To this day, I'm STILL wondering how this anime ended up in Adult Swim's lineup. Most of the anime that ends up airing on Saturday nights are reserved for shows that are just oozing with action. Durarara!!..? Not so much..however, despite being somewhat out of place, DRRR!! has easily made itself standout as one of the most mysterious animes to be plaed in the coveted time slot of Adult Swim.
I might as well say it now..Durarara!! is a HUGELY character-driven show, and is perhaps one of the BIG reasons why it seems like a fish out of water on AS. This is an anime that doesn't rely on massive building destruction or wall-to-wall fistfights to be good. It fulfills the feeling of living in the big city that Ikebukuro is with a flurry of characters with different personalities as they go about their days. From the reserved Anri to Fujoshi Erika, anyone who watches this show will find a specific character that they will admire.
The music also deserves to be credited. I'm a sucker for lounge music and DRRR!! delivers that with an array of smooth music that describes the urban atmosphere perfectly. It plays right along with the sitiuation at hand whether it be Izaya trolling the citizens for the millionth time or Shinra proclaiming his love for Celty. It doesn't attract too much attention; like the urban folk.
The design for Ikebukuro is just fantastic. Personally, I LOVE looking at cities and all the nooks and crannies, and DRRR!! really gives it that Urban Japanese feel with its small parks and back alley bars. Ikebukuro is a real Japanese city and I believe they did a great job illustrating it as a city that isn't overly perfect nor overly slummish. The main idea of the series is that anything can happen in the big city and the animation proves that with precision. The character designs themselves are also very nice. There aren't any obnoxiously moe characters with gigantic eyes and unbelieveably long hair, nor do they wear any trademark clothing that would make them stand out. (Watch ANY toy-driven anime, and you'll be able to see what I mean) The animation itself can look a little rough and exaggerated when the characters move and the color choices are very solid.
Perhaps the only thing that is DRRR!!'s downfall is the story. It spends a lot of the first few episodes introducing the characters, and seems like a slice-of-life story that just happens to have a headless motorcyclist riding through the streets. However, the story soon evolves into the whereabouts of Celty's missing cranium and the mysterious girl who may be in possession of Celty's precious item. Just as we expect to go deeper into Celty's past as a mythical creature and the recovery of her head...the plot suddenly jumps into a rising gang war between the Yellow Scarves and the Blue Squares, with the mysterious Dollars gang gaining popularity..as well as a murderous possessive blade known as Saika killing people...yeah..I got lost too..DRRR!! can go with the arguement of "anything can happen in Ikebukuro" as much as they want, but completely scrapping the initial plot makes for a confusing show. By the end of the series (not including the last episode filler) the story ends like any other show with an urban setting; that anything can happen in the city. No one has changed aside from the absence of a certain protagonist, and everything is the same as when the series started. Forcing you to ask yourself what the purpose of this anime was. That gangs are bad? That things lurk in the shadows? That people aren't who you think they are?
Being that this was a pretty open ended ending, I'm guessing that its purpose relies on the viewer.
In any case, DRRR!! is still a good watch if you're looking to take a break from over-the-top action, but not from fighting altogether. It's definitely not for the impatient or people who prefer to not think about their anime and is also a good choice if you enjoy anime that does not have the moe,face faulting tropes. It's a well paced series with great backgrounds,great music, and even greater characters. Just don't expect a great finale.