Darker Than Black: Season 1
DVD | Box Set
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A new and deadly breed of covert agent walks the streets. Known as Contractors, these assassins and spies wield bizarre supernatural powers to carry out the dirty work of others. They thrive in the underworld, between rumor and reality, their loyalties always in question. One among these operatives is more mysterious than the rest - The masked killer BK201, the Black Reaper. His true identity and intentions remain unknown, but as his path weaves through the shadows and alleys of Tokyo, blood is spilled on both sides of the law. It's a new age of confusion, and the rules of engagement have changed
Ten years before the opening of the fantasy-adventure Darker Than Black (2007), a mysterious barrier called Hell's Gate appeared in Tokyo. At the same time, Contractors, humans with mysterious powers, arrived on the scene. Since then, governments and private industries have used Contractors to do their dirty work, from assassinations to waging war. One of the most powerful Contractors, Hei (a.k.a. "the Black Reaper"), fights a complex battle against government agents, the CIA, and various hired thugs. His allies include squat, cynical Huang; Yin, who can trace humans through water; and Mao, who takes the form of a talking black cat. His most dangerous foes are Moratoriums, humans with even deadlier powers--and less conscience--than Contractors. The tone of this violent supernatural series shifts radically whenever policeman-turned-private-eye Gai Kurasawa appears. Fancying himself the heir to Humphrey Bogart and Sam Spade, Kurasawa narrates his misadventures in an over-the-top hard-boiled style. The plot reaches a major point when Hei penetrates a secret laboratory of the Pandora organization to steal a mysterious, powerful fragment of a meteorite, which Evening Primrose agents are also seeking. Darker Than Black delivers plenty of fast-paced, hard-hitting action, including well-staged battles in which Hei slices up his enemies with a sort of piano-wire whip. But the story is so convoluted, it's difficult to sort out, even with frequent Morris the Explainer scenes. The first season ends with a rather inconclusive conclusion as Hei and Yin head for the interior of Hell's Gate. Hei realizes that closer relations between humans and Contractors are possible and he reemerges to help create a new era--a standard anime finale that leads to the OVA "Beneath Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom" and the second broadcast season. (Rated TV MA: violence, violence against women, torture, grotesque imagery, risqué humor, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
(1. The Fallen Star of a Contract, Part 1; 2. The Fallen Star of a Contract, Part 2; 3. A New Star Shines in the Dawn Sky, Part 1; 4. A New Star Shines in the Dawn Sky, Part 2; 5. Red Giant over Eastern Europe, Part 1; 6. Red Giant over Eastern Europe Part 2; 7. The Scent of Gardenias Lingers in the Summer Rain, Part 1; 8. The Scent of Gardenias Lingers in the Summer Rain, Part 2; 9. The White Dress, Stained with the Girl's Dreams and Blood, Part 1; 10. The White Dress, Stained with the Girl's Dreams and Blood, Part 2; 11. When One Takes Back What Was Lost Within the Wall, Part 1; 12. When One Takes Back What Was Lost Within the Wall, Part 2; 13. A Heart Unswaying on the Water's Surface, Part 1; 14. A Heart Unswaying on the Water's Surface, Part 2; 15. Memories of Betrayal in an Amber Smile, Part 1; 16. Memories of Betrayal in an Amber Smile, Part 2; 17. A Love Song Sung from a Trash Heap, Part 1; 18. A Love Song Sung from a Trash Heap, Part 2; 19. Dreaming Shallow, Uninebriated, Part 1; 20. Dreaming Shallow, Uninebriated, Part 2; 21. City Under Crackdown, Moist with Tears, Part 1; 22. City Under Crackdown, Moist with Tears, Part 2; 23. God Is in His Heaven, 24. Meteor Shower, 25. Does the Reaper Dream of Darkness Darker Than Black?)
