Tag Archives: Basilisk

Darker Than Black: Badder Than Badass

Thinking back to the days in which I spent less than a week watching Darker than Black, I only have fond memories. As it was with Basilisk (another anime I’ve reviewed about individuals with unique powers) so it was with Darker than Black. The idea of the Contractors and their Payments is really what sold me on the show. In a “post-apocalyptic world” in which the stars have forsaken us in place of demigods on Earth, a world of humans and the mythic becomes meshed into one. With its ridiculous beginning with two normal humans chasing down a Contractor. In an instant, with the breaking of some fingers, the Contractor goes flying off into the sky with his ability to defy gravity and control it to his will. Tell me that isn’t something badass-worthy.

Basic plot of the show: So this mysterious gate appears in Tokyo that appears to hold some mystical powers that alters the face of the earth. In South America, a team of changed human beings prepare to take out what is known as Heaven’s Gate, its twin in Tokyo known as Hell’s Gate. In a gigantic explosion with no known explanation, Heaven’s Gate is destroyed and the pasts of those involved become altered. It is up to Hei (Jason Liebrecht) to discover his past in

Hie and his ladies.

connection to the other Contractors around him.

It is these other Contractors that hold the key to exactly what it means to live in this new world of powers and new discoveries. The art of astrology has become relevant again as the Japanese government uses it in order to keep tabs on the Contractors of Japan. With the denotations of mere letters and numbers, the true names of the Contractors are not known, leaving the government at the mercy of the superhuman beings. Hie and his team consisting of Yin (Brina Palencia) a lifeless doll and tracking system, Huang (John Swasey) the team organizer, and Mao (Kent Williams) a former Contractor, now cat, travel the streets of Tokyo, performing missions given by The Syndicate. Through these missions, Hie and the others begin to discover their role in the Gates and what has been going on the last 10 years.

Yin, one of the more interesting characters.

The structure of the show is quite interesting. Although a continuous plot for Hie is not really put into effect until the last 10 episodes or so, the suggestion of a tying plot is frequently referenced to. Most of the beginning of the show flows between the Japanese government and its agents and a private investigator, intermingling Hie and his teams story. On the government side, Misaki Kirihara (Kate Oxley) is the head of an investigation team within the Public Security Bureau. Although she holds importance over the others, her subordinates Yusuke Saito (Chris Sabat) and Yukata Kano (Todd Haberkorn) provide support and comic relief in their roles. But the true comedy of the show comes from Gai Kurasawa (Brandon Potter) and Kiko Kayanuma (Brittney Karbowski). These two own their own private detective agency that comically coincides with just exactly what’s happening with Hie and the Contractors. Whether it’s looking for a cat or collecting stories on the true stars, Brandon Potter relentlessly blunders through as Gai and leaves a hilarious path of turmoil in his path.

And credit needs to be given to the Contractors of the show. November 11 (Troy Baker) is a ridiculously cool Contractor in league with MI6 and the British Intelligence Agency. With his ability to create ice from water spontaneously, November 11 comes across as a suave Bond character with the help from Troy

What a Bond you are, Nov. 11.

Baker. Maki (Maxey Whitehead) is a troubled little boy in league with, well, I’d rather you watch and find out (the plot comes in at this point), with the ability to create explosions with his hands, not unlike Kimblee of Fullmetal Alchemist (my favorite character, mind you and something I am currently re-watching). His troubled past leaves him struggling to be somebody among the wrong people. And a bit of an unspoken badass in the show, Wei Zhijun (Robert McCollum) pays with his own blood in order to lay waste to whatever it touches.

Ahhh, the power of blood.

Now these are only a few in a long string of Contractors that all have great backstories and well developed episodes. With about 2-3 episodes per character interaction, this eats up a good majority of a show. I had wished for a bit more of a straight-ahead plot the whole way through, but it didn’t detract from how good the show is. The voice acting is decent to good and really carries a lot of the show with the emotional scenes that creep up. What really captures me in this show is the excitement of a new Contractor and discovering their power and Payment. (I only capitalize because of those words’ importance.) The show, I guess, is really character driven and that’s the true charm of the show. The dark (hint hint) elements of the show don’t overburden the show or push it into the overdramatic, which really balances out the quality and amount of material the show covers. I really enjoyed myself while watching this and would suggest this to anyone who likes a good crime thriller action anime/film. Enjoy! 8.8 out of 10!

What's hidden behind that mask?

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Black Blood Brothers: More Vampires

This short little anime is a bit different from what I’ve recently been watching. Black Blood Brothers, better known as, basically, old vampires, is the story of, well, old vampires. Versus basically new vampires. It’s like Blade 2. This is essentially 12 episodes of an instance in the life of Jiro Mochizuki. He’s one of the old blood vampires that quelled the rebellion of the Kowloon Children at Hong Kong. Complicated backstory that is explained throughout the episodes. But this anime is basically about his return to Hong Kong, more specifically, the Special Zone.

Now this Special Zone is “special” because it is a safe haven for vampires. Of all sorts. Well, more vampires that are Kowloon Children. And this anime is about some Kowloon Children getting into the Special Zone. Unfortunately. Jiro is not initially allowed into the Special Zone, but he’s allowed “if” he helps quell a second rebellion. And this time, Jiro has his younger brother in tow. And with the help of a vampire mediator, we’ll

A handful of characters for you.

see what happens.

