Three "ra's," by the way.Ikebukuro, a district of Tokyo. A young man named Mikado Ryugamine has moved there from "the sticks", clueless as to how things work in the big city. Reunited with his childhood friend Masaomi Kida for the first time in years, Mikado is shown the way around town as he tries to adapt to the hectic ways of the busy metropolis and discovers its many dark secrets.Word on the street is that a headless biker called the Black Rider (a modernizedDullahan from Celtic Mythology) has been riding about committing acts of vigilante justice in a spectacularly violent fashion.There's a guy who dresses like a bartender with inhuman strength, a shady Knowledge Broker, a genius Back-Alley Doctor, and a conspiracy about a pharmaceutical company involved in human trafficking. Then there's the "Dollars", a mysterious "colorless" gang whose members and activities are shrouded in secrecy.Based on a series of light novels written by Ryohgo Narita, the mastermind behind Baccano!; with art and designs by Suzuhito Yasuda, of Yozakura Quartet fame. It can be readhere.An anime adaptation aired in Japan from January through June 2010, running for 24 episodes, with two additional episodes on the DVD release. The anime adaptation was directed by Takahiro Omori and animated by Brain's Base, the same studio/director combo that adapted Baccano!. Aniplex picked up the series for North American distribution, and the DVD releases were done in three groups in January, March, and May 2011. The show aired on [adult swim] starting June 2011.A second season was announced as part of the 10th anniversary of the franchise at the Dengeki Game Festival in March 2014. The original cast will be reprising their roles. A brief promotional video can be found here.Check out the character pageif you have time as well.Warning!! The examples below may include spoilers for the light novels, as well as the anime. If you're only following the latter, proceed at your own risk!
Adaptation Expansion: To make this easy let's just say that Episode 2, and the events between Kida finds out that Mikado is the founder of the Dollars and Kida goes to the Yellow Scarves hideout alone are all anime-only.
Alien Autopsy: In one episode, we see Celty watching a documentary on one of these in the background while Shinra speaks on the phone. Celty, as it turns out, is terrified of aliens (and given her experience with Dr. Kishitani probably autopsies too).
Anachronism Stew: Due to time discrepancies between light novels and anime releases, the series is peppered with small and amusing inconsistencies, mostly about the release dates of some gadgets and stuff. For note, IIRC, the official date of the events in light novels is 2002, which leads to:
Izaya having an iPhone three years before its official release even in the US (2005).
Mikado's PC having an AGP port (normal for 2002), but sporting a Windows 7 sticker (released in 2009), and so on.
The dates on computer screens and cellphones make it clear that the anime is supposed to be set in 2010. His PC is obviously a brand name bought pre-assembled (and that sticker was on the box), but then, there are indications that this was while he still was in junior high. Looks like someone was having fun with the details.
Animation Bump: The anime is already gorgeously animated and has a highly detailed art direction, but there are instances where things are noticeably more fluid and detailed.
Anime Accent Absence: Averted. Even if the accent is wrong, you can't say they didn't give all the foreigners an accent. They even went all the way and made a couple of tourist girls in Episode 3, an entirely one-shot pair of characters, speak heavily accented, but otherwise perfect, Russian, complete with subtitles.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Anri delivers one to a ratherparanoidMasaomi after he interrogates her from her reason for spying on the Yellow Scarves to how she's been "tricking" him and "sucking up to Mikado."
Art Evolution: Hell yes. Suzuhito's earlier artwork for DRRR!!, while decent, was kind of awkward and a little stodgy. It has since developed and become much more fluid, with better colors and characterization in general. Compare the volume one cover◊ to the cover of the most recent volume ten◊.
The three ganguros who bully Anri end up getting attacked by the Slasher in Episode 13.
Horada is such an arrogant Jerk Ass that no one ever sympathizes with him.
Professor Nasujima gets clocked by Shizuo after coming at him with a knife and asking for his money. Nobody cares.
Earthworm. She's tortured many people in the past and her latest victim was Izaya, but since he's Izaya it turns out that he knew what was going to happen all along. He gets Ran Izumi over, who promptly breaks her legs, hits her fingers repeatedly with a plastic hammer, shoves a linen bag soaked with lamp oil into her mouth and lights it on freaking fire. He also threatens to rape her, but luckily Mikage stops him.
Astroturfing: In-universe example: During the formative days of the Dollars, Mikado and his online friends pose as different people to spread the word about the group. Mikado even mentions posting as multiple people on the Dollars' own website to pad the member count. Things ultimately take on a life of their own once Izaya starts spreading the password, however.
Four-Star Badass: They aren't military officers, but Masaomi is the metaphorical equivalent of this for the Yellow Scarves and Mikado is this for the Dollars, though only a few know about the latter.
One-Man Army: Celty and Anri are good contenders for this, but Shizuo is the most badass one of them all, lampshaded by Celty herself. Heck, Shizuo is practically more of a fighting game character than an anime one.
Bait-and-Switch Credits: The anime's second opening implies that Kasuka and Kinnosuke get a lot more screentime than the ever do. They do end up getting due focus in the later novels, but those weren't animated...
Chikage: "Not that I don't enjoy a good Cat Fight between girls every now and then... but wouldn't it totally defeat the purpose if you hurt each other's beautiful faces and bodies with knives like this? I'd suggest you go with mud wrestling."
This is also part of the reason that Izaya considers Shinra his only friend—because Shinra came right up and talked to him when no one else did. Oh, and Shinra also took a knife wound for Izaya once, but that's no big deal or anything.
Beneath the Mask: An on-going theme, applied to almost all of the main characters as well as Ikebukero itself.
As of late, threatening the lives of his best friends causes Mikado to get prettydamnupset.
Beware the Nice Ones: The more friendly someone is in this series, the more likely it is that they're a complete and utter freak. Good god, Mikado can switch on the niceness off and on at will intentionally to dominate other people's wills. The truly scary thing, that makes his flashes of coldness all the more scary, is when he's nice...he means it.
Big Brother Bully: Ran Izumi and Izaya Orihara. Said bullying seems to have had some serious effects on the targets—especially for Ran's little brother, Aoba.
Tons in Episode 11. Mikado owns a Mindows 7 desktop computer that runs wbunte and uses it to visit the websites Yohoo! Japan.came, Amezon.shop, Niru Channel, Yo!Tube, Nixi, and NSM, among others.
