There are some wounds that time won’t heal.
Will the twins save the world or end it?
Once I discovered that there was a second season of Darker Than Black, I couldn’t turn on my computer to search for it fast enough. The sequel series is called Darker Than Black: Ryūsei no Gemini, or Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, and it’s every bit as compelling as season one.
Hei is back (yay Hei!) only not so much in fighting form. He’s been hiding out from the Syndicate since the events at the end of last season and has been taking various CIA jobs. He’s also become shaggy and unshaven, and he likes to drink a lot. On top of it all, he’s not even the main focus of this story, either. Poor Hei. This time the tale centers on a young Russian girl named Suou Pavlichenko and her twin brother Shion. (Well, half Russian, half Japanese twins, to be exact.) They live with their father, a scientist, in frosty northern Europe until their father’s lab/house is raided and all hell breaks loose. Suou barely manages to escape with her pet flying squirrel after finding her father’s dead body. Shion is nowhere to be found. While on the run Suou meets up with Hei, who is decidedly less pleasant than when he was undercover as Li in season one. Shortly thereafter Suou discovers that she is a Contractor, and Hei receives orders to train her. (Cue awesome training montage!)
Hei takes Suou, her pet flying squirrel (who is more than he appears to be at first), and July (remember him, the cute MI6 Doll from the first season?) to Japan in pursuit of Shion. Suou dislikes Hei, but she puts up with him because she wants to go to Japan in search of her photographer mother and to hopefully reunite with her twin brother. Oh yes, and in the midst of all of this, Misaki Kirihara, our fearless cop from season one, has been recruited by a mysterious organization called Section 3. She agrees to join them not only to discover just who the hell they are, but also in the hopes of finding BK-201, also known as Li, also known as Hei. (Bless her heart for carrying a torch that long! Not that I blame her. Season one Hei was smokin’ hot. Season two… well, he needs a bit of work.) There’s a mystery surrounding Shion, as well as a mysterious weapon used against Contractors, and a mysterious woman who travels around with cute little twin Dolls, and more mystery wrapped in a puzzle shrouded by an enigma…
This season was a bit disjointed and raised far more questions than its twelve short episodes could answer. However, it kept me on the edge of my seat for every single one of those twelve episodes. I loved seeing Hei again, even as rough as he was, and it was nice to see other faces from season one such as July and Misaki. The bulk of this tale was taken over by new characters, and I really enjoyed following their adventures, too. Suou goes through quite a bit of angst as a teenage Contractor with family issues, but really, can you blame her? I found her to be a very identifiable heroine, and I really enjoyed the dynamics involved in the little rag-tag grouping of Suou, Hei, July, and squirrel.
As far as the story goes, even though it was a multi-faceted mystery, I found it relatively easy to follow. I assumed that all of my questions would be answered in episode twelve and was more than a little disappointed when they weren’t, but the accompanying OVAs apparently fill in the gaps. (I haven’t seen these OVAs yet, but I await their release with bated breath.) You can watch the subtitled version of Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor on Funimation’s YouTube channel right now, or you can wait for the Blu-Ray/DVD dubbed release on October 18th (one day before my birthday, how thoughtful of Funimation!).
Fans of season one won’t want to miss the continuation of this tale. Darker Than Black created a rich and dynamic world filled with great characters, and finding a season two is like winning the anime lottery. The animation itself is tops, and while the music isn’t as memorable as Yoko Kanno’s season one score, the closing credits song by Abingdon Boys School is excellent. The fact that it’s gripping to boot is icing on the cake: instead of two-episode story arcs like season one, the entirety of season two is one giant arc that keeps you coming back for more. Regardless of whether you end up wanting to own season two or whether you even like it, I think that most fans will agree that Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor is well worth a watch, and its breathtaking pace will at the very least remind you why this series is so great.
Okay anime gods, now how about a season three?
Rating: ★★★★✰ Half a star got knocked off for the beginning confusion plus Hei’s downgrade from sexy trenchcoat to sad windbreaker, and besides, season one is definitely the superior season. However, much like Black Butler, any Darker Than Black is better than the average anime.