Posted: 11/25/2011

 

Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor

(2009)

by Ruben R. Rosario



Now available in a regular and limited edition Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack from Funimation.


Film Monthly Home
Archives
Wayne Case
Interviews
Steve Anderson
The Rant
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
The Indies
Horror
Film Noir
Coming Soon
Now Playing
Television
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
Interviews TV

Darker than Black was an anime series that had given me hope in this day and age of many contrived and boring anime TV shows coming stateside. It delivered in all the elements of anime that I love, great story, well executed ideas, great character designs and wonderful animation. All of these things culminated into something that I had been craving for a long time and was sad once it was over. It was the very last series that I can remember collecting the singles for and hoped that one day, Studio BONES would return to the series in some form. Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor is BONES’ return to this world and all I can say is that it’s an awesome ride from the get go.

Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor is thriller like the Borne Trilogy meets the X-Men, with 12 episodes of awesome powers and non-stop espionage. People with special abilities are known as contractors and are used by various military organizations, like the CIA or MI6, or are used as just mercenaries for hire for their unique abilities. The caveat of using such powers are performing a sort of payment of some kind. If one can use one’s voice for a super sonic scream, they might have to eat cigarettes as their form of payment. Gemini picks up two years after the original show ended and follows another main character. Suou Pavlichenko is a young teenager that is thrown into this world after she becomes a contractor. She is taken in by Hei aka BK-201, the main character from the first series in order to protect her, as well as find out the connections she has with his past. Full of great action and intrigue, Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor is pure bliss for any anime fan. What’s also included in this set is a four episode OVA, that takes place in between the first and second season. The animation is much more fluid and answers a lot of questions that one might have going from season one to two.

Now, there has been some responses to this sequel series being a much lesser show than its predecessor. While there are a few more elements, like the new main character being an archetype of a magical girl or a few moe elements that make it seem different on the surface, it still manages to capture all of the elements of the first series really well and does a fine job at telling a compelling story. Some people might have a huge problem with the ending of the series and I know I did when I finished the show. This sequel has elements of Japanese mythology rooted into its storyline and without knowing this, one might feel the there’s a deus ex machina just to wrap everything up. Such is not the case and it wraps up everything in the right way, leaving the audience satisfied enough, as well as keeping them enticed to want more.

The video on the Blu-Ray of Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor is presented in an AVC encoded, 1080p resolution, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The video looks absolutely stunning and is one of the best things to come from Studio BONES. The colors in the video are very well balanced and pop off the screen when necessary. There’s a much larger palette of color in this series, compared to the first one and it does a great job at presenting all of this for the viewer.

The audio on the disc comes in two Dolby TrueHD tracks, the English 5.1 and the Japanese 2.0. I prefer the English 5.1 mix because the cast delivers wonderful performances, as well as having the well done surround mix. While the Japanese mix isn’t bad at all, the English mix does a better job at capturing the essence of the show, as well as going the extra mile to get voice actors to deliver their lines in various accents, when the character is from a specific part of the world.

Overall, I feel as though Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor is real great time and one of the best anime series to along, that is original in content, as well as its presentation. This set comes with a full series and an OVA, what more reason is there for one not to pick up this set for all the materials inside. There’s a few extras like a couple episode commentaries and textless opening and closing songs. I wish there was much more in terms of the creation of the series and why BONES returned to it, but there’s no reason for anyone to complain about this set lacking anything, due to all the episodes in it. Highly Recommended!

Ruben R. Rosario is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He’s an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.



Got a problem? E-mail us at filmmonthly@gmail.com