What lies beyond Hell’s Gate? A Darker Than Black Review

To tell the truth it’s a bit of a hell hole in there – they should really get the cleaners in. All jokes aside, Darker Than Black is the subject of this review.

Ten years prior to the events of Darker Than Black, an area of abnormal territory appeared in Tokyo and another in South America. The land was uninhabitable for humans and a great wall was erected to protect the people from the dangers of what they called Hell’s Gate (the Gate in South America was given the name Heaven’s Gate). At the same time as the appearance of Hell’s Gate, the stars vanished and were replaced by new stars. People began to acquire strange and dangerous abilities and became known as Contractors because after using their powers they felt the impulse to perform a certain task, known as their payment. Each new star corresponded to a Contractor and when their lives ended, their stars fell. The Contractors are completely rational and have no conscience to speak of, in essence they are perfect killing machines.

The existence of Contractors was hidden from the public and though they were despised for being less than human, Contractors were hired by various organisations to do the jobs that humans couldn’t. The most important of these organisations is the Syndicate.

Enter Lee Shenshun, a kind-hearted young man who moved from China to further his studies. Lee seems like a nice enough guy and his new landlady can’t fault him, but Lee isn’t quite what he seems. His true identity is Hei, the Black Reaper, star code BK-201 (by the way, when you watch Darker Than Black take a good look at Lee’s flat number). Hei works for the syndicate as a Contractor with the ability to manipulate electricity.

And Hei is not alone, he has a team behind him. Yin is a doll. Dolls, like Contractors, are not seen as human. They lack the basic emotion of a human and can send out Spectres through different mediums (water in Yin’s case but another doll called July uses glass) to gather information. That is Yin’s job. She sends out her Spectres to watch for things Hei might miss whilst on the job or gather information on the locations of pursued villains. However, despite Yin’s apparent lack of emotion it looks like there could be more to her than meets the eye.

Next up there’s Mao, the talking cat. It’s not until later episodes that we find out the story behind Mao so I won’t ruin it for you. What I will say is that being a cat has its advantages if you need someone tailed (haha get it?). He’s a pretty rational fellow and is constantly keeping Hei in check.




Finally there’s Huang. At first I wasn’t sure I liked Huang because he was miserable and he picked on Hei and Yin a lot, then near the end of the series he started to grow on me. Huang is sort of the leader of Hei’s little team. He gets the orders from the higher-ups and is constantly yelling at Hei for doing something wrong. He’s pretty sharp with a gun and is always on hand to provide a bullet, a smoke bomb or a free cab for a quick getaway.

Hei is hounded by the japanese police for, well…killing people and getting all up in their affairs. Led by Misaki Kirihara, a specific police team joins forces with a team of Contractors from MI5 to track down a rogue Contractor and have their first face to face encounter with BK-201. From then on, Misaki and the MI5 team work together in a variety of circumstances involving strange Contractors.

My favourite character in the series has to be November 11, alias Jack Simons. He’s one of the Contractors from MI5 and though he was only in a few episodes I found him to be one of the best characters in the series. His cheery attitude is a stark contrast to Hei’s brooding. People are often baffled by his english wit and one of his most frequent lines is ‘That was a joke’. His payment is one of the more cruel payments out there (though not quite as bad as one woman who ages every time she uses her power – I’ll just add that it’s an ironic payment) and as his colleague April often points out that his payment is a disgusting habit.

For me, the Darker Than Black series gets a 9/10 simply due to the ending. It’s not a bad ending, I was just upset and think many things should not have happened and that’s all I’m saying.

~ by Jess Wiles on March 12, 2011.

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