Heh, like the season 1 final episode, this is probably one of my longest posts as well. My final impression of this series is noted at the end. =)
Episode 12: “The Ark of Stars” (series finale)
SUMMARY: Suou finds Shion knocked down on the ground in a room inside the Gate. Shion says it’s because he paid the amount necessary for his remuneration, then asks Suou to take him outside because he wants to see the moon. Yin, who’s clad in black, is humming a creepy tune while sitting on a rock in a flowery field, surrounded by a bunch of observation spectres (and contractor spirits?).
July leads Kirihara, Mao, Madame Oreille and her dolls inside the room where Shion and Suou were earlier. He says that Suou was there a while ago but went out with Shion. Madame Oreille says Shion went to meet with Izanami/Yin. Kirihara asks Oreille why she didn’t stop that from happening if she knew that something catastrophic would happen if Izanami and Izanagi would meet. Oreille responds that there are times when people are supposed to meet each other. She says she’ll explain what she means, but they have to leave that room since the enemy has found that place as well. Meanwhile, Hazuki and a still powerless Hei are having a fight. Hazuki gets the upper hand, kisses Hei (for her remuneration) then punches him. She’s about to kill Hei, but she can’t seem to do it. Hei, still calm and expressionless, then says that he heard from Youko that Hazuki’s (and Section 3’s) true objective is in fact to prevent the prophecy from happening. However, he says he doesn’t care about that since his aim is to kill Izanami. Kobayashi then appears and stops them from fighting any more, telling Hazuki that Hei wasn’t the one who killed Youko after all. They leave the room with Hei at gunpoint. It turns out that Shizume was the one who killed Youko. He used the ME against Youko and got the data about Izanami’s location from her memories. He betrayed Section 3 and teamed up with the CIA and John Smith. Kobayashi adds that the agencies that make up PANDORA are now under the CIA’s control, including MIAC. Hazuki lets Kobayashi and Hei go ahead, saying she will take care of Shizume. She tells Hei that Izanami is waiting for him.
Oreille and company escape via a futuristic getaway car. Mao realizes that July isn’t with them anymore. Goldilocks twins say that July went after Suou. In the control room (the same one where Nishijima observed the events in season 1, ep 25), John Smith instructs his team to extract Dr. Pavlichenko’s memories via the ME to find out where the people they’re pursuing are going. Meanwhile, Kobayashi takes Hei to the real location of Izanami’s box. Kobayashi informs Hei that Izanami/Yin’s inner being has already awakened and went inside the core of the Gate and that the one in the box is now just an empty shell as they were too late. We learn that Dr. Pavlichenko and Oreille has a super elite doll network at their disposal located inside the Gate. She takes Kirihara and Mao there. She reveals that they set the events up so that the MI6 and CIA would take Shion and the Doc out of Russia. With Shion’s contract, he copied another moon (and earth?). Suou and Shion have a talk while on their way further inside the Gate. Shion notes that although that happy memory in the aquarium that he gave Suou was Suou’s dream, that’s not his dream. He notes that she’s still an emotional person even though she’s become a contractor. Suou says maybe it’s because she has been influenced by her friends. They come across one of the contractor’s that was forced to commit suicide by Izanami/Yin. Suou remembers the time when Horio’s mom died, and realizes that it was Izanami who was responsible for it.
Back in the room, Kobayashi tells Hei that at the time they got hold of Izanami, they were planning to kill her immediately but her reactions as Izanami suddenly stopped and they decided to contain her in that secret room. It seems that she was able to stop the awakening of Izanami herself. However, she awakened when that incident with Hei and Suouhappened (see episode 6). Kobayashi admits that there was nothing else they could do ever since that Gate appeared. A sad Hei whispers to Yin, “Let’s end it all.” July manages to find Suou and instructs her to come to him (he’s waiting at
the same place Amber had a conversation with Yin and Hei back in season 1). However, August 7 then appears in front of a suprised July. He says that their mission had been canceled since their higher-ups made an agreement with America that they won’t interfere. July says he isn’t going with August 7 since he likes being with Suou. August 7 comments that July’s an evolving doll and leaves him be. July gives Suou a big hug when she arrives, then leads her away with the help of another spectre. A big flash of light is then threatening to engulf the Gate. Back in the doll room, Oreille notes that Izanagi and Izanami has met and it has begun. Meanwhile, Hazuki is waiting for Shizume and they fight.
