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PostSubject: Darker Than Black   Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:56 pm




Darker than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha (DARKER THAN BLACK-黒の契約者- ,Dākā Zan Burakku -Kuro no Keiyakusha-, lit. "Darker than Black: The Black Contractor"?) is an anime television series, created, directed and written by Tensai Okamura and animated by Bones. It premiered across Japan from April 5, 2007 on MBS, TBS, and its affiliated broadcast stations, with its satellite television premiere in Japan on Animax in May 2007. The music for the series is composed by Yoko Kanno. The series has also been adapted into a manga series, which is serialized in Monthly Asuka. The anime also was awarded Best Original Anime of The Year by GoGoplex, a popular magazine for teens.



STORY
Ten years ago, an inscrutable and abnormal territory known as Hell's Gate appeared in Tokyo,
altering the sky and wreaking havoc on the landscape. The heavenly
bodies disappeared, replaced by false stars. During this time, people
who possess various special abilities emerged. Kept secret from the
masses, these individuals, known as Contractors, are able to murder in
cold blood. Various nations and organizations around the world use
Contractors as spies and assassins, often resulting in violent battles
for information. Each fake star has a corresponding Contractor, and
they vibrate when their Contractor's power is being used. As such,
Contractors are usually identified by their star's Messier catalogue number.
However, their abilities are gained at the cost of their humanity. They
are implied to lack human emotions which includes no aversions to
murder, and they are regarded as extremely rational and logical in
their decision making. Contractors are thus named because of their need
to always complete a remuneration or payment each time their power is
used (ex. eating flowers, breaking fingers, drinking blood). It is not
entirely clear what happens to one if he or she fails to complete the
remuneration. Contractors are described as being psychologically
compelled to complete their remunerative task.

CHARACTERS
Hei (黒 ?, Chinese: Black) Voiced by: Hidenobu Kiuchi (Japanese), Jason Liebrecht (English)The main protagonist and an elite Contractor with the Messier Code
BK-201. Hei plays a gentle-hearted student from China named Li
Shengshun (Li Xiansheng (Han Yu Pinyin) or Li Sianshong (Tong Yu
Pinyin), literally Mr. Li), but when "working" he takes on the role of
a seemingly (at first) apathetic and guiltless killer known also as The
Black Reaper. Part of an organization of unknown ambitions known only
as the Syndicate, Hei is searching for the whereabouts of his sister
Pai, whom he lost several years ago when the South American gate
imploded. Hei's contract allows him to generate electricity, and he is
hotly pursued by the Japanese government for his involvement in
multiple assassinations. He acts as the spy/assassin of his team. His
huge appetite and seeming lack of a obeisance lend him more of a sense
of mystery, even with his own team.

Yin (銀 ,In?, lit. Silver) Voiced by: Misato Fukuen (Japanese), Brina Palencia (English)A supporter in Hei's team. Yin is a spirit medium known as a
"Doll". Very passive and speaking rarely, she is described as having no
emotion and incapable of such processes (however as the series
progresses she shows a slight human side with hints of emotion). Her
primary function is to locate individuals, usually assassination
targets, for the team as she has the ability to see anything near water
when she is touching some. Before the appearance of the Gates she lived
in Finland as Kirsi (last name unknown) learning to play the piano
under the tutelage of famed pianist Eelis Kostinen.In the manga, she resembles Kanon since she is also a "doll" though
she has some of Kirsi's memories, making the method for creation of
dolls into a point of speculation.

Huang (黄 ,Han?, lit. Yellow) Voiced by: Masaru Ikeda (Japanese), John Swasey (English)Huang's position can be interpreted as that of field supervisor. He
is a human and only possesses strategic abilities. He has a general
dislike for contractors and dolls and voices it regularly in spite of
having to work alongside three of them. Huang passes down orders from
the Syndicate to the rest of the team.

Mao (猫 ?, lit. Cat) Voiced by: Ikuya Sawaki (Japanese), Kent Williams (English)A Contractor who has lost his original body and now resides within
that of a black cat. As the cat's brain is not fully capable of
containing Mao's human conscience, a server is utilized to support some
of it. If he were to lose contact with said server, he would become as
a cat. Possibly related, Mao shows some proficiency as a hacker. His
messier code is HM-432. A very practical character, he is very
interested in watching Hei react to situations in an unorthodox manner.
He fears the Syndicate's disapproval and on occasion is able to receive
direct orders from the top. His contract allows him to possess other
animal bodies.

