Otaku USA Magazine
Durarara!! Vol. 1

Durarara!! Vol. 1 Manga ReviewThe Durarara!! manga starts out in a very scatterbrained way, jumping us around from different characters and scenes, which at first is jarring and confusing. However, by the end of the volume it’s smoothing itself out and getting more interesting, so you can see why the whole Durarara!! franchise is a fan favorite.

There are a lot of characters introduced to us. Mikado, who’s at the center of everything, is a high school student transferring to a private school in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo, where he’s bright-eyed and in awe of what he sees. He’s actually the most tame of all the characters. We also get to meet a stalker girl… she’s pretty entertaining… and when she takes her stalking too far, something happens that first made the volume really interesting to me. I wasn’t expecting that outcome.

But in addition to stalkers, we also have a doctor who isn’t even really a doctor (but who needs a license?), a creepy young man who sets up fake suicide groups, and a headless horseman… I mean, motorcyclist. A headless motorcyclist.

If you think this all sounds scatterbrained, well, it feels pretty scatterbrained. At first I just found the switching around to be frustrating and I thought they were introducing different characters too quickly instead of letting me get to know a few and then add some people on. It also felt as if it were trying to do too many things at once. It was trying to do the new-kid-at-a-new-school thing, and the urban legend thing, and the old-friends-meeting-back-up-again thing, etc. However, then there were a lot of things that made Durarara!! unique. The stalker and what happens to her… the suicide group… the headless motorcyclist… so after a matter of pages, my curiosity was indeed caught.

There’s definitely a lot of mystery going on in this first volume, and it’s written so that it’s unclear how all these characters will come together. The story is a little challenging at first, but Durarara!! has a number of good things going for it.

Publisher: Yen Press
Story & Art: Ryohgo Narita, Suzuhito Yasuda, Akiyo Satorigi