Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Darker than Black : Anime Review

Anime time!!!
Story Overview
The series starts off with teasers of a complex world, where a supernatural event a few years ago, besides creating a hallowed ground zero called Hell's gate, has also seemingly given certain individuals (called Contractors) incredible powers a la X-Men. In the first few episodes, we get a glimpse of some compelling characters, a doll figuring out her humanity, a warg trapped in a cat, a middleman trying to own his power, the policewoman hot on their trail and the protagonist, Li... codename BK201... nickname Masked Reaper... who is a contractor.
Then, without much warning, for the next 10-12 episodes, the series turns episodic, bebopish if you will. The cast goes on various adventures, meeting other contractors. Most of these episodes have no consequence on the final story line but serve to reveal certain aspects of our characters and the story. The only other major consequence of these adventures is that it turns our more or less hostile bunch into a tight unit, which sets up quite nicely for the final episodes where our heroes take down the shadow Syndicate.

What's wrong with it?
I won't spoil all the details of the story. The character development is not profound, but Mao the talking cat is enjoyable while the dolls and the contractors manage to paint quite a morose view of a ruthless world. The other contractors are interesting at first but some of them die off without getting the time to make me care. However, the ending is quite a letdown. Given the decent cast and the intricate world story built under the series, most of it eventually end up not being fleshed out. The story has the choice of a dozen interesting ways to proceed, but it goes for the standard X-men route. As a result the story while not bad, does not realize the potential it creates for itself.

What's Right?
What stands out is the great music throughout the series. It draws from all genres and fits each scene like a glove, especially the fight scenes. The fight scenes in DTB are not standard fast fist flying stuff.. rather they take a few minutes to set up and end quickly and decisively. Therefore finding great music for these and other tense scenes is quite rewarding. The graphics are good, nothing spectacular, but definitely well produced. Likewise the voice/dub.

All in all, it was an enjoyable series. But if you are like me and watch anime because its so vastly different from Hollywood's worlds view, and because anime affords more artistic freedom than live action... then you might consider its "safe" ending disappointing. I cannot recommend it to a serious anime fan.

My Rating : 6.5 out of 10.

PS: The sequel of DTB, DTB: Gemini of the Meteor, while explains more of the plot elements of the story, has a poorer storyline and nothing qualitatively new is added, unlike Fate/Zero, so I no bother.


  1. This is one of the few blogs I have kept coming back to. Its good that you started writing again.

    1. Thanks man, that means a lot. Hopefully I can keep the blog going this time...