Darker than Black News

Darker than Black is a franchise comprised of 3 anime series
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For the last month, I've watched two episodes of the second season of Darker Than Black every Friday as Funimation released them via Hulu and YouTube.  I actually posted my reactions to the first pair a while back, and you might find them if you scroll down a bit on my page; I haven't been at this site long, so you won't have to go too far.
After seeing the last episode this morning, I felt...drained.  If I had to compare it to anything else, it would be the feeling I get after watching something like Gurren Lagann or Wolf's Rain.  Both were wild rides with plenty of dramatic twists and heart-wrenching character deaths, and both had endings that just didn't quite satisfy.  Since not everyone has had the good fortune to see Gurren Lagann, or the dubious fortune of watching Wolf's Rain back when it aired on Adult Swim's anime block back in the Stone Age, I won't post any details of what exactly happened at the ending of each show.
 Meet the new BK201.  (He's a horrible jerk.)
 Meet the new BK201.  (He's a horrible jerk.)
Darker Than Black's second season starts with the cutesy high school shenanigans of its Russian protagonist Suo, then tosses the poor girl into the company of a brand new crop of contractors that give those from the first season a run for their money.  Of course, she is quickly taken under the wing of series veteran Hei, and soon enough she's whipping out anti-tank rifles and kicking ass with the best of them, so there's not too much to worry about.
Or is there?  The second season takes a different direction than the first; the writers spend a lot of time exploring just what their world of contractors and otherworldly Gates would look like from the perspective of a teenage girl, and to be honest, it can be pretty horrible at times.  To make matters worse, the people around her are all absolute bastards; even Hei, who was the nicest person in the first season, is a horrible jerk to the girl.  
This isn't the only change; the music is decidedly different, although just as enjoyable as Yoko Kanno's work from the first season.  Almost none of the old flock of characters have returned, and the few who have returned have also switched sides--sometimes more than once.  However, as a whole, the cast is just as memorable as that from the first, and benefits from yet another change: this season ditches the more episodic structure used in the first in favor of a single linear storyline, which allows viewers to become more attached to a smaller cast of characters, as opposed to a flood of bit players who come and go with each plot arc.  
In the end, I'm just not sure how to feel about the second season of Darker Than Black.  The characters are great, the fights are great, and the music is great, but while the story as a whole is interesting and compelling, the ending is even more confusing and dissatisfying than that of Wolf's Rain, and raises far more questions than it answers.  While there seem to be a few interquel OVAs to bridge the gap between seasons one and two, I have yet to hear any word of a third season, which means that for the time being, those questions are going to go unanswered.
That being said, I definitely recommend this show to anyone who wants a good, enjoyable, twelve-episode anime.  The first season is great and has been released as part of Funimation's "Classics" line, but for those unwilling to fork over thirty or forty bucks, the second season doesn't necessarily require having seen the first, and doesn't spoil too much from the first season, either.  You can find the first season here on Amazon; it's going for about $35, though that is of course subject to change.  As for the second season, you can find it here on Hulu.
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Semester exams have finally come to an end, meaning a great deal of free time for the next few days.  Not much else to do right now, so hey, why not watch the second ep of Darker Than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini?

I'm starting to get a feel for just how much of a departure this season is from the first.  For one, the focus seems to be sticking with Suo, which translates to a very different perspective.  From the hunting flashback at the start of the episode, I was expecting the girl to take a level in badass and start toting the thing around, but apparently Studio BONES had its own, funnier idea in mind.  In fact, this entire episode seemed like something out of the earlier, brighter episodes from the first season; Suo's antics do a great deal to balance out the show's dark(er than black, do ho ho) atmosphere. 

On the less hilarious side of things, I can't help but feel rather sorry for Hei; I still have no idea what went down in the two years between S1 and S2, but he is very much the worse for wear.  His transformation into hobo!Hei reminds me rather a lot of Phoenix Wright's own metamorphosis into hobo!Phoenix.  The guy just looks haggard.  From the looks of things, he and Yin got separated at some point prior to S2, and he is not taking it at all well.  Still, it looks like he'll have a new sidekick in the form of Suo.  I'm not entirely sure if I like their dynamic, though; the whole "groping" thing rubbed me the wrong way.
Some things never change.
Some things never change.