Back in the control center, Smith is informed that Hell’s Gate is opening. Smith orders his troops to go to the core of the Gate. July takes Suou to Shion, who’s now in the flowery field at the core of the Gate. Suou runs to a dying Shion and holds him in her arms. Shion informs Suou that he’s made a deal with Izanami. Before he dies, he says that the deal was his present for Suou and asks her to look after it and to send his love to their parents, calling her his dear sister. An angry Suou yells at Izanami/Yin, asking what she did to Shion. Yin says she granted his wish. At that moment, July collapses and dies too. A pissed off Suou summons her gun and aims at Yin. She says that Hei must have known this would happen that’s why he said he’d take care of his problems and that they promised each other that they’d finish this. While Suou is pulling the trigger, Yin retaliates by breaking the necklace that Suou is wearing. Apparently, it does contain a meteor core fragment. According to Oreille, it’s the fragment that made Suou retain her memories, so now that it’s broken, she’ll lose all her memories. Suou realizes this as well and tries to hang on to her memories and her life, but to no avail.
Mustering her remaining strength, Suou is about to fire at Yin, but Hei arrives and stops her, saying she won’t be needing the gun where she’s going, and he holds her in his arms trying to comfort a crying Suou as she slowly loses her memories and fades away. He lays Suou down beside July. There suddenly appears another Izanami/Yin (but dressed in white). She tells Hei with a smile that it’s not too late and asks him to kill her. Hei understands and smiles back. Kirihara tries her best to run towards where Suou and everyone is at. She says she doesn’t know if she’d make it but she thinks her wish to find them will come true since they’re inside the Gate. Mao reminds her that she’ll lose something in return. She then stops in her tracks as she notices BK-201’s star shining so brightly. She suddenly sees everything from above, with Hei reaching in toward Yin’s heart (just like what Amber did to Hei in the season 1 finale) and they are both engulfed by a bright light.
EPILOGUE… In the aftermath of the incident, we see Suou living a normal life with her mom and dad. In her voiceover, Suou notes that she always felt that something seems to be missing even though she’s now with her family and friends. She visits the aquarium with her parents. She says she doesn’t feel lonely but rather she feels like someone’s always watching over her and that makes her feel relieved. We then see a smiling July pass by Suou at the aquarium and waves at her. As she looks up at the stars through her telescope, Suou says she feels like she has previously met many people who are important to her, even though she can’t remember them. She believes that she’ll meet them again someday. As the ending credits are being shown, Oreille notes that the earth seems to be moving away, but she’s sure that Suou is there, just as Shion had wished. Goldilocks twins confirm this and says that July is there too. Kirihara and Mao stand gazing at the ruins inside the Gate. Kobayashi appears, commenting that it’s finally over. Kirihara disagrees, saying that this is only the beginning. Kobayashi smiles, saying she’s right, and that’s why they chose her to join their team. Oreille then appears and gives them a ride out of the Gate.
Kirihara does her usual voiceover… She says that America gained control over Tokyo in their quest to become the advanced nation they once were. The age of the Syndicate is now over. We see the old Oji-san dead from episode 7 dead, as well as Shizume (yeah, Hazuki killed that traitor! Serves him right after what he did to poor Youko). Goldilocks twins note that another Gate has opened. Smith and his team examine the flowery place inside the Gate. They find a boy (who looks like Yin) lying inside a box. He suddenly awakens and kills them. Kirihara wonders what could be new that’s being written in the pages of the prophecy now, and how it will change the world. Kirihara (in an all new more girly and stylish outfit) is picked up by Oreille, Kobayashi, and Mao using the futuristic (flying!) car. Kirihara notes that in the not-so-distant future, they chose the same path for what would happen, and ironically, they are now being referred to by people as “the Syndicate.” Kirihara adds that she hasn’t heard any news of Hei since the second Hell’s Gate incident, but even so, she believes that he is still alive. We then see Hei carrying an unconscious Yin, walking underneath the starry sky.