That computer is a stew of Bland Name Products, let's see... It's supposed to be an NEC computer (possibly a Shout-Out to the PC-98), using a Phoenix Award BIOS and the motherboard itself is Energy Star compliant. The hard drives are a Seagate and a Maxtor (to the extent that they never bothered to change how their model numbers work), and to top it off, it has a Sony DVD drive.
In a flashback in Episode 18, it's shown that Masaomi first met Saki and Izaya in an "HWV" store.
In episode 21, Kadota buys Mikado an energy drink called Red Snake.
Izaya also delivers one to Earthworm in the novels, though that can also be seen as a Shut Up, Hannibal!.
Izaya later gives one to Kida, at which point Namie lampshades it:
Namie: "Geez, he really goes on..."
Namie delivers one to Mikado. Mikado shuts her up when he reveals that he holds superiority in numbers.
Breather Episode: Or rather Breather Novels. Volume 4 takes a break from Izaya's machinations for a Hyperlink Story involving motorcycle chases, a supernatural serial killer, a pair of Creepy Twins, and a missing envelope with 1,000,000 yen inside. Volume 7 is more or less a series of vignettes that take place while Izaya's in the hospital for the stab wound he received at the end of the previous book.
Brick Joke: You know that old dog that Togusa sent out to find Kaztano in the early part of Episode 6? He did manage to track them down, albeit a little too late.
Cards = Those he calls 'main players.' King = Shizuo (he burns that one first), Queen = Celty, and by the time he gets to thinking about who the Joker is, he just goes "Aw, who cares?" and tosses all the cards into the fire.
This instance of Calvinball is apparently especially random, since Izaya contradicts all of the above in Episode 21 by having Anri be the black queen and Yellow Scarves be black Reversi pieces.
Cassandra Truth: The guy who says "Maybe The Black Rider's with the Dollars?" Kida: "Yeah, whatever."
Cast of Snowflakes: Especially important to keep the many characters as visually distinct as possible. Extras are grayed out with vaguer outlines to prevent distracting focus from the significant characters, and prevent exhausting the distinct features possible.
Chekhov's Gun: A literal one. Early on in the third arc, Izaya makes a passing reference to some guns that were smuggled into Tokyo and then subsequently stolen. Four were retrieved, but one's still missing. That gun becomes important later when Horada shoots Shizuo with it.
Chekhov's Gunman: Kinnosuke Kuzuhara the traffic cop who, despite being in the second opening, is only a major character for one episode and makes a minor cameo later on. In the last episode, though, he shows up to catch the villains as they are desperately trying to escape from Celty and Shizuo in their car.
Color-Coded Characters: Mikado and the Blue Squares = blue and colorless, Masaomi and the Yellow Scarves = yellow, Anri and Saika's children = red. Also the idea behind the color gangs, gangs that identify themselves by wearing certain colors. The Dollars are an interesting take on this, as their color is colorless or "transparent".
Completely Missing the Point: Walker, upon discovering that Kazutawno did not, in fact, break a plate: "That email wasn't about breaking a plate... It was about breaking a bowl!" This is based around some Japanese wordplay: the character in question, a foreigner whose Japanese is relatively terrible, was abducted, and sent an e-mail off to a friend in desperation: however, he said "sara wareta" ("I broke a plate") instead of "sarawareta" ("I was kidnapped"). Upon discovering his trashed and empty room, everyone realizes the mixup... except Walker, who dramatically holds up a chipped bowl.
Conveniently Seated: Mikado gets the standard "second seat from the back along the windows", which allows him to stare outside (also at Anri) when necessary. He is also seated in front of Mika's empty desk, which allows Anri to stare past him whenever it's convenient. Once Mika and Seiji return to class, Mika sits in the front row to be next to Seiji; this puts her in the same row as Anri, allowing them to exchange meaningful looks on occasion. Incidentally, Kamichika Rio is also seated alongside the windows, allowing her to give listless gazes outside during her focus episode.
Cordon Bleugh Chef: In one episode, Celty worries that the meal she cooked was bad, so she throws it out and later goes with Shinra to the Russian sushi place. They are served various dishes (like hamburgers) "sushi style", which considerably bothers Shinra. The restaurant itself still seems to be rather popular (and opulent), so Simons' Running Gag of a failure as a hawker apparently doesn't bother them much.
Corner of Woe: Celty goes into one at the beginning of Volume 4 after a particularly bad run-in with Kuzuhara. Because of her powers, she literally dims the room.
Covers Always Lie: The second OP hinted with the inclusion of Tom, Kasuka, Kinnosuke, Mika, (her name at least) and Shingen that they would play a rather large role in the second arc of the anime. Sadly, it was not to be.
Cranium Chase: Celty the Dullahan traveled all the way from England to Japan in search of her head. It's her body that is fully sentient, while her head is in a deep sleep.
The Cuckoolander Was Right: So far, at least one of Erika and Yumasaki's elaborate wild-guessing theories has been right (see WMG page for more details). Word of God says that doesn't apply to Erika's BL fantasies, though. Sorry, Shizaya fangirls.
D-Cup Distress: Not played for laughs. Anri's big breasts, combined with her borderline depersonalization disorder and general meekness have made her a frequent target of sexual harassment which she is too ashamed (and socially awkward) to talk about to anyone.
Deadly Closing Credits: Volume six ends with Izaya being stabbed by a rival and passing out before he can contact anyone for help. He lives, thanks to someone noticing the bleeding man on the street and calling the paramedics, but relying on formal medical care comes at a cost—his stabbing was reported on the news, which gave out both his name and the hospital he was recuperating at. Now any of his many, many enemies could watch that broadcast and head over to finish him off. He starts going a little stir crazy when this realization dawns on him. It happens to him again in Volume ten. At this point, we have no idea if he is dead, alive, or possessed by Saika. Also, Kadota was rendered unconscious, and the other members are noticeably (and perhaps murderously) upset...
Defeat Means Friendship: Kadota and Chikage; though they were already sort of friendly before and while beating each other up, everyone mentions this trope when talking about their face-off. Here is how random Blue Squares member Gin summarizes it:
Distracted by the Sexy: Anri is STACKED UP. It becomes something of a plot point as when several people are looking for her, they're only able to identify that she's a student wearing glasses that has big breasts.
