I have to say that few other anime series grab my attention quite like Durarara!! can. Every time I dip back into that fictionalized Ikebukuro, I get lost jumping into the latest adventures of Mikado Ryugamine, Anri Sonohara, and the Black Rider Celty. There’s an energy that teases and pulses with every new episode, making me curious to see what lies ahead and where it all ties together.
That being said, Durarara!!x2 Ten is little more than a continuation from Durarara!!x2 Shou, another 12-episode OVA that raised more questions than answers. But it’s still as entertaining as the original show, so I can’t complain in the slightest.
Following the events of the last OVA, the whole city is abuzz after Izaya Orihara is stabbed and left hospitalized. Meanwhile, Mikado and Aoba take charge of the Blue Squares, using them to launch an internal purge of the now-corrupt Dollars, which puts Mikado at an emotional distance from Anri. While this is going on, the Russian assassin Vorona gets closer to Shizuo, whom she both admires and longs to destroy. And adding further fuel to the fire is a three-way conflict between the Awakusu-kai crime family, a group of drug dealers called Heaven’s Slave, and an underground casino operation called the Amphisbaena. And then there’s a mad stalker on the trail of the pop idol Ruri Hijiribe, and oh no I’ve gone cross-eyed…
I have to admit that Izaya’s storyline got pretty engaging at first, but it was hard to track it with all the other storylines competing for attention. The pop idol stalker subplot brought some horror back to the show, but it got lost in the whole purging-the-Dollars plot, as young Mikado proves equally terrifying. And I’m a touch sad that we never got to see more of that safari trip that Celty and Shinra took in the first episode, even while everyone else’s storyline got fleshed-out from their initial introductions.
Still, one of the best parts about Ten was the backstory we finally got on Izaya and Shinra from their middle school days. It’s fascinating to see how Izaya got his start as a juvenile delinquent and what influence the naive Shinra had on him. And Shinra proves to be a lot more durable and clever than I gave him credit for, so I’d love to see more of him interacting with the coldhearted Izaya in future storylines.
I also enjoyed the development we got with another side character, Mizuki Akabayashi. This battle-scarred Yakuza leader steals the spotlight every time he’s onscreen, adding a sophisticated and streetwise angle that the younger color gangs just don’t possess. When he’s not roughing up drug dealers, he’s mentoring young girls like Akane and Anri, or helping out a down-on-his-luck reporter with the Dollars. Because this season has a lot more backstory to explore, we also get to see how Akabayashi lost his eye and why he’s so attached to Anri in the first place. It’s a hell of a feat that makes him worth watching.
By now, you must have noticed that I haven’t been talking as much about the main characters Mikado, Anri, and Masaomi. That’s because there isn’t too much to say. They get the ball rolling by the end, but this season has more plot development than resolution, and these characters certainly take their time getting there. It’s been a treat following all these side stories and seeing how they tie together, but I definitely want to see where the paths of Mikado and Masaomi intersect in the future and what part Anri will play there.
If you haven’t gotten into the first run of Durarara!! or watched the previous OVA, then you’ll need to do that post-haste before watching Ten. I love a show that knows how to pull ahead and find new stories to tell with such a large and colorful cast, and it’s well worth the effort to study each subplot and dialogue over time.
The English dub of Durarara!!x2 Ten is available through Crunchyroll and Adult Swim.
Bibliography: Durarara!!x2 Ten. Directed by Takahiro Omori. Written by Noboru Takagi. Based on the light novel by Ryohgo Narita and Suzuhito Yasuda. Shuka (studio). Aniplex of America. Animax Asia. Original broadcast: January 10, 2015 – September 26, 2015.