Anime review: Darker Than Black
Status: watched 8 episodes (out of 25)
I’m a third of the way through this series and I don’t have it completely figured out yet, but here’s what I’ve been able to piece together. We’re on Earth, perhaps a little bit into the future. The big difference between our Earth and this one is the “Hell’s Gates” that have opened in various places. I don’t think people can live within them, so where they appear, huge walls have been constructed to keep people out.
Along with the appearance of the Hell’s Gates, a new type of human has emerged: The Contractors. They’re not cyborgs, I don’t think, but they have amazing powers. And most of them are just plain nasty. Even the “hero” of the show, Hei (pictured above) who seems to be on a mission of truth and goodness, can be quite merciless and vicious.
And there’s some shadowy organizations in search of an object, but I have no idea what that’s all about.
Usually a show that makes this little sense pisses me off and I abandon it. But I’m sticking with Darker Than Black because it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to confuse me, just that it’s a rather complex world the writers have created. I also like the variety of characters – even the talking cat – and the internal logic of the world they live in.
There’s a very Blood+ feel to this show as well, sans the romance – the characters all have a deep backstory and serious motivations but there’s a lightness to the show so it doesn’t come off heavyhanded.
As if to insure that the series doesn’t take itself too seriously, episodes 7 and 8 veered away from the search for the mysterious object and the meaning of the Hell’s Gates and instead turned into a detective drama about a missing cat and murder/suicides at a perfume company. There was quite a bit of silliness and fan service in these episodes, but they weaved in nicely with the overall plot and were fun to watch.
I think I’m going to stick with this one to the end. Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m going to cosplay as Hei one day.