Durarara!!, Volume 4 – Manga Review

Durarara, Vol4

Review by: Kylee Strutt

Publisher: Yen Press
Author: Ryohgo Narita
Artist: Akiyo Satorigi
Character Design: Suzuhito Yasuda, Masayuki Sato (Cover)
Genre: Graphic Novel
MSRP: $11.99 US
Rating: OT (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

AN Ed Choice Award1
I said it once and I’ll say it one more time: admittedly I am not an easy girl to please or surprise.

A magician would have to do more than pull a rabbit out of a hat to get a reaction from me and yes, Chris Angel, I have seen people levitate before. I can say the same thing about manga but, so far, I have found myself surprised by many works and even pleased by others that did not disappoint in spinning a yarn that had me hooked from the very start. Durarara!! is that kind of story … the kind that surprises and pleases as the fourth volume closes the chapter on a most unusual tale.

In Volume 3 of the series, we learn that the old saying about not judging a book by its cover is true as we discover that that is more to Mikado Ryuugamine than one would expect from a skittish and shy young boy. In fact, he turns out to have a secret that makes him seem like a young Japanese version of Tyler Durden from “Fight Club.”

As a matter fact, Volume 4 touches on a little social experiment that Mikado participated in with a group of school friends via their computers. Suddenly this little project came to life on its own as more people began to spread the word that a fake organization known as the Dollars is growing exponentially in Ikebukuro. When Mikado’s classmates leave the project that began as something of a joke, the young man realizes that somebody must take control of this group because a lack of leadership could be dangerous.

I will say no more but you can imagine the surprise when Mikado shows us he is more than capable of carrying out a plan to bring Namie Yagiri – head of Yagiri Pharmaceuticals – down on her knees. Along with the help of Celty Sturluson and Izaya Orihara, Mikado manages to learn a lot from Namie including revealing her sick love for her brother who Mikado connects to the disappearance of one Mika Harima.

With Namie Yagiri defeated and Celty taking down the rest of her thugs, we learn the fate of the mystery girl who is unhurt and brought to the scene in time for Celty to finally get a chance to talk to her. However, Seiji Yagiri also shows up and offers the girl his hand and together they walk off like soul mates that have finally found each another.

However, Mikado wants to know the truth about what had happened to Mika Harima … causing Seiji to reveal his dark and dangerous side as he attacks Mikado. The truth about the mystery girl is finally revealed and let’s just say that it’s an unexpected twist you will not see coming. I will say no more but the outcome of that event forces Celty to confront Shinra Kishitani about his role in all of this. The result is a memorable confrontation between these two characters.

Speaking of memorable confrontations, there’s one between Orihara and Namie Yagiri who comes to discover that Izaya Orihara, who playfully walks the line between good guy and villain, really leans towards the latter in a most disturbing manner. Meanwhile, Mikado returns to school as he witnesses the even more twisted sight of Seiji and his girl together … and happy?

Certainly, the final chapters of this volume end on a sort of happy note with characters like Celty and Mikado accepting who and what they are in this world. Ikebukuro is certainly an odd place but it fits both these characters perfectly. This is actually quite unexpected but, then again, this is a series that excelled in successfully springing surprises on their readers.

While the series ends here, those of us who know the story via the light novels know that this is but the first half of the series. Of course, whether or not Narita-sensei will bring the rest of the story in manga form remains to be seen but, as a fan, I would definitely love to see their interpretation. I, for one, would love to see Narita and Satorigi collaborate again by telling the rest of this story.

Volume 4 of Durarara!! reaches a most unusual yet satisfying finale as secrets are revealed and characters come to terms with their true nature. In short, it’s exactly the bizarre outcome you would expect from a story that includes a Dullahan, a cute stalker, twisted siblings and a character who turns out to be the leader of a gang that includes half the city. There was never a shortage of surprises in this series and that alone makes Durarara!! an interesting read you will want to check out.


MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
Having confronted the head of Yagiri Pharmaceuticals, Mikado’s big secret is out as he closes the book the mystery behind the girl with the scar on her neck and Namie Yagiri’s role in protecting her twisted brother, Seiji. Meanwhile, Celty comes to terms with her own existence as well as discovering the identity of the person involved with the mystery girl.

ART: A-
Visually, the series has been handled more than decently enough with recognizable characters and, of course, the city of Ikebukuro itself that manages to stand out as well. Akiyo Satorigi is good at what he does and it shows in every panel of this series.

OVERALL: A+
A worthy final chapter to this series, Volume 4 closes on a strangely positive note with a beginning that only gets more interesting as the story progresses. Narita and Satorigi-sensei has managed to surprise us every step of the way and this last volume is no different as secrets are revealed and the fate of each character becomes known.

COMPLETE SERIES GRADE: A+
An acquired taste to be sure, Durarara!! is not only an offbeat series but also a brilliant one that does not disappoint when it comes to the twists and turns the story offers. Filled with complex and mysterious characters, Ikebukuro is an interesting place because of it and the result is a tale well worth reading even if you already know the story. Here’s hoping we get to see the other half of this story straight out of the other chapters from the light novels.

Review copy provided by Yen Press

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