Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Darker than Black Review

Ah, so the spring 2007 anime season is coming to an end. Guess I should review something :)

Darker than Black, DtB. Ended up being more enjoyable than I originally thought.

The way they deal with the story is pretty odd. Most people will find themselves a bit confused, or like myself a bit disappointed at first. There's this whole bunch of supernatural humans and some giant walls sealed off some part of Tokyo. Oh, and they are somehow related. No proper explanation is given, they just slam the premise into your face.

After the premise is set, the story kicks off pretty nice. Most of the series is displayed in 2episode "mini-arcs". It's pretty exciting, the story has enough time to build up before everything goes crazy and the cold hearted superhumans (contractors) get on with the killing or whatever they are up to in each episode.

Contractors are some pretty weird antagonists. They have superpowers, but they have to pay for them in really weird fashions, most of the time involving stuff they really don't like to do. Like this guy who had to line up some stones in order to pay for his "contract", was pretty funny. They think in a more logical manner compared to normal human beings, always doing the "rational" thing, that's why they sometimes act heartlessly, if such a way of acting exists.

There's really no such thing as good and evil in this anime. Everyone acts towards their own benefit, and try not to get in others' way. The main characters form some kind of task force for an organization with mysterious leadership. In every 2episode arc they'll be involved with some situation or the other in some sort of mission. Sounds repetitive, but the steady flow of new characters with odd powers is pretty interesting. How they pay for their powers is also something pretty interesting. Of course there are variants to these contractors, like people who lost their souls, or pay eternally for their contracts. There are also some very nasty payments. Also, the main characters payment/remuneration is one of the best kept secrets.




There'll always be new characters to explore. Is is me or does he look suspicious on that first pic. Also, notice how these gangsters plot stuff, on a kid's slide (top left) oh and the cat is definitely talking.


The music is good, as most of Yoko Kanno's work, it blends pretty well with the anime. It doesn't do as much as "boosting" its effect though. It's just pleasant. The opening and ending sequences are good, not exceptional.

The fighting scenes are pretty cool, the main character Hei got some batman style fighting going on, which is kinda odd at first, but when he uses his power you quickly forget about silly old batman and his gadgets. There will always be plenty of different powers and it's pretty clever how he can counter most of them. Animation is not a problem, unless you're really picky about character proportions at all times and stuff.

You'll live through the past, think about what will happen in the future, and question yourself what is the right thing to do in each character's case. That seems to be the objective behind every story. I never found Hei's decisions (the main character) disappointing.



Bottom: Would you believe me if I told you it's the same guy?
Top: Even if it's not part of the main plot, Yin's story is pure gold.


After around 18 episodes of introducing characters with 2 episode stories, the main story kicks in (the whole 2 episode per character part is pretty good, no worries). It's pretty interesting. It seems a group of contractors are up to no good. But once again their intentions can't be simply set as evil. Who will prevail? The last saga is pretty exciting in my opinion. The ending is evangelion-like-trippy in some parts, pretty strange, yet nothing close. Oh, and I found myself watching some bits of the first episodes when it all finished.

Season 2 anyone?



When this blond comes in, all hell breaks loose. As if it weren't crazy enough from the beginning.


Favorite episode: 13-14, and the ending saga.
Overall: 8.2
Closing comments: I'm not really sure about this. I don't really consider it to be exceptional, but it was quite an enjoyable ride. I'd definitely watch a second season. The 2 episode stories and characters are good enough.

note: technical problems.. screenshots....will fix later

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