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Submitted by on May 18, 2022

Tensai Okamura conceived and directed the anime television series Darker than Black, which was animated by studio Bones. From April through September 2007, twenty-five episodes were shown on MBS, TBS, and its associated stations. The series takes place in a world where “Heaven’s Gate” arose in South America and was quickly followed by “Hell’s Gate” in Tokyo, changing the sky and causing devastation on the terrain. Contractors, people with extraordinary powers, appeared shortly after. The story follows agent Hei and his Syndicate companions as they investigate the secrets of Hell’s Gate in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo.

The manga adaptations of the series were serialized in Kadokawa Shoten’s Monthly Asuka and Square Enix’s Young Gangan, respectively. Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, a sequel to the anime series, aired in twelve episodes from October to December 2009. Hei trains new Contractor Suo Pavlichenko and looks for his former ally Yin in the sequel. Between the first and second seasons, the series’ DVDs contained original video animations named Darker than Black: Gaiden, which explored Hei and Yin’s romance. Funimation licensed Darker than Black in North America.

Okamura devised the series after being influenced by ninja and spy novels based on thoughts he had after finishing Wolf’s Rain. Okamura desired flawed and violent heroes like the Contractors, in contrast to Wolf’s Rain’s noble characters. While Okamura wrote the majority of the series’ content, he gave other writers creative license, most notably Shotaro Suga, who takes over as main writer in the second half. Darker than Black received largely excellent reviews for its treatment of Hei and the other Contractors who battle each other, while there was some uncertainty about the setting and finale.

A spatial anomaly known as “Heaven’s Gate” arose in South America ten years before the events of the series. The opening of “Hell’s Gate” in Tokyo, which altered the sky and wreaked devastation on the landscape, followed. People with exceptional powers capable of supernatural feats called themselves “Contractors” during the time. Contractors murder in cold blood and use reasoning and reason to hide their emotions, which are kept hidden from the public. Their capabilities are obtained at the expense of their humanity, and their name comes from their need to “pay the price” each time they use them. Contractors are trained and used as spies and assassins by nations and organizations all over the world, culminating in deadly fights for important goods and information.

Following the Heaven’s War, the United States loses its status as a superpower to the Syndicate, a mysterious organization. Darker Than Black follows a Chinese contractor known only as “Hei” as he carries out espionage and murder operations for the Syndicate in Tokyo. Hei is aided by Yin, an artificial human classified as Doll, and Mao, a Contractor trapped in a cat’s body and monitored by former police officer Huang in his phony civilian life where he is known as shy a student under the identity Li Shenshun. The series follows a villain-of-the-week pattern, with the major characters developing over time, featuring a Japanese Public Security Bureau that oversees the actions of dangerous persons with supernatural abilities.

Hei is revealed early in the series to be a former warrior in the Heaven’s War who is looking for his lost sister Dai; he suspects a lady named Amber of being responsible for Dai’s abduction after escaping from the Syndicate. Evening Primrose, a gang of Contractors targeted by the Syndicate as terrorists, is led by Amber. Another organization, Pandora, studies Hell’s Gate; the Syndicate plans to strike Hell’s Gate and eliminate the Contractors using Pandora and its Saturn Ring weapon. Multiple Syndicate operatives commit suicide as a result of this, with Huang committing suicide when he is targeted by them. Hei and Yin encounter Amber, but Mao manages to get away from them. Hei is shown to be an average person when he meets Amber. Hei was able to harness Dai’s abilities when his sister used her skills to transfer his body onto his flesh. Except for Hei, all Contractors are murdered when Saturn Ring is triggered. Hei has a vision in which he encounters Dai and resolves to turn against the Syndicate. Hei is able to smash Saturn Ring with the help of Amber’s Contract abilities, and Hei and Yin are free to flee the Syndicate.

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