Whenever Walker and Erika are making references to other anime and manga, the other will shout out loud what the reference is even if it is dead obvious. Justified since DRRR!! has popularity with the non-otaku crowd as well.
Dramatic Chase Opening: The anime episode "Anarchy" starts with Anri desperately running away from members of the Yellow Scarves gang and trying to hide in an alley.
Dynamic Entry: Flying vending machines are Shizuo's special way of saying hello.
Everyone Went to School Together: Shizuo and Shinra went to elementary and high school together, and Izaya was in the same class as Shinra in junior high. All three of them went to high school together, along with Kadota.
With regards to Anri, it's an odd case; most EvilEmpathic Weapons feed off of their host's emotions, but this particular host claims that she feeds off of the emotions of the blade, unable to experience love otherwise. They have a weird kind of codependent relationship.
Eyes Always Shut: Walker, and you can only hope that he'll never open them because of you.
Eye Scream: This almost happens to a thug when Togusa hands him over to Walker and Erika for interrogation. They planned to solder a "contract mark" into his eye a la Ciel of Black Butler.
Ayakabashi's backstory involves this: When Anri's mother was posessed by Saika, she stabbed him in the eye. To resist infection from The Virus, he immediately ripped it out of its socket.
Faceless Masses: Grey and unmoving. Their gang colors might show up but that's it. This is an important plot point in Episode 11. All those grey people? They were Dollars all along! ...which gives new meaning to the Dollars being "colorless".
The Fair Folk: Well, we've got a Dullahan, but she's much nicer than the Fae are supposed to be. Some characters speculate that this is due to her missing head. Shinra expresses fear that if Celty ever found it, she could become an entirely different person, and leave him.
Fakeout Escape: Shingen fakes Celty out by sending the elevator to the bottom floor while he hides. He then tries to make a dramatic exit using the same elevator, and the scene cuts while he's still waiting for it to come back up.
Faux Affably Evil: Izaya is a fairly friendly-seeming guy, but one of the first things we see him do in the anime is construct an elaborate kidnapping and rescue scenario to mess with a suicidal teenage girl, apparently just For the Lulz. He's kind of a massive douchebag.
Faux Fluency: If the English accent instead of the Russian one didn't tip you off, when you hear Simon trying to talk to some Russian tourists in Russian it becomes very clear that his voice actor has no experience with Russian at all. Neither do those of the tourists in question, and Simon's later conversation with Izaya is no less painful on either end.
Flanderization: The anime plays up Mikado being a nice normal kid more than the original novel. It also plays up Kida's guilt concerning Saki's injury, as while he did feel guilty, it wasn't to the extent the anime made it out to be. And to a lesser extent, Izaya's asshattery was toned down and his trolling was amped up. He was also a little more feminine.
Flat "What.": Vorona, when she realizes that Shizuo just kicked a car at her (she's new —she's allowed to be surprised). For bonus points, she lapses into Russian.
Fluffy the Terrible: The headless, undead horse/motorcycle that Celty has? His name is Shooter.
Foreshadowing: Celty's narration in Episode 2 on Mikado and Masaomi.
Celty: "Even those two, who look like people you'd see anywhere on an ordinary day, have secrets."
And Seiji for his true love for Celty's head...between him and Shinra we have one body
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Episode 6, in the beginning when the Otaku gang are chasing after the kidnappers, you can see Kaztano cowering in the van for a brief moment.
Friendship Moment: Turns out that Izaya of all people really cares for Shinra especially during flashbacks of what happened in middle school.
Funny Background Event: Simon's increasingly ridiculous attempts to advertise Russian Sushi during a news broadcast in the second OVA. Culminating in him kidnapping the film crew, since they were trying to film Celty. Kasuka being Kasuka, he just went with it.
Kadota: "I can't believe they're still filming this."
Gambit Pileup: By Volume 6, Izaya's Mob War has managed to drag in, at some point or another, the Dollars, Blue Squares, the Yellow Scarves, Saika's knife-zombie army, a biker gang by the name of Toramaru, two separate Yakuza groups, and at least four former members of The Mafiya.
Gang of Hats: We've got the Yellow Scarves and the Blue Squares, who are traditional gang members who simply (wait for it) identify by what they're wearing. Then we've got Dollars, the newest and biggest kids on the block—a gang formed over the Internet. Some members know each other in real life, but mostly only know each other by their online selves, and are summoned by PDA; many are extremely hardcore Otaku (but not all). To everyone else; they're an Anonymous group that uses no visible colors to identify themselves, congregate out of nowhere, and scatter into nowhere. Their "Hat" is that they have no Hat. Yes, they're a Weaponized 4chan. Be very afraid.
G.I.R.L.: Further muddling the issue is the fact that the anime randomly shuffles voice actors for the chatroom segments until who is who is revealed in the plot. To make matters simpler, here's everyone's screen names: "Setton" is Celty, "Taro Tanaka" is Mikado, "Bacula" is Masaomi; "Saika" is at first Saika-infected individuals then changes to Anri; and the main perpetrator of being a G.I.R.L., "Kanra," is Izaya.
Discussed in Volume 9 of the novels: Bacula and a new member of the chat-room theorize that some of their companions might be this. And that new member passes for a girl, but seems to be Aoba.
Glamour/Charm Person: Not much attention is called to it, but Celty's head seems to have some kind of similar power; note that three of the known people who've seen the head (the unnamed portrait painter of Episode 4, Namie and Seiji's uncle, and Seiji himself) became obsessed with the head the moment they first saw it. The portrait painter even saw Celty's whole body and her head, but still became obsessed with just the head; so much so that he says seeing it was the most important event of his life. He is also incapable of drawing the head or even describing its most basic details, feeling that each time he tries he fails to capture it properly. ...He has spent years trying to successfully draw the head, and never once has.
A Glass in the Hand: In Volume 5, Shinra serves Shizuo his tea in a steel cup in hopes to make this not happen. One bad joke later, and said steel cup instantly becomes a tiny, crumpled ball of foil.
The Slashers/Saika's children. And it's not just some thing for the viewer's convenience; Kadota actually points out the red eyes.