~ THE END
IMPRESSION: Whaaat? That was the end?! *ahem* Anyway, that fight between Hei and Hazuki was really awesome! (albeit short) I knew it wasn’t Hei who killed Youko… And although I suspected Shizume for Youko’s death, I didn’t *seriously* suspect him. Acting all chummy with Kirihara and Youko and Hazuki, he turned out to be the sneaky and sadistic kind of contractor. I don’t really understand how Hazuki’s little backstory that we got a glimpse of (see episode 9) is connected to the main plot, but maybe that was supposed to be a hint that she isn’t as emotionless and completely devoid of conscience like other more ruthless contractors are. I think Hazuki and the rest of section 3 believed that Hei’s goal was to take Izanami/Yin from them. Hei saying that his goal is to kill Izanami laid down that doubt and Hazuki was able to trust him enough to let him go and entrust to him what she was supposed to do while she avenged Youko’s tragic death by facing off with the traitorous Shizume.
Whoa, August 7 turned out to be alive. It didn’t surprise me that much, but I don’t quite get how that happened. I don’t think he was a hallucination or anything like that. Maybe he was able to escape Shizume’s deadly hand stomp back in episode 3… Yeah, that’s probably it. I mean, he won’t be be in the same ranks as November 11 (he has a number following his month name, I assumed they both rank higher than July or April) if he didn’t have the skills. Besides, he was known as “The Magician” so yeah, I guess he was able to fake his death back then. And it’s pretty obvious that July didn’t know about it since he seemed to be genuinely surprised to see August 7 appear in front of him.
Speaking of July, he is so adorable. I really liked his character more as he got more screentime and character development this season. Like Yin in season 1, we witnessed July’s evolution from a mere emotionless doll to a doll capable of expressing his emotions and making his own decisions. I appreciate that August 7 told him to do as he wishes when July said he liked being with Suou rather than going back to wherever August 7 was going. July hugging Suou was pretty cute. And I like that he was also sent over to the cloned earth that Shion wished and created for Suou.
I suppose the title “Gemini of the Meteor” referred to Suou and Shion, in that everything happened with the help of that meteor core fragment inside Suou’s necklace. Suou’s clone appeared right after that meteor shower incident where Shion almost died after being in the area that had been hit by the falling debris. It enabled Shion to overcome the glitch in his power, allowing Suou to last as long as she did despite being a clone. The twins were connected to the prophecy because of Shion’s wish, and Shion wanted to meet with Izanami because of his for the future that his beloved sister never had as she died at such a young age.
And as for Shion, I appreciate that he loved his sister very much. That’s why he managed to make an almost perfect copy of her when he was dying during that meteor shower incident and that’s why he went to all the trouble of meeting with Izanami. I think it’s also quite selfish of him to go that far since there were a number of people that died in the process, but I think I’ll give him enough props for doing so because he loved his dear sister whom he lost in that laboratory explosion. It’s also no wonder that he died since he cloned the earth and cloned numerous people for Suou to interact with as well. That must have drained a lot of his power and it must be the price for his wish. Their parents and even July were there… I wonder if there’s also a cloned Tanya, Nika, Hei, Mao, and Kirihara somewhere there? Hmm.
