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Old 23-12-2012, 08:49 PM   #1   [permalink]
MeMyself
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Red face Darker Than Black

Most of you have probably already seen this series. I have seen where it is referred to and talked about quite a bit. But this is my first time watching Darker Than Black, and I have gotten through disc 1, the first five episodes. Liking dark animes, I am attracted to the title. However, so far it is not as dark as I would hope. But by the end of disc 1, that may change.

The world of humans is also being inhabited by non-human Contractors hired as assassins. This includes the legendary Dark Reaper. There are also mindless Dolls who are programmed to do what they are designed to do. There is a lot of other weird stuff which would take too long to explain. That's the series.

I tried watching both the English dub and the Japanese dub with subtitles. But there is a lot of dialog for an action series, and I found it too hard to keep up with all the subtitles. So from now on it is English only.

I'm sticking the the series for now and will get back to you on my impressions. Meanwhile, NO SPOILERS PLEASE!
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Old 27-12-2012, 12:03 AM   #2   [permalink]
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I just finished disc 2, episodes 6-10. There is a bit of comedy relief with a two-parter in episodes 7 and 8, but then it gets dark again.

The color scheme used in the artwork is quite ordinary. That is a bit of a weakness. If this is to be a dark anime, it would be so much more effective to have used a more bland color scheme, say for example like Boogiepop Phantom or parts of Claymore. The use of bright colors makes me wonder if Darker Than Black is supposed to be dark at all. The animation is not bad, but it doesn't exactly set new standards either.

Getting back to the comic relief, I will have to watch additional episodes to see if they try that again. Comic relief before the half-way point is a bit odd. I wonder if the creators of this series intended to use comedy as a dramatic device, such as Shakespeare and Hitchcock did. I will wait and see.
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Old 30-12-2012, 10:48 PM   #3   [permalink]
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So now I am through disc 3, episodes 11-14. We get a bit more on the back-story of Hei, aka The Black Reaper. We also get the back-story on his doll Yin. Plus more comedy relief.

The one thing that has impressed me so far is the detailed character development, even for minor and temporary characters who appear for just one or two episodes. It seems they all have strongly developed personalities to begin with. No story time is needed to develop their personalities.

For example, the rival contractors in episodes 13 and 14 have personality quirks, tastes, motivations, issues, habits, and idiosyncrasies fully established beginning from scene one which define who they are and what drives them. A lot of work had to go into developing these characters before a final script hit the printers.

More later.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:22 PM   #4   [permalink]
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Disc 4, episodes 15-18, begins what appears to be the second season. The series is made up of several stories told in two parts, but there is a theme running throughout. It involved the Gate and the "Syndicate" for which Hei works. We are barely given an idea of what each are. Then there is Hei's long, lost sister. All three play a role in episodes 15 and 16, when Hei reunites with an old flame.

I like the two-part story construction of the series. The plots are so well developed, you want more. Either you are eager to watch part 2, or after part 2 see what is next in store for Hei's team. This is a well written series.

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Old 08-01-2013, 11:36 PM   #5   [permalink]
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I just corrected my previous posting. That was disc 4, not 5. This is disc 5, the next four episodes.

Previously we learned about the past of Hei's doll Rin. Here we learn about the past of his boss Wong. Hei also readies for a face off with his greatest enemy, Amber. Oh, and there's some fan service.

But most interesting is we are beginning to have questions about the humanity the contractors are not supposed to have. Are they more human than they or anyone else realize? But there does not seem any indication the series is going to continue down that road. I hope it does. With one disc left, I shall see. My final review then.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:12 PM   #6   [permalink]
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I finished disc 6, episodes 23-26. The series actually wraps up with episode 25. Episode 26 is a more light hearted bonus episode.

In the final episodes, the series breaks away from the two-part story format. We find out the secret behind Hei's sister Pi. The lines between the good guys and the bad get blurred. Some major characters die. And Hei must choose between being a contractor and being human. Either choice brings death to millions. But who does Hei save? Contractors or humans?

Although the series is not as dark as I had hoped, it was entertaining and had a good storyline which kept my attention throughout. The ending is good, leaving just enough unsettled to make you want more. (And there may well be more. In checking up some information on-line, I found a rumor of a Darker than Black prequel coming out possibly this year.)

One of the minor plotpoints is the chemistry between Hai and the female police chief Kirihara. It gives the series a little extra touch of interest.

I give this one a thumbs up. Between the action and the questions raised about humanity, this series has something for everyone. For parents, there is some non-sexual nudity, and maybe some mild profanity. There is also some bloody violence, though not as extreme as some animes.

Anyone else have comments?
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Old 21-02-2013, 02:32 AM   #7   [permalink]
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It certainly can be confusing at times, but I loved season 1.
I also thought it was not as dark as it could have been, but I did not find that taking anything away from the experience of the series
I would comment more, but I watched this quite awhile ago, and do not remember enough to put out a proper opinion. Seems I need to rewatch it sometime
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Old 22-02-2013, 08:02 AM   #8   [permalink]
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A response! I don't get many of those.

Do you have Netflix up in Canada? If so, they have the DVD's.
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Old 23-06-2013, 12:28 PM   #9   [permalink]
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I thoroughly enjoyed this series for exactly what I saw it to be: a uniquely anime twist on the superhero and espionage-thriller genres.
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