Darker than Black Gaiden – 02 OVA

Hei and Yin are in Hong Kong, and while Hei believes continuing to run is their only course, Yin believes it’s pointless, and they should ambush their pursuers instead. To lure their enemies, Hei puts Yin up for sale. Xiao Jie, an contractor with two huge contractor brothers, is interested in her, but Yin provokes a fight. Hei and Yin split up while the three siblings chase them, but Claude intervenes, using the siblings’ own powers against them. Back in Tokyo, Youko meets Mina, and the two are on their way to catch BK-201.

In the words of Mugatu, Hei and Yin are two Hot Little Potatoes right now, though they’d rather not be. Yin continues to exhibit very un-doll-like qualities, expressing affection for Hei personally as well as suggesting an alternate course of action when she thinks he’s wrong. This episode pretty much follows the same chase-and-battle formula as the first one, with a couple more players.

Rather than just dealing with the Syndicate, they face off with the lovely Xiao Jie and her beefy bros. Her renumeration – shedding her garb bit by bit, makes her a great femme fatale-of-the-week, but the episode wastes no time icing her. Youko and Mina comprise the vanguard of the third party after Hei and Yin – the government. With all these people after them, Hei and Yin likely have no choice but to continue their international odyssey.

Rating: 3.5

Darker than Black Gaiden – 01 OVA

Being hunted by Syndicate contractors, Hei and Yin escape Tokyo for Okinawa, masquerading as newlyweds. Hei is looking to book passage to Taiwan, but Yin insists they’re safe, and they stay longer. Hei panics when he sees a hotel guest who looks exactly like Amber, but she turns out to be an impostor created by a contractor with power over illusion. Yin is kidnapped, but Hei is able to defeat the Syndicate team sent to kill him and recover Yin, who continues to evolve.

This four-part OVA that aired from January to July 2010 bridges the time between the first Darker than Black series (The Black Contractor) and the sequel (Gemini of the Meteor). We took an instant liking to the first series’ (obviously) very dark, rich atmosphere, kick-ass action, and stirring music by Yoko Kanno. The second series widened the DtB universe and appealed to younger audience by introducing Suou (voiced by Kana Hanazawa). Both series explored the power and motivations of the subset of society simultaneously gifted and cursed with superpowers that required renumeration.

In this first bridge OVA, Hei is on the run with Yin, a beautiful, formerly emotionless doll, who is suddenly evolving into more of a human, with emotions and a will of her own. This first episode wastes no time throwing us right in the middle of the aciton as Hei takes on a trio of deadly contractors while still in Tokyo. The tropical setting that follows subverts the dark atmosphere, and Hei and Yin have some nice quiet scenes together. But there’s still plenty of uneasiness, and inevitably, the Syndicate arrives, trying to use Hei’s past with Amber to throw him off balance. He cuts himself to break the illusion and thwart the Sydicate…for now.

Rating: 3.5