This show seems to be going through its crop of contractors rather quickly.  There was the not-Flash, who April slaughtered in a rather awesome fashion.  Then there was April herself, who Hei slaughtered.  Then the Magician showed up; his power and price both seemed very interesting, and I was hoping to see him as a recurring rival, much like that self-cutting fellow from S1...until Hei killed him.  Now we have girl-whose-price-is-making-out-with-people, girl-whose-power-is-siccing-locusts-on-her-idiot-boyfriend, and the rock-body guy, who I'm just going to call The Boulder until I have a reason to remember his actual name.  In any case, the new contractors are awesome, the battles are awesome, and the music is awesome--if totally different in theme from the first season.

Much like the last episode, this one ended with a rather spectacular cliffhanger, and the post-credits stinger offered something totally unexpected.  From the looks of things, BK201 has gone dark, which means nothing good for Hei.  On the bright side, Kirihara might be back!  All in all, this is shaping up to be another great season.

Why not try watching it yourself on Hulu or Youtube?
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So, apparently Funimation has started loading the second season of Darker Than Black onto hulu, as well as its proprietary Funimation Video site.  The first season left me pretty impressed, but its ending was conclusive enough that while I've looked forward to seeing the second season, I haven't waited with bated breath.  Still, seeing the first two episodes of Darker Than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini up on hulu was a pleasant surprise.

That said, I went ahead and gave the first episode a whirl, and wow was it a doozy.  First off, until the last few minutes, a mostly new cast of characters dominated the stage.  Given certain developments near the end of the first season, I wasn't expecting to see Huang, Mao, or November 11, but the lack of Hei and Yin was surprising. 

Luckily, the new flock seems cool.  The focus character was a redheaded photography buff named Suo.  Unless this season keeps up the two-episode-arc format from the first--which seems unlikely, given how short this season is--it looks like she'll be the heroine, and she seems like the plucky sort.  Hopefully the inevitable surge of grimdark that started with this episode's latter third won't completely destroy her cute personality.  Her twin brother, Shion, seems interesting.  There didn't seem to be any indication of what his powers might be, but given that his price was apparently being wheelchair-bound for an indefinite length of time, I'm willing to bet it's something big.

Actually, given the title of the second season, it looks like these "twins of the meteor" will play a key role.  Thank goodness my five semesters of Japanese gave me the elite skills needed to type "ryuusei" into Denshi Jisho, right?  One should never underestimate the value of a college education.

As for the last few minutes of the episode and the post-credits preview, well, let's just say I have a few questions that I hope the second episode will answer.  For example:  Did Hei actually murder Suo's dad?  When was his last haircut?  When was his last shave, even?  And, last but not least, is he an alcoholic now, or did killing April somehow snag her price?  Given how he started breaking all the rules at the end of the last season, that really wouldn't surprise me.

Well, in any case, it was a fun episode, and I hope other folks will give it a watch on hulu--or I suppose you could watch it on YouTube.

Edit:  Okay, so embedding basically doesn't work.  Thing's basically a glorified link.  I'll just put down the links directly, then.

Give it a watch on Hulu or YouTube.
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I recently started watching Darker than Black, a series that I've wanted to start watching for a very long time, but never really got round to. To cut a long story short, I went through the first 25 episodes (26, if we include the first OVA), in record time. Needless to say, this show is nothing short of amazing. By the end, I was proud to say that it was actually one of the finest animes I had ever watched, and I've watched a lot.  
The character development was phenomenal. The series revolved around two-part episodes that would be based on a different character, usually detailing their back story. They would also take the time to slowly move the main plot along, making sure to not give too much away as they developed the characters and their ties to each other. 
By the time I got to the end of the series, even characters that I had once disliked (Huang, November 11), had found a place in my heart. I had grown extremely attached to these characters, and I wanted more. 

