Manga Review: Durarara!! Volume One

Durarara!! Volume One is a manga by Akiyo Satorigi, and it’s based on a light novel series written by Ryohgo Narita. This manga was published in North America by Yen Press in 2012. The series is rated “OT” for older teens; from what I’ve read so far, I would agree with this rating.

Durarara!! Volume 1
Written by: Akiyo Satorigi
Publisher: Square Enix
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: January 24, 2012

A boy named Mikado Ryugamine comes to Tokyo for the first time in order to attend school with his childhood friend, Kida Masaomi. During his first day in Tokyo, Kida warns Mikado about the people he should avoid. Mikado also witnesses an urban legend called “the Black Rider,” which is a headless rider on a black motorcycle; after this encounter, he becomes rather fascinated by life in the big city. During this volume, Mikado meets Walker Yumasaki, Erika Karisawa, Simon Brezhnev, and Izaya Orihara.

There’s a subplot with a character named Seiji Yagiri, who is being stalked by a girl, a subplot with the Black Rider, as well as a subplot with Izaya Orihara concerning two girls who want to commit suicide.

As part of the narrative, you will occasionally see some of the characters in online chats, using online aliases. From what’s being said in the chats, the reader can begin figuring which online alias goes with which character.

Even though I have seen the first episode of the Durarara!! anime series, there are portions of the story in this volume that did not appear in that episode. With the knowledge I have from that first anime episode, I was pretty much able to follow Mikado’s storyline and some of the Black Rider’s storyline without too much trouble. However, the storylines with Seiji and Izaya were new to me when I read this volume.

I will be the first to admit that while the story of Durarara!! seems to be interesting, it can be a little hard to follow. I also felt the same way after watching the first episode of the anime series. However, I get the feeling that as the series progresses, the various characters’ storylines will somehow find a way to intersect; perhaps if that happens, the story will become a little easier to follow.

Art-wise, the style seems to be reminiscent of what I remember from the anime series. The overall feel of the manga has a distinctive look to it, and the art is interesting to look at.

Durarara!! is a manga series that shows potential. This is a series I would recommend to manga readers who enjoy stories that make the reader think doesn’t  really feel like any manga series that they have read previously.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Durarara!! Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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