Moving on, Kirihara wasn’t able to pass on Amber’s message to Hei, was she? Bah, she wasn’t even able to meet with Hei again at all. Just a mere glimpse of him from above when he was supposedly “killing” Yin. I wonder what Amber’s message was about. What did she want Kirihara to pass on to Hei? Well, back in episode 9, Amber wants Kirihara to pass on to Hei and company whatever Kirihara finds out from the Mitaka Documents, so that no one will make a mistake in what was about to take place... based on that, I wonder if what was supposed to take place was the one that took place in the ending. I think Oreille mentioned before that there are many versions of the prophecy, and I think what happened was just one version. Now, as Kirihara pondered at the end of the episode, I also wonder what’s being written anew now that one version of the prophecy came true as all the characters involved in the event have made their own decisions. I doubt that Kirihara and Kobayashi remained with Section 3. It seems they’ve established a new group along with Oreille and Mao… I think maybe Hazuki is probably with them too, although we didn’t see her (just that she was able to kill Shizume in the end).
Like Kirihara, I also believe that Hei is still alive somewhere. I still think she wants to meet Hei again someday, but it also seems to me that she isn’t as hung up as she was about Hei anymore. I think it’s because, initially, her main motivation to meet him was to ask him some questions regarding the first Hell’s Gate incident and the path that he has chosen afterward… It seems to me that she has now found some answers to her questions as well, even though it’s not readily apparent to us viewers. I think she has a better understanding of the path that Hei has chosen now that she seems to be taking the same path as well, at least that’s how I interpreted it as she did her voiceover towards the end of this episode, adding that they have been ironically been referred to as “the Syndicate” since then. Oh, and I’m still hanging on to a wee bit of positive thread regarding my Hei x Kirihara shipping (stubborn fangirl in me will never abandon this ship! Haha ;P) And also, Kirihara’s makeover at the last few moments of the final episode is full of win. d(^_^)b
Attempting a more objective perspective on Kirihara, I think she’s one of the essential characters in the series. I mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again. I think she kind of, somewhat represents the audience’s point of view in the series, so I think that’s one of her character’s purpose. She cares about people as well as contractors and wants both camps to just get along and live harmoniously, she tries to see things from both perspectives. I think most of her questions are the same ones we have, and from her own dilemmas and worries, we can see both sides from her POV as well. Hmm, I can’t seem to find the right words to properly explain what I mean… For instance, she was as confused about Oreille, as desperate to find out more about Hei, and concerned about Suou and July as I was. Hmm. Does that make sense? Gah, maybe that’s a bad comparison, but I suck at explaining stuff, so sorry if I confused you even more. ^^;
With regard to Hei and Yin… Is Yin really dead? Or perhaps she was just unconscious? Mao turned out to be alive and August 7 also turned out to be alive in the end, so maybe Yin isn’t really dead too, but what do I know? Heh. I still think Hei is still alive too, but where has he gone off to? When will he ever get a good ending in which he could move on properly with his life. I don’t really get the whole cloned earth thing, but well, Shion’s wish was granted because he was inside the Gate, so I’ll leave that epilogue about Suou and July in the “supernaturally solved” section in my head for now. Maybe I’ll understand it someday after I’ve watched this finale for the nth time. I wonder if Hei made a wish too. I wonder who that boy who looked like Yin was. Is it the one that would bring catastrophe to the world? Where did Oreille come from? How did she know Mao and why did she have gadgets that were from Dr. Schroeder as well as a flying car? Who could Kirihara, Oreille, Kobayashi and Mao be working for now? Are they going rogue now too since America has gained control over Tokyo and PANDORA ? What are they going to do now that they’ve been dubbed as the new “Syndicate”? Does Oreille’s car go Back to the Future too? Ow, my head. >.<
The ending was quite open-ended, raising the possibility of a follow-up movie or an after-the-season-2-events OVA (since the upcoming season 2 DVD OVAs’ timeline is set between seasons 1 and 2), or perhaps maybe even a 3rd season… I really wouldn’t mind another season, but I hope they’d pick up with Hei as the main character once again and try to tie up the loose ends from both seasons 1 and 2. Oh, and if there would ever be a season 3, I’d like to request November 11 to turn out to be alive too ;P
FINAL IMPRESSION: As I expected, this finale requires as much thought as (if not more than) the season 1 finale @_@. Hmm. I’ll try to be as objective as I possibly can in expressing my final impression…
Although I still had a bunch of questions that were left unresolved in season 1, I’m happy to say that I was actually quite satisfied with how season 1 ended. I was thoroughly excited and ecstatic to find out that season 2 was green lit. I initially expected the 2nd season to be a continuation of season 1, but obviously it wasn’t since Hei took a backseat and they shifted the main plot’s focus on a new lead character, which was Suou (which somewhat makes it seem more kinda like a semi spin-off or something like that). I think Suou as this season’s lead character is the most important thing that viewers should keep in mind from the very first episode to the last.
