Sunday, March 11, 2012

Anime Review: Darker Than Black

Title: Darker Than Black
Original Artist: Okamura Tensai
Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, Romance, Sci-fi, Supernatural, Thriller
Episodes: 25
Manga: Here
Where to Watch: Here & Also on Netflix with Instant Que

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.
Left to right: Huang, Yin,
Hei & Mao
Three words for Darker Than Black (DTB): Intricate and Dashing. Absolutely brilliant work of an anime adaption. DTB begins in Tokyo, Japan, with part of the city being quarantined, dubbing the area, Hell's Gate. Within Hell's Gate, individuals with special abilities called Contractors are born. However, with all these extraordinary abilities, a Contractor must pay a price, which is immediately displayed in episode one.
The audience is introduced to our main protagonist, Hei, under the alias of a student named Li (Lee) Shenshun, being a Contractor without a price. He is part of an underground group of Contractors and Dolls, AIs (Artificial Intelligence) that mimic the looks of humans, however possess unique abilities (ranging from observation through water, as displayed by Hei's partner, Yin), called the Syndicate. The Syndicate is mysterious from the get-go and has many objectives beyond getting information.
Left to right: Misaki, Mao, Hei, Yin, & Huang
Along with the Syndicate, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, led by Section-Chief, Misaki Kirihara, focus on Contractor-related cases that surface. By tracking every Contractor through stars, TMPD is able to track them. Eventually, Misaki and Hei (Under his alias) meet, and things begin to immediately take a turn for the worse. As Contractors go more rampant in the city and as phenomenon from Hell's Gate begin to spiral out of control, Hei and Misaki, attacking from multiple sides, must stop Hell's Gate from destroying Tokyo.

God, this story is so bloody brilliant! Everything about it, from the characters to the setting to the supernatural aspects, DTB is just fantastic. For days on end, I, for the life of me, could not separate myself from Netflix and DTB. I wanted to know what happened in every episode and so on, and I nearly stayed up twice til midnight to watch this show. It's so darn addictive. Kind of like cake, but not really; it's better.

Hei/Li Shenshun: Nicknamed, The Black Reaper, Hei, in the simplest terms, is a BAMF. Straight-up, hands-down. If I could be him, I probably would. In all aspects, Hei's character just blew my mind. AND THE ENDING, OH MY JESUS, /MIND = BLOWN. Okay, anyways, Hei is a very stoic character in his actual form, however as his alias, Li, he is a goofy, absent-minded, and incredibly stupid. (stupid = good... IT'S POSSIBLE!..) Hei is a Contractor with the ability to self-generate lightning through mediums (i.e. wire, which he uses often with his dagger) as well as eating a lot. (Total joke, but it's evident through the episodes that he eats a lot. And by a lot, I mean like... A pudgy person eating 7 3-tiered cakes with a lot of frosting) However, Hei does not have to pay a price for his abilities, which he is seen as 1 of 2 Contractors throughout the entire series without a price. He also has a BA mask. That gives him 100+ kick arse points.
Hei, with and without his mask
Yin: Yin is a "Doll" with the ability to use the medium of water to observe and listen on people or events. Yin is Hei's Doll partner and works with him as an out-of-combat communicator. Yin's character is very mysterious, however, even though she has no emotions, she has quite an unique past. I love Yin.
Huang: Hei's intelligence officer of the Syndicate. Huang works with Hei, giving him assignments as well as intel from the Syndicate. Huang, as well, has a very tragic past. I nearly cried watching his mini character arc. I began to understand him much more after finding out what had happened to him.
Mao: OMFG I LOVE MAO! He's a talking CAT!... Anyways, Mao is an ex-Contractor that has the ability to shift his "being" into the body of an animal. However, Mao had lost his human body and is now stuck in a black cat's body. He is also a Contractor without a price, since he had lost his human body. Mao is a very fun character to have around, as his personality and gestures compliment Hei's shelled exterior. 
Misaki Kirhara: Misaki is the Section-Chief of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department's Foreign Affairs, Section 4. She is a very strong-willed woman, who I really like. She's such a BA. If I couldn't be Hei, I'd be Misaki. She's very nice to have around, and I really wished that Hei and her had just DID IT! Oh my gosh... /shot.. Anyways, Misaki has a very sharp personality that is nearly close to Hei's original personality. When she is around Li, her personality contrasts with his. What's nice about Misaki's VP is the audience gets to see the two sides of the coin. We get to see the struggles of normal people, a.k.a. non-Contractors, as well as the intricacy of the Contractor's life as Hei and his team as well as the Contractors we see along the way.