An odd case occurs with Anri, in which her eyes turn red after she reveals she is Saika. However, she isn't physically violent at all, and while she talks very threateningly, she seems very calm, composed, and in control. In fact, she's not even quite evil...
Good Cop/Bad Cop: When interrogating thugs, Kadota is the good cop and Walker and Erika are the bad cops (although given methods, it's more like Bad Cop, Worse Cops).
Gratuitous English: ROAR OUT LOUDER!/BLOW UP LOUDER! depending on which you prefer (the latter is correct, but most fans use the former due to misheard lyrics. It's also hilarious). Also see Ear Worm.
Kida's dialogue is full of Gratuitous English, to the point that Mikado mutters, "I wish you'd just speak Japanese..."
This is mainly between Mikado and Masaomi. There's some between Mikado and Aoba as well.
In the anime only, Izaya has a Shizuo-complex, according to Simon. Although there's enough subtext in itself with Izaya and Shizuo's quite literal obsession with each other, in both anime and book (Izaya constantly provoking, teasing, and manipulating Shizuo, and Shizuo constantly trying to kill Izaya (he's his No. 1 temper trigger)).
Erika sees some between Chikage and Kadota, and Shizuo and Izaya.
Izaya is shown to actually care for none other than Shinra to the point that he's willing to go yandere on anyone who hurts him.
Besides Shizuo's endless supply of bartender suits, a number of the characters' alternate outfits worn on the CD covers (particularly Kida's◊, Izaya's◊ and both of◊ Shizuo's) gained quite a bit of popularity from fans — they even get theirowntags for fanart and fanfic.
Izaya's coat has more or less reached this status now as well.
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: In the anime, they're four kanji long Chinese proverbs that have been adapted into Japanese. The second novel uses this as well; the third novel uses quotes from the dialogue.
Idol Singer: Ruri Hijiribe, who Togusa is obsessed with, and it's because of this that he is so upset when Kaztano is kidnapped; Kaztano regularly supplied him with front-row tickets to her concerts.
Ruri is also none other than the serial killer 'Hollywood', not to mention 1/4 vampire.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Shizuo and Anri. Celty's had her moments, too. As well as Masaomi, who wanted to live a "normal life" without gangs, like his bro Mikado.
I'm a Humanitarian: Simon Brezhnev wants to assure you that his sushi has absolutely no human meat in it, only 100% fish non-human ingredients. This is probably true, as Simon is a really nice guy, but that doesn't stop people from speculating, the fact that he has on two occasions threatened several yellow scarves who were mugging people that he'd turn them into sushi does not help. People behave when he's around, though, so that's something.
Seiji's weapon of choice appears to be pens. Would've been absolutely awesome except he was up against Shizuo.
Mikado makes better use of said pen trick when he forces Aoba into signing a contract in blood—quite literally. (It's not really improvised though—he clearly had brought it there for this very purpose.)
The ballpoint pens in the series are made by Nebula. It's advertised as follows: "Doesn't break even when run over by a tank! The most durable ballpoint pen in world!"
I'm Standing Right Here: Walker and Erika have their "Is Celty a Tsundere?" argument in her own apartment. When Celty learns Shinra gave them the idea (and...embellished certain aspects of their relationship), she decides she might as well live up the the archetype—with extra tsuntsun. Strangling is involved.
Erika: "See? I told you she's a tsundere!"
Erika once goes on about an elaborate Kadota and Walker butler fantasy in front of the two guys in question. The result is special.
Erika: "Before their eyes stood, in her black dress and surrounded by black roses, the Queen—Erika Beatrice Karisawa, heiress of the Karisawa Corporation! Kadota fell in love with her at first sight... that's right, he had became the butler of love who was dying to be a slave of love even before he even earned the right to serve her..."
Kadota: "Hang on..."
Erika: "But one day, Kadota realized that he was not his real self, and his feelings for the heiress was unadulterated respect rather than love! And then Dotachin came to his senses. He realized that the only source of comfort for him was his one and true rival, Walker!"
Kadota: "Hang on..."
Walker: "Wait, Karisawa-san, please stop! Why are you fantasizing about Kadota-san and me in a Boys Love relationship!?...I say Kadota-san and I should become heroes in Galgames who win over the hearts of loads and loads of heroines! Actually, we can even do without Kadota-san! I'll be happy as long as I have this bondaged right hand blessed with the power of ancient moe-moe peoples so that every girl who sees my right hand would go "Woo ~"..."
Kadota: "Guys, hang on..."
Erika: "Ehhh? But wasn't Yumacchi talking about writing me and Dotachin in a master-slave relationship? How about this—Dotachin somehow becomes a girl when he gets up one morning, and finds himself in a boarding school for females..."
Inconsistent Dub: With Baccano!, strangely enough, as they take place in the same universe. The mega-corporation that appears in both series is called "Nebula" in the Baccano! dub, but Izaya calls it "Nebra" in the Durarara!! dub.
Fridge Brilliance calls for that since Nebula has been around since the thirties, and considering it has ties with people such as HueyLaforet, they may have changed their name.
"Nebra" could also be a Japanese mispronunciation of the English "Nebula"
It's Raining Men: Simon leaps down from the seventh floor of an apartment building and, of course, lands safely.
I Was Just Passing Through: Played with in Episode 22 when all of the Dollars are doing this to help Anri escape from the Yellow Scarves. It's then subverted when Shizuo really was passing through and stops to rant about how there were too many messages on his phone going off, just in time to catch a glimpse of Horada leering at Anri. You get no points for guessing what happens next.
Jerk Ass: Izaya, and Horada. Both for very, very obvious reasons.
To a lesser extent, Namie is a female version. Her treatment of everyone who isn't her brother is... disturbing, to say the least. She's not quite as psychotic as her brother, though.
Seiji is more a psychotic contender for this trope, although he got a bit better after finally getting together with Mika. To recount: He tried to murder Mika in cold blood, showed no guilt or remorse when he thought he had killed her, was willing to use the body of the girl he murdered to mount Celty's head on so he could have a physical relationship with her (which has terribly squicky implications), and used his twisted infatuation as an excuse to treat everyone who isn't "Celty" dismissively or outright attempt to kill them (failing only because everyone else is a Bad Ass while he... isn't). In other words, his personality, idea of love, and treatment of other people is very similar to his sister's. Apparently jerkassery runs in the family.
