Darker Than BLACK — Gemini of the Meteor

Remember way back when I gave a horribly-written review of Tensai Okamura’s Darker Than BLACK and I promised to watch the sequel to also give a review of that? Well, the time has finally come! In October of 2009, Bones premiered the long-awaited sequel, Darker Than BLACK Ryūsei no Gemini, or Gemini of the Meteor, which aired until Christmas Eve of that year. Continuing two years after the first left off, Gemini of the Meteor offers a variety of new characters, as well as bringing back some of our favorites from the original. A brief warning to potential viewers: if you are expecting a carbon copy of the original in the areas of style, characters, story and badassery, be prepared for disappointment. With a new season, the universe of Darker Than BLACK takes on new themes, stylistic devices, and just about everything else you can think of; it’s new. However, despite pulling the viewer out of the safety net they were used to, this new Darker Than BLACK is just as great in its own merit. Lets go over it, shall we?

Two years after the events of of the first season, the Black Reaper has disappeared from Tokyo. The existence of the Contractor’s has become public knowledge, yet not all people believe they really do exist. In a small city in Eastern Russia, Suou Pavlichenko lives a happy life with her father and brother. In a meteor shower two years prior, Suou’s brother, Shion, was hurt and became a contractor; his injury left him without an eye, and in a wheelchair. The father, Dr. Mikhail Pavlichenko, has been keeping Shion a secret from the world and always preparing for contingency plans in case someone discovers them. One day, Suou’s happy life is ruined. Her best friend, Tanya, suddenly develops into a contractor, but is soon apprehended by the Russian government. That same night, Suou’s house is raided by the military, and her brother is nowhere to be found. A mysterious man in black with a white mask murders Suou’s father with a powerful electrical shock, and attempts to kidnap Suou, mistaking her for Shion. From this point forward, Suou is dragged on an adventure, taking her all the way to Hell’s Gate in Tokyo as several different organizations try to get their hands on her, and the elusive BK-201. Though, it would seem they’re not the only center of attention of the secret Section 3, and a threat arises that may very well mean the end of all life on Earth. Will Suou be able to find her lost brother? Will Hei be able to find his old partner? Find out when you watch!

One thing I absolutely hate about this series, and the first season did this too, is that every episode ends on a note that makes me wish for more! Either a damn good use of storytelling, or excessive use of cliffhangers, or a good mix of both. Either way, once you start watching the series, it’s hard to stop. Unlike the first season, which had mini-arcs divided among two episodes, Gemini of the Meteor is shorter and keeps to a much more focused story. This new technique allows for the viewers to get more familiar with the story and the characters, as it paves way for a much closer, more intimate look at what happens along the way.

Along with a new style of storytelling, we get a new breed of characters, ranging from the maniacal contractors, to the downright silly comic reliefs, as well as crosses of both. The new series brings us an entirely new set of Contractors, some even much more creative than in the original, that you’ll definitely be rooting for. On top of this, we get the reprise of many characters we loved from the original, including the king of baddassery, Hei; AKA, The Black Reaper, BK-201, or as I like to call him: the Electric Chinese Batman. We are also reunited with July, that little blond doll, Mao, our favorite cat-now-turned-flying-squirrel, and the stern Kirihara, the former Section-Chief of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo. With the reprisal, each of their characters are expanded upon, and we get to learn much more about them, as well as general insight into the behavior of Contractors. All the characters in the show successfully pull of building this addition to a compelling universe of secret organizations, mysteries and superhuman murderers.

Another word of warning: if you were expecting Hei to play the same role he did in the first season (mysterious black figure appearing out of nowhere, kicking ass with his Spider-Man-like acrobatics, daggers, and deadly electricity), then think twice. Hei takes a much more passive role in Gemini of the Meteor, and is away from the main action much more. Don’t get me wrong though, he still has his spectacular moments that will have you cheering. On the plus side, we get Suou, who also has plenty of her own badass moments. But you’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall, Gemini of the Meteor was a very well-done continuation of the original series, and I wouldn’t expect any less coming from this awesome team of creators. In fact, this was probably one of the few sequels I’ve been pleasingly satisfied with it. It brought what was great in the first season back to life, twisted it, added the secret ingredient, and turned it into something just as great, if not better in some merits, but completely its own, which is why Gemini of the Meteor deserves an outstanding 9/10. Highly recommended to those who loved the original, and are excited for seeing something with a totally different feel in the same universe. Let us hope for another sequel to continue the saga that is Darker Than BLACK. Until then, this has been yet another anime review by none other than Sachi!