Darker Than Black: Complete Season 2 Box Set (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
DVD + Blu-ray
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After a paranormal phenomenon takes over Yin, BK-201 is left to hunt for answers from the shadows, alone until he encounters Suo, a young girl whose life changed the night a meteor crashed to Earth. With Contractors attacking from all sides, and the mysterious organization Section 3 closing in, the Black Reaper fights to keep Suo alive while he searches for the truth behind Yin's disappearance.
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To begin, it's worth mentioning that Hei is no longer the main protagonist. He's still a major character, but this season focuses more on a young girl named Suo. Upon discovering that she is a Contractor, Suo embarks on a journey alongside Hei in pursuit of answers regarding her past. Suo's story is full of mystery and heartbreak, but she is fairly optimistic despite the life-threatening circumstances she finds herself in. While some may not agree with me, I have to say that this is where I consider Season 2 an improvement over the first; the overall tone is consistently lighter and more optimistic this time around.
Like I mentioned above, Hei and some other characters from the first season are present, although you may not care for how the infamous Black Reaper is represented here. Don't get me wrong, he's still as cool and tough as he was last season, but his outlook and mood have darkened, resulting in him having a nasty drinking habit. Thankfully, he sobers up halfway through the season, but for someone who likes the character, the darker attitude left me confused. This is where I recommend that you watch the OVA before starting Season 2 itself (it's included on the 3rd DVD disc and the 2nd Blu-Ray disc) because otherwise, you won't really get why he acts the way he does or what happened to Yin. I watched the series before watching the OVA, which made me understand a lot more about what was going on in Season 2, but I think it would have been better if I had knowledge of that information in the first place.
As for the visuals, not much has changed since Season 1, which isn't a complaint by any means. I enjoyed the crisp visuals of Season 1, and they carry over quite nicely here. The fight scenes, however, are a noticeable improvement, being animated more fluidly and vividly; the only downside is that there's not as many fight scenes as the first season. You'll also notice that everything looks brighter and more colorful, a definite plus in my book. Overall, everything looks great.
While I've brought up a lot of good things about this Season, there is a reason I'm not giving it a perfect review; it's mostly because of the story. Like I mentioned above, the tone is more positive this time around, but the actual events that unfold over the series left me asking for a little bit more in terms of substance. This season is only 12 episodes long in comparison to the 25 of Season 1, and I felt like more time to build on what's happening and why could have greatly improved this season. Suo is a fairly well-developed character, but other new characters don't quite get the buildup I was hoping for, and returning characters could have been used to greater effect (when you see what kind of animal Mao is inhabiting, you'll get what I mean). I'm not asking for a bunch of exposition, but I wanted more reasons to hate the bad guys and love the good guys other than what we see in the present.
There's also the issue I had with the lore of the world itself. I was thoroughly enticed by the mystery surrounding Contractors, Dolls, and the Gates that have appeared around the world, but we aren't given that much to go on this Season. There are some interesting things developing around what exactly the difference between a Contractor and a Doll are, as well as what additional powers Dolls have, but I felt like there are more questions than answers to be had here; I'm not asking for everything to be explained, but again, some deeper answers would have been nice. In particular, the ending to this season is a major cliffhanger that will undoubtedly leave you asking for more, but as of writing this review, it's late 2015 and I've yet to hear confirmation of a 3rd Season.
I don't think I need to explain the dub/sub thing, since most of you watching this will have already seen Season 1 and made your minds up as to what you prefer. I really liked the dub in Season 1, and it continues to be solid for Season 2.
Even for all of its faults, Season 2 is a worthy continuation of the series. Most of the characters are likable, the action is entertaining to watch, and this dark world has become somewhat brighter and more hopeful. It has a few issues that may leave you asking for more, but you'll still be satisfied with what you do get. The stars have faded somewhat, but they're still shining.
It is also important to keep in mind that before you watch this second series, please note that this comes with the OVAs as well. These, in my opinion, must be watched first before the actual season is watched. They are kind of like a prequel that gives a frame of reference for the second season. Be warned, though, the OVAs are MUCH different from the first and even the second series as it is nearly all character development (with a love story..I think..maybe?).
Once I understood everything, this was a great second season. Again, much different from the first season, but not necessarily in a bad way. Just different. One complaint though. The girl, Suo (I don't know if that's how you spell it or not, and frankly don't care; you'll know who I mean when you watch it) has the power to generate, from her body, an anti-tank sniper rifle. That's cool. That's unique. None of the X-Men ever had anything like that. However, I don't want to see her "conjure" it out of her body every time she uses it! Talk about an unnecessary time killer!
Other than that, I highly recommend this second season to those who have seen the first and wish it didn't end when it did.
The 2nd season follows after the OVA's left off where Hei is now in a stupor as he searches for Yin who was kidnapped, he arrives in Russia working for the CIA where he is sent to capture a boy named Shion.
So the 2nd season of Darker than Black had a lot of hate given to it because of the confusion about what happened to Yin and Hei. Also many didn't like the introduction of a new character a young girl named Suou. This confusion was the result of many people not watching the OVA's between the 1st and 2nd season. This was critical because it explains what happened to Yin. Suou as a character was great or bad she was just along for the ride and this was meant to be because of event that happen in the story with the character Shion.
Another important aspect of where people get confused is the fact that Darker than Black is following the Izanami/Izanagi/Kagutsuchi legend, which helps to explain what the over arching ideas of the story are and how the names correspond to the characters. Most believe that Hei is Izanagi, Yin is definitely Izanami, and the result of their being together would be Kagutsuchi. The last few being speculation by most viewers, but this helps to clarify their story and why Yin is changing from a normal doll to something else
Okay on to the actual product review, this version was perfect for someone who already owns the 1st season if it comes in a single DVD case because the chipboard case leaves room for the 1st season so all of it can be held in one box. Of course the issue being with the set though is if you don't have the first season than you have to keep the placeholder that comes with the box or else you'll have an empty space, but likely if you're buying this product than you already have the 1st season.This box has some great artwork, as well as the Blu rays and DVD have artwork on them that each was distinct and very nice to look at. I checked the quality of the 2nd season on Blu-Ray which looked great and I checked the OVA's on DVD which looked even better than the 1st season. There was no production drop off or budget cuts for this series.
Overall i would give the box set a 5/5 for having a blu-ray and dvd combo, a great chipboard box, and great artwork. The OVA's are 4/5, and the 2nd season a 4/5 because while the show is highly enjoyable, the animation is great, there is the issue of not clarifying everyone's role throughout the series which would require re-watching the series once or twice to catch each important detail and make it clear.