Tag Archives: Jason Liebrecht

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?


Black Cat: A Bounty Hunter’s Delight

For starters, I really liked the way this anime started off. It’s been a while since I watched it (only a few weeks, don’t worry, it’s still hella fresh), but the first episode really stuck out to me. I love the way certain anime start off with no clues as to what’s going on and let’s you figure out at what poin that initial scene will come back into relevancy. This show did a great job with that. Bringing in a climatic scene to show off the fighting and style of the anime was a great diving off point. And then, as is shown, we are given a build up in the show.

So the basic plot, I guess, is that Train Heartnet (Jason Liebrecht) AKA, Black Cat is one of the all-stars among the Chronos numbers. This elite groups of fighters wields specific powerful weapons to each of their characters that help rid the world of evil and injustice. With this power came a bit of bigheadedness and there are those among the Chronos numbers who felt it may be time for a

Train and his "woman". It's unfortunate what happens.

bit of a power struggle/coup. Black Cat wasn’t particularly one of them, but his “friend” Creed Diskenth (Chris Patton)¬†saw to it that it was. (Cue classic “I kill your woman so come at me brah” scene.) So, in fact, Train spends a lot of this 24 episode anime chasing down bounties and trying to get at Creed for his injustices, just not with the Chrono numbers.

And why, you may ask, does Train leave the Chronos numbers? Well, Creed did in fact kill his woman and he also shed some light on the overlord situation being created by Chronos. Being able to decide who he shoots with

The 4 great bounty hunters: Train, Sven, Eve, and Rinslet.

his trusty Hades pistol gave Train the intiative to leave Chronos and embark on this adventure of revenge and redemption. This creates problems for the do-gooders of Chronos and their soon to be enemy, the Apostles of the Star. But this is all much later, and it would be better not to divulge and deal witht eh story at its beginnings.

This story, once Train leaves Chronos, deals with the bounty hunters all over this (Japanese?) continent. Set in a slightly different world where a bit more of the magical is possible, issues of transformation and impossible science and powers are given free reign. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but its initially not portrayed as anything supernatural at the beginning (a bit misleading). But I grew to love it in a heartbeat. Come on, a dead-eye shot with a pistol who can save the world and the girl? I’m putty in your hands to mold to this plot.

Sven (Brandon Potter) and basically his daughter Eve.

My favorite character in this anime is Sven Vollfied, voiced by the very able Brandon Potter. Now, you won’t hear this guy’s voice come up this often, but its so gravelly and unique with its tone and inflections and the occaisional squeak in his voice that you’ll laugh and connect all at the same time. But anyways, Sven is a great protective Dad character that looks out for Train, Eve (Brina Palencia) and Rinslet Walker (Jamie Marchi). Throughout the show, Sven sacrifices himself against great odds constantly in order to ensure that the other characters know there’s someone there that cares and loves for them deeply.

With little vinettes into the lives of some of the bounties these four “hunters” chase and two epic battle culminations towards the end, you really get a sense of what these people are individually and collectively fighting for. You find your favorite and root for them, despite the odds of the foes. It makes for a great quick watch (depending on how much time you wanna spend watching little sections of different plots at a time) and has a comically interesting

A great beginning and a great ending.

animation style depsite the heavy issues that are dealth with at times. Not quite a shounen fighter, not quite a comedy, this show find a happy dramadey medium that works just fine. This middle of the road anime deserves at least a 7.2 out of 10.