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Darker Than BLACK

The Electric ROSSMAN

It is extremely rare nowadays for a sequel of a good show or movie to actually match, let alone TOP the original. All the coolness and novelty that made the primary tale so interesting are usually all used up, and then it's solely up to the storytelling and the characters to make any subsequent adventures entertaining. So (you ask like a radioactive monkey who can't understand why his touch causes his beloved bananas to turn black and melt), is the Darker Than BLACK sequel (Ryûsei no Gemini, or Gemini of the Meteor, or Twins of the Meteor) as good as or (dare I say) better than the original Darker Than Black? In short, yes, but there are some caveats to that claim to be sure.

If you haven't seen the original Darker Than Black already, well, you should because it is one of those fantastic shows whose tone and feel you have never beholden before... and if you haven't watched it yet I'm warning you now that I'm going to spoil the shit out of it in this paragraph in order to bring you back up to speed on where and when this sequel lies in comparison. Darker Than Black 2 starts off on the same night as the Great Tokyo Fall (wherein Hei, Amber, and all of the contractors involved did their best to stop the Saturn Ring Anti-Gate weapon from eliminating all of their super-powered brethren), and we meet a young Russian girl named Suou and her twin brother Shion (their mother was Japanese, so these names actually aren't just pulled out of the writers' asses) as they watch the stars fall from all the death and destruction caused by and dealt unto Hei and his compatriots. At the end of the light show though, a meteor crashes to the Earth near their camp, seems to light Suou on fire, and fucks Shion up horribly.

Darker than Black 2, Gemini MeteorThen we jump ahead 2 years. Suou's living a peaceful life in a small town with lots of friends, but her brother is confined to a wheelchair in the house/science lab that their father runs. A bunch of familiar faces start making appearances (including a certain dark-skinned British beauty, a familiar black cat, a quiet, blonde doll, and a man who hides behind a mask), and soon Suou's world is flipped, scattered, grilled, and smothered, and she's forced to go on the lam from the Russian secret police, the MI6, the CIA, and a few other powerful forces who are all after a certain piece of meteor that her father saved from the core of the rock that almost destroyed their family a few years before.

This is when the sadness and feelings of almost melancholy and despair (that I loved so much from the first season) start to appear again. Plot twists start popping up like crazy-sauce (like who is chosen to chase Suou by the Russians, who Hei/BK-201/the Black Grim Reaper now works for, and why he seems to be alone, and what that awesome police woman from the first series is up to now... Hmmm, I guess they're not really "twists" but just interesting story choices), and soon the global chase is on. And then it goes on... And on.

My only real gripe with this frighteningly impressive show is a few of the middle episodes. Gemini is filled with nothing but cool characters, secrets out the ass, revelations galore, and plot developments that you've never seen before, but things slow down a little in the midsection (especially when we meet that Japanese pedophile punk who has the hots for 13-year-old Suou), and it just feels a bit too conventional for a few episodes. Yes, the final four (9 through 12) kick things into overdrive and completely make up for this slight lull, but the fact that they only had 12 episodes and a lull even happened AT ALL is a bit sad.

Darker than Black 2, Gemini Meteor, DetectivesIt was during those middle episodes that I really began to fear that no questions that were left open from the first season would be answered in this one (let alone questions raised in this series too)... It seemed that only Hei's involvement was what was tying Gemini to the original. Rest assured though that a shit-ton of beautifully connected plot points pull us back into the main story by the tale's end. Unfortunately, although some things are made clearer we're still made to wait for a third (and hopefully FINAL) season to wrap up all the BIG questions still left open. Yeah, that might drive a bunch of you Nancies away from Gemini of the Meteor, but that would be a huge mistake. This show is FUN. And even though Hei starts off as a complete shaggy, sloppy, alky mess at the beginning of this short series, he has damn good reason for his appearance and new outlook on life... and that last episode... Wow. I honestly believe that they topped the finale of the first season (even with the last appearance of Amber back then). The complexity of everything, the merging of all the people and plots into one final *BANG*, and the raw emotions that it'll make you feel... Wow.

People, THIS is the good shit. THIS is the kind of storytelling that we used to claim that ALL anime was all about when we tried to convince the masses that what we were watching was more than "just cartoons." It's different, it's moody, it's sharp, it's political, it's complicated, it's filled with super-detailed and rich characters, and it's just beautiful to look at. No, it's no Naruto (thank God), nor is it some shitty high school melodrama; it's exciting, and it's extremely entertaining, and it's so far from predictable that you will hopefully start to wonder why you continue to watch crap like Naruto and all those hyper-dramas that clog the airwaves today.

Beyond that, I have to comment on the opening song: Where the HELL did that come from? The opening to this series has one of the most perfectly matched and memorable ditties I've heard in a long time. The soul of the song is the ideal companion to the story that follows, and it's simply beautiful to listen to.

So what'd I think of Darker Than Black 2: Gemini of the Meteor? Absolutely, without a doubt, brilliant. I give it another 42 out of 44 Unfalling Stars. And Mao is even better in his new form here than he was in the first series.

Before you check out this show though you really do need to see it's direct predecessor (and if you've already seen it you should watch it again either immediately before or after Gemini to catch all the small [hell, and large] bits of information that are emphasized in the sequel), otherwise you'll be as lost as a 500 lb motherfucker trying to figure out how to start up a treadmill at the gym for the first time. And just like that fat fuck you'll probably give up on it due to NOT KNOWING WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON from the very first minute to the final closing credits. Oh, and speaking of which, make sure you stick around after every end credit sequence; there's storytelling to be told following all of them.

Oh, and my only other complaint about this series (after that tiny lull) is that I really wish there was more Yin. Maybe season 3?

MALCOLM Z-er Than Black

Nope. Still darker than this shit.

Who's a brotha gotta cap to change this shit?!


Okay, so until the last episode this turkey was actually a lot clearer than that first season I watched. But what the FUCK was that last 1/2 hour about?! Seriously? Was that whole episode put together by two punk ass kids Mad Libs style? I made the Rossman play it one more time after we finished it and I still had no idea what the hell happened.

So, are there two Earths now? Are there two of that quiet chick now? What happened to that CIA guy, and who was that boy in the box that sucked all those souls in the end?... You think I'm fucking kidding, don't you, well just you wait.

Thumbs down. Yeah, it was better than the first, but still retardedly confusing. It was like it got off on being confusing too... Shouldn't shows try to be more clear? Why should your goal be to confuse the fuck out of your audience? I don't get it.