After a five year gap between this season and the original a lot of the charm that made Durarara!! such a success remains the same. It follows Ryogo Narita’s light novels pretty closely– there’s the kidnappings, the exaggerated Shizuo’s strength putting fear in Ikebukuro’s criminals and centers on the intertwining lives of its citizens. It’s a series that neatly rolls so many genres seamlessly together from action to comedy to horror and even the subdued romance between Celty and Shinra plus Anri and Ryuugamine.
I believe where X2Shou outshines the first season is how closely connected the new cast is with the old. The Russians are back and have the addition of Egor, Varona and Sloan providing a much needed backstory to their part in Ikebukuro; something that the first season needed a lot more of. The singer Ruri was a brief mention in the beginning of the first season that it was great to see that even she has her strange secrets: the identity of Hollywood.
My one large complaint is Studio Shuka’s animation. Rather than sticking with Brains Base the creators went with a company that may have done a decent job in background designs the character’s facial expressions are a bit distorted at times. There were a few times where the animation hadn’t been as fluid as the original. For the show it doesn’t help in keeping up with the same dark artistic integrity it once had but from an anime industry perspective its brilliant. They’ve established a new studio using a former producer of the classic Durarara!! [which is why we see tons of familiar staff working on these new seasons] to helm the overall animation production for x2Shou, x2Ten and x2Ketsu. Smart move. I’d really like to see this done on shonen series like BLEACH or Kyoukai no Rinne. Rumiko Takahashi is known for doing long series so it’d be a good move to do what Studio Shuka did and follow their influence.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: [88/100]