Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Anime Series Review: Darker Than Black (2007)

Anime News Network Overview: 
In Tokyo, an impenetrable field known as "Hell's Gate" appeared ten years ago. At the same time, psychics who wield paranormal powers at the cost of their conscience also emerged. Hei is one of the most powerful of these psychic agents, and along with his blind associate, Yin, works for one of the many rival agencies vying to unlock the mysteries of Hell's Gate.

A Darker Than Black Review
Darker Than Black Episode Count: 26 episodes

Darker Than Black was one of the anime watches you sometimes stumble on and don't realize until later is pretty fantastic. Going in there were no expectations since there wasn't anything to go by. It was completely new. From our introduction to the world of Darker Than Black. Soon, you are brought up to speed on what's going on. In what's considered the world everyone lives in a few years back The Gates started to appear turning groups of regular everyday people into something other than human. They became either contractors, medatoriums, and or dolls. All of which, who aren't exactly entirely human.  It's a really intriguing premise which delivers finely throughout the series.

Medatorium- Darker Than Black
All the plethora of contractors, medatoriums, and dolls can be highly pinpointed by regular people by how they act in a complete rational plain of thought which alters their view of the world. Afterwards, in these various groups there are even more various differences. Contractors being at the top of the hierarchy have different range of powers that they can access after completing unique obsessive tasks.  The cost of using your contractor abilities is your obsessive task that is different for every contractor. Varying from smoking a cigarette to undressing in public. 

The contractors are always coming across in various situations because of their connection to The Gates. They are set apart from human society even though they are human. Well sometimes. It's complicated but it's what is so fascinating. Contractors come off as dangerous for their abilities which they are but also hilarious in their rational way of interacting with their surroundings. Also on various occasions well aware of their powers they will allow themselves to be hired to be assassins for wealthy governments or organizations. Only making them seem cruel killers to society at large.

There is widespread gossip about a contractor that is something of an enigma to even regular contractors. The Black Reaper who's real name is really Hei. 

Moving into the characters, Hei, is the main character that has a lot to do with the story. We are first introduced to him through events that seem random but are in fact, part of bigger plot in how The Gates exist and conspiracy. Yes, Hei is a contractor but as it turns out he's unique. He doesn't act at all like other contractors most of the time. This surprises most other contractors. Throughout the events in Darker Than Black he's after the truth of what really happened in his past during a war involving contractors. His sister died during this war. Leaving him resentful and enraged. As he searches, he finds a bigger hidden conspiracy connected to The Gates that include The Heaven's Gate and Hell's Gate that will affect everyone.

Hei's love interests (Left to Right) Amber and Yin
Now, for those of you interested in some romance in your anime there are instances of romance but they are subtle. Hei cares for a doll named Yin. She has an appearance of a petite skinny girl that is almost catatonic but don't let that fool you she's something else. She almost always helps Hei on his assignments that turn out to be dangerous. The romance in Darker Than Black isn't huge in this anime but it is there. The sequel to Darker Than Black: Ryūsei no Gemini  (English Translation: The Twins of the Meteor) continues the story of Hei and Yin's romance a little and brings in a new cast of characters with a new adventure as well. Further events are mentioned in Darker Than Black: Gaiden which is Season 3 of Darker Than Black. It's an in-between of events that transpired during Darker Than Black and Darker Than Black: Twins of the Meteor.

It's important to note that this anime is very dark. While things have a tiny sense of hope there is a very tragic or more dystopian tone.

Genre: Espionage, Supernatural, Young Adult, Alternate World 

Darker Than Black
Season 1:
Darker Than Black

Season 2: 
Darker Than Black: Ryūsei no Gemini 
(Darker Than Black: Twins of the Meteor)

Season 3:
Darker Than Black: Gaiden

Anime Soundtrack Side-Note:
The music is awesome! The best is the OPs (Opening Theme Songs) .
Opening Theme Song for half of Season 1 is Howling by Abingdon Boys School. The second half Opening Theme Song is Kakusei Heroism~ The Hero Without A Name by An Cafe.

Buy Darker Than Black S1


Aik said...

This anime sounds like something special. I'd love to watch it.

michaelszele said...

I loved this series! Great review and I still need to check out the follow up seasons. Too much anime, not enough time. The opening theme song ranks up there in my top 5 favorites.

Cassandra @ Book & Movie Dimension a Blog said...

I totally agree that their is too much anime and not enough time.
The OPs are definitely my favorites of all anime I've seen.

I'm sure if you see the rest of the seasons you'll love them.

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