Kuro no Keiyakusha
- Darker Than Black
- by Tensai Okamura
- divided into 3 seasons: 1, 1,5 and 2
(Side Note: this is the first and (maybe) the only time we review an anime as a whole meaning that this post contains an overall review of all seasons together)
It was 10 years ago as Heaven’s Gate appeared in South America, which is shortly followed by the opening of Hell’s Gate in Japan. Indeed, their purposes are unknown but the laws of physics seem to be ignored in these places. Moreover, Hell’s gate made the real stars to disappear and replaces them with fake stars. With the appearances of these Gates, Contractors emerge who have supernatural abilities. And every Contractor has a corresponding fake star. The story follows Chief Misaki Kirihara who investigates the case of a Contractor named ‘Black Reaper’. He and his associates (Mao and Yin) work for the mysterious Syndicate and fight against an organisation which kill Contractors.
The anime series has an unusual but creative storyline which is set in the future: It follows the story of a hero named Hei/Black Reaper who tries to keep the Contractors alive. The world is different because the real stars are replaced by fake stars which represent the lives of the contractors. The falling of a star is the sign that a Contractor has died. Contractors are known to murder people and therefore feared. They consist of surreal powers and using these powers have consequences. They have to pay the ‘prize’ each time they use their powers and this has a dramatic impact on their humanity: Some Contractors have to drink much alcohol while others have to smoke or even eat cigarettes. In other words, they have to sacrifice their own body in order to use the powers.
‘Kuro no Keiyakusha’ contains many suspenses and thrilling scenes. You always want to know what happens next. Even though it is very confusing at the beginning, it is quite interesting how the story develops. More and more information will be revealed throughout the anime. One of the main and obvious aspects are the science fictions. The Contractors play an important role in the anime series. An interesting Contractor is the talking cat named Mao who lost his human body a long time ago. He has the abilities to change bodies (human and animals: momonga (Japanese dwarf flying squirrel). Every Contractor has their own special ability.
The diversity of characters make the anime very interesting. In fact, there is no boring characters, everyone has their own background story and different personality.
Black Reaper (Hei)
He is the main protagonist and has different personalities and names. He wears a white mask while in the underground he is known as Black Reaper. In the police file, he is known as BK201 and in public view he uses the name Li Shengshun, a Chinese foreign student. Li is known for being very polite and distant. However, under the name Hei he works for the Syndicate and is an assassin. He has a huge appetite and eats very much. In comparison to other Contractors he still has human emotions.
Yin is a female character and is a blind doll (dolls = emotionless mediums). She has the ability to track and observe people through water which means that she has to be in direct contact with water. This ability is also called observer spirit. She is a doll and therefore supposed to be emotionless and to do no independant actions. However, she changes during the anime series. Yin gets closer to Hei, follows him and even stays his partner without being told to do so.
Another stunning part in the anime is the art of animation. There is nothing to complain about, it is very well done. Each character has a different and unique style. The diversity of the characters make the anime amusable to watch. The fight scenes are very fluid and easy to follow, even the environment is very excellent.
However, the anime also has some negative aspects. It is very difficult to follow because there are too much unexplained information at the same time. We needed much time to get into the series itself, because it was very confusing at the beginning. More and more details will be explained later on, which should have been explained earlier. All in all, ‘Darker than Black’ has a very special plot. Even though we like watching it, we would not rewatch it. It is however worth watching but we were not really thrilled by it.