Narita_DRRRYellowScarvesArcV1_TP_jpgFans of Baccano! and Durarara!! know Ryohgo Narita has a knack for mixing gang warfare with comedy and the supernatural while employing a large cast of memorable characters. Narita is the author of the original light novel material, and both of these series have been translated—and appropriately so—into anime and manga form.

This particular volume of Durarara!! takes place after several major events have already occurred. A silent rift has formed in the high school trio as Mikado Ryugamine, Masaomi Kida, and Anri Sonohara’s secret lives have finally caught up to them. Mikado has been revealed as the leader of the mysterious Dollars gang, while Anri’s connection to Saika, a possessed sword, has had bloody consequences when her blade’s powers instigated several violent attacks in an event known as the “Night of the Ripper.” However, Masaomi remains as ignorant to his friends’ connections as they are to the fact that he was once the leader of the Yellow Scarves street gang. Due to the events triggered by his friends’ extracurricular activities, the Yellow Scarves are pulling Masaomi back into the role he thought he had left behind.

At the start of this volume, Masaomi has been tapped by the current Scarves leadership to take revenge for attacks made against them during the Night of the Ripper; the incident is being blamed on the Dollars gang and not Saika’s powers. Shady character Izaya Orihara is pulling all the strings, but his motives remain unclear, other than the fact that he’s a huge jerk with some kind of agenda. While Masaomi has no desire to lead the Scarves once again, we learn a bit about his motivation for having done so in the first place, and about Masaomi’s history with Izaya and a doomed romance with a girl named Saki. How far will Masaomi fall to protect Anri from harm while ignorant of the power she wields? What would Masaomi think if he were to realize that Mikado founded his rival gang?

I cannot possibly say enough about the character designs in this series. While clean-cut Mikado, bispectacled Anri, and floppy-haired Masaomi complement one another well, other main characters—such as the misplaced Irish Dullahan, Celty Sturluson—steal the show. A fairy without a head, Headless Horseman-style, Celty has modernized her look as a motorcyclist with a cat-eared helmet in order to blend in with the surroundings of a Japanese city. Although Celty thought she might fit in better, she is by far the most recognizable character in the series, and it will be clear to readers why she has drawn the attention of the local police.

The artwork makes use of lines and perspective—set against the well-designed landscape of Ikebukuro—to make action scenes pop out as if they were moving across the pages. Other sequences involve characters communicating through internet chat, showcasing only their hands, screen names, and text.

The biggest drawback is that this is the middle of a bigger storyline, and it’s no place for anyone unfamiliar with the world of Durarara!! to begin their journey. The background which leads up to this volume is referenced, but assumes the reader knows what has come before, as well as each character’s involvement therein; the entire second paragraph of this review has happened “off screen.” This isn’t a problem if a library is willing to purchase all the volumes that came before. That’s not an inexpensive venture, but neither is it a fruitless one, as Durarara!! is just plain cool in all the right ways. However, due to its extreme violence and heavy sexual innuendo, this series is strictly for older teens and adults.

Durarara!! Yellow Scarves Arc, vol. 1
by Ryohogo Narita
Art by Akiyo Satorigi
ISBN: 9780316335874
Yen Press, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: OT (16+)

  • Jessikah Chautin

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! Jessikah graduated with her MLS from The Palmer School of Library Science and has been working at the Syosset Public Library as a children’s librarian since 2003. She enthusiastically developed a children’s graphic novel collection for her library and enjoys developing programs around some of her favorite titles. As a child, Jessikah grew up on a healthy diet of Matsumoto, Toriyama and whatever anime series she could find. She often had a hard time deciding if she would prefer to be recruited as a Mahou Shoujo (Magical Girl) or a Gundam Pilot, a debate that still plagues her to this very day. If she could have any power it would definitely be telekinesis.

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