For your consideration:
Darker Than Black
Action. Sci-Fi. Fantasy.
Episode Count: 25
Ten years ago, an anomaly caused an abnormal, chaotic territory known as Hell’s Gate to emerge in Tokyo. This event drastically altered the sky and the landscape, making the immediate ground zero uninhabitable. The real stars in the sky, as well as the moon, were replaced with a fake sky. As a result of this phenomenon, people possessing amazing supernatural powers appeared, each corresponds with a star in the new sky. These people are known as Contractors. When a Contractor activates their unique ability, their star reacts, because of this link, they are identified by their star’s Messier catalogue number. The larger and brighter the star, the more powerful the Contractor is.
An enormous gate was erected around Hell’s Gate and the existence of Contractors are kept form the masses. Contractors are murderous individuals who cast off unnecessary emotion for logic and rationale. They are typically mercenaries for hire, or trained assassins for powerful organizations or governments around the world. A Contractor is named for their incessant compulsion to ‘pay the price’ for their power. Whenever they activate their abilities, they must perform some meaningless task as payment, ranging from eating a specific food, to inflicting pain on themselves.
Following the horrendous Heaven’s War, the United States lost it’s position as a dominant superpower to a mysterious organization known as the Syndicate. The story revolves around a Chinese contractor codenamed Hei, also known by his star number BK-201, as he undertakes various espionage and assassination missions in Tokyo under the direction of the Syndicate. The deep rooted past of this man yields an intense storyline. Awesome fight scenes and some crazy powers emerge.
Following the first season of Darker Than Black, a second season was released which takes place several years after the events of the first. After the second season, several OVAs were released to explain what happened in that time between the two. Darker Than Black: Gaiden consists of 4 episodes, I would recommend watching them before season 2, or you can just watch them after season 2. Whatever you choose, you should check out this amazing show nonetheless.
Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor
Action. Sci-Fi. Fantasy.
Episode Count: 12
Season 2 of the Darker Than Black series, Gemini of the Meteor continues the story. Hei is now on the run from the Syndicate he betrayed. He encounters Suou Pavlichenko, a 13 year old girl who becomes embroiled in the war and politics of the various factions and Contractors vying for power. Her mysterious past leads the two to embark on a journey to inevitably return to Japan and ultimately, Hell’s Gate, which remains standing after Hei’s efforts to stop the Saturn Ring anti-Gate particle weapon from activating. The story begins in Russia, where Suou is introduced.
While the sequel, in my opinion, was not as good as the first, it is still pretty good. Either way, I wanted to continue the series to find out what happened following the first season- and even still, I am eagerly awaiting the announcement of a third season. The arrival of this ‘new being’ on Hell’s Gate has aroused my curiosity.
Eden of the East
Episode Count: 11
The first thing I thought of when I started this show was the Bourne trilogy. Not long into the first episode, the main character even references Jason Bourne. The show starts off in Washington D.C. where Saki Morimi is visiting the White House in hopes of throwing a coin into the fountain on the grounds. Apparently she didn’t know; you just don’t throw stuff at the White House. Security approaches her and she realizes she’s probably in trouble. As they encounter her, a naked man wielding nothing but a pistol and a cell phone walks across the street and distracts the two men. Saki offers him his jacket and they part ways, for now. According to the ‘operator’ on his cell phone, he has erased his own memory and cannot remember anything from his past. The operator, Juiz, informs him that she was told to instruct him on where to go, following the procedure of erasing his memory. He heads for the address. Upon arriving, the apartment is essentially a dump, but from the contents inside, he believes he may be a terrorist. He discovers dozens of guns and passports with various identities. He believes his name is Akira Takizawa, taken from his Japanese passport. Not much can be said about Akira right now, but he seems to be a rather nice guy, despite his potentially criminal past.
Saki is to return to Japan, but unfortunately, her wallet and passport were in the jacket she gave to Akira so she sets out to find him. When she finally finds him at the apartment, he kindly agrees to return her possessions. As she waits in the hall, he grabs some clothes, and his passport to Japan, and sticks the rest of the passports in the toaster. Because of the two’s suspicious behavoir near the White House, the police are looking for him. He helps her get to the airport and ultimately, they return to Japan together.
According to Juiz, Akira has a balance of over ¥8,000,000,000 and anything he asks for, she will make happen. Armed with his mysterious cell phone, Akira wants to uncover his past, and needless to say, Saki is also interested in helping him. She also seems to have feelings for him and they grow ever since they met by the White House.