Misaki Kirihara (霧原 未咲 ,Kirihara Misaki?) Voiced by: Nana Mizuki (Japanese), Kate Oxley (English)The Section-Chief of the Foreign Affairs Division 4 who is
investigating matters that concern Contractors. Misaki has long brown
hair and glasses and rarely smiles or laughs. She has a strong sense of
justice and a sharp intuition. Kirihara became a policewoman in order
to protect the weak, has a distaste for smokers due to their smell, and
is sensitive about the exposure of her body. She likes eating greasy
food but claims to stay fit because she works out. Her father is
Superintendent Supervisor Naoyasu Kirihara of the National Police
Agency. She also is obsessed with finding the identity of BK-201
(codenamed Hei) whose is involved in many of her cases, shrouded in
mystery and death. She occasionally hints a glint of affection towards
Li (unknown to her as BK-201/Hei) whom she sees occasionally throughout
the series due to him playing his role as a spy.


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PostSubject: Re: Darker Than Black   Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:57 pm

TERMINOLOGY

Evening Primrose (EPR) (イブニングプリムローズ ,Ibuningu Purimurōzu?)A powerful organization of Contractors led by Amber. Their stated
goal is to reveal the existence of Contractors to the general public,
and to promote their status as a new race/group of humans. Special
rights and privileges for Contractors are also on their list of
objectives.

Hell's Gate (地獄門(ヘルズ・ゲート) ,Heruzu Gēto?)A mysterious and chaotic
area of space that appeared in Tokyo ten years before the start of the
series. Its appearance led to the rise of Contractors and Dolls. A
massive wall has been constructed around it to keep civilians or
anyone else, for that matter from entering. Several countries,
including Japan, are cautiously conducting research on the Hell's Gate,
exemplified by a top-secret research facility built next to the Gate
Wall.

Heaven's Gate (天国門(ヘヴンズ・ゲート) ,Hevunzu Gēto?)Another chaotic area of space that appeared in South America and
disappeared five years before the beginning of the series, along with
everything in a 1500 km radius around it. Its exact nature at this
point is unknown in the series. Its appearance apparently started a
large-scale war, one that Great Britain and Argentina participated in.
It also seems that Amber, Havoc, Hei, and his sister Pai, were involved
in the War and were adversely affected by the Heaven's Gate's sudden
disappearance. The area where the gate was has become inaccessible.
Interestingly enough, Heaven's Gate and Hell's Gate are located on
opposite ends of the globe.

PANDORA (Physicalquantity Alternation Natural Deconstruction Organized Research Agency)A UN-operated
research facility dedicated to studying the phenomena of Hell's Gate.
Located on the edge of the gate within the walls, an international team
of scientists examine the properties of the gate via manned and
unmanned expeditions within. Paranormal phenomena akin to ghosts
are not uncommon here, likely due to the lab's close proximity to the
gate. Though run by the UN, it is not impervious to intelligence
agencies; both the Syndicate and CIA have infiltrated almost every
level of the research center. PANDORA has a heavily armed security
force, consisting of armed soldiers possibly of various nationalities
and armored vehicles, meant to protect its facilities and personnel.

Contractor (契約者 ,Keiyakusha?)Contractors are individuals who have gained superhuman powers due
to the appearance of the Hell's Gate and Heaven's Gate. The existence
of Contractors is kept a secret from the general public by most
governments around the world, but they are well-known to the higher
echelons of society and in the criminal underworld. Contractors possess
two other traits that give them a rather sinister reputation: the need
to perform remuneration, which is a bizarre, obsessive compulsive
"payment" for the use of their powers, and a generally pragmatic, Machiavellian
world view. This is described by the Contractors themselves as a lack
of emotion in general, but not much evidence exists to verify this
claim. Many Contractors exhibit at least some forms of emotion,
including love, joy, guilt, and sorrow.
Later in the series it is explicitly revealed that Contractors are
fully capable of experiencing emotions, but that those feelings do not
play a prominent role in their thought processes. They are described as
being totally rational, and totally amoral. The general rules seems to
be that they feel no guilt, and they cannot form or retain social
bonds. A normal Contractor cares, in essence, only about their own
well-being, and everything is reduced to a cost/benefit analysis: Any
other issues like laws, emotions, or the question of the sanctity of
human life are irrelevant to them.

