Darker than BLACK: Gemini of the Meteor episode 8 and 9

Whoops! Another long hiatus and I’ve missed two episodes of DTB. Once I caught up to it, writing two separate reviews would be a pain in the arse. Hence, the bi-episodic review of DTB this time. As a matter of fact, these two episodes are very good episodes individually. In one episode, it’s a swimsuit special (and also the second time get to see Misaki in her swimsuit — oh, fanservice please!) and the return of the good ol’ Li Shun Sheng, or better known as Hei. On the other episode, we have the biggest plot twist to the season. Dum dum dummm! Getting more exciting, isn’t it? More after the jump.

The good old times. Or as how I see it: DTB swimsuit special.

Episode 8 synopsis: Since I am trying to catch up the reviews, I hate to write lengthy synopses to save time and I will keep this as brief as I can. Suou remembered the good times she and her friends had before Tanya first became a contractor. Went on rambling about summer sunlight. Misaki meanwhile received more information from Madame Oreille about the Mikata documents, otherwise known as the Memory of the Future. On a Tokyo-bound train, Hei was confronted by Repnin while Tanya went on to capture Suou and July. Mao on the other hand, got himself busy with the train conductor. Repnin brought Hei to the dining car as Hei ordered large amounts of food for himself. Repnin went straight to business to pursue Hei to join him to work with the Russians. He however declined after Repnin agreed to bring along Suou with them. Repnin threatened to blow up the train as Hei decided to leave. Hei had no other choice but to listen to him. Back to Tanya, she asked Suou why she did not kill her before. Suou simply replied that they are friends. Tanya said it was not a logical answer, considering that there were times that she hated Suou. She then remembered that she was the one who killed Nika that brought Suou to console her. Back to Repnin, he explained that he trusts contractors due to their rational judgements but as of late, things have changed as more irregular contractors appear since the existence of Izanami. He then went on rambling about how Ilya (whom Hei killed before) killed his niece. Though he trusts them, he absolutely hates contractors and wants to get the doll to kill contractors. Hei responded in disgust, saying how pathetic Repnin is. Using that conversation as distraction, he stabbed Repnin by his hand and killed the accompanying agent nearby. Hei made the run for it but that did not stop Repnin to trigger his so-called detonator (which is actually a tape recorder) and ordered Tanya to initiate their next plan. Using her power, Tanya stopped the train and ran away, bringing Suou with her.

I know it’s fanservice but me likey!

Yup! Hei is back.

“Let me interest you in our latest model from our premium range of audio recorders. Now, it plays MP3!”

Hei managed to catch up to them and help Suou to escape on her own. Suou made her way to a swimming but failed to elude Tanya’s cockroaches. She dived into the pool where Tanya waited for her. She splashed water at her and this brought back the good memories to Tanya. However, Repnin’s commanding voice brought Tanya back to her senses and she immediately went to kill mode. Repnin meanwhile tried to stab Hei but got the knife back on him instead. Before letting out his last breath, he asked Hei if he killed Ilya. Hei nodded and Repnin passed away in relief. Suou was terrified by Tanya and brought out her sniper rifle. Tanya was shot but Suou did not pull the trigger. Tanya is now dead. Hei arrived at the scene and forgave her for shooting at Tanya, adding that she did not have a choice. She denied this and was furious that he did not believe her. She then decided to go separate ways from Hei with July and Mao accompanying her. In fact, the one who pulled the trigger is actually Shion. In Tokyo, Misaki continued her investigation about the Mikata documents and the contractor who can see the future when she found something on the audio recording she has.

Repnin. Russian. Status: K.I.A.

Tanya. Russian. Status: K.I.A.

Episode 9 synopsis: For your information, Kurawasa Gai and Kayanuma Kiko are back in this episode. Somehow Kiko crossed path with Suou and July are on the same train to Tokyo. Well, she got friendly with Suou because Suou looks like a character from her favourite manga/anime. Back to the story, Misaki believed that Amber is the contractor who can see the future. With Amber guiding her from the audio recording, Misaki managed to open the Mikata documents and for a moment, felt Amber’s presence nearby. Back to Suou, she told Kiko that she intends to go to Ikekuboro. She then showed the photo book made by her mother to Kiko and her friend, pointing out that her mother left her when she was young. Upon hearing this, Suou was introduced to Gai whom Kiko asked for his assistance. He hesitated because he expected payment. Suou do have some cash and Gai immediately offered his service. So it begins. They search the whole of Tokyo for new leads to find Suou’s mother. This brought them to find out that Suou’s mother moves around a lot for photo shoots. In another investagion, Kobayashi denied Misaki and Genma’s request to see Izanami, adding that only a few know her location as clearance is strictly restricted. Misaki recalled a quote from the Mikata documents saying:

Izanagi gazes upon the false sea bottom, waiting for Izanami. Izanami will cross the sea bottom, and eventually, the two will meet. When they do, heaven and earth will split into two and the Gates of Hell will open. From the Gate, an mysterious being will come forth and strife will continue for eternity.

We should have seen this coming. Yes, it’s Gai and Kiko.

My reaction is no different than this one from Mao.