The show is really good as little by little, Akira finds out who he is and what he is supposed to be doing. With the mystery surrounding ten missiles which struck major cities in Japan but took no lives, and the disappearance of 20,000 people, just what is Akira involved with? And who is pulling the strings?
Heavy Action. Mecha. Sci-Fi. Mild Comedy.
Episode Count: 27
While I have never been one to watch a Mecha show, I found Gurren Lagann to be pretty awesome. Essentially, humanity lives in isolated subterranean villages, and ‘the surface’ is a myth that nobody has ever seen. They colonize like ants and drill to expand their villages. As far as we know, this has been the way we have always existed. Everyone just continues to believe this lie, everyone, except Kamina. This young man claims to have seen the surface with his father when he was a child, and knows it to exist. He aims to reunite with his father on the surface. Though the story revolves around Simon, another boy in his village whom he considers a brother, Kamina and his cocky, innate personality, truly began this revolution to the surface.
The series begins in Kamina’s village where Simon, the protagonist of the story, unearths a drill-shaped key and a small mecha resembling a face. Shortly following his discovery, a giant mecha crashes through the ceiling and attacks the village. A girl names Yoko attempts to repel it armed with a badass rifle. Kamina offers to lend his assistance. Seemingly outmatched, Yoko, Kamina, and Simon are in a rough situation, they are led by Simon to the tiny mecha which Yoko explains is a Gunman, like the thing that attacked them. However, this Gunman is different; she has never seen one so small. Simon uses his drill key to activate the mecha and eradicate the intruder.
Yoko explains that due to an accident in her village, they were forced to the surface, where they must battle these giant Gunmen daily, which are piloted by these ‘Beastmen”, essentially humanoids created by the Spiral King. His oppressive reign forces humanity to live underground from the fear of being obliterated by the Gunmen. Kamina basically doesn’t care and claims he will destroy the Spiral King and ‘free’ humanity. Simon helps Kamina hijack one of the Gunmen and Kamina pilots it to fend off the attackers. For some reason, the people dwelling on the surface never thought to steal one of the mechas and use it against them, but Kamina was just acting as he always does, reckless. He names his own stolen mecha Gurren, and Simon’s mecha, Lagann. During a battle, without any sort of planning or thought at all, Kamina wants to ‘combine’ with Simon and has him drill Lagann on top of Gurren. Miraculously, the two mechas actually do combine into Gurren Lagann. After defending Yoko’s village, Kamina, Simon, and Yoko set off to destroy the Beastmen and their ruler.
Kamina’s confidence and personality are comical. And like I said, I have never been one for a mecha show, but the story is pretty amazing. The seemingly limitless power of Gurren Lagann makes for ridiculous fight scenes. I would describe this show as Gundam + Dragonball Z on steroids. Without revealing too much, there is a time skip, and the plot becomes so weird near the end, but it is so awesome you will want to keep watching anyway. Definitely check it out.
Comedy. Romance. Fantasy. Mild Ecchi.
Episode Count: 24
Shuffle! may or may not be your cup of tea. It’s one of those love pentagon shows where a guy has a ton of girls fawning over him but I found the show enjoyable. It takes place in a fictional Japan around a guy named Rin Tsuchimi, high school student. He is living with a girl named Kaede who is in love with him. Her father is always away on business so it’s always just the two of them. He is literally living the life, as she cooks for him, cleans, and does laundry, basically every man’s dream, though this thought doesn’t actually cross his mind. Anyway, years ago, two gates opened to the World of the Gods, and the World of the Demons. By now, gods and demons are common and enrolled in schools, hold jobs, etc… As it happens, two transfer students join Rin’s class. Lisianthus, nicknamed Sia, is the daughter of the king of the gods. And Nerine is the daughter of the king of the demons. Both of them are in love with Rin, and have somewhat different personalities.
Upon arriving at Rin’s class, their fathers explain that they are to be married to Rin, and he will become king of the gods, or demons, depending on who he chooses. The kings are actually pretty funny, as they act like typical parents in embarrassing their daughters all the time. Caught a little off guard, Rin doesn’t know what to think. Another girl named Asa, Rin’s longtime friend, often teases him casually, but at first they don’t even think of each other as more than good friends. Not long into the series, another girl named Primula is introduced; she is a strange, stoic young girl.