 From left to right: Huang, Yin, Hei, Mao.  
 From left to right: Huang, Yin, Hei, Mao.  
Seeing that they had made a second season (Ryuusei no Gemini), and a four episode OVA series entitled Darker than Black: Gaiden, I was extremely excited for what was to come. 
Now I made sure that I watched every episode in the correct order. The Darker than Black universe has the potential to be surprisingly complex, but only the basics are really explained. 
Moving on to the OVA, I noticed quite a different tone after the first two episodes. Beware, spoilers from here on. 
Now I thought it was quite cool that they were developing Yin and Hei's relationship. They were on the run, and they only had each other. It was good to see that this was affecting Yin's ability as well. An emotionless doll that was gaining more power through actually being wanted, and loved (Although I doubt Hei would openly say this, that's the vibe that I got.) 
Yin's back story in the original series was definitely my favourite two episodes, so further development to her character was very much welcome. From here on, it goes a little weird. 
Yin is captured, and it turns out that she now has the power of Izanami sleeping within her. Izanami has the ability to make contractors commit suicide, actually making her the most deadly foe in Darker than Black. 
This was hitting me too fast though. I had been under the assumption that Yin's power was evolving because she wasn't being treated like a lifeless doll. I was a bit, and I still am, confused with the whole Izanami thing. 
Anyway, by the end it appears that Yin forced Izanami to remain sealed, and she was captured by Section 3. This is where Ryuusei no Gemini begins.  
 My face through most of series two.
 My face through most of series two.
The second series takes a completely different approach to the first, and it felt somewhat experimental. There was only twelve episodes in this series, and it had taken a complete continuity route, rather than spending episodes developing the characters. What was more surprising was that Hei was not the main character, and rather, was replaced by a little girl, named Suou. 
Hei does make an appearance, though I'm not sure this was a good thing at first. Hei's character is now a lot more aggressive, a lot more drunk, and generally a lot more hobo-like. It's doesn't really explain whether this change came about through the depression of losing Yin, but Hei does become more like his old self after he finds out where Yin is.

The new characters are quite forgettable, and most of the old ones are actually put on to the back burner for this series, which is why I say that it seemed experimental. The ending was what topped it off really. I didn't care about Suou at all, and I only wanted to see Hei pull off a miracle and save Yin. 
Heck, I don't even know what happened, to be honest. I'm going to watch the OVA and this series through again to see if I can make sense of it all. Again, I don't think it was bad, but it just felt very rushed overall.
A lot of Ryuusei no Gemini is pretty forgettable, or perhaps I should just watch it through again and see if it makes sense. I was actually surprised to find out that the OVA, which explains what happened in the time skip, wasn't released until after the second series. Fans must've been confused as hell.  
Come the end of the series, I actually had more questions than answers. It didn't really feel like Darker than Black any more, but it didn't feel like a bad anime either.  
I REALLY hope they make season three. It would be a crime to leave the ending how it was.  
Is Yin dead?  
What exactly did Hei do to her right before the end?  
What the hell is up with that alternate world?  
If Mao was taken over by the cat's consciousness at the end of series one, then how is he now a squirrel? Shouldn't  he still be inside the cat? 
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Found an interesting article of Newtype listing the most popular male & female anime characters for the years 2000-2010.

1. Cagalli Yula Athha (Gundam SEED)

2. Lacus Clyne (Gundam SEED)

3. Sheryl Nome (Macross F)

4. Nagato Yuki (Haruhi)


5. Suzumiya Haruhi (Haruhi)


6. C.C. (Code Geass)

7. Shinguji Sakura (Sakura Taisen)

8. Shinku (Rozen Maiden)


9. Senjougahara Hitagi (Bakemonogatari)

10. Saber (Fate/stay Night)


1. Lelouch vi Britannia / Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass)


2. Kira Yamato (Gundam SEED)


3. Athrun Zala (Gundam SEED)

4. Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)


5. Kyon (Haruhi)

6. Echizen Ryoma (Prince of Tennis)

7. Shibuya Yuuri (Kyou Kara Maoh!)

8. Sakata Gintoki (Gintama)

9. Sagara Sousuke (Full Metal Panic)

10. Hei (Darker Than Black)

Looks like Gundam SEED characters are dominating in these lists but at least the awesomeness that is Hei and Senjougahara are on the list. 

