With so many characters showing up in its opening credits, it remains safe to assume that Durarara!! is going to be a pretty sprawling and wide-ranging series in terms of its story telling. However, despite all of that episode two of this new season show actually takes us on a journey which is basically an alternate view of some of what we saw in its opener.
In short, after a brief introduction that sees Mikado and Masaomi starting their first day of school term (an opening which also brings us another rather odd character who we'll doubtless be seeing more of further down the line) we return to the story of Rio Kamichika, the girl who we saw being kidnapped and then rescued last time around.
This particular tale takes us right through some major turmoil in Rio's life, as she learns that her father is having an affair, before leaving the evidence of this for her mother to discover only to find that nothing changes. Feeling ever-more depressed with her life, Rio turns to Nakura, a person she has befriended via e-mail, and eventually he suggests that they meet so that they can "disappear together". It's this invitation that leads to Rio's kidnapping and resuce by the mysterious headless rider; both events organised by "Nakura" (in reality one Izaya Orihara) to toy with Rio's emotions before further pressing her to the point of jumping off a building. While Izaya seems to have no interest either way as to Rio or her well-being, our mysterious rider once again steps in to save the day, seemingly without a request from anyone else to do so this time.
I'm sure nobody was expecting quick answers about any of the goings-on in Ikebukuro from this series given its length and the sheer number of individuals it has to play with, and with that in mind Durarara!!'s second instalment certainly doesn't disappoint, layering even more questions on top of any we may already have held over from episode one. While we now know that the headless rider around which the show is centred appears to be for hire to pretty much anyone, that doesn't really answer much by way of the mysteries which surround her, while the emergence of Izaya Orihara as a decidedly bizarre individual with a strange interest in the human condition also looks set to be a recurring theme which keeps on coming back, as you can only imagine that there is a greater purpose to his presence than praying on insecure teenagers.
All of these questions make it hard to really mark out Durarara!!'s quality or otherwise at this very early juncture - While this episode perhaps tried a little too hard at times to be philosophical with its constant voice-over discussing the nature of reality for any given person, it was once again a slick effort that you couldn't help but be drawn into as you found yourself equipped with just enough knowledge to second guess what was going on without ever getting ahead of the game and figuring out the bigger picture. This kind of tantalising yet slow story development has left me yearning to know and find out more, so I guess that makes it mission accomplished for this particular episode - Oh, and did I mention how absolutely fantastic the opening credits are yet?