In Tokyo’s downtown district of Ikebukuro, amidst many strange rumors and warnings of anonymous gangs and dangerous occupants, one urban legend stands out above the rest—the existence of a headless “Black Rider” who is said to be seen driving a jet-black motorcycle through the city streets. Mikado Ryuugamine has always longed for the excitement of the city life, and an invitation from a childhood friend convinces him to move to Tokyo. Witnessing the Black Rider on his first day in the city, his wishes already seem to have been granted.

Durarara!!‘s reproduction of Ikebukuro is incredibly exact, and made more central to the construction of its story by a particular directing style and narrative structure. Mikado isn’t exactly a main character. Like LN author Ryogo Narita’s other notable work, Baccano!, the story is driven by a giant cast of characters who are loosely interconnected by their shared city. In the anime, much time is spent on location establishing shots, crowds, and infrastructure. Ikebukuro is frequently named and contemplated by its characters. Because of all that, Ikebukuro becomes an important backdrop and a driving force within the story.



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