If one only watches the anime, it could be forgiven to wonder if Izaya's coat is made of Uchiha-gradeReinforced Comeuppance-proof Plotanium; his character in its entirety is basically screwing with anyone and everyone For the Evulz from start to finish, and his total karmic backlash in the entire series is a black eye and stern talking-to from Simon at the end—nothing to indicate he won't continue ruining the main characters' and everyone else's lives for his own amusement. However, if you read the novels, you'll see that things have been catching up to him lately. He has been stabbed (Volume 6), put in a public hospital where any of his many, MANY enemies could easily find him (Volume 7), and kidnapped by a psychopathic Torture Technician (Volume 9). In Volume 10, he gets attacked by a possessed Slon and Saika. Although Volume 11 confirms he's still alive, his plans are starting to unravel thanks to his hospital stay.
The other users in the chatroom take user "Saika" to be this when he/she posts "mothermothermothermother" over and over again (i.e. "hahahahahahahaha" converted to kanji). No, she's actually calling for mother...
Izaya has a few of these.
Leitmotif: Celty's got a subtle one in the anime, which seems to be built around the tune of "Danny Boy".
Le Parkour: Izaya teaches it to himself to outrun Shizuo. Naturally, Shizuo teaches it to himself to chase Izaya.
Let's You and Him Fight: Aoba frames the Dollars for attacks against the Toramaru biker gang, thus provoking their leader Chikage into hunting down some of the more prominent Dollars members and having it out with Kadota. They eventually team up to take down about twenty Izaya-controlled Dollars members together and rescue a couple of Chikage's girlfriends.
Justified in Shizuo's case—he literally does have a closet full of bartender suits. They were a gift from his brother.
Celty too, to a degree—her bodysuit is really just shadow formed in a certain way, so never really needs to change clothes; in flashbacks, she's also made it into armor and a lovely black dress.
Shinra might be a walking Lampshade for this, as his white labcoat sticks out a lot and is occasionally mocked accordingly.
But that is justified in Shinra's mind. Shinra wears his lab coat, even while not working and has multiple white lab including a spare in a corner for after he rolls around on the floor . When Shizuo asked him about this, Shinra explained he dresses this way by choice because he likes the color contrast between him and Celty as it is very lovey-dovey in his mind.
Shinra: "Ah, that's because Celty always wears her black rider suit. If I'm dressed in the contrasting color, we'll be like light and shadow, won't we? On the surface, light and shadow are polar opposites, yet, like a pair of love birds they never appear without each other! In manga and movies, they always go the Dark Side this and the Dark Side that, but that's just the Dark Side being royally tsundere. You can say that being tsundere is another form of being possessive but I won't mind at all if Celty wants to possess me, haha!"
Literary Agent Hypothesis: This seems to be the case with Baccano!!, considering clips from the anime show up on in-universe televisions, and so do Isaac and Miria themselves...
Loads and Loads of Characters: From the 1st opening sequence alone, there are at least fourteen named characters to keep track of. the second opening sequence adds another 5.
The most sane and healthy love in the entire series is between the genius borderline-Mad Scientist and the headless amnesiac Faerie, if only by the virtue that it seems like genuine love and affection rather than twisted narcissistic obsession. That said, sanest does not equal sane (especially in this series!).
Love Triangle: Masaomi claims that there is a "love triangle" between Mikado, Anri, and himself, although he realises that Mikado is genuinely head-over-heels for her so he doesn't take it seriously (although this doesn't stop him hitting on her). Saki would like him to know that if he adds her into the mix, it makes a square!
The most obvious one is between Namie, Seiji, and Mika. Oh, and a head, too...
Loving a Shadow: "I don't like you, but as long as I look at you I will never forget my love for her. So I will accept your love.". Although considering that Seiji's "love" consists of an obsession with an inanimate head and not an actual person, you could argue that he was loving a shadow from Day 1.
Made of Iron: Izaya gets hit with a fricking trash can and stands up moments later no worse for the wear.
How about the Quirky Miniboss Squad that Celty apparently kills in the first episode? I mean, one dude had his head smashed against the wall with a fricking motorcycle.
Shizuo, eventually, after lots of painful injuries and healing. Takes getting hit by a speeding truck better than you'd normally expect, and doesn't even feel anything from being stabbed in the legs with pens. Not to mention he manages to get up on his own and walk all the way to Shinra's house unaided after being shot. Twice.
Madness Mantra: Shizuo has one in a scene in the novel in order to hold himself back from destroying just about everything: 'Kill'em, kill'em, kill'em, kill'em ...' Might also be seen as somewhat of a Survival Mantra.
Magic Plastic Surgery: The only scarring or sign that surgery even took place was the one she wanted to be there.
Major Injury Underreaction: After getting shot in both the leg and stomach, Shizuo proceeds to stroll right on over to Shinra's place and tells him to patch him up. Then the two of them proceed to have a perfectly normal conversation all while Shinra has a set of medical pliers wedged in his leg. Then again, he is Made of Iron...
Megaton Punch: Played straight and subverted at the same time. Shizuo punches some street-punk right out of his clothes, except the punk actually gets destroyed and it's not just for laughs.
Memento Macguffin: Shizuo's bartender suits were a present from his brother, which is why he continues to wear them despite being fired from the aforementioned job quite awhile ago. Damaging them, just like everything else, is one of his Berserk Buttons.
Episode 9. The one where the plot really kicks into gear!
Narita just seems to enjoy this in general. Throughout the anime, manga, AND novels, he repeatedly mindscrews his audience, ranging from Izaya epic trolling Earthworm (all of volume nine had the readers switching between "He's under the bag" and "He put someone else there," finishing up with a giant WTF) to Harima Mika of all people having the best information network EVER just to protect her precious Seiji.
Misplaced Sorrow: Kadota's gang are devastated when they find out that Kaztano has been kidnapped, but none so much as Togusa, who even claims he can't go on without the man. Why? Because Kaztano was his source for sold-out, front row tickets to see Idol Singer Ruri Hijiribe.
Mook Chivalry: The Yellow Scarves actually Blue Square infiltrators show this to an odd degree When Kida comes to challenge Horoda. Justified in the next episode though by the reveal that many in the crowd were actually Dollars members brought by Kadota, thereby explaining why they didn't attack Kida—and presumably, the other Blue Squares/Yellow Scarves just followed their lead.
