Tokyo’s downtown district of Ikebukuro is awash in strange rumors, everything from colorless color gangs to a headless rider roaming town populate the rumors. For Mikado Ryuugamine who just moved there from Tokyo, he is but one witness to the district’s slew of strange events.
Complex and, at times, confusing, Durarara sure knows how to tell a story – or twenty – while still giving attention to its huge cast of characters. If you need something similar in your life, give these anime recommendations a try.
For Fans of Multi-Character Plots
Baccano follows the seemingly unrelated events of a series of characters spanning different times and different places. However, it is ultimately part of a much larger story, one that tells the tales of alchemy, immortality, and survival.
Created by the same author as well as the same studio, everything from the style of storytelling to the characters to even the animation is similar in both of these shows. If you were impressed by Durarara’s way of telling a story and balancing all those characters, Baccano does a great job as well, despite having a most western setting in an older era.
There is an urban legend going around in Musashino City where the infamous Shounen Bat rolls around on roller blades and beats people with his golden baseball bat. Numerous reports of his attacks have been reported, but the police have been unable to catch him. As the investigation continues and more people fall victim, paranoia begins to set in.
The major similarity between Durarara and Paranoia Agent is that it is all primarily focused on one city and the people within that city. The people aren’t necessarily related by plot like they are in Durarara, but they are connected through various circumstances. Each show has some great character stories, but relatively unimpressive overall plot, particularly in Durarara’s case.
Welcome to Irabu’s Office
This is the story of the many patients and their many problems that come to the psychiatric ward of Irabu General Hospital. Here, these patients undergo counselling by the child-like son of the hospital director, Dr. Ichiro Irabu and his sullen but sexy nurse Mayumi. While his treatments are unique and his advice seems insane, he gets results.
Did you like Durarara because there were tons of characters and they were all pretty much quirky or insane? Irabu’s Office is the same way. It juggles a lot of characters, but it is primarily episodic and the characters aren’t connected together through the plot, but they are all so very strange.
For Fans of Realistic Settings With Just a Hint of Supernatural
What could bring together a group of people that have nothing in common? Apparently, a blog about disproving the supernatural. As a group of individuals are drawn together by the string of fates, they are confronted with murder and other events that have a distinct tinge of supernatural about them.
As you watch Occult;Nine you get the feel of Durarara almost immediately. Since there is no real main character, in both shows you are just hopping from one story to the other about characters in a town that is both normal and abnormal. However, Durarara often stays somewhat light even when dealing with serious subjects, but Occult;Nine adapts a more serious tone later on.
Bungou Stray Dogs
The orphanage that Atsushi Nakajima has been living at has been recently plagued by a tiger that only he can see. Blaming him for the incident, they kick him out. Now homeless, he wanders the streets until he meets the eccentric Osamu Dazai and saves him from drowning. As it turns out, Dazai is a supernatural detective and agrees to help him solve the mystery.
While Bungou Stray Dogs and Durarara have the same sort of laid back feel with its characters and setting as well as how it switches from slice of life to action quickly and briefly, but what they really have in common is the group dynamics where you have characters in various factions, but there is also a touch of supernatural going on throughout the story that all seems very normal.
Light Yagami is a high school prodigy and genius. However, he has an ever-increasing boredom and disdain for the rotten violent world. One day, he happens upon a notebook, called a Death Note, which states that if you write a name in it, the person will die. To his surprise, the notebook’s claims turn out to be true. This Death Note, the property of the Shinigami gods of death, gives Light the power to change this world and he decides to become its new God by executing all criminals.
Death Note is about intelligent characters carrying out their intricate plots to uncover a mystery or carry out murder. In its own way, so is Durarara. While no one is plotting murder like Kira in Death Note, everyone has their own agenda and there are varying types of intellect that carry it out. Whether you enjoy dim-witted and strong or insane and insanely clever, both shows have characters for you that are all wrapped up in supernatural trappings.
For Fans of Mysterious Cities
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Vampires, fishmen, supersonic monkeys – they are all normal residents living alongside humans in Hellsalem’s Lot, formerly known as New York City. When a gate between Earth and the Beyond popped up there three years ago, old NYC became dominated by monsters and now Libra, a secret organization, is tasked with keeping it in order. However, for main character Leonardo Watch, he is no one special, just a hobbyist photographer. However, when he obtains the All-Seeing Eyes of the Gods, he finds himself recruited into Libra.
Both Durarara and Blood Blockade Battlefront are about cities. While at a glance Ikebukuro in Durarara looks normal, it has its supernatural going-ons. However, Blood Blockade Battlefront ditches all guises of normalcy and is all about supernatural weirdness. Regardless, in both you get to know a lot of interesting characters to make them a pleasure to watch.
Hamatora the Animation
In this world, a small number of people have manifested the power to create small miracles. In Yokohama, two miracle users create a detective agency and use their powers to help people. However, one day they realize that the jobs they are receiving have a series of strange connections to a serial killer that their police friend is searching for.
Hamatora is another character-driven show that is about the character relationships of the various people in a rather unusual city. Like in Durarara, you learn more about each character and of course everyone has their little secrets.
Within Kyoto is the mirror capital, a place where humans and youkai live together and no one ever dies. This place is protected by three people – Kurama, Yase, and Myoue – who await the return of their parents. However, things don’t often stay very peaceful and simple.
There are distinct points in both Durarara and Kyousou Giga where you might not have any idea what is going on, but while Durarara does a decent job of explaining it over time, Kyousou Giga can be more hit or miss with it. However, both shows feature a complex story with interesting characters and a city that you learn to love because of how weird it is.
If you missed any of your favorite anime recommendations for Durarara, let us know in the comments section below.