Tag Archives: dullahan

A headless rider, an ethereal sword, and a benevolent Anonymous (Durarara!!)

Wait a minute, I’ve never heard of a movie called "Durarara!!".  What’s going on here?

Well, obviously informed movie-going audience, you’re right.  This isn’t a recent film.  In fact, I don’t think it’s ever been a film, but I may be incorrect.  Still, I’m not addressing a film this evening (technically, it’s morning, but I don’t care), I’m addressing an anime.  Now, to the uncultured audience (read: non-japanophiles), an anime is essentially a cartoon.  That said, the stories and animation are often better than those seen in the States.  Ergo, when I’m not watching movies, viewing a  couple of American or British television programs, reading webcomics, or listening to music, I might be found on my computer with an anime playing in the right half of my monitor. 

So, now that we know what anime is, why am I writing about one?  Well, I’d originally planned on writing about Mulholland Falls, but that movie’s kind of depressing and I can’t must the will to right about something that will bring me down right now.  So I’ve decided to write this enigma of a cartoon.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Why?  Because first and foremost, this is a blog about my distractions.  To be slightly more specific, it’s the media I consume.  And, while it will often be about movies, this time it’s about anime.  So, let’s get started on Durarara!!: (I’m not that excited, the exclamation points are part of the title)

durarara

Okay, so, we’ve got this anime. And it’s about some high school students in Japan (completely original concept, I know).  But there’s more to them, they’re not your average Japanese school kids (these writers, seriously, I can’t imagine where they come up with this stuff).  But that’s pretty much where the standard stuff ends.  You see, much like Last Man Standing, this is where a bajillion different genres mash together. 

As my title said, we have a headless rider, an ethereal sword, and a benevolent Anonymous (sort of).  So what does that mean?  Well, we’ve got an odd sort of story that revolves around underworld of Ikebukuro, Japan, a dullahan (Celtic mythos: headless horserider of death), a sword that magically creates mindslaves.  Yes, it’s an odd little compilation of storylines that could each easily be their own series.  But together, well, if you’re willing to follow the often rambling tale, it’s grossly entertaining. 

Allow me to try and disseminate the elements a bit.  Our headless rider, the dullahan, in now in Ikebukuro and rides a motorcycle instead of the traditional dark steed.  Branching away from the mythological background as an alternative to Death, Celty (our dullahan), is a beautiful (though headless) woman who serves the criminal underground as a courier whilst looking for her lost head.  She serves roles comedic and benevolent, often being the protector of the less supernatural characters.

The ethereal sword is a bit stranger than the dullahan.  (Didn’t think that could happen, did you?)  Well, the sword is part of a girl.  Or the girl is the sword?  I don’t exactly know, it’s not perfectly explained.  But the girl/sword was born of strife or love or a lack of love or something… Yeah, I’m not the best at explaining this part, but that’s because it’s all over the place.  So, she wants love.  And she stabs people.  To turn them into mindslaves.  To extend her network of… love.  That totally worked better than I expected.  So.  Let’s move on.

Finally, (far from it) we have the benevolent Anonymous (of sorts).  It’s a very cool concept in this anime that takes the center stage more than anything else.  So, one day, a couple of kids thought it would be cool to start a gang online.  A gang that was open to anybody who said they wanted to join.  So they created this group and called it The Dollars.  (Odd name, unoriginal concept, still really cool.)  And, like Anonymous, this group lacked an evident hierarchy.  So, of course, we have anarchy.  Some members use the name to perpetrate acts of destruction while others use it to increase the numbers of people doing good in Ikebukuro.  It interesting to see the two fronts competing against each other and the orchestration of the mass actions the group endeavors. 

What else is there in this conglomeration of plotpoints?  I’m glad you asked.  We have a superhumanly strong, bartender-dressed collections officer, a maniacal sociopath who deals information and tries to direct the city through his interventions, a black, Russian sushi chef, a squad of Delta Force-like motorcycle cops, a guy who’s in love with the dullahan’s severed head, and two girls who have an abnormal amount of love for the boy who adores the head. 

Yeah, it’s a strange anime.  But, like I said before, it’s grossly entertaining.

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