Slon: "I'm not moving an inch until I've solved the mystery of the male nipples! This is my war!"
Mikado at the end of Episode 10 and as part of the lead up to The Reveal—he turns on his computer and sparks fly when he starts zooming the mouse around.
Pac Man Fever: In Episode 22 Celty appears to be playing Super Mario Bros on a SNES. Though given the attention to detail, this is probably deliberate. Inexplicably, she and Shinra use Dual Shock controllers instead of SNES characteristic "dogbones".
It's worth noting that Super Mario Bros was re-released on SNES as part of a compilation.
There's occasionally reference to an incident where Izaya framed Shizuo for a crime. What crime that might be has never been elaborated upon.
To say nothing about their high school days. Shinra was apparently doing a lot of damage control:
Shinra: "Other things happened too when I was in school. There was this "The Pool of Hell Opens—Chlorine Gas Everywhere!" incident, "Real Flesh Art in the Art Room" incident, "Cultural Festival Campfire Explosion" incident and of course "Field Trip to the Shambles—the Okinawa Arc"...during the three years when we were in Raijin, gasoline drums were rolled down from school buildings as part of the routine. Really, it's hard to believe how nice and orderly this school has become these days..."
Also, during Shinra's first official(?) date with Celty he threathened Izaya, who had been stabbed and was bored at the hospital if he kept interrupting his date.
Shinra: "Oy Izaya! If you don't cut the heck out, I'll start telling people about that thing back in middle school!"
There are a number of times in the chatroom where Mairu (Mai) is about to say something before Kururi (Kyo) interrupts with the statement that whatever Mairu was typing was incredibly filthy and Not Safe for Work and assures everyone that she's already smacked her and forced her to delete it before anything was posted. Sometimes, Mai's posts are also automatically censored for containing words flagged as inappropriate—thus we of course never find out what the words in question were.
In Volume 5, Vorona starts reading a book while Slon is asking her questions about how cows grow, to why males have nipples and so forth, eventually she just stops providing answers to his constant queries.
Odd Friendship: Shizuo and Tom. In contrast to Shizuo's violent tendencies, self-esteem issues, and general dysfunction, Tom is effectively the most well-adjusted and normal character in the entire series.
Poisonous Friend: Izaya to Shinra. This is very evident during their time in middle school. Hurt Shinra and you will regret it.
Polar Opposite Twins: Mairu and Kururi, Izaya's younger twin sisters. Different from each other but also from their brother; they adore Shizuo and even tell him that they'd push Izaya in front of a dump truck if it made him happy. Though admittedly, it's more so that they can be introduced to Shizuo's handsome younger brother. An Invoked Trope—in middle school they flipped a coin to see who would have which "positive human" traits in order to please their brother. Their goal was to "become the perfect human" as one, apparently.
Precocious Crush: Shinra says that he's been attracted to Celty since the day that he met her. That would be when he was four. Additionally, Shizuo had his own Precocious Crush on a shopkeeper when he was around ten or so. Then he walked by her store one day, only to see a group of thugs assaulting her. She was seriously injured in his resulting psychotic episode, and Shizuo was too ashamed to see her ever again.
Present Day Past: Pictures in Volumes 5 and 6 show Izaya using what's pretty clearly an iPhone. In 2003'. Six years before the device was available in Japan, and four years before its production was even announced.''
A Real Man Is a Killer: "I'm asking you, Orihara Izaya: Can you actually kill people? With your own hands, can you kill them? Even with your switchblade you just stab randomly without aiming at anywhere fatal. You fool around, that's what you do. So when all's said and done...you got no tricks up your sleeves except for manipulating others. What a lowlife and coward you are. It makes me laugh. Haha."
Redemption Failure: Throughout the first half, we see reference to the original leader of the Yellow Scarves abandoning the gang after a turf war went bad. Then, in Part 2, Masaomi Kida is revealed as that same original leader when he retakes control of the group to defend themselves from the Dollars and the Slasher. While he was never evil, per se, he treats it like an example of this.
Kuzuhara:"I often think about how people like us tend to be weak foils in fiction that stars people like you. Whenever the psychic protagonist appeared, we'd always be lying in a pool of blood, just to emphasize the strength of the opponent. That's fine. That just goes to show how powerful people think we are. But I've always wanted to say one thing. If a monster or an evil psychic or an android or an evil ninja really appears... There is just one thing that I'd like to say:Don't underestimate the Traffic Police Force, monster!"
Red String of Fate: Alluded in the ending theme, "Trust Me" ("We're connected by an invisible thread, so feel my warmth by your side").
Rescue Romance: Subverted when Mika Harima interprets Seiji's rescue of her from bullies as a sign of love, and refuses to take no for an answer. Ever
Rhetorical Request Blunder: Shizuo half-jokingly tells Mairu and Kururi that he'll introduce them to his brother if they can get Izaya to throw himself in front of a dump truck. He's a bit unnerved at how quickly and cheerfully they agree to it (and probably doesn't realize they've been trying to do exactly that from that point onwards).
Sempai Kohai: This happens when Vorona starts hanging around with Shizuo and Tom, though a bit one-sided. Shizuo (who doesn't recognize her as the person who stabbed him earlier because she was wearing a helmet) decides, quite happily, that she gets to be his Kouhai. Vorona agrees, while plotting to destroy him.
Shizuo: "Well um...I switched too many jobs these couple of years...so it's really the first time I've ever had a kouhai."
Shaggy Dog Story: Volume 4 ends with Celty and Shinra independently coming across the contents of the exact same million-yen envelope Celty lost during her motorcycle chase with Kuzuhara. They both chalk it up to coincidence.
Shoot the Medic First: That crazy stalker guy that's obsessed with Ruri? Well, he decides not to hurt her and goes after the people closest to her. Moving down the list, after failing to kill Celty, the first person he decided to kill is Shinra. Thank god Celty saved him.
Any time someone logs on to the Dollars web site the password is Baccano!!
Episode 1: A clip of Jacuzzi from Baccano!! appears on a Jumbotron; Walker is carrying a cardboard cutout of Holo.
