Friday, April 22, 2011

Darker Than Black - Review

Superpowers Will Never Be The Same

In the near future, a collision with two meteors sends the world into a panic. One of the meteors lands in South America, dubbed Heaven Gate, and one in Japan, Hell's Gate. Inside the Gates the laws of physics no longer apply, and supernatural occurrences seem to kill anyone who steps inside of them. Stranger still, the night sky has been replaced, with brand new starts reflecting the lives of Contractors - supernatural assassins that have appeared as a result of the Gates. Hei, a Contractor and operative for the shadowy Syndicate, searches for her sister, whom he lost during the War for Heaven's Gate. As Hei searches for his missing sister, he encounters deadly Contractors and a plot to change the face of humanity once and for all. Partnered with a body-switching Contractor stuck in the body of a cat, a Doll, who is a personality-less medium, and a hard as nails Syndicate member, Hei must overcome the strange nature of his powers and make a decision for the future of humanity.

Hei AKA BK-201 AKA The Black Reaper

I was introduced to this series by a friend and was hooked instantly. I watched every episode in about three days, captivated by the storytelling and incredible characters. The nature of the Contractor's powers is very unique and well executed. When a Contractor uses his or her powers, they have to perform a remuneration, which is a payment for having their ability. These range from breaking one's own fingers to eating a hard boiled egg every time the ability is used. The payments are strange and varied, which adds to the unique aspects of each character.

The music is done by Yoko Kanno, who did the soundtrack to Cowboy Bebop. The addition to the 70's style jazz beats in a supernatural crime noir is welcomed, and the soundtrack itself is incredible. The animation and style of the show looks standard on the surface, but there are little details, cinematography, and choices with direction that set it apart from other series. At no point does the show feel like it was slapped together on the fly, and that's something that often happens to a series when it's been around for a while.

If you're a fan of Cowboy Bebop and stories about people with supernatural abilities, this crime noir take on the genre is one of the best that's out there. The DVD set is well worth the time, and it's a shame that it hasn't been released on Blu Ray yet here in the US.

1 comment:

  1. Great review!

    There's a post about Darker Than Black on the Manga UK blog at the moment. Have you read it?