“Darker Than Black” is a cool thriller about an independent band of psychic superheroes who are trying to save the world from corporate assassins.
At least that’s what I’ve concluded. However, these superheroes are known as contractors. They obtained special psychic abilities from witnessing the mysterious appearance of Hell’s Gate.
Some corporations hire these contractors to perform their own black market smuggling deals. However, another independent group of contractors is saving contractors. They take in contractors to prevent crime.
Their leader is the Black Reaper, also known as Liu Xiansheng. Although he acts like a college student, he’s really a trained killer with electric wires as weapons. He’s one of the fastest and toughest superheroes I’ve ever seen. He has three comrades. One is a human named Huang. Another is Yin, a girl with silver hair, who can track the movements of other contractors whenever her skin touches water.
And the leader of the band is Mao, who is, ahem, a black cat. He’s a master strategist. However, don’t ask me how a cat became the mastermind.
Liu probably works for a syndicate, but he’s more interested in saving contractors from being taken in by the police. The first story arc, “The Star of Contract Flowed,” involves Liu finding a mysterious girl named Chiaki Shinoda. For a while, Liu spends time as Shinoda’s bodyguard, until Shinoda learns that Liu is actually a contractor who killed her boyfriend contractor.
In the second story arc, “A New Star Shines in the City of Dawn,” Liu helps the daughter of a Tahara, a sole surviver of the Hell’s Gate incident. The daughter, Chiaki, has the ability to shoot out fire. Her father tried to suppress her abilities by injecting the seeds of a plant from the Hell’s Gate area into her wrist. However, he couldn’t suppress her emotional angst and violent abilities too long, and now she’s a crazy firebrand.
In the last story arc, “The Red Dreams of a Calamity Disappears to Eastern Europe,” Liu captures a woman from MI6 and the Japanese police. The woman, named Havoc, has the ability to create interdimensional vacuums. However, Liu hinted at the end that Havoc knows the whereabouts of his sister.
This is sure a mysterious anime, where most of the details of the story don’t rise up until the characters start fighting. However, Liu’s has surprisingly conversations with women who were involved in the Hell’s Gate incident. This anime is incredible for its deep dialogue involving scientific experiments gone wrong.
And the fighting is just so incredible. The characters wield unusual weapons. Liu is equipped with electric wires, which he shoots out at enemy contractors. His enemies also bear weapons, such as razor sharp whips. One of them has the ability to freeze anything he touches, and another has the ability to cause storms.
It looks like there is a much deeper plot behind this anime too. “Darker Than Black” is fast and mysterious, with all the energy of a spy thriller. Hopefully the plot will add up as well.