As most of you guys and gals know, the first episode of an anime can really be the make or break point. If a show doesn't catch you with its first half hour, you may never come back to view it again. Luckily I found Durarara!! quite enjoyable, even if it didn't blow me away. There was enough of a hook to keep me interested for the second episode, which I'll definitely be checking out next week on Adult Swim.
The biggest draw for me had to the be the mysterious biker character. I really want to know what he/she/it was all about. Seeing the biker hunt down a group of kidnappers and take them out one by one lead me to believe that perhaps this urban legend isn't actually all that bad. Dishing out justice to the seedy underbelly of the city sounds like a good deed to me! I'm sure there's a lot more to it than that, but for now that's where my feelings sit.
As for the cast of characters, I can't say that I really love anyone just yet. I'm pretty indifferent towards everyone that was introduced, but that most likely has a lot to do with this being the first episode. There are a few very strong anime features out there that had me loving a character after episode one, but you can't expect that to happen with all features. I'm willing to let the characters grow on me as the series continues on. I'm sure a few people will end up evolving into something that I can latch onto.
As for the show's visuals, I really was impressed with some of the choices. In particular, I really like how main characters in a scene are fully colored, while the background crowd (people passing by on the street) were various shades of gray. It really helped you focus in on what was important in the scene, and also gave you the feeling that you were peering in on just one story in a massive sea of people. A pretty unique design choice that definitely got my attention.
Also worth noting is the music, as the anime's soundtrack seems to be extremely eclectic. I can't remember the last anime I saw that crammed so many styles of music into one episode. There's all kinds of jazz, rock and fusion stuff going on here, and it's definitely not your typical anime fodder. I believe the show's soundtrack was probably the most bold decision put forth in this series...at least with what I've seen thus far.
Am I in love with Durarara!!? Not yet, but I'm willing to stick with the show. As I said, the show has some hooks in me already, and those are pulling me through to the next episode. I don't know if the show is going to be a slow boil or an explosion of big plots out of nowhere, but I'm ready to find out.
7 out of 10