Darker Than Black
|Darker Than Black|
Chinese Electric Batman
|Made By||Bones, Aniplex|
|Episode Length||30 minutes|
|# of Eps/Volumes||38(two seasons) + 4 OVAs|
Sum it up in a Sentence:
After the appearance of the mysterious Hell's Gate territory, emotionless individuals called contractors started showing up who can use supernatural powers changing the whole power structure of the world.
Ten years ago, an inscrutable and abnormal territory known as Hell's Gate appeared in Tokyo, altering the sky and wreaking havoc on the landscape. The real stars disappeared, replaced by false stars. During this time, people possessing various special abilities emerged, each capable of different supernatural feats - these are known as Contractors. Each fake star has a corresponding Contractor, which reacts to their activities. As such, Contractors are usually identified by their star's Messier catalogue number. Kept secret from the masses, these individuals are known to murder in cold blood, smothering unnecessary emotions with logic and rationale. Their incredible abilities, however, are gained at the cost of their humanity - Contractors are thus named because of an involuntary compulsion to "pay the price" each time their power is used, which can range from eating particular foods and completing meaningless tasks, to self-harm and having their bodies change in peculiar ways. Various nations and organizations around the world train and utilize Contractors as spies and assassins, resulting in violent battles for valuable objects and information. Following the disastrous Heaven's War, the United States lost its dominant position as a superpower to a mysterious organization named the Syndicate. The story revolves around a Chinese contractor codenamed Hei as he undertakes various espionage and assassination missions in Tokyo under the direction of the aforementioned Syndicate.
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This is a pretty good action series with one of the most unique and interesting settings I have seen in fiction. Unfortunately, it is lacking in some other aspects. There are a few filler episodes that are pretty terrible. Overall though, it is a quite good sci-fi action series. Just don't watch the second season, because for some reason it was turned into a terrible magical girl series.
Mystery, sci-fi & action are blended together with an intriguing, albeit literally short-lived, cast of characters brought to life with BONES' fluid animation. The dark neo-noir narrative style and thrilling soundtrack set a perfect atmosphere for the story's supernatural power struggles and seedy international espionage. If you decide to watch the 2nd season(which while not nearly as good as the 1st, I still enjoyed), make sure you watch the OVAs first as they link the two seasons together.
Darker than Black is probably my favourite action series. The show oozes quality at every step. There is no part of this series that is not well done. Characters, animation, music, narrative, setting, atmosphere - all top-notch. Holy shit, I think I even laughed at the dry humour that occurs at a few points (not at any of the detective stuff, mind). Having watched a stupid number of shows over the years and having essentially never laughed at intentional Japanese humour - that alone marks this series out from the pack. The show has depth, is cerebral at points, and there is no DBZ bullshit. It is about as serious and adult as a series about people with supernatural powers can be. Something unusual about the series is that every episode is in two parts, meaning that the stories are more involving and interesting than shows that try and compress into a single twenty minute slot.
As the other two opinions mention, the second series is a vast drop in quality. There are OVAs (called Gaiden) which maintain the aspect of the first series and are worth your time. There are flickers of the same show in the second season, but they are barely worth the effort.