Durarara!! Remains a Big Hit at Anime Expo 2011
When we covered Anime Expo back in 2010, we noted that characters from a new series called Durarara!!, then only available in the U.S. through Crunchyroll, were amongst the most memorable cosplays of the convention. We saw numerous female figures clad in black catsuits and yellow and blue motorcycle helmets, oftentimes accompanied by a blonde, male character wearing the sort of tuxedo that you would associate with a high-end bar or restaurant employee. There were people walking with street signs, one young man even wheeled around a vending machine. The cosplayers made enough of an impact on us that we immediately began watching the show.
Shannon Cottrell Durarara!! cosplayers at Anime Expo 2011
One year later, Durarara!! has become a bona fide hit with the anime crowd. The show, which currently airs on Adult Swim Saturday nights as an English-language dub, is a testament as to how convention-going anime fans can help push their favorite shows to the next level.
"We saw the huge popularity among the fan community," says Yosuke Kodaka, Manager of Licensing at Aniplex, the company that released Durarara!! both in Japan and the U.S. "We decided to make a dub and we worked hard to get it on Adult Swim and we finally did it."
Kodaka notes that Durarara!! wasn't an immediate hit, though, even in Japan. He said that it wasn't until "maybe episode three or four" that the series began to amass a large following.
Based on a series of light novels by Ryohgo Narita, Durarara!! seems to have everything necessary for a successful anime release in the U.S. It's a modern action series with comedic elements. There are nods to the anime and manga fandom in the series, but you don't need to be a hardcore anime fan to understand it. And there are a lot of quirky characters, a headless woman on a motorcycle, a short-tempered man in a bartender's tuxedo, a duo of ardent manga fans and a high school student who comes to Tokyo looking for excitement, just to name a few.
Hiroe Tsukamoto, Vice President, Production of Aniplex, says that she thinks it's the characters that are attracting fans to the series.
"There's no a main character, there are multiple main characters and each is important," she says. "Everybody can find some similarity to certain characters."