Episode 9 commentary
Episode 13 commentary
Episode 16 commentary
Episode 22 commentary
Episode 26 commentary
Textless opening songs - HOWLING, Kakusei Heroism, Dreams
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Top customer reviews
So one thing about packaging (I don't mean amazon's packaging or delivery, it's about the way the "premium edition" book/diskholder itself is composed). People say it's a joke. Well, it's not a joke, it's a disaster. They literally glued disks themselves to the package (and that's not that i'm very unlucky, the package designed the way that it's extremely easy to stain a disk with glue inside the book). When I opened the box I wasn't able to move 2nd disk at all. When I finally got it it was all in glue. It seems that it's working after cleaning but the quality of all these "premium edition" perks is questionable (yeah, you could easily tear picture cards when you try to get them, cards holder is very unpractical too).
Darker Than Black was one of the anime watches you sometimes stumble on and don't realize until later is pretty fantastic. Going in there were no expectations since there wasn't anything to go by. It was completely new. From our introduction to the world of Darker Than Black. Soon, you are brought up to speed on what's going on. In what's considered the world everyone lives in a few years back The Gates started to appear turning groups of regular everyday people into something other than human. They became either contractors, medatoriums, and or dolls. All of which, who aren't exactly entirely human. It's a really intriguing premise which delivers finely throughout the series.
All the plethora of contractors, medatoriums, and dolls can be highly pinpointed by regular people by how they act in a complete rational plain of thought which alters their view of the world. Afterwards, in these various groups there are even more various differences. Contractors being at the top of the hierarchy have different range of powers that they can access after completing unique obsessive tasks. The cost of using your contractor abilities is your obsessive task that is different for every contractor. Varying from smoking a cigarette to undressing in public.
The contractors are always coming across in various situations because of their connection to The Gates. They are set apart from human society even though they are human. Well sometimes. It's complicated but it's what is so fascinating. Contractors come off as dangerous for their abilities which they are but also hilarious in their rational way of interacting with their surroundings. Also on various occasions well aware of their powers they will allow themselves to be hired to be assassins for wealthy governments or organizations. Only making them seem cruel killers to society at large.
There is widespread gossip about a contractor that is something of an enigma to even regular contractors. The Black Reaper who's real name is really Hei.
Moving into the characters, Hei, is the main character that has a lot to do with the story. We are first introduced to him through a plethora of events that seem random but are, in fact, part of bigger plot in how The Gates exist and conspiracy. Yes, Hei is basically a contractor but as it turns out he's unique. He doesn't act at all like other contractors most of the time. This surprises most other contractors. Throughout the events in Darker Than Black he is after the truth of what really happened in his past during a war involving contractors. His sister died during this war. Leaving him resenful and enraged. As he searches he finds a bigger hidden conspiracy connected to The Gates that include The Heaven's Gate and Hell's Gate that will affect everyone.
Now, for those of you interested in some romance in your anime there are instances of romance but they are subtle. Hei cares for a doll named Yin. She has an appearance of a petite skinny girl that is almost catatonic but don't let that fool you she's something else. She almost always helps Hei on his assignments that turn out to be dangerous. The romance in Darker Than Black isn't huge in this anime but it is there. The sequel to Darker Than Black: Ryusei no Gemini (English Translation: The Twins of the Meteor) continues the story of Hei and Yin's romance a little and brings in a new cast of characters with a new adventure. Further events are mentioned in Darker Than Black: Gaiden which is Season 3 of Darker Than Black. It's an in-between of events that transpired during Darker Than Black and Darker Than Black: Twins of the Meteor.
It's important to note that this anime is very dark. While things have a tiny sense of hope there is a very tragic or more dystopian tone.
Genre: Espionage, Young Adult
Characters develop well especially the "dolls" which their evolution is essential to the overall story. Contractors each have special abilities that differ from other contractors, and those abilities have a price which often has something to do with a habit or bad habit the contractor had while human. The show leaves a few questions unanswered, but wraps things up nicely in the end.
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So pleased that I did too because I really enjoy this series.