Anime review: Darker Than Black – The Black Contractor

You know, among all the anime that I have watched till now (which is not really a large list), this one seemed to stand out quite inexplicably. Why? Well to be honest with you, the first thing that occurred to me was how carefully the plot was developed. They made sure from the start to minimize any kind of errors and loose ends. It might not seem like an eye-catching anime to you, like some of the popular shounen examples like Naruto, One Piece, etcetera. But trust me, it has a simplicity of its own, and what I admire the most is that it has got a different, complex, but simple within itself kind of story. No wonder Darker Than Black (DTB) was voted as the best Original Anime of 2007.

The full name of the first season of this TV series is actually Darker Than Black: The Black Reaper, but shorten it to Darker Than Black. Sure enough, this show is not about shinigamis as it may sound. DTB features a world inhabited by humans and contractors. Contractors are said to have supernatural powers and have to pay a certain ‘price’ after using them. Another thing that makes you want to watch it is because of the powers which contractors possess. A lot of them are so innovative and original, and even scientifically accurate.

What you might find funny is that unlike most other anime where the main character goes around and stirs up things, in DTB it is quite the opposite. Here, the main character gets caught up in some incident by coincidence or he is at the scene intentionally (it’s kind of unclear at times). They do not show much of Hei, as in you get to know what kind of a person he is but that’s about it. Whereas, they did a decent job with Huang for his role in the story. There was always a part of me looking to understand Hei more, and craving for him to slip something that defines him better. I was almost satisfied in the end. He is the kind of person who strikes you as ‘cool’ when you first look at him. The effect is pronounced because he doesn’t talk much. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if he is genuinely happy or just pretending to be. Other characters are there to give a quiet guy like him support and inevitably the spotlight.

This show leaves many questions unanswered, mostly about the characters’ past and some concerning the main story. But they are not questions which will leave you frustrated at the end of the show. Subtly, the give it potential to become better. You may go like, why does this happen in the first place? Or why are they doing this or that, but worry not, they make sense out of almost everything at the end.

I primarily liked this show because it is a compact package of the good virtues that any show could have, they did not waste any episodes and the amount of screen time given to most characters is just about right. Because of all this, I recommend this as a must watch, it could also qualify as an entry-level anime, basically first time anime watchers may gain interest in anime by watching DTB.