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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First half good, second half great
`Darker than Black' is a series set in a world where superpowered individuals known as Contractors work as mercenaries for a variety of governments, criminals and secret agencies. The series follows one such Contractor known as Hei, the Black Reaper (or the Black Shinigami if you prefer) and his team as they perform missions for the mysterious Syndicate.

I did...
Published on 29 April 2010 by T. R. Alexander

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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not living up to its potential
Darker than Black throws around a lot of highly interesting ideas and kicks off with a compelling and mysterious opening episode, but after that I sadly felt it petered out. I went in expecting some kind of mystery or action anime and ended up with a series of 2 episode story arcs with little overarching relevance and the action sequences were few and far between...
Published on 19 July 2010 by Sparrowsabre7


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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First half good, second half great, 29 April 2010
By 
T. R. Alexander (East Anglia, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
`Darker than Black' is a series set in a world where superpowered individuals known as Contractors work as mercenaries for a variety of governments, criminals and secret agencies. The series follows one such Contractor known as Hei, the Black Reaper (or the Black Shinigami if you prefer) and his team as they perform missions for the mysterious Syndicate.

I did greatly enjoy watching this series but I would say that it doesn't really get going until the second half of the season when the Evening Primrose organisation comes into the story. Before this the season had a somewhat episodic feel to it with each two episode story being relatively self contained and, while entertaining, I felt it the series wasn't really as good as it could be. After Evening Primrose comes into the story though things definitely begin t get better as while the series is still a bit episodic the plot is increasingly tied together and some of the things that happen in the first half of the series take on some new meaning.

The series has some nice animation and a good plot to go along with it (once it gets going). The English dub of the series is also very good. Overall I would have to say that after watching this series, it has jumped into my top ten anime series that I have seen.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Deep Anime, 9 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
I've just finished watching Darker than Black and it's definitely the most enjoyable anime series I've watched in a while, probably since Cowboy Bebop. No need to waste time going into the plot. The anime itself is quite dark without being excessively negative or nasty. It's nicely paced with a cool atmosphere and music. It strikes a good balance between the overall plot as well as the development of the individual characters and their own relationships with each other. The end doesn't disappoint which I find to be a pretty common complaint with other series's. There's also some good humorous moments to balance our the darkness.

My only word of warning is that the main story arc finishes on episode 25. Episode 26 is a novelty comedy episode of the "lots of girls fancy our hero" genre. It's a stand alone episode that is set somewhere in the middle of the series time-wise. If you're the type of person who watches several episodes in one go, and lets face it who isn't, I strongly recommend switching of after episode 25. You can then sit down and watch 26 after a day or two to give you a bit of time to think about the end of the main plot before watching the series being lampooned. Just a tip.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best sci-fi I have seen in years, 31 Oct. 2010
By 
plot hound (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
I had given up watching anime for year since so much of it was either childish or stupid and even the better written series tended to end with pseudo-mystical nonsense that spoiled them.

Then I stumbled across this, it is great from start to finish.

The characters are not given a huge amount of depth, but that is a deliberate plot point rather than poor writing.
The plot is slowly expanded with each episode standing well on its own while also adding to expanding back story.

There is plenty of action and the idea of the 'magic' used requiring often bizarre payment is nice an well done.

The ending is good, it is smart, consistent and ties everything together.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best UK release of 2009, 2 Oct. 2010
By 
S. EADINGTON - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
I suppose some people could argue with the above title but DtB is regardless one of the best anime's you could buy in the UK right now.

Hei, the black reaper is a contractor, a human with special powers, contracts are constantly battling with other contractors and are feared by humans.
Contractors have no emotions supposedly and are rational beings, doing what ever they can to survive, they will tend to avoid fights unless necessary but because of there powers, some contractors are hired by companys to kill people and contractors for them like assassins.

Whats great about this show is that it consists of 11-12 2 episode arcs that build up a bigger picture of whats really going on in the world and why contractors are who they are.

Because of the short 2 episode arcs, it allows the characters to be built up significantly , to the point that even the supporting characters feel important and involved in the show.

