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Review: Durarara!! (Vol. 03)

Durarara!! (Vol. 03)

Author: Ryohgo Narita/Suzuhito Yasuda
Manga-ka: Akiyo Satorigi
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: August 2012

Synopsis: “Twisted passion accelerates disaster!! After twenty years of searching, Celty, the headless Black Rider, has at last found her missing head—bobbing through the streets of Ikebukuro on someone else’s neck! Though Celty pursues, the girl escapes on the arm of Mikado Ryuugamine, taking refuge in his apartment. But with both the legendary Rider and Yagiri Pharmaceuticals bearing down on Ryuugamine in their pursuit of the scarred girl, how can he hope to save his own neck?!”

Durarara!! returns for another fun and frantic volume. I always need to re-read the previous volume before I dive into a new one due to the multiple characters and web-like story. A refresher is greatly recommended for a story like this when it’s those little details and run-ins that make the big scenes mean that much more. And boy are there ever some character crescendos here in volume three.

I like the story about Celty’s head because it’s the most linear in the series, which has a few different on-going threads (all of which connecting in some fashion to this one). In this volume she finally finds her head – unfortunately it’s already attached to someone else, as we as readers learned in the last volume. It’s definitely a conundrum. What do you do in this instance? There’s also the issue of the student who is obsessed with the head as his only true love, and his sister who is eerily obsessed with him. Together they make for an overall unnerving duo of trouble with too much power at their disposal and time on their hands. An outstanding thread in this story is also the doctor who’s been with Celty since he was a child. He’s in love with her, regardless of the having no head problem, but you definitely get the sense he’s got something else going on.

Despite all the cool characters and they’re varying page time, the main character still feels like Mikado Ryuugamine, the new student in the area with seemingly no real role to play past being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this volume, he ends up rescuing the girl who now has Celty’s head attached. Continuing to add another big twist in the story is Izaya, who obviously has a few screws loose and has a very keen interest in Mikado. He shows up at his school to find him just in time to get tied more-so into the Celty adventure. This leads to more property damage romps through the city that also includes another satisfying run-in with the random whiny teenage girl and her cellphone.

The last big scene in this book was phenomenal. It was the big hook I’d been waiting for. Each volume has had plenty of interesting moments and even more interesting characters, but this was a climax that focused on someone I really didn’t expect. It’s well drawn, well lead up to and creepy as heck, especially how it serves as the book’s cliffhanger ending. It finally feels like all the players of Durarara!! are situated on the board. Granted, though, I’m still not really sure what ‘game’ they’re playing. The most clear cut mystery is about Celty and the search for her head, but past that I’m not sure what greater plot will involve all the characters short of these coincidental run-ins we’ve seen so far. At the same time, I don’t really care because the best part of the series is when all the individuals connect in unexpected ways. I’m more than happy to stick around and see who and what intersects next (and to what crazy result).

Unfortunately, Yen Press’s extra mile on the production value of this book falls flat. Though to be more specific, that it doesn’t fall flat is a big part of the problem. The cover is printed with an interesting, albeit kind of obnoxious looking, heart pattern background that has a multi-colour gloss sheen. It covers both the background and the foreground artwork. What it also does is the make the cover paper warp very easily and very quickly. I had it home for less than 24 hours and already the front and back covers have completely curled up so the book only stays closed if weighed shut or pressed between other books. It doesn’t impede the reading experience but it’s annoying little trait that makes the book look cheap and flimsy.

Durarara!! is one of those series that manages to have a pretty indistinct plot and be awesome for it. All those little pieces keep coming together and it’s so satisfying seeing them click. There’s only one volume left after this and I’m really curious how it’s going to ‘end’. We shall find out in October!

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Book bought from Strange Adventures

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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