Being the relatively tolerant and flexible viewer/DtB fan that I am (or so I’d like to think), I really didn’t mind the shift too much. Why? Because I really love DtB, not just the characters but also the entire series and story itself❤. But I’d be lying if I said that Hei isn’t one of the main factors why I love it so. Ahehe (I love how complex his character is). I admit that I also always thought that “some Hei is better than no Hei at all!” xD You might think it a pretty superficial and shallow motivation of mine, but with that, I was able to enjoy watching the 2nd season without being bound by ridiculously high expectations that they would tie up the loose ends and answer the remaining questions that were left in season 1.
Moving on to the series itself, I think it’s quite a sad story, but the epilogue for Suou somewhat makes it not too sad a story as it would have been if there wasn’t an epilogue. I think having a different person provide the background music for season 2 also speaks of the series’ divergence from season 1’s main plot and a making use of a new lead character to boot. Poor Hei still got a bittersweet ending despite all his efforts T_T. But I really enjoyed the awesome fights and the more contemporary, beat-laden, techno-ish music brought in by the team (do take a listen to the OST… I think it’s pretty kicka$$. I especially like the upbeat tracks 1, 2, 5 and 7).
What I’m trying to say is that with regard to the main plot of season 2 (which concerns Suou), even though I still have some unanswered questions, I think the series managed to wrap things up quite properly considering that it was set for only 12 episodes. Although, honestly, I think season 1 had a better ending despite still having some holes in the storyline. But I really do think that season 2 was pretty good and enjoyable to watch, it’s just that the ending would make you exclaim “HUH?!” with the final episode (I’ve even heard a number of people say “WTF?” over it xD). I was actually somehow satisfied with how season 1 ended. And even though I still had a bunch of questions after the 1st season, I think season 2’s ending raised even more questions that have been left unresolved. But now I kinda think they should really make a post-season 2-events OVA or movie or a 3rd season that could address or at least lessen the questions.
So would I recommend you to watch Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini? – Hmm… I’d say yes, but with some conditions and a bit of advice. Let’s see…
- Watch it only if you really like the DtB series as a whole and not just because you’re shipping a couple of characters (especially if you’re a hardcore Yin or Yin x Hei shipper, or you’ll just be disappointed and you’d probably just curse the 2nd season to oblivion after watching it).
- Be prepared to think, to speculate, to think, to lose a character you liked, and to think. Be ready for a bunch of re-watch to be able to connect the events together. Yeah, I think it takes some effort to watch this series (personally, that’s one of the things I love about it, except the part about losing the character I like T_T). And keep in mind that this storyline is mainly about Suou and not so much about Hei.
- In my opinion, I think you can *probably* watch season 2 even if you haven’t seen season 1. However, I still think it’d be wiser to watch season 1 first since there are a number of elements (like Amber, Dr. Schroeder, Heaven’s War, etc.) that were mentioned referring to events in season 1 (there might be some people out there who jumped right into season 2 without watching season 1… I wonder what they think of it)
Hmm, what else? I can’t seem to think of other things to say. I better stop here before I start going in circles again. ^^;; I think it was a pretty good and a really enjoyable season 2 in general… It’s such a pity that season 2’s ending was too confusing to be appreciated by many viewers. Even I felt I was left hanging in the end T_T, but even so, I don’t think my soft spot for DtB will ever wane. ^^
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