Anyway, the point is, you have to buy this, after the first few episodes it really gets going and its super, the perfect mix of film noir, action and character development in 1 season. I have yet to meet someone who was disapointed by this show and the fact that its the only anime left in my book shelf is testement to the fact that, once you start you can't let go.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matrix meets X-men, 14 Aug. 2010
By 
Neil J. Pearson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
This show is great. Anime has always been good at coming up with novel ways of giving their characters superpowers and this is one of the more original. Basically people known as contractors have X-men like powers but have to pay a penance for doing so. the penance can be anything from, spilling bood, reading poetry or giving away magic tricks and i found this aspect to be really fun. A big mystery of the show is trying to work out what the main character's power and penance is (as it's not obvious). With these types of show the battles have to be really good to stop the show from becoming repetitive and DTB manages this with apparent ease. Each story is usually a double episode and each "villain" has to be defeated in a different way according to their power. On the whole the main character defeats each villain through his ingenuity and cunning as opposed to magically having a "level 10 instant-kill power" appear from nowhwere (which is a bad anime cliche) and I think this is what makes the show so entertaining. It's not merely just about the action though and there are several strong character moments throughout the show that makes you really empathise with them and often realise that the "villains" aren't so clear cut.
Special mention should also go to the overall high quality animation and the truly excellent soundtrack which is good enough to listen to on it's own.
The only negative I can think of is the annoying PI and his assistant which appear twice in the show. Luckily their story is interesting and I guess it could have been worse - it could have been a recap episode.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 3 Jun. 2011
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This review is from: Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
This anime deserves even more praise than it already has, I don't think I've ever seen an anime that blends so well psychological and emotional themes with slick, faultless action sequences. I would even go to say that this just peaks over death note on my favourite anime's list.

The character of Hei throughout the story is so masterfully portrayed and intricately woven into the storyline, along with his alter ego Li Shengshun, the lovable naive student, the depth and exquisite story writing really shines.

Overall, if you're looking for a new, intelligent, bursting at the seams anime experience, look no further. After watching just one episode, I promise you will want to watch more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darker then black is a "Must have"!, 6 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
This one is a must have. One of the best i ever seen actualy. And i have seen a lot of anime. I like the mix of thriller, Sci-fi, fantasy that this one contains. Someone rated this 3 becaus of the lack of action. There is action, but the main thing with this one is the storytelling.(If you have seen mushi-Shi and Kinos journey you know what i mean. And if you dont, buy them too). ;) And besides the storrytelling, the animations and sound are very good, the characters interesting, funny, or both. ;) If you only like action, you might think this is ok, and if you like a good story, you will likely love this one. Have fun. =)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect series., 28 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
Well needless to repeat the synopsis, check it out before reading this review.

Darker than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha doesn't follow a single plot line nor does it have plot twists that keep you intrigued in the story, but nevertheless this series managed to make it to my favorites, why? Because it has a wonderful atmosphere which of course was supported by Yoko Kanno's amazing music composition, I've never some across such unique feeling in any form of fiction.

The other strong point in the series is the cast. I absolutely love the main cast's chemistry and development thorough the story, let's start with our main protagonist Hei. The first impression of our Black Reaper? A total kickass! But as we saw him living a double life as Li Shengshun, you couldn't help but feel empathy for him even though you didn't know anything about him. He just seemed very melancholic and lost, and at this point I completely fell for his character. Other important character I wanna bring up is Yin who's considered to be an emotionless 'doll' used by the syndicate, but her wonderful development is one of the high points in the series.

Animation, character designs, the overall pacing and Japanese voice acting, they're all top-notch.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not awesome it's just cool and i mean it it's freaking cool, 17 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
I loved this anime so much considering how it's the first anime box set i got i still don't regret buying it great value for 26 episodes an must see anime i highly recommend it for anime lovers out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rocky Beginning, 19 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
I spent the first few minutes of the first episode watching through my fingers, and flinching as one guy broke his own fingers. I didn't really warm up to any of the characters until near the end of the episode, and the only one I really liked got killed off before the episode was finished.
Despite the rocky start, I completely fell in love with the characters, and am now eagerly awaiting season two in the mail.
Part of this is that you can't really help warming up to certain characters once you get a sense of what the hecks going on, part of it is the episodic story format drags you in, dropping little crumbs about the characters here and there and reeling you in slowly and then BAM!
Character centric episodes. Conspiracy. Arc-plots, rather than arc sub plots which are completely obvious in retrospect. I kept watching even as my second favourite character got killed off. Usually, that's the point I roll my eyes, and turn to my notebook or ipod or something. That is how awesome this series was.
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Darker Than Black - The Complete First Season [DVD]
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