"They're pipiru piru piru angels who fly in the sky while showing their underwear to everyone below them!" Also, pictures of the main characters from Baccano!! appear in the background, and Walker is carrying a volume of Yozakura Quartet (Suzuhito Yasuda did the character designs for Durarara!! as well). Also: Flame Haze.
Shizuo also gets his face covered in blood lending him some semblance to the Rail Tracer.
When Mikado and Anri flee the Shizuo/Izaya showdown, the way the camera focuses on them Holding Hands and the way Anri ends up half-dragging Mikado bears a strong resemblance to Nice and Jacuzzi in the Baccano!! OP.
Karisawa & Yumasaki: "The Mellow Scarves?" Kadota: "Yellow Scarves!" Karisawa & Yumasaki: "Sou sore!" (Yeah, that's it!)—Karisawa points out that that was Hermes' line.
Episode 18: Yet more Baccano!! clips are shown on a tv screen in one scene.
Episode 19: A poster of Chane Laforet from Baccano! can be seen in the background about halfway in.
Episode 20: The gang wars are illustrated using a Taiga figure, a Holo figure, and a Shana figure. There's also a Axis Powers Hetalia gashapon machine in the background, a Hiiro Yuki art book, as well as a clip from Black Butler II on a Jumbotron.
Something Only They Would Say: Izaya outs himself as Kanra when he calls Mikado "Taro Tanaka" in person. Also, after Kida leaves, Mikado wonders if he may be the new member of the chatroom. His guess is confirmed when Bacula responds by grading Kanra the square root of three points, referencing something Mikado said in a previous episode
Although as an alternative interpretation, Taro Tanaka is a generic Japanese name, akin to John Smith. Since Izaya was saying who the founder of Dollars was, he could've been offering Mikado a courtesy by not saying his real name to anyone who might've been interested.
Sound Effect Bleep: "Shit" is censored often in the Adult Swim runs. It's quite hilarious during moments like "Oh, shit! Oh, shit! Oh shit!" which are made into a long bleep.
Captions listed that as "Crap! Crap! Crap!".
Spiritual Successor: The anime is pretty obviously meant to succeed Baccano!. Along with the obvious similarities in writing and tone, it's got a similar musical style and opening sequence, not to mention several references to it sprinkled throughout. The novels series isn't so much a "successor" since both series are still running.
Spoiler Opening: Of sorts, since it's really fleeting, and you won't realize the significance of it until you've watched the whole thing. In the first opening, when Anri turns around, something comes out of her hand and "slices" the screen as a transition into the episode clips from previous episodes.
Stalker with a Crush: "Funny" example early on turns out to be really unfunny when it turns there are monsters out there. (No, not Celty).
To specify: Seiji's stalker goes just a smidgen too far when she breaks into his house and sees something that she definitely wasn't supposed to. Now she's considered dead.
Stalking Is Love: Spoofed. When Anri hints that she's stalking him, Mikado's mind zig-zags the everliving hell out of this trope—complete with scenarios from Mikado's Inner Puppet Theater—before Anri lets him know she's joking.
Mikado: "Oh, crap! Is she a stalker? Wait. If she's cute it's okay, rig—No, this is bad. It might go like... She might stab me! Or set my house on fire! And what if she takes my parents hostage?... But, maybe she has a nice personality. Then it would be okay, right?... Wait. If she did, she wouldn't be stalking me!"
Such A Lovely Noun: "...But no problem, you still have two cute little sisters. I think they're called Kururi-chan and Mairu-chan, if I'm not very much mistaken? My friends are going to pick them up now. I'm sure you're looking forward to seeing them, being the loving older brother you are. Am I right, Izaya onii-chan?"
Super Strength: Shizuo, Simon and Celty, with Shizuo officially being according to Izaya's data. Idol Singer and serial killer Ruri Hijiribe also has superhuman strength. She inherited it from one of her grandparents, who is theorized by Nebula to have been a Dullahan.
Taking the Bullet: In Volume 9, it's revealed that this is what really happened in Shinra and Izaya's no-longer-Noodle Incident. Izaya didn't stab him—Shinra took a knife for him.
Tantrum Throwing: Shizuo often throws impossibly heavy things when somebody makes him mad (usually Izaya). Vending machines are pretty popular with him. He first discovered his super strength while attempting to throw a refrigerator at his brother.
Teens Are Short: Teenaged characters are almost universally shorter than adult characters, usually by at least 5 cm.
Telephone Polearm: One of Shizuo's favorite weapons, right along with vending machines. Sometimes it's telephone poles, sometimes it's roadsigns or guardrails. Once he uprooted an entire tree, roots and all, with a person in the tree.
When Kida first shows Mikado around Ikebukuro, he warns him about three people (Shizuo, Simon, and Izaya) that he should stay away from before assuring him that he'll probably never meet any of them anyways. Naturally, they both end up running into all three. At once.
Also, Kida's inner monologue in Episode 5 sure seems to hit home in recent episodes:
Partially justified in that most of the characters seem to consider their problems their own and for one reason or another don't want to (or feel like that can't) rely on anyone for help. Additionally, how do you treat someone for something like having a codependent relationship with sentient sword?
There Was a Door: Anri slashes through a steel warehouse wall with Saika in Episode 24 when she and Mikado rescue Kida from the Yellow Scarves.
After Celty's public reveal, Nebula decides that they wouldn't mind having Dullahan test subjects. As for who they sent to fetch one, let's just say Shingen has reasons for his objecting to his son's infatuation with one...
Title Drop: The episode title is dropped in Episode 19. This is obscured due to the fact that Crunchyroll translated the phrase differently on the title card ("Anarchy") and during the episode ("The sky has fallen").
Too Dumb to Live: Every gang in Ikebukuro has the same Rule #1: Don't screw with Izaya Orihara. However, the entire city also has Rule #0: DON'T SCREW WITH SHIZUO HEIWAJIMA. The gangs don't bother to tell their members the latter rule, since if you refuse to follow it, you're doing the gang a favor by getting yourself killed. More specific examples are below.
The three guys kidnapping people for Yagiri Pharmaceuticals are not very bright.
As were a no name trio who insult Shizuo for his choice of warbrobe and spill soda all over his outfit, and not knowing who he is, Tom surmises that their excuse of being public school dropouts is correct before looking the other way.