Hei in his Black Reaper outfit
Art, Flow, Music, and Voice Acting:
Oh man, I love DTB's art. It's shounen at the same time it's not! Bloody genius! The details of the characters as well as the special effects for all the supernatural abilities is superb. The flow of the story moves at a steady pace, and we really get to see the action and characters as they are. From all the episodes, there isn't any stiff movement.
OKAY, WHOEVER CHOSE THIS MUSIC = FREAKING AMAZING. The opening music and the ending music of both seasons fits perfectly with the atmosphere of anime. We have this dark intricacy as well as this action-packed thriller sci-fi. Emotions and the characters are portrayed so well through the openings and endings.
Voice Acting. Yeah, voice acting.
Collage of Characters from DTB
OMFG I LOVE ALL THEIR VOICES. BEAUTIFUL! *throws confetti around in a jolly manner* Although I have only watched the English version of DTB, I love the English voice-acting! Not only does the voice acting fit the character's personalities and gestures, it really helps create the character being depicted. Bloody brilliant.

As you can probably see, I love this show. Mega 4/4 polishes. DTB has that softy macabre tastes that appeases me as well as the humorous and bright stuff. Nearly every character met in this entire show is colorful, brilliantly made, and creatively depicted. The setting and the atmosphere of the entire show is mastered and wrapped in a ribbon by the music, art, and voice acting. Overall, Darker Than Black has seriously created a masterpiece of a dark mystery sci-fi.

Inked with Brilliance and Love,

P.S. Hey everyone, a little side note if you have made it this far. I wanted to tell people that I am sorry I am always giving most of my reviews 4/4, and some might not agree with me on some of these ratings. However, I want people to know that I am always open to reviewing any manga or anime. Please comment below or fill in a request form. I really don't mind. Sorry and thanks again for reading!


  1. Good review, and yes, that's one of my favorite anime's. It's like Batman or Heroes (before it got dumb). Like you most anime I bother discussing or reviewing is at least an 8/10. Reason is if I actually finish an anime or book or whatever chances are i find it fairly entertaining. I've dropped quite a few animes/books.

    Still though most of what I watch is 7/8/9, there are a few perfect 10s. For me my perfect animes are - Nana, Darker than Black, Saint Seiya: Lost Canvas, Baccano!, Clannad and Samurai Champloo. Have you or will you review any of those?

    Also I'm curious what you thought of the other two Darker than Blacks--Gaiden and Gemini.

  2. Sorry this is so late! Been away for so long...

    I haven't watched Gaiden, but I plan to watch Gemini soon, and I can definitely do a review of that if you would like. :)

    I'm not too interested in Clannad, and I've never heard of Saint Seiya (I'll have to look that one up.)
    But I've watched a little bit of Baccano!, which wasn't that bad but haven't finished it. I've watched NANA a bit, but I've yet to finish it as well; I've really liked NANA so far though, so that might be appearing soon.
    But I LOVE Samurai Champloo! I'll have to do a review of that as well. I've rewatched it at least a couple of times. I love Mugen. <3
    I like to mostly share the ones I like because I figure that most people would be interested in the ones that rivet me the most. Lol, I should probably review some other popular ones to give my opinions on as well, but most people have read things like Bleach, Naruto, and Vampire Knight (That one I can't STAND for the life of me...)

    But since I'm back, I'll definitely get right on the ones you've mentioned and the ones I've had planned before.
    Thanks for the response. :) <3 lots of love teehee!


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