Monday, August 11, 2008

Review: Darker than Black (2007)

Darker than Black (2007) is a dark science fiction Japanese anime about a group of secretive powerful psychics, known as Contractors, with special supernatural abilities. An impenetrable and abnormal field known as "Hell's Gate" appeared in Tokyo, which permanently decimated the landscape and altered the sky. An international organization, PANDORA, built a huge wall surrounding the city to control the public and to study what little they know about the paranormal phenomenon.

Various nations around the world secretly use Contractors as spies and agents, often resulting in murderous and violent actions for information. Dolls are emotional beings who can only do what they are programmed to be. Contractors and Dolls usually work for Syndicates and are feared and hated by the human masses. In other words, they lack human emotions, particularly consciousness to killing. Hei (a.k.a. BK201 by the police who want to capture him), one of the most powerful of these Contractors, tries to unlock the mysteries of Hell's Gate and his own past.

I thought this was a very good series. There were a lot of science fiction elements (man vs. supernatural vs. secret govt-sponsored organizations). The contractors' mission is to gain information for their Syndicates on the secrets of the origins of Hell's Gate. They do not exist to kill mankind, which is a plus in my opinion. The dark, thought-provoking storyline symbolizes the struggle of their relationship between their jobs and their existence. The audience is very adult-oriented so young children might become bored watching this series. The music was also excellent. The lead singer of abingdon boys school also performs for T.M.Revolution, another great J-rock techno band. The songs are very memorable. I highly recommend the show.

For some unknown reason, has discontinued the DVD sales. I will update later where you can buy the actual series. You may use or Nipponsei to download the music.

[UPDATE 10/29/2010]: has continued distributing the DVDs. You can purchase the DVDs there. In the meantime, there has also been a second season, Darker than Black: Ryƫsei no Gemini (2009), and a prequel (OAV), Darker than Black - Kuro no Keiyakusha: Gaiden (2010). If you have enjoyed the first season, then I highly recommend watching these two versions. I developed a better understanding of Hei's behavior and the secrets behind Yin.

  • TV Episodes: 26
  • OP Song: "HOWLING" by abingdon boys school; "Kakusei Heroism ~The Hero Without A Name~" by An Cafe
  • ED Song: "Tsukiakari" by Rie fu; "Dreams" by HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR

HOWLING by abingdon boys school

Tsukiakari by Rie fu

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