Darker than Black Gaiden – 04 OVA

Claude has kidnapped Yin and plans to sell her to the highest bidder, who turn out to be some old Chinese friends of his. When Hei rolls in to rescue her, Claude disguises himself as her to trick him, then disguises her as himself so that he electrocutes her. This completes her awakening into Izanami, who begins sucking up the souls of thousands of contractors, until the Syndicate steps in, pacifies and re-captures her. Depressed over the loss of his love, Hei takes up drinking, and is then confronted by Madame Oreille.

Watching it now, a year after it aired, we get a similar sense of this Gaiden series that we did with the Star Wars prequels, particularly Episode II with regards to this episode. That is the sense that everything in these four OVAs was inevitable. We saw the entire Ryuusei no Gemini series, so we knew what was going to befall Hei, Yin, et al. There’s not much in the way of surprise of novelty in the plot, as it’s merely filling in the blank between the two animes. So it comes down to execution: and it was executed pretty well.

There was also a sense that something good was gradually becoming corrupted, namely Yin. One new fun fact we did learn is that the entire reason the Syndicate was founded was to prevent a prophecy from coming true – that is, the Awakening of Izanami/Yin. That failed, but the Syndicate had long since forgotten its purpose anyway. Yin, it would seem, was a prisoner of fate; a puppet to events that had a mind of their own. Her love of Hei, and his of her, got pushed to the side. Despite growing to love and need one another so deeply, they were never meant to be. Which sucks…and also explains why Hei is such a drunken mess at the beginning of Gemini.

Rating: 3.5

Darker than Black Gaiden – 03 OVA

Hei and Yin have been taken to a remote jungle compound where a small group of contractors has gathered for refuge from the human world. Their de facto leader, Amagiri, believes if Yin continues to evolve, she’ll obtain the power to change – or destroy – the world. Some of the contractors ambush Yin in the jungle, injuring him. When he returns to the compound, the rest of the contractors were slaughtered by Claude, who took Yin.

As Yin moves inexorably towards evolution to a higher and more dangerous form of being, we can’t help but feel this episode got a little bogged-down (literally, in the case of its torrential rains, as well as figuratively). The jungle refuge was a pretty neat setting, but it was underused, with most of the running time consisting of Hei and Yin sitting around, or having quiet conversations about things we already knew about. Essentially, Hei and Yin should have taken up Amagiri’s offer to leave while they could.

The thing is, Hei was seemingly immobilized by his own indecision. Yin tells him that he got her evolution started, and it seems to quicken when he’s near – in which case separating himself from her would seem to be prudent. Yet Yin says even that wouldn’t matter, as she’ll never be able to forget him, and his effect on her would remain. Call us crazy, but it sounds like she loves him. Of course, now that Claude has Yin, and injected something to “make her unstable”, killing her may be the only way to save the present world, if they so desire, that is.

Rating: 3