Remains of the Day: Darker than Black

Darker Than Black wishes it were many things. Para wishes it were good.



Ten years ago, an entity dubbed the "Hell's Gate" appeared around Tokyo. This mysterious force field caused the stars in the sky to disappear replaced with fake stars and bestowed supernatural powers to humans. These humans, known as Contractors, use their powers for their personal gain but only at the cost of a personal remuneration. In this world of the supernatural, Hei, an elite Contractor , Yin, a blind "Doll", and Huang, a no-nonsense enforcer, work for a mysterious syndicate bent on unlocking the secrets of Hell's Gate and eliminating any other Contractors that get in their way. Now that is a great starting of an anime, a starting which boasts that more interesting scenes are to come.

The anime starts out with introducing the main characters in such a way that initially you know little to nothing about them. As the story progresses, you generally become fond of 'em even the ruthless Huang. The anime dedicates 2 episodes to each story arc. Thus quickly and efficiently telling a story. The unfortunate problem which occurs is that the overall story feels rather disjointed. You can try and fit the puzzle to try and make sense of it but it'll be in vain. The minor characters introduced in these story arcs will only serve to forward the story and nothing more but they actually have more appeal than the title characters. And with the eventuality that you'll get fond 'em, they will get shot in the head or killed/rushed out of the arc in a similar fashion never to be heard of again.

The main characters of the series first season (from left to right): Huang, Yin, Hei, and Mao.
The main characters of the series first season (from left to right): Huang, Yin, Hei, and Mao.

The Contractors, as it is revealed later have to pay a price for using their powers. These prices are, admittedly, odd at best. For example, one Contractor has to write poetry after using his ability while the other has to smoke after using his and so on and so forth. And while the concept itself is solid, revealing a few episodes afterwards that if the Contractors do not pay their debt, they die in a brutal fashion. Understandably, the first question that'll pop in your head is; "How do they know what their contract is?". Well, that part is never explained. And this is where the problem lies. The anime fails to answer the question which'll come to any ones mind at first glance. It, unfortunately, sweeps them under the rug in hopes that the viewers will forget about the nagging question as he/she goes down the rabbit hole that is Darker Than Black.

And the anime constantly trips over when trying to explain things. Its like seeing a twelve year old tell a grown up tale in a hurry. All jumbled and while time to time makes sense, falls flat on its face. There are too many things to tell and not enough time to tell them all. It's depressing really, because this anime was absolutely glowing with ideas.

Compared to anime such as Clannad and Angel Beats!!, the music selection for this anime falls flat to the ground. The art direction isn't that amazing either. While it improves in some areas, it overall feels odd and disjointed.

Conclusion: This anime had immense potential. Had it been given a more workaround and few more episodes to layout the story in a conventional manner, it would've been a perfect story. The characters, while not perfect in every aspect, were likeable to a fault. Had it not been for the glaring flaw that is the story. DISAPPROVED.

Firstly, comment! And feel free to critique. :3
Secondly, if you have any suggestion on what game/anime/movie I should review next, you can post your suggestions and I'll try my ever best to entertain the requests.
Thirdly, if you would like to look up an old review, visit the Remains of the Day Group for the review index, likewise if you would like to remain up-to-date on the reviews posted, join it!

I really liked Darker than Black TBH... it felt like Static Shock met Batman if he lost his moral complex and started killing everyone... and honestly I didn't mind the story I didn't really care how badly they failed at explaining it because it's the whole air of mystery it kept around itself is what I found interesting... and hell it's way better than the shit storm that was season 2... the OVA was ok though... it had better animation anyway... and I always figured their contract was like an added impulse every time they use their power... like OCD but you spontaneously combust if you refused to straighten the fringes of your carpet when you walked into your bedroom...<.<




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