Genre: adventure, drama, mystery, psychological, science fiction, supernatural
Story – 4.4
Gemini of the Meteor, takes place not long after the events of the OVA. Gemini of the Meteor is ambitious in its pursuits, but unfortunately lacks the consistency of the former series due to the inadequate closure and its fantastical elements which struggle in the plausibility department. Despite this and a few sudden character changes, this Second Season still packs a punch and has many solid moments past its early stage. Oh, and we have another go at the false assumption about Carcinogens. Newsflash: 40-year 118,000 people study by James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat proved it is no worse than any other dust particles in the air. A little factoid I tend to laugh at every time.
The Moral Category: Language is similar to the previous series in that it is somewhat limited in use, but still finds all the usual words for the Genre it is. Also, unlike the former series, we are not “treated” to any seriously questionable scenes with vantage points unbecoming… at least not so much in the way of being lewd. As usual, some of the Dolls being rescued have their clothes taken, although this maintains the usual respect… And they are clothed soon after, so I don’t think this should be an issue for the viewer.
If you were one of those many hapless fans who watched the Gemini of the Meteor first before the OVA came out… well, I don’t blame you. A lot of the story telling techniques was changed in the series (an important point for later), and Hei is no longer the alternate form of James Bond but instead a drunkard who is quite ok with smacking a young girl in the face. And where’s Yin? We just saw her with Hei in the first season… So why does the show take so long to tell us why she left? And what’s up with the supernatural alternate universe thing? I thought the series was more logical than it was fantasy! It’s almost as perplexing as the ending of the first series was fantastic….. Oops?
To be fair to the series, it’s not that Hei is just a jerk who smacks girls and has no reason for being who he is. Yin left him, but unfortunately for the viewer the relationship of the two had never been established in the first series. This ultimately leaves the viewer lost at the ordeal since the viewer lacks the emotional investment necessary for at least sympathy, unable to come to terms with the sudden harsh character of Hei’s. Yet, there is a lot of power in Hei’s scenes and I felt that as the series warmed up, the believability of the lost Hero was a legitimate idea and worth fleshing out. The problem lies with show’s lack of interest in giving proper closure in its initial setup of the Second Season. If you’re trying to grab intense emotions involving a loved one gone missing, then at least give a flash-back or something to connect those emotions to the viewer.
Unfortunately, it’s not just this factoid of the unexplained circumstances and emotions. Consider the entire stupid arc involving the little shop called The Ark. The son of the shop owner is a hippy who believes in government conspiracies. Too bad that despite already supposedly HAVING A GIRLFRIEND, this trash sees Suou doing her training and falls in love with the young girl…. WHAT!?! As if that wasn’t enough, the show spends quality time fleshing out this young man’s “feelings” on the subject and expects us to sympathize with him. Ok, not AGREE with him, an important distinction I’ll admit, but nonetheless does not succeed in making the audience like the weirdo anymore.
And then meet the weirdo’s father, more twisted than his son as he is cross-dressing as a way of closing his heart to the tragedy of his wife becoming a contractor. Yes, we are in fact a shop called Noah’s Ark, and proper respect is given to that name and what it represents…but then the father says that he wishes there was more “open-mindedness” on allowing other persuasions. Never mind that the father is hiding himself in this perverse nature…never mind that his son is following a 12-year old and he’s ok with it all.
Oh, and did I mention who Misaki is working with? Misaki, our much beloved cop has joined a special police task force bent on exposing the government conspiracies of the Syndicate. One of her associates is a Contractor who apparently has a payment where she must kiss a member of each sex. Yes, the most lame excuse for inviting a Lesbian in the show (the other female associate apparently also leans that way), and unsurprisingly the need to “fit-in” undermines the show big time. The whole reason for Noah’s Ark was entirely propaganda and aimed at guilt-tripping the viewer into acceptance. You can see the disparity of quality as the show embraces what is illogical and claims it is natural. I’ve always found this acceptance in wrong-doing to be disastrous to a series, but candidly that is because once you accept lust as a virtue, then all morality goes to pieces in a world which embraces foolishness. And like Dominoes, the rest always follows suit.
Seriously? Wow…. talk about a full swinger in the series. You go from a very proper show with all the roles being presented well and distinctly (crucial to story-telling), to a sudden switch to where homosexuality, cross-dressing, and child molesters are all encouraged as being the norm for society? What i hated worse was this young man’s father had been married to a Contractor. So when the change occurred he responded by… Dressing as a woman to shield himself? What the heck…. as if that is either justifiable or meaningful to the series… What kind of person does that to himself and his son? And worse of all he encourages his son’s awful behavior with the child Suou (who thankfully is able to kick his sorry butt)…. This is also called garbage in a story. Oh, he did his son sooo many favors by abandoning his role as a stable male…abandoning his position as his father. And I am supposed to accept this all as superior writing? Please. Don’t insult me.