Shizuo of all people manages this in Volume 5 when a ten-year-old runaway confesses to him and Shinra that she tried to kill him because Izaya told her that Shizuo was going to kill her father. Shizuo, against all expectations, simply smiles at her and assures her that it was all a misunderstanding which he will go about correcting immediately before leaving the room. When Tom meets him at the door and congratulates him for his uncharacteristic maturity in the situation, Shizuo simply says this and heads off to Izaya's place:
Shizuo: "Thank you, Tom. If it's okay, I have a favor to ask: If I get arrested for murder today, tell Mr. Manager to just go about things as if I were fired yesterday."
Also, Mikado has his own moments too in the light novels.
Walker's face is always that Slasher Smile. If he's angry, he'll probably snap his chopsticks in two, slam them right in front of your face, or set a car on fire with gasoline and a match. All that, he still smiles all the way.
Shizuo has another one at the end of Volume 12. Izaya decides to finally end his rivalry with Shizuo and attempts to kill him (from afar), only for Vorona to save him, getting severely injured as a result. As Shizuo attempts to tend to her wounds, Izaya calls him and taunts him about it, from which Shizuo falls uncharacteristically silent as Izaya continues to talk. When his rival finishes, Shizuo simply tells him "Goodbye," in a calm, peaceful tone and hangs up. It should be noted that Shizuo does not use the traditional sayonara, but rather the more cultural version abayo, which means goodbye... forever. The next volume, not once does Shizuo raise his voice, nor does Izaya continue with his usual taunts as they have their Final Battle.
Tuck and Cover: Shizuo to Akane (shielding her from a rain of knives). Shinra also instinctively does this to Celty when he hears a flashbang go off. The fact that Celty is a nigh-unkillable faerie only dawns on him after the fact, and he refuses to talk about it out of embarrassment when Celty later brings it up.
Twincest: Mairu and Kururi, Izaya's younger sisters, who are both searching for Hanejima Yuuhei in the second OVA. They get along together really well, are very protective of each other, (and they even share a kiss at least twice (though the second time was an Indirect Kiss... sort of).
Uh-Oh Eyes: Izaya and Shizuo have Brown Eyes in the anime, but are often given red and gold eyes respectively in the official art drawn by Suzuhito Yasuda, as well as in fanart.
Wimpification: Nearly every male character in the series gets subjected to this, but none more so than Izaya Orihara himself, who, in fanwork, transforms from an egotistical, manipulativejerkass, borderline sociopath to a slobbering wanton mess whose vocabulary consists mainly of ahs, nns and Sh-Shi...Shizu-chan... with a tilde at the end of every sentence.
Done in-universe, too—a gaiden written by Ryohga has Kadota's gang watching Izaya and Shizuo fight, while Erika talks over the brawl and transforms it into a yaoi in which Izaya bottoms, successfully squicking out the whole group as well as Celty. Hilarity Ensues.
Erika and Walker, being the two resident otaku, do this on occasion. However, the better in-universe example is the theme of Episode 16: "Who is the strongest person in Ikebukuro?" Most people answer "The Headless Rider/ Celty", Simon, Izaya or Shizuo.
Izaya has a few others on his list: Mikado—the leader of the Dollars, Kida—former general of the Yellow Scarves, and Anri—the possessor of the original Saika.
Shuji directly asks Celty the "who would win in a fight?" question, which causes her to burst out laughing. It's Shizuo against an unkillable fae with the ability to give darkness physical form—Of courseShizuo would win.
The Verse: Baccano!!, Vamp!, and Durarara!! are all set in the same universe, although due to being set in very different locations and concerning very different supernatural entities, there isn't too much overlap. Not that there isn't overlap:
Isaac and Miria? They're Dollars.
And the company that bought Yagiri pharmacies, Nebula? Yes, the same company that built the Flying Pussyfoot.
Episode 11. You know Mikado, right? The sweet, NaÔve Newcomer, curious about the world of gangs—the mysterious "Dollars" in particular? Turns out he's actually the leader of said group, and is quite the vocalBadass. Or, alternatively, episode ten, where his Wham Line would lead many a fan suspicious:
To a lesser extent, the aptly titled Episode 17; "Everything Changes." So, what about those other gangs? Have we forgotten about them? Is the show ever going to bring them up again? Don't worry! It turns out that the Yellow Scarves are lead by none other than Masaomi Kida, and it turns out he was a complete Stepford Smiler this entire time. Of course, it's 'to a lesser extent' because we got some foreshadowing on that part.
Episode 22 ends with the love triangle finally beginning to confront each other, Mikado dissolving the Dollars, and Shizuo face down in a rainy gutter after being shot three times.
Volume 6 has a few instances of this. By this point, we've learned Mikado's not all he appears, but he's still a lovable and nice guy. You know, until he stabs Aoba with a freaking pen and a crazed look. Aoba notes that that's probably nowhere near Mikado's true nature...
Who Would Be Stupid Enough: Is the question Namie asks when Izaya puts up a fake "We've moved!" notice on his apartment door with his "new" address being an undiscovered murder scene. The answer is, of course, Shizuo.
Wife Husbandry: Shinra's really hoping for a gender-reversed example with Celty.
Shinra: "Shizuo, Celty here is my roomate. Or should I say future wi-AAIIGH!"
Wiki Walk: Vorona, in Volume 8. For bonus points, her speakingstyle even makes it sound like a derailed wiki article.
Vorona: "Siberia. The correct pronunciation of which is Сибирь ([sʲıˈbirʲ]), may denote a Federal District of Russia or a wider area. The meanings are many-layered. And in Japan they also call a certain kind of dessert Siberia. Explanations vary as to how the name originated, among which a theory exists that it comes from the delicious fillings inside the Castella resembling the tundra and railways in Siberia. The Castella is said to be the first cake variety to be introduced to Japan. After that the Japanese developed their unique cake culture under various influences from different countries. The variety called the shortcake is also uniquely Japanese. At Christmas the Japanese are especially big on cakes, and on the streets all kinds of cakes send tantalizing smells to my nasal cavity."
Shizuo: "...Are you craving some? Cake, I mean."
Worf Effect: Kinnosuke Kuzuhara admits most fiction's portrayal of cops as Worf compared to rebellious protagonists, but takes it as a compliment as it means that they are considered strong enough to be considered obstacles.