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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
A Solid Sequel
By Johnathan Soares
Like a lot of you who are considering buying this, I loved the first season of Darker than Black. It had great action, entertaining characters, and a cool lore developed around the concept of Contractors, Gates, etc. Naturally, I wanted more of this unique and dark world, so getting Season 2 was a no-brainer. But I'll say this; while good, Season 2 is not a perfect sequel. However, it's still more than worth your time if you're a fan.
To begin, it's worth mentioning that Hei is no longer the main protagonist. He's still a major character, but this season focuses more on a young girl named Suo. Upon discovering that she is a Contractor, Suo embarks on a journey alongside Hei in pursuit of answers regarding her past. Suo's story is full of mystery and heartbreak, but she is fairly optimistic despite the life-threatening circumstances she finds herself in. While some may not agree with me, I have to say that this is where I consider Season 2 an improvement over the first; the overall tone is consistently lighter and more optimistic this time around.
Like I mentioned above, Hei and some other characters from the first season are present, although you may not care for how the infamous Black Reaper is represented here. Don't get me wrong, he's still as cool and tough as he was last season, but his outlook and mood have darkened, resulting in him having a nasty drinking habit. Thankfully, he sobers up halfway through the season, but for someone who likes the character, the darker attitude left me confused. This is where I recommend that you watch the OVA before starting Season 2 itself (it's included on the 3rd DVD disc and the 2nd Blu-Ray disc) because otherwise, you won't really get why he acts the way he does or what happened to Yin. I watched the series before watching the OVA, which made me understand a lot more about what was going on in Season 2, but I think it would have been better if I had knowledge of that information in the first place.
As for the visuals, not much has changed since Season 1, which isn't a complaint by any means. I enjoyed the crisp visuals of Season 1, and they carry over quite nicely here. The fight scenes, however, are a noticeable improvement, being animated more fluidly and vividly; the only downside is that there's not as many fight scenes as the first season. You'll also notice that everything looks brighter and more colorful, a definite plus in my book. Overall, everything looks great.
While I've brought up a lot of good things about this Season, there is a reason I'm not giving it a perfect review; it's mostly because of the story. Like I mentioned above, the tone is more positive this time around, but the actual events that unfold over the series left me asking for a little bit more in terms of substance. This season is only 12 episodes long in comparison to the 25 of Season 1, and I felt like more time to build on what's happening and why could have greatly improved this season. Suo is a fairly well-developed character, but other new characters don't quite get the buildup I was hoping for, and returning characters could have been used to greater effect (when you see what kind of animal Mao is inhabiting, you'll get what I mean). I'm not asking for a bunch of exposition, but I wanted more reasons to hate the bad guys and love the good guys other than what we see in the present.
There's also the issue I had with the lore of the world itself. I was thoroughly enticed by the mystery surrounding Contractors, Dolls, and the Gates that have appeared around the world, but we aren't given that much to go on this Season. There are some interesting things developing around what exactly the difference between a Contractor and a Doll are, as well as what additional powers Dolls have, but I felt like there are more questions than answers to be had here; I'm not asking for everything to be explained, but again, some deeper answers would have been nice. In particular, the ending to this season is a major cliffhanger that will undoubtedly leave you asking for more, but as of writing this review, it's late 2015 and I've yet to hear confirmation of a 3rd Season.
I don't think I need to explain the dub/sub thing, since most of you watching this will have already seen Season 1 and made your minds up as to what you prefer. I really liked the dub in Season 1, and it continues to be solid for Season 2.
Even for all of its faults, Season 2 is a worthy continuation of the series. Most of the characters are likable, the action is entertaining to watch, and this dark world has become somewhat brighter and more hopeful. It has a few issues that may leave you asking for more, but you'll still be satisfied with what you do get. The stars have faded somewhat, but they're still shining.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
Mediocre, doesn't live up to S.1
By Anne with an e
Season one of Darker than Black is filled with great action, intrigue, and such and such. Season two lacks in almost every department. Sure, there is some great action, but far too little of it. I'm not going to moan about Hei's loss of his powers: in fact, the way he can still take out contractors without using any contractor power himself just underlines how bad a-- he really is. No, the problem with this show is its focus: a twelve year old girl whose contractor power is a magical girl transformation and an anti tank rifle. Now, she's not as bad as she could be: there's not too much whining from her, she's occasionally useful and can fight decently every once in a while. No, the problem is that she sucks up all the attention and everything's focused on her, and she's just not that interesting, at least not until the last couple episodes. Hei and Kirihara, the other awesome main character from season one, are relegated to the back seat so we can focus on a pretty boring 12 year old.
The OVA's are better than the second season in that, packed into 4 episodes is as much action as the entire 12 season two episodes. The first OVA starts off with a four way fight between Hei and some syndicate contractors, so it's immediately intense. The tone manages to match the first season better as well, being more tense and filled with a real and oppressive feeling of danger to our main characters. It also should be watched before the second season, as it sets that season up.
Now, for the packaging: the blu-ray/dvd combo comes in a nice art box big enough to slip the complete first season set into if you happen to have that version. If, like me, you have the six dvd set released first, it also holds volume six nicely, as long as you didn't also have the big art box for THOSE volumes. It's a nice touch, I guess. I haven't watched the blurays yet, but the dvds look great. The extras include a couple episode commentary tracks which are generally worth a listen, clean opening/endings and of course, trailers. Is it just my imagination or are trailers getting shorter and shorter?
Any way, if you're a completionist you may as well pick this up. The tonal and focus shift may annoy you, but it's not terrible. It's at least worth watching once. Like the first season, there's a lot of unanswered questions, including how the heck a meteor can fall when they can't launch anything off the surface of the planet and the stars are the souls of contractors, but they aren't enough to really break the story or anything. The animation is beautiful over all and there's a couple decent action sequences. The music varies from techno to porno, and is pretty bland. A couple good tracks make it not terrible. So yeah.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful. See all 101 customer reviews...
Loved The First One, but...
this one didn't seem as good. It felt like there were fewer action scenes and more focus on character development. That may seem odd, because, who doesn't want character development? I sure like my characters fully rounded. What I mean by this is that the balance between action and character development that was present in the first series was off in this one.
It is also important to keep in mind that before you watch this second series, please note that this comes with the OVAs as well. These, in my opinion, must be watched first before the actual season is watched. They are kind of like a prequel that gives a frame of reference for the second season. Be warned, though, the OVAs are MUCH different from the first and even the second series as it is nearly all character development (with a love story..I think..maybe?).
Once I understood everything, this was a great second season. Again, much different from the first season, but not necessarily in a bad way. Just different. One complaint though. The girl, Suo (I don't know if that's how you spell it or not, and frankly don't care; you'll know who I mean when you watch it) has the power to generate, from her body, an anti-tank sniper rifle. That's cool. That's unique. None of the X-Men ever had anything like that. However, I don't want to see her "conjure" it out of her body every time she uses it! Talk about an unnecessary time killer!
Other than that, I highly recommend this second season to those who have seen the first and wish it didn't end when it did.