Tag Archives: Japanese government

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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Saikano… (Strange?)

This anime is a love story. With superweapons. But it’s all about the love. And the possible end of the world. Or something. Not quite sure. But the story is compelling. I’m starting to think this blog might be quite short…

This love story centers around Shuuji and Chise, two high school students who “fall in love.” It all starts one day when Chise asks Shuuji out. Their relationship starts in Animal Club diaries and pretty much moves up from there… sexually… But that’s really not the point… Sort of…

One day after school, Shuuji and his friends decide to go shopping. For necklaces. For one guy’s girlfriend. And then that guy dies. By the way, it was really funny picking out characters I liked in the anime and then having them all die. Not all important characters, mind you. But like, after that first guy, it

Shuuji and Chise. Made for each other?

became a game. (This is just because I have a predisposition to like characters who sacrifice their lives or are more prone to dying. It’s even true in movies.) But after this city bombing the interrupts their man day-trip (one guy’s day trip forever) Shuuji realizes something’s up.

What does he discover? His new girlfriend is a superweapon, made against her will by the Japanese government to protect the country’s borders. From what? We don’t know? From who? We’ll never know. This show’s all about the mystery. It’s also all about the sexy times, non-violent action scenes, and loss of humanity. A true angst-trip if I do say so myself. This girl ain’t got long (13 Episodes) and she’s got a lot of lovin’ to experience. (If you catch my drift.)

Okay, so what is there to say about my likes and dislikes of this anime? Well it has emotion. This anime is run through with tear-jerking moments. This anime has a mecha aspect to it that is never shown. Ever. Okay, once in a while Chise will show her wings or poop out a bomb, but that’s about the extent of the mecha. Her body can literally do things I’ve never seen a girl with a 9 year old’s body do before. Kinda strange. But there are a lot of really touching moments that, in the right mood, there would be quite a wad of teary tissues going on.

The voice acting isn’t bad. Shuuji (Mark Atherlay) isn’t bad and neither is Tetsu (Abie Hadjitarkhani. Wow.). Chise (Melissa Hutchinson) wasn’t all that good, but I kind of found her to be a drag and not really worth Shuuji’s time at a lot of the parts of the anime. That may mean I have no soul, but at this point, Shuuji should’ve cut his losses. The art was fine, shots were okay, nothing really spectacular. Besides the ending. I’m still scratching my head on what the flip happened at the end of this. The second to last episode (no spoiler) sex. The last episode, well, good luck figuring out exactly what happened and why and who and what and all that good stuff. Overall, I’d give Saikano a 5.5 out of 10. (Should’ve watched it subbed and just lost myself in it… How strange…)

Oh, and by the way, there is a live action version of this. Must. Check. Out.