All of that being said, don’t take this all too harshly. While the Noah’s Ark’s arc is idiotic, overall Gemini of the Meteor was a fantastic series with many riveting story turns, and honestly kept me guessing towards the end. Our first glimpse at the horrific state of Hei begins with him capturing a young girl name Suou from her home. Well, not quite from her home, as her twin brother (also a Contractor himself) warned her off. I was a bit taken back by Hei killing her father, so when Hei’s “package” is intercepted by a memorable contractor we know as April, half of me wanted her to stay away from Hei. Of course, this is Darker Than Black. The show regularly delves into the tragedy meter as I got to watch April die from Hei’s hands before the episode ended.
With ever masterful turns, the show introduces us to a weird battle between Hei and a magician Contractor. The battle is rather cool, and at the conclusion of it Hei is blasted by a strange force field of some sort which neutralizes his power completely. Clearly the Syndicate isn’t dead. But more importantly to the show is the relationship Hei has with Suou. From a kidnapper to a trainer, you get the sense that Hei’s new bosses have a strange use for the girl, and I think the mystery of this relationship helped add a certain attraction to the show.
Suou’s relationship with Hei is flushed out very well in this series. Both sides benefit greatly, and perhaps more importantly our Hero Hei himself slowly comes out of his shell thanks to the girl. Hei, just like the previous series, finds that his bosses asks too much from Suou….and will not allow Suou to be a killer (as she preferred) nor destroy the package Hei was chasing all this time. It’s a strong point for the series, and I think added a certain protection from that earlier arc and when the show delved into alternate universes.
As it turns out, Suou is not quite human. She’s a contractor of sorts, and arguably a bit of a stretch with her having a gun come out of her pendant she carries around. Maybe more so because in typical shogun fashion the gun must be slowly taken out… it does a get a bit old after a while. Anyways, Suou was created to stop Yin from fully awakening, and the preceding events which take place are very solid, not to mention touching, as we see Suou grow up. Thankfully, though Suou has the chance to slay the woman, she is unable to when her pendant is broken and the source of her existence is slowly being ripped away. I loved how Hei comes in at the nick of time to not only save Suou but also have a few sad words with Yin and her alternate self.
Looking back at the ending, I can say that the show takes it a bit too far. A contractor who is nearing the end of his power…can chunk out an entire world for the dying Suou? Yeah, a bit of convenience….although nobody wanted to see July, the cute boy doll, die, so it’s not a huge loss getting to see them in a dream. The danger comes in whether the series ended well enough for a third season.
Before I jump to the Emotional Draw, there is a huge issue I must deal with: Many people on the internet, and those who I have spoken too, think that Gemini of the Meteor is about Hei. It definitely involves Hei, and thinking about the timing of the series and the lack of the OVA to fill in some gaps, understandable. However, from the very beginning we were introduced by Suou herself, in a diary of a strange dream of sorts. Even the ending comes full circle with this dreamy conclusion. The show is NOT about Hei… it is about Suou and was always about her. I think once the viewer understands this, they will see Gemini of the Meteor to be a very solid story of a girl’s journey. We don’t need that much closure to Hei’s past or even his future because it’s not his story. Suou is the main character, and her friend July. A very important distinction when watching what I believe to still be a solid show.
Emotional Draw – 4.5
Much like the first season, there are many moments where the viewer feels like shouting at the scene in surprise or joy or excitement…Gemini has a lot going for it, despite it’s problems. Gemini falls a bit more comical than its former series, although the show has plenty of morbid material of its mother story. Much of the humor involves the funny things that happen to Suou. Suou herself is being taught by Hei to be an assassin and to shoot that massive rifle (can I get one of those?). I loved that scene where she decides that a really old package of Ramen is ok to eat in a dusty refrigerator… made me laugh a bit at the poor food-poisoned girl. Much of the humor involving Suou is of a similar trend, although some slapstick exists too, but I think overall the humor kept the show feeling much lighter than its predecessor.
Early in the show, we meet our love-able contractor April, who unfortunately meets her demise from Hei. Perhaps as softly as April’s death is the introduction to the friends of Suou, a minor character named Nika and, the girl he loves, Tanya. Using a flashback to inform us (another sign this series isn’t about Hei), we see their history and the tragedy when Tanya herself is transformed into a Contractor. I must say the insect power of hers is rather crude and horrific, and perhaps fitting of being another cold Contractor.
