This TV show is an adaptation of the Darker Than Black manga series by Tensai Okumura of Cowboy Bebop and Blue Exorcist fame. Gemini Of The Meteor is also directed by Okumura. The show is a sequel to the first series and takes place 2 years after the events of the original. It focuses on Chinese assassins Hei and Mao, and another new Eurasian assassin name Suo. Mao and Hei are contract assassins who suddenly attain special abilities after a meteor lands in their vicinity. They work as professional killers for many different government intelligence organizations such as MI6 and the CIA. They also perform jobs for criminal organizations. Suo is training to become an assassin and gradually acquires her powers. Mao has the ability to change forms into different animals like a cat or flying squirrel. Hei, who goes by the code-named BK-201, uses electricity as his main power. Suo can create powerful a powerful anti tank weapon using her pendant.
In the first series, Hei has gone rogue and is currently being hunted down by the organizations he once worked for. He encounters a teenaged girl named Suo who is currently on the run from the Russian government. Her father was killed by them and her friend and brother are also targeted by the Russians. They reluctantly team up together as they have similar goals. Hei and Suo eventually team up with other rogue contractors and the group work together to combat the governments and other organizations trying to kill them. Along with the hired killers hunting them down, there are also “Dolls” which are superpowered humans that are considered emotionally dead. However, some Dolls have emotions buried very deep inside. So those who are Contractors or Dolls often have expressionless faces to showcase the emotionless nature.
Action scenes are very impressive and can gory and ultra-violent at times as well. The way the various Contractors use their unique powers were interesting. Character movement and its use of slow-motion sequences is fluid and well used in certain moments to keep the high-stakes action flowing. Close up of the characters during action scenes were pretty cool and provided added visual impact. Camera angles during these sequences were well utilized and really added to the impact and atmosphere. The show has a fair bit of comedic moments but these can seem out of place at times, given the dark nature of the series.
The story uses an overarching narrative to tell a much bigger plot. Death is a frequent occurrence as many characters end up dead. The story is a mixed bag. It often builds up events that you think is going to lead into something big and exciting, but instead it leaves it unexplained and dropped mid-way through the story. The show ends abruptly on a cliffhanger and has too many loose ends. The pacing of the story feels rushed at times and leaves the viewer confused as key events are not fully explained. The show does have a few ova’s which serve as side stories to watch that fills in some of the gaps between the first show and the second. The backstories of characters and the lore of the world are intricate and intriguing and these are revealed as the series progresses. The characters themselves are not engaging and likeable.
The main character Hei is a highly skilled killer with a cold calculating mind. He is also an alcoholic, hard and very abusive. He treats others very badly and is prone to excessive violence. He spends his money on beer rather than replenishing his supplies. He has poor personal hygiene and could be easily be mistaken for a homeless vagrant. Overall, Hei is very unpleasant and unlikeable. Suo, the other main character is somewhat pleasant unlike Hei. She often makes many missteps that almost leads to the team being captured.
Character don’t really get much development so they often come across as flat and one dimensional. Hei treats everyone poorly. Suo has a love hate relationship with Hei that never varies. Her feelings for Hei its conflicted and muddled.
I like the use of its neo noir and espionage themes and the dark atmosphere of this series. There are some interesting story arcs in the series and mystery aspects can be captivating and keeps you hooked wondering what is going to happen next.
The art direction of the sci fi designed world of Tokyo looks really impressive. Other parts of the world are equally impressive and fits right into the main theme. While the visuals and animation are pretty smooth overall, there was nothing really special or standout about it. The designs and powers for each character is unique and there is a different backstory that how the characters got their powers. Voice acting is believable enough but nothing too over the top.
The soundtrack is suitable for the nature of this show. It utilizes a more electronic and modern styled soundtrack whereas noir styled works would often use jazz music. The show while successful in some aspects lacks in others as well.
Darker Than Black: Gemini Of The Meteor gets 3 stars.
If you are into espionage, noir and sci fi stories. Then you could give this a try. But I personally prefer watching Ghost In The Shell or Cowboy Bebop.