For the record, the quote is different from the original Izanagi and Izanami folklore though the destruction and creation part remained in the equation. Gai eventually brought them to the spot where Suou’s mother usually take her photos of the Hell’s Gate, knowing that photographers will always return to the same spot. Asking around for the apartment where she used to stay, the landlord told them that she is now abroad. Suou returned to the spot when Madame Oreille told her that her mother is returning and will arrive at the Haneda airport at 8 in the evening. They rushed to the airport and at the same time, Mina meets his grandfather, the head of the Hazuki family (probably a yakuza clan). Misaki found out that their meeting was leaked to an unknown party. It turns it was Hei as he lured Yoko to his trap. Before the rest of the Section 3 team managed to catch up to him, Hei captured Yoko and escaped. Genma made his pursuit and hence, begins the car chase at the tarmac. This particular scene reminds me a lot of Casino Royale. Eventually, Mina caught up to Hei but quickly subdued by Hei. In the airport terminal, Suou remained vigilant as she awaits for her mother to show up. And she did, crying out how she missed her. She however mistaken her for Shion. Later on, inside the car, her mother kept on calling her Shion. So she decided to correct her and told her that she is Suou. She was shocked to hear this because she was certain that Suou is already dead.

Hei is having a makeover to his old self. Yay!

I see dead people. I mean, dead chibi.

The head of the Hazuki family. The one on the wheelchair of course.

Thoughts: Comparatively, episode 9 is way more exciting and shocking than episode 8. Perhaps, the best episode of the season thus far. On second thought, the reappearance of Kurasawa Gai and Kayanuma Kiko (Gai’s otaku assistant) probably spoiled the episode a little but the writers managed to pull off a bittersweet moment with Gai in the story along with their complementary humour to the anime. Heck, they are DTB’s own clown characters and having them back relives some of the moments from season 1. On the plus side, Hei who sobered up really brings a familiar feeling that we (fans) have always had for the show. Only in episode 9, I dare to say, DTB had truly returned. Moreover, the biggest plot twist to the story for the season had been revealed in this episode too. Suou is in fact already dead. This draws a clear conclusion that Suou is a mere clone of a deceased Suou whom I assumed to have perished during the meteor crash from the opening scene of episode 1. The same way how Pavlichenko cloned himself to allow himself to escape with Shion. I am uncertain if the cloning was human-made or due to a contractor’s power. Whichever it is, this shocking revelation is unlikely to impact much on the overall plot though it will probably bring a change to Suou’s current character development, which is already in an unstable state to begin with. Speaking of character development, Hei returning to his old self seals the real deal of the story so far. It is pretty amazing to see how Hei who is now brought to a fighting level of a normal person managed to defeat (and kill) contractors with his own hands (most of the time). Powerless Hei pawning other contractors is way better than Hei as a contractor.

“Oh my! We have the same size. Lovey, lovey!”

I swear it looks like a scene straight out from Casino Royale.

“Mummy is so proud to have an assassin contractor of a daughter.”

While the story is getting better and the animation is solid (kudos to BONES studio), the BGM is getting more annoying. Other viewers would probably dismiss this as a small deal but I am highly critical of this aspect of DTB Gemini. When it comes to motion pictures; live action and animation alike, there are five main criteria I always look out for. The obvious ones are the plot development, the visual direction, and the characters. The other two are more implicit but equally influential, which are the script writing and the music composition. DTB season 1 had the priviledge to have the great Yoko Kanno to compose for them but she did not return for season 2. Instead, they hired the new guy. Hey, nothing wrong of getting new talent. Big anime titles are good platforms for newbies to launch themselves in their career. Look at Nakajima Megumi who made a debut on Macross Frontier. Her career in voice acting had been fruitful ever since. But newbies are always newbies. By newbies, I mean noobs. By any chance, if DTB returns for a third season, I hope they change the current music director and get credible ones. Better still, hire Yoko Kanno back. Not like I’m very demanding about it, say hiring the legendary Joe Hisaishi or Kenji Kawai. I’ve been a bitch about DTB’s BGM this season and I have no plan to keep quiet about it any time soon.

Episode 8 screencaps:

Episode 9 screencaps:


4 Responses to “Darker than BLACK: Gemini of the Meteor episode 8 and 9”

  1. 10 December 2009 at 1:11 am

    I’m actually the complete opposite in regards to the music. I thought Yoko Kanno had by far her most uninspiring performance with the first season and this guy has totally eclipsed her work. This doesn’t mean I don’t like Yoko Kanno, far from it, but I remember being shocked when I found out she did the music for DtB.

  2. 2 Béla
    10 December 2009 at 4:20 am

    May you know, may you do not, but anyways, this seasons music was composed by Ishii Yasushi, composer of the Hellsing anime’s BGM. I truly hate the way they changed the original story in those 13 episodes back then, but it’s OST is still one of my favorites. And it was made like 9 years ago. So, calling that guy a noob may be a little harsh, tough, just like you do, I prefer the background musics from the first season.

    And I was missing that review, so thanks.

  3. 3 kaza
    10 December 2009 at 7:48 am

    Do you truly consider that stuff fan-service??? Cause if so… BY GOLLY, Love Hina must be Hentai to you then…XD jk

  4. 10 December 2009 at 1:07 pm

    @Scamp: Well, there are a few moments when the BGMs actually fit perfectly into the scene. Some sounds forceful. And most of the time, it felt horrendous. But hey, just IMHO.

    @Béla: I thought it’s Ishii Kouji. Anyhow, the only time he became the principal music director besides DTB Gemini was Hellsing, and that’s it. Most of the time, he is only involved in voice acting and production works. But to be fair, I have paid attention to Hellsing’s OST. Probably pointing out how insignificant it was. The main reason why I like Yoko Kanno’s previous work on DTB is her heavy jazz influence to the anime’s OST. And you know what? Jazz is the perfect fit to DTB.

    @kaza: LOLOLOL! Softcore fanservice? Yeah, Love Hina is definitely hentai to me. LOLOLOL!

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