyed collecting), and illustrated package that houses everything (featuring Celty and Mikado on the front and Shizuo and one of the new characters Rokujo Chikage).

A nice addition to enjoy before watching the series (or after) is the pre-air Special Talk Show which features the different voice actors from the original series talking about Durarara!!×2 Shō (especially returning after so long), their experiences as well as looking back into the series. Since this was done in Japan, it only features a Japanese audio track with English subtitles, but it’s nice to watch the voices behind the characters look back after returning to the series years later and feel like nothing has changed. Aside from that, you have your usual trailers and textless opening and ending videos.

Durarara!!×2 is broken up into three different series: Shō (承) (which means understanding), Ten (転) (meaning motion) and Ketsu (結) (meaning conclusion). Each series is 12 episodes (meaning Durarara!!×2 will be around 36 episodes with each volume containing 6 episodes each). I’m not a huge fan of that and would rather see all 12 episodes released at once, even at slightly higher price point (even if it means a few less items).

Special Features Rating: 3/5 Atoms

It’s hard not to get lost the first time you watch the series, but that’s what makes it enjoyable when you watch it again and try fit the pieces of the puzzle. Durarara!! did a great job on how crazy things get and how quick things change, leaving you wanting to know what’s going to happen next (along with what happened before in Durarara!!). Shō does a great job of expanding not only the story but the characters in a great way.  

 Overall Rating: 4/5 Atoms               

NR 4 Atoms - B
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Durarara!!×2 Shō Volume 1 Blu-ray -$79.98

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Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.