Articles found on sankakucomplex (Male list, Female list)
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Who here love Darker Than Black? Me? Yes. I friggen loved it! The ending was perfect the way it was! Then they go along and make a sequel to a perfectly fine anime. At first I think: Hmm, maybe this wont be so bad... Boy was I wrong! I cried my self to sleep! (Kidding!) They  SPOILER WARNING: Click here to reveal hidden content.
and add an aggravating pubescent girl who makes me die inside when ever I think of her. I thought, whatever, just another spoiled series. Nothing new right? But these occurrences have been increasing! It's spreading like Swine Flu. 
It started not so long ago... 
First  there was Mai-Hime's spin off: Mai-Otome. Mai-Hime was so emotional and the plot was fully developed. I thought it was great. They go and make Mai-Otome and the plot is almost non-existent and the characters... don't get me started! 
Then came the dreaded Naruto. They left us with a cliff hanger... as expected of an anime. They make Shippuden. In my opinion Shippuden is much better than the first season, but I mean come on! Naruto was long enough as it was, now there is another never ending season! Please end Naruto! The plot is dead! you can no longer resuscitate the series... finish it... there is no more hope. 
Then comes Dragon Ball. I don't think I can count all the seasons, spin-offs and sequels there are. I don't even know what it's about anymore. Why must animators do this? You are going to loose viewers, not gain them, if you drag along a series like that. It's like dragging a dead cow through the streets... nobody wants it. 
Inuyasha... No explanation is needed. I don't even know what it's about. 
Darker Than Black, Full Metal Alchemist, Death Note, est., est. 

Mind you there are some damn good sequels around. Code Geass R2 was amazing! And they needed it to end the series. Gundam SEED DESTINY was OK and was not unnecessary... the ending sucked but other than that it was good! Hetalia Axis Powers' second season is better than the first and is necessary to complete the series. Gundam 00 season 2, also good and wasn't dragging on a dead plot. The list goes on... But you get my point. 
A lot of unnecessary sequels are being made, please, please... if your going to make a sequel make it A) Good B) Worthwhile.  
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FUNimation Entertainment Introduces

Beta Version Live Today, Site to Premiere in Spring 2009


Flower Mound, Texas (December 22, 2008) -- FUNimation Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Navarre Corporation, today announced the test launch of its online video service, www.funimation.com/video, offering viewers the largest selection of streaming, on-demand, premium anime programming for free.

FUNimation will legally offer hundreds of high-quality, full-length episodes, including many full series, of current and catalogue programming from its library. Among the many titles of the video player launch are episodes of Darker Than Black, Guyver, Black Blood Brothers, Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino, Jyu-Oh-Sei, Negima 2, Ouran High School Host Club, Romeo X Juliet, Shigurui: Death Frenzy, STRAIN: Strategic Armored Infantry  and many other top titles that are not available anywhere else.

Each week, FUNimation will be rolling out new episodes of the newest and best anime from Japanese producers -- including those currently airing in Japan -- as well other select video such as trailers, exclusive interviews, podcasts and other FUNimation original productions.  

Features of the site include:

  •   Higher-quality video player
  •   Both subtitled and English-dubbed episodes
  •   Flash video streaming, ensuring ease of use and cross-platform compatibility
  •   Same-screen video playback, without a separate pop-up window
  •   Expandable video player
  •   Lower lights feature
  •   Ability to share video


During this beta period, FUNimation will continue to add features that will enhance the consumers viewing experience.


Free. First. FUNimation.com

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