Doll (ドール ,Dōru?)Emotionless "mediums" created to mimic the forms of humans. Dolls
can form a variety of functions; the most commonly seen in the series
is their use of observer spirits, which serve as reconnaissance. Dolls
have different mediums through which they can send their observer
spirits and must be in contact with this medium while observing; for
example, Yin's medium is water, through which she can send her observer
spirit anywhere else there is water. A Doll can also act as the perfect
sleeper agent. It can be given the memories and personality of another
person and assume a person's personality perfectly, mimicking all their
habits, dreams, and feelings until the time is right. Interestingly
enough, a Doll by the name of Shinoda Chiaki seemed to have some "life"
of her own by saving Hei from being killed by another Contractor. This
suggests that Dolls, like Chiaki, can go beyond their "set"
characteristics and become something else. Other examples include when
Huang discovers Yin crying, July expressing confidence in himself and
November 11 as a team, and Sakurai, a doll stolen by the yakuza, smiling as she runs away with one of their own.

Moratorium (モラトリアム ,Moratoriamu?)An intermediate between a Contractor and a Doll. Moratoria appear
to be people with Contractor powers who do not require remuneration as
part of their power. Unlike Contractors, they do not have control of
their powers, shifting into a hypnotic state of unconsciousness as they
use them. Moratoria also suffer from severe mental trauma as a result
of their power. According to Mao, the chance of a Moratorium morphing
into a Contractor is near zero, but possible.

Regressor (喪失者 ,Sōshitsusha?)A Contractor who loses their powers in exchange for a flicker of
hope for a normal life. There are very few known Regressors, and the
way one becomes a Regressor is also unknown.

Meteor Fragment (流星の欠片 ,Ryūsei no Kakera?)An object coveted by many intelligence agencies and organizations,
and once held at PANDORA. It seems to be connected to the appearance of
Hell's Gate, however, PANDORA does not believe that it is of much
importance as they had already discovered a similar substance in South
America before Heaven's Gate disappeared. Its appearance resembles a
large lens, and when inside the Hell's Gate, it displays an as of yet
unexplained synchrotron light.
The Meteor Fragment was first stolen by Nick for the CIA. It was then
stolen by Hei who infiltrated the PANDORA installation by orders from
the Syndicate. It was then obtained by Amber, who holds it to this day.
This object allows entities which do not exist (such as ghosts) to
appear, and also allows entities which exist to disappear.

Contract Payment (契約対価 ,Keiyaku Taika?, also referred to as "Remuneration" or "Obeisance")True to their names, all Contractors must pay a price for using
their powers, whether they wish to or not. Moreover, it seems that the
amount of payment required is dependent on how much the Contractor uses
his/her power. Although this payment can be delayed, especially in the
midst of combat, it is ultimately unavoidable. Each Contractor has a
unique remuneration, reflecting the chaotic nature of the Hell's Gate.
Remunerations are typically difficult for the Contractor and range in
severity from irritating to painful. However, there have been a few
contractors who enjoy their remuneration and at least one who uses it
in conjunction with his own ability.Known remunerations include

  • Alteration of age, swiftly growing older or younger
  • Arranging pebbles in meticulously straight lines
  • Drinking various fluids, such as hot milk, beer, or the blood of children
  • Earmarking the pages of a book
  • Eating various foods, such as boiled eggs
  • Inability to lie
  • Intaking and regurgitating objects
  • Kissing someone
  • Placing the shoes of the victim upside down on the ground
  • Regaining human feelings for a brief time
  • Self-mutilation or injury, including dislocating fingers and wrist-slitting
  • Singing a song
  • Sleeping
  • Smoking
  • Writing poetry


It is also possible for a Contractor to fully pay off his Contract,
but this is an incredibly rare feat, requiring a drastic and traumatic
sacrifice. A good example of this is one of Hei's teammates, Mao. He
paid off his Contract, but did so involuntarily at the cost of his
body, forcing him to reside in the body of a cat.

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