Anime Review of Darker Than Black
"Darker Than Black" is an anime series with a film noir feel to it as it combines drama, mystery, paranormal, the supernatural, and good old science-fiction. It's presented in a sense where the series doesn't seem scary at all. But there is plenty of supernatural working in the mix but managed to remain somewhat grounded in reality personality wise. The story revolves around supernatural beings called "Contractors" whom are people that possess special abilities. They could get away with cold blood murder or any other crime as their secret are kept hidden from the general public. But these Contractors do have their "uses".
The various governments and organizations around the world employ Contractors to take on jobs as spies and agents. Contractors are charged with the tasks of doing all sorts of missions such as infiltration and espionage. Contractors are the result of an abnormal supernatural territory that appeared around Tokyo called "Hell's Gate" which has altered the sky leaving behind "false stars." These false stars are responsible for the Contractors. There is one fake star for each Contractor whom are identified by a Messier Code which is the designated code for those stars.
There seems to be an inspiration from "Witch Hunter Robin" as Contractors gain their abilities at the edge of their humanity. Meaning, most Contractors will lack human emotions. In Witch Hunter Robin, witches and sorcerers tend to lose their humanity once they gain their powers.
Contractors have the ability to sense once another which is similar to "Highlander" where one immortal can sense another immortal. Due to their abilities, Contractors are often sought out by all sorts of rival organizations. The series introduce all sorts of interesting terms such as:
- "Hell's Gate" is the chaotic space that appeared in the city of Tokyo which is responsible for the Contractors. There's a wall built that surrounds it from being touched by civilians.
- "Heaven's Gate" is similar to Hell's Gate but appeared over South America.
- "Doll" is the other result of the Hell's Gate. Instead of having powers like Contractors, Dolls are emotionless mediums that mimic humans. They are merely used as sleeper agents.
Darker than Black revolves around four characters: Hei, Yin, Huang, and Mao.
Hei is a powerful Contractor with two personas. As Hei, is very cold and emotionless agent who detests other Contractors. He wears a mask over his face. Then there is the other persona a Chinese exchange student named Lee Shenshun. As a Contractor, Hei has the ability to discharge electricity through anything that's conductive. Due to the dual personas, Hei is very much enigmatic.
Yin is a Doll who can track and eavesdrop in the presence of water. Her skills as a reconnaissance agent are invaluable.
Huang is the supervisor with no powers but with a strategic sense of mind. His specialty is gathering intelligence for the team to take on other Contractors.
Mao is a Contractor who had lost his original body and exists within a black cat. His main use is to create a diversion for Hei.
Hei's group do the "dirty" work of taking out other Contractors while the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department tend to investigate and close the cases. There is a strong political feel in the series as organizations such as the CIA, MI6 Russian Intelligence, Russian Mafia, and everybody else are present.
It feels like a mix of the anime series "Noir" and "Cowboy Bebop" with a feel of the supernatural. Overall, it's an interesting series to watch. Darker Than Black seems to have no gore or bloodshed in the series. However, it's very much action packed with a lot of drama. But it's an interesting concept on how people with supernatural powers are used to do all sorts of top secret jobs.
The series is incomplete as it's still airing in Japan. There are only a few episodes left to the completion. But it's unlikely that it's going to be released to North American TV networks for at least a year or two despite a North American license being acquired. Those anticipating a North American release in the future, cross your fingers.
Tags: Darker Than Black , Anime , Manga , Supernatural
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