DRRR!! isn’t roaring loud enough but I guess that’s fine

When one is 10 episodes deep into Baccano! a lot of shit has already gone down, a number of mysteries are being answered, and the show’s confused narrative begins to take on a fairly solid shape. On the other hand, we’re 10 episodes into DRRR!! and not much has happened. I can see why some of the people who really liked Baccano! may not like DRRR!!. Actually, I imagine it’s similar to why I’m not too hot about Summer Wars but love Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo. Baccano! was a weird mix of a lot of charming elements that came together to make a pretty neat show, albeit one that’s not too accessible because of how confusing it is for a good portion of its runtime. DRRR!! retains some of the same elements, but strips out a lot of Baccano!’s very unique elements. At the same time however, it becomes something the mainstream can appreciate a bit more easily than Baccano!.

DRRR!! is set to run for 2 cours, so it’s unfair to compare what has happened in 10 episodes of it to what happens in 10 episodes of Baccano!. That said, nothing much has really happened thus far in DRRR!!, as mentioned before, but it is nevertheless quite interesting. This is due to well done foreshadowing, an intriguing setting, and a cast of interesting characters who don’t really need much of a story to make them interesting.

Much like Baccano!, one cool aspect of DRRR!! is how it takes an otherwise normal setting and puts an abnormal spin on it. Lots of anime does this–in fact it’s almost staple of anime–but DRRR!! can pull it off with style. The designs of the characters, as well as the clothes they wear don’t stray much from the bounds of reality (that said, I imagine each charater’s closet is filled with 7 sets of the same outfit). Similarly, the show’s backgrounds don’t depict a bright and colourful Japan, but instead project something grittier made from Photoshopped photos of Ikebukuro along with a dark no-nonsense colour scheme and crowds of grey people going about their business.

When Heiwajima Shizuo throws a guy a hundred meters down the street into truck or throws a vending machine at someone, it’s given the kind of over-the-top presentation it deserves, but since the look of the show is so down to Earth, the feeling one gets when seeing that is a bit different than what one feels when Misaka fires off her Raingun and flips a car over. One is lavished with a cartoonish amount of shine and polish, while the other one is far more subdued and restrained. That’s what makes the setting of DRRR!! so interesting–the way in which it balances unreal with real.

It goes without saying that what makes this setting interesting is the wealth of eccentric characters that occupy it. At this point the most interesting players are those who are clearly operating on the wrong side the of law. Between ridiculous car chases (Kyouhei, Saburou, Erika, Walker), the flinging of public property (Shizuo), and simply unreal levels of dickery (Izaya), the things these characters do are just fun to watch. Of course the slightly less interesting side of things–the side that mostly resides in high school–has a subtle air of mystery and insanity floating about it. Not to mention hints of moe (a must, clearly), mostly manifested in the lovely Sonohara Anri.  There’s also the titular Dullahan, Celty, but strangely enough she’s the least interesting part of the equation. Her fretting over things is kind of funny, though.

All this comes together to create a strong sense of intrigue, along with small amounts of foreshadowing. Back when a lot of anime often ran for two cours (let’s say from the mid 90s to mid 00s) the first half of the show would often be composed of one-shots used to introduce the characters and get one acquainted with the setting. But when that 13th episode would come about, things usually got kicked into overdrive for a big showdown at the end. DRRR!! is doing that first half extremely well. At around episode 10 the cast is more or less fully introduced, the setting is established, and enough hints of an overarching plot are dropped to leave people wondering just what the hell is going on. I only hope that they’ll be able to deliver.

I also hope that they never actually explain why some of these people have super human strength. Kind of like Giant Robo.