Itsuki Midoriba is Rin’s hilarious friend, basically the guy in these types of shows who never actually gets a girl but never stops trying. He is pretty funny. At one point when he sees Rin with Primula, he calls him a ‘cradle robber’ but ‘doesn’t judge him for that’. Basically the entire show is about who Rin is going to choose. There are a lot of awkward moments, romantic rivalries, and some interesting split personalities and aggressive tendencies each of these girls bring. Again, might not be your forte, but it’s a pretty funny show. Also you might not watch this with kids or if you’re offended by breasts.
Oh and I guess there’s a second ‘season’ called Shuffle! Memories which takes place 10 years later. As I understand, it is basically a recalling of the events of the first season. I myself haven’t seen it because I haven’t heard many good things about it, but apparently episode 12 of season 2 is worth watching.
Action. Fantasy. Mild Comedy.
Episode Count: 51
Soul Eater is a different type of show where they incorporate stuff like witches, Frankenstein and Al Capone. The basic premise of the series is that Lord Death has an academy in Death City where he trains Meisters, people who wield magical weapons to combat evil, and Weapons, people who can transform and take the shape of a weapon. Weapons can range from the classic scythe, to guns. Soul Eater is actually the name of one of the main characters of the show, but the title is a play on words. A Meister and Weapon work together to slay evil humans whose souls have become ‘Kishin Eggs’. When a Weapon eats the Kishin Egg soul, they may grow more powerful. Lord Death has his own personal weapons known as Death Scythes. The goal of his students at the academy is to create a Death Scythe for him. This is done by eating 99 Kishin Eggs and 1 witch’s soul, in that order.
Basically, Maka, Soul’s Meister, is the daughter of one of Lord Death’s Death Scythes. The two of them accept missions from the academy to eradicate the Kishin Eggs before they become a Kishin, which is a godlike being whose madness spreads across the world and creates chaos and destruction. Another pair is Black Star, and his weapon Tsubaki. Black Star is a cocky kid with incredible power, claiming to be an assassin; however his personality and behavior inhibit his abilities. Tsubaki could be considered somewhat like a ninja weapon arsenal, as she can change into several different ninja weapons. And the final group of main characters is Death the Kid, Lord Death’s son, and his weapons, Liz and Patty Thompson. Death the Kid has an obsession with symmetry and often finds himself distracted in battle because of it. His weapons are a pair of demon guns with awesome power.
Aside from simply transforming into a Meister’s weapon, a pair can perform a ‘soul resonance’ in which their souls are united and they gain ridiculous power. I’m not giving anything away, but they each have a unique resonance and turn into some sick weapons. These kids can seriously take a beating, as they are lacerated and punctured severely in battle but manage to survive.
Soul Eater is a show you will want to see for sure. It had a great plot and sweet fight scenes with the dozens of different types of enemies, Weapon’s, and Meisters.
Thriller. Fantasy. Mature.
Episode Count: 24
Tatsumi Saiga is a former war photographer who is living his live in Tokyo. He comes across this secret fetish club for the ultra-wealthy, celebrities, politicians, businessmen… They pay a substantial club fee for the Roppongi Club and they can have their fill of their dirty desires in secret. Upon investigating this club, he stumbles across this ritual occurring where he tries to take a picture of the clubs ‘goddess’. She is a 15 year old exploited girl named Kagura who ‘bestows her blessing’ upon those who she kisses. The camera shutter gives him away and he is discovered, as he is about to be killed, the Kagura kisses him and he gains a supernatural power. Anything he takes a picture of is destroyed. He is lacerated by some swords but manages to escape as his camera disintegrates his attackers. He manages to vacate the club with Kagura, who wished to be saved. But their freedom was short-lived, as they are pursued and the ‘goddess’ is reclaimed by the club.
A little freaked out, Saiga makes an oath to free that girl from the club, she deserves freedom. As it turns out, Kagura is actually the daughter and heir of the Tennozu group, the wealthiest company of Japan. Her mother absolutely hates her and she has had a pretty rough life despite being born into such a pampered life. She believes her nights at the club were merely nightmares, as Suitengu, the club’s founder, appears to brainwash her so she doesn’t realize what she is doing when at the club. Saiga’s ability comes with a price, however. He will inevitably go blind. Despite the countless dangers before him, he makes it his duty to rescue Kagura. Several other Euphorics, those ‘blessed by the goddess’ combat Saiga under Suitengu’s command. Regardless the situation, Saiga always manages to survive.
You should know; Speed Grapher is a very mature show including language, nudity, blood, gore, intense violence. It really is an amazing show with a great story and an unexpected ending. It is worth watching.
More to come!