Tag Archives: decent voice acting

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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Tokyo Godfathers

What is there to say about this strange Christmas timey (?) film? This movie reminded me of a combination Eight Crazy Nights with Cromartie High School (check out the review further back). I had no idea what I was in store for and it slightly touched my heart. Although the animation took me slightly aback, I was okay by the end with the characters and the conclusion this animated film comes to.

So Satoshi Kon and Shogo Furuya present a film that tackles some big issues while at the same time speaking to the humanity in all of us that we try to show around the holidays.  Coming from a team that has done such films as Paprika (again, check the

Some strange hobos...

review earlier on in my list) and the animation on Spirited Away, comes something strange and yet strikingly familiar in its theme. Three hobos, one by choice, one by circumstance, and one by bad luck, come together in order to, in the spirit of ole Saint Nick, bring a child left in a dumpster back to its parents. Simple plot aside, a lot of weird, crazy shit goes down in Tokyo town. And I wasn’t ready for a thing.

Such good emotional scenes.

Coming from the same creators of Wolf’s Rain (Strayyyy) and just countless award worthy things, I was hard pressed at first to find the credibility in this film. I found it though. The characters. Every last one of them, despite being given the stigma of homeless loser, is a worthwhile and redeemable person. Proven by their words and actions in the film, Gin finds his home, Hana becomes the “mother” he always wanted to be, and Miyuki can finally go home and not feel scared about her actions. This combined with a twist with the baby’s parents that leaves them out to dry, this film really makes you wonder whether the bums on the street have better hearts than you do.

And I do love the message. Nice things done on Christmas? Always a winner in my book. Christmas coming from a perspective I’ve never seen before in a

Come on, could be cuter...

culture I’ve yet to experience for myself? Eye opening. I really don’t know what more to say about this film. The comedy shines through, there’s quite a few tear jerking scenes, and the baby, although I wish it was cuter, is still okay. The voice acting is good and, as expected from award winning creators, the story is solid and animation is unique in every respect. I give this classic a 6.8 out of 10.