Danté's Anime Reviews

A set of reviews of Animes I've watched (including age ratings). Any Anime recommendations are welcome.

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5. Darker Than Black (16+)

Darker Than Black

My Age Rating: 16+

Genre: Action, Mystery, Drama, Sci-Fi
Episodes: 25 + 1 OVA
Sequel: Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini
Official Age Rating: Teen 17+

“In Tokyo, an impenetrable field known as "Hell's Gate" appeared ten years ago. At the same time, psychics who wield paranormal powers at the cost of their conscience also emerged. Hei is one of the most powerful of these psychic agents, and along with his blind associate, Yin, works for one of the many rival agencies vying to unlock the mysteries of Hell's Gate.”

I have fallen in love with this anime. I found the story and the idea original and engaging, and just couldn’t get enough. I’m having a hard time not starting on the second series.

One of my favourite things about it is the fact that the cost of these psychic powers is not only the “Contractor’s” – this is what the “psychics” are known as – conscience, but also some, undetermined factor. For some it’s the need to smoke, eat, or even sleep. For others it goes as far as self-harming, or throwing up their food. Though not particularly positive, I considered it to be quite effective.

This plot point is quite valid in the case of Hei, the main character, as he never seems to pay a price, which proves to be quite important later on (but I’m going to try avoiding spoilers here).

I would advise that you watch two episodes at a time, not the one (until you reach the last three of them), as they come in two parts. This will help you keep track of what’s going on.

I watched episode three, and then took ages to watch episode 4, so I got a bit confused for a little while, before I finally remembered what had happened before.

So, to begin with, there are two main “players” in this series: the “Syndicate” (pretty much a secret crime organisation) who Hei and his colleagues work for, and the Tokyo Police. Later on Pandora, a research team, and a Contractor group calling themselves “Evening Primrose” show up, but I won’t say anything else on that subject, as that would likely spoil the anime for new viewers.

One of my favourite things about this anime is the apparent conflict that faces the main character, as he tries to conceal his Contractor nature from the people around him so that he can blend in with society. This attempt to blend in soon seems to impact on the real him, which was particularly interesting (though, again, trying to avoid spoilers here).

I do, despite my love of it, have a complaint about this anime, and that is that the main story seemed to take a little while to develop. The first six or so set things up nicely, but the story is not particularly evident until later. It works well, but the lack of direction at the beginning did put me off ever so slightly. When the story does develop, though, I was certainly not disappointed.

From now on I am going to be doing my ratings out of ten, rather than five. I can’t really explain why, but it feels like the right thing.

My Rating: 9/10

Recommend? Yes. Once you get past the first few episodes, which can be a bit confusing, the story develops really well. It’s fast-paced, but not too fast, and certainly enjoyable. And be aware: you will start to care for the characters (including a Contractor trapped in a cat’s body called Mao), but try not to get too attached.

I wouldn’t usually put anything after my rating and recommendation, but I’d just like to say something about the OVA.

I thought it worked really well. It was from a slightly different perspective, and it was pulled off really well. It was also quite funny. I would suggest to leave the OVA until last, though, to avoid potential spoilers.

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