This vampire anime is a slightly different take on what it means to be a vampire. These vampires hate sun, but don’t necessarily die in it. They don’t like water either, and can die in it. They drink blood to replenish their powers, but won’t kill or turn humans who they suck blood from. Silver kills them for sure. And the humans utilize that to keep them in line. The only way humans (red bloods) can be turned into black bloods (vampires) is if vampires let humans drink a bit of their vampire blood. It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen. (Unfortunately not in this anime.)

J. Michael Tatum as Jiro.

But yes, this is the story of Jiro vs. the Kowloon Children. And Jiro is done by quite the voice actor. J. Michael Tatum, a voice actor I met at Anime Boston, voiced Jiro, the Silver Blade. He does quite the good job at an English accent, and that’s due to his speech therapist, an old English hag (Just kidding). Colleen Clinkenbeard voices Mimiko Katsuragi, the mediator between the humans (The Company) and the vampires of the Special Zone. Colleen does great work and voices good female characters, one of the best female voice actors that Funimation provides. Jerry Jewell provides the voice for Zelman Clock, a rather mischievous old blood vampire with an affinity for fire and a vehement tongue, the perfect combo for Jerry Jewell himself. Brina Palencia

Jerry Jewell. Nice.

lends her voice for a few episodes as Yafuri Chao, a direct descendant of the Kowloon King and quite the formidable opponent of Jiro. And, last but never least, Christopher Sabat lends a Piccolo like voice as Cain Warlock, another gruff supporting character of the many anime that Christopher Sabat performs in. And this is just half of a cast the lends itself to a

Oh. And they can walk on walls.

decent performance in a short vampire anime.

Now the animation/art direction isn’t necessarily my cup of tea (or blood, if you prefer), but it does justice for itself in its own way. It’s not shonen, and yet its not seinen (Check Basilisk for the reference.). This line that Black Blood Brothers blurs is where it loses me. And the way in which the anime isn’t long enough either leaves it something that it’s desperately missing. These characters have done things that we only hear about through recall. Not direct interaction. And this is where it should’ve been a longer anime. But, all the same, it’s decent in its scope and the way it deals with vampires. 6.3 out of 10.


Basilisk: Ninja Powers, Anyone?

So I’ve been watching through every single anime Christopher Sabat has ever done and I found this anime first. Basilisk. The intro explains it, but yes, it involves a bird and a snake. I was surprised and blown away by the basic premise of this anime. The Iga and Kouga clans for centuries now have been subjected to a no fighting pact. And then suddenly, to determine the next shogun, the pact has been dissolved and the two clans slowly relinquish the hate they had for one another. But at the heart of this feud at the two leaders of the clans, Gennosuke Kouga (Troy Baker) and Oboro Ige (Laura Bailey). These two are set to wed and the warring of their clans sets them at odds as the anime progresses.

And that’s not all. It’s a 10 vs 10, winner takes all match, and these highly skilled ninjas have powers. Powers beyond belief. And the that’s where the shows bread and butter comes from. Each of the ten ninjas on both sides have amazing individual powers that’re revealed as the show goes on. (Usually every other episode.) And these are the scenes that make my jaw drop. Whether they be stealth related or upfront attacks, the Kouga and Ige are well matched. And it’s always sad to see one of the ninjas die. But that’s the brilliant thing about the show. You choose which side you’ll side with. And then let them duke it out in an amazing 24 episodes.

For a sort of grown-up shonen (anime geared towards 15 and under boys), this show is known as a seinen (18-30 year old men). It’s got the gratuitous violence and graphic nudity, but besides that, it has animation/art that looks like it could be from the 1600’s shogunate era. Period piece anime like this are what gets my vote for good anime. Historical fiction with a bit of fantasy violence. Thanks. I’ll have some more.

AND THE VOICE ACTORS. Well obviously Christopher Sabat. He plays Kasumi Gyoubu, a big bald-headed master with… well… a power I’d rather have you

Kouga. True champions.

discover. (All the powers in the show are worth watching for. Troy Baker truly is amazing as Gennosuke, and I’ve always though he’s done great, military voices that stand out in anime. Look at him in the video game Darksiders or simply watch the end of Fullmetal Alchemist. (Frank Archer is one of my favorite anime characters.) He mixes his valiant warriors with his sinister villains in a way that you can really see his versatility in delivery. There’s Stephanie Young as the sexy Kagerou. As a purely sexual entity in a mostly manly anime, it makes sense. Jeremy Inman plays a hilarious character in this, Udono Jousuke, the fate, balloon-like (hint hint) member of the Kouga. He’s quite funny, yet dumb and sexist. I love his power and find that he should’ve laster longer than he did. His voice sounds like a

Ige. Pansies.

lot of Dragonball Z characters do. Eric Vale plays the sneaky Jimushi Jubei. Although he’s only on the show for a bit, I love Eric Vale’s characters for their wide-ranging types and voices. Also notable are Mark Stoddard as Yakushiji Tenzen and Justin Cook as Yashamaru. They contradict each other as evil and just, and that’s why I hate one and not the other. I’m biased towards the Kouga and really dispise the Ige, but that was my personal choice from the beginning.

This anime’s worth the watch. It’s find dubbed and probably just as good subbed (seeing as its a period piece). The fights are great (DBZ quality) and the ending is quite good, probably one of the only slightly weak spots in the anime. If you enjoy Naruto or DBZ or any other shonen, why don’t you man up and watch a really good seinen with great characters and powers you won’t wanna miss? Cause Basilisk is what you need if you wanna feel like destroying people after a couples episodes of watching. That, or become a ninja. 9.6 out of 10.

Christopher Sabat. I love you, for you are a badass.