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.
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.
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.
MAO IS A FRICKIN' SQUIRREL!!!!
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? ARGH!