Darker Than Black caught my attention from the beginning, held it through each successive installment, and continues to keep me guessing and absorbed. Volume five, the next to last disc in the whole series, does what most penultimate volumes of any series do: it sets things up in preparation for what we anticipate will be their final resolutions. Some of this is by filling in backstory, and some of this is via breaking equilibriums that have held the story together until now.
The first half of the disc revolves around Huang — Li / Hei’s “controller”, a regular human who makes up in nerve and bluntness what he lacks in super-powers. He was once a cop, we learn, who lost a partner of his to a Contractor. That alone would be enough to instill the distrust of (and disgust with) Contractors that we see him evince throughout the series, but there’s more to it than that. It’s also precisely the sort of “more” not served by talking about her in detail, since the details go a long way towards providing the kind of character depth that has made this show a winner.Read more
A show this good should not have to end.
And yet here we are at the sixth and final disc of Mushi-shi, as beautiful and original an anime as any I could ever dare to ask for, and I feel downright glum knowing there’s no more after this. There is the manga, courtesy of Del Rey, which I’ll be getting around to reviewing before too much longer, but this series works so well as anime, is so lush and evocative, I fear reading the manga is going to feel like a step down.
Don’t expect anything like a real climax, though. The final disc of Mushi-shi does not bring anything to a definitive end, because this series has never been about definitive beginnings and endings in the first place. It’s about the flow of life itself, which doesn’t start or conclude anywhere but is simply something you dip into and out of as your time on earth allows. I was worried the show would devolve into a manufactured conflict with some great enemy — maybe a sinister mushi-master who’s creating an army to do his bidding, etc. — but thankfully, nothing of the kind happens.Read more
I generally have two kinds of experiences when reviewing a series I’ve already had under way. Experience #1 is, I put the disc in and for some reason have the worst time even watching a single episode all the way through. I eventually make it through to the DVD production credits and sit down to bash out the copy, but the whole experience has the aura of a chore. Experience #2 is, I put the disc in and after what feels like fifteen minutes I’m pasting the text into the CMS.
You get no prizes for guessing which of these two buckets Claymore falls into. It’s been said that no good show is too long and no bad show is too short. We have only one volume of this series left to go, and I’m dreading it being over so soon — although given that the manga is still an ongoing property, that doesn’t rule out there being another season. Please, let it be so.Read more