Still, even at this early stage there are a lot of very sensitive scene involving our Suou which would make any story proud. Whether it’s the little memory of the animal Suou didn’t want to kill in her youth, or the awesome scene where our little lady gets Hei to stop drinking, or the tragic scene where Suou is rebuffed by her mother, or the final scenes with Suou. These scenes were powerful and clearly got the viewer to feel exactly what the director wanted his audience to feel. Oh, I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention how Mao came back to the series…this time as Suou’s pet squirrel. Classic stuff there and arguably some of the cutest moments happen with him.
Speaking more about the excellence in story telling leads us to July, the Doll. A favorite from the first season, he gets some major focus as his friendship with Suou blossoms. Just remembering him responding “ouch” flatly as Suou touches a wound of his, is enough to make me smile. July, like Suou is slowly coming out of his shell, and so his surprise ending is a bit disheartening. Although, I don’t want to spoil the ending of Gemini since that was such a great scene.
One bad point to mention that notably affects the emotional investment of the viewer is the Noah’s Ark and Mechiro. I won’t repeat the back-story, but trying to make the viewer feel emotional for a creepy pervert was a wrong move that set back the series for a number of episodes. And let’s not forget the stupidity of the lesbian contractor and her all-too predictably unprincipled helper. These elements, combined with the bad story progression for these badly designed characters led the story into some stupid moments…that while might have made the viewer coil in horror or appropriate pity, invariably missed the mark. Excellence has its roots in morality, and trying to separate the two always costs a show. Because at the end of the day, it is exactly the topic of morality which makes Darker Than Black a great series.
Characters – 4.975
Suou Pavlichenko – 5.0
Alison Viktorin plays the English Dub here. The Texan beauty does her role proud in every episode, and I can’t really think of a scene, where emotions are required, that Mrs. Viktorin does not deliver. The daughter of a scientist who studies Contractors, Suou’s pleasant life is thrown away when Hei comes to both save and kidnap the young girl. A contractor herself possessing a power in the pendant Suou wears, the girl apparently it much more advanced than the usual Contractor by her feelings, and must try to figure out herself and what justice is before she is forced to do something she might regret. Well done indeed.
Hei – 5.0
A Contractor from the previous series, our ever-cool hero is not himself. Everyone he knows is gone, and Yin, his special friend, is also gone mysteriously. He has found another job with his talents, but as he is training the contractor girl Suou, Hei is slowly opening up again and finds out what he was hired for is not what Hei really wants.
Mao – 4.9
Kent Williams returns to his role as the ever cute, yet serious, Cat. Well, actually, he plays a squirrel this time, and I can happily say Kent meets the expectations of all his fans. Not really seen since the first Series, Mao comes manages to find himself again, and this time in the body of a cute squirrel that Suou “found”. Mao proves himself to be a solid friend (as usual), and finds himself in the best of situations throughout the series.
July – 5.0
A Doll like Yin, July is voiced by Lucy Heartfilia….ok, her name is Cherami Leigh. But everyone knows she’s a great actress, and I found it rather interesting that she did July’s voicing. And frankly, probably just makes me like the boy that much more. Excellent performance. July is a Contractor who after losing his side-kick, chooses to follow Hei and Suou where he develops a friendship with the girl Suou. Well done interaction that is sure to warm your heart.
Creativity – 4.0
Gemini of the Meteor is a solidly designed show that unfortunately bit a wee bit too much when it went into the whole alternate universe thing. I can’t go on without mentioning the dumb idea of making Suou’s giant rifle coming out of her pendant a scene in itself every time. Like please, I know the genre may be Shonen Jump, but even that kind of nonsense is best for a show that is less serious than DTB. Just be satisfied with the excellent drawing and move on please.
Still, choreography was well done throughout the series, the fighting scenes were more involved, and Hei is just the coolest dude in existence. Scenery itself is expanded even farther than the previous series, as we are treated to many different places in the world. All feeling like you really are visiting those places yourself. Just some great stuff in Gemini.
Music has two songs throughout the series. The Opening song is “Tsukiakari no Michishirube” by Stereopony. It’s actually the first song I ever heard from Stereopony and one of the first few songs from Japan. A great song that hits the right vibes for the series, and worth a relisten. The ending song is “From Dusk Till Dawn” by abingdon boys school. Ok…without a doubt this song should have been one of the Ending Songs of the Year… it just hits so well to the attitude and feelings of the show. Just superb what Abingdon Boys School did. Please, even if you don’t watch the series, listen to this song.
Grade Overall – 4.46
(Gemini of the Meteor is actually a very strong series IF you watch the OVA first. Honestly, aside from the stupid Noah’s Ark and a few other smaller elements, this Sequel is a solid show and worth a watch. Just understand it’s not about Hei. It’s about our mutual friend Suou.)