Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Darker Than Black

Overall Rating: B+
Summary: Known as Kuro no Keiyakusha in Japan, this neo-noir/supernatural series is set 10 years after a Hell Gate opened in Tokyo. The Gate proved impossible to analyze, and it  replaced the stars in the sky with false ones. At the same time, psychics capable of wielding paranormal abilities began to appear.

These individuals are known as Contractors, because they are required to complete a "payment" each time their power is used (for example, eating flowers, breaking fingers, drinking blood).  Each Contractor has a corresponding star, which vibrates when the Contractor uses their power. As such, Contractor's are identified by their star's Messier catalogue number. It's strongly implied that the Contractors lack human emotion and are nothing more than cold-blooded killers. For this reason, many organizations use them as agents.

The series focuses on Hei, a Contractor who plays a "nice guy" student from China named Li Shengshun when undercover, but becomes a cold-blooded killer when on his missions. Not much is known of his past, other than that he had a sister named Pai who died when the South American gate imploded.

Hei works for a group known only as the Syndicate, and operates as a part of a team that includes Yin, an emotionless spirit medium known as a "Doll". Yin is passive and rarely speaks, but has the ability to locate individuals and can observe anything near water as long as she is touching water.

Other members of the team include Mao, a Contractor who lost his body and now resides within the body of a black cat, and Huang, the uninteresting field supervisor.

I heard about Darker Than Black a few months back, and had been interested in seeing what it was like. It looked like one of those series that could be interesting or it could be "meh". Luckily, it was definitely the former. While I'm not in love with the series (I prefer series to give me some more depth to my characters), it's a solid concept, and so far the plot is interesting. I am hoping that in later episodes, Hei and Yin get a little more character development, we start to learn more about what created the Contractors, and where the story is going.