Three Very Good Episode 8’s: Darker, Bantorra, Sasameki

Darker than Black has its overriding storyline, as convoluted as it is, with more attempts to capture or recruit (usually both) Suou, or Hei, while governments and secret organizations move chess pieces around and Kirihara dithers with no information, and there’s the whole mystery of Yin. Then there’s the more personal level of story arc, with Suou trying to be human and Hei sort of helping her while he sorts himself out.

Good to see Hei has his appetite back.

But each episode has its own set of themes and images. Often they’re based on Suou’s actions and memories, but they bleed over into other characters as well. In ep8 there are a lot of swimming pools, and the memories they bring back. Suou remembers playing with Tanya and friends splashing each other at a pool and enjoying the summer sun. Though it’s interesting that the pools they remember are indoors, where it doesn’t matter what season it is. One of the head bad guys is glad that psychopath Ilya has been killed because Ilya killed his niece. We see her floating in a swimming pool while he talks about never enjoying he summer sun again.

Meanwhile Suou talks to her captor Tanya, who can no longer understand her own memories. The climax comes at another swimming pool, an outdoor one, where Suou almost gets through to Tanya by splashing water on her. Then plot kicks in again, Suou back where she started, wondering when or why she should shoot, i.e., become a Contractor and lose her humanity.

It works well, too. The series is more sophisticated in its storytelling than most, little bits of plot leading this way and that, and usually a fight scene (plus a surprise at the end of this one), and it all flows naturally. An episode is usually over before I realize it. Plus, you can enjoy each episode for the images they decide to use.

NOW I get it! I had been thoroughly confused by the last episode of Bantorra, and thought myself a damn fool for not following what was going on. Episode 8 put it all together and did it splendidly. The current action all takes place on a cliff where an overmatched Noloty is about to take on Zatoh …

More guts than brains.

… But most of the scenes take place in the past, where we learn the true backstory. Looking back on it it all seems rather silly. Enlike and Zatoh aren’t the same person in different times. Zatoh killed Enlike and “ate” his book, condemning him to a life in some body organ of Zatoh’s …

Kidney? Liver? Spleen?

But with the aid of the people he killed, also trapped in there, Enlike finds ways to fight back until he takes over Zatoh’s body again, the way it was when we first met him. Never mind the whole weirdness of the idea, I mean, why is Enlike in human form when the others were all mud creatures, faces in the wall, or in the case of innocent Qumulo, simply her book? And why does the defeated Zatoh appear in human form down there? Why was he so easily subdued by the mud creatures? Well, it doesn’t matter. The whole thing had me going. The mystery’s unraveling moments were timed perfectly with the turns of the battle, constantly leaving me surprised and energized. Well done! And it demonstrates why patience in a good series will be rewarded.

That’s two very good eps tonight already. Sasameki Koto 8 has a lot to live up to. Let’s see how it does …

Aw, Murasame, the episode wasn't THAT bad!

In fact, it wasn’t bad at all. Rather, it was another solid episode of this series, meaning it’s better than most everything else running now. The two shows I talked about above might be better … might be.

Some class members confront (in a friendly, just-curious way) Tomoe and Miyako about their relationship.


Causing Aoi to freak out over the pervy stuff (Tomoe doesn’t help by suddenly kissing her—Cue the Chaste Women’s Chorus!), but it turns out she likes yuri and views lesbianism as a pure, clandestine thing. But the core of the episode is a terrible event, the worst thing that could happen: Murasame …

It was a fall down the stairs, that old chestnut of high school anime intrigue, with Murasame landing on top of Aoi and Kazama discovering them. Totally innocent, and Kazama isn’t stupid enough to take it the wrong way, yet she still cried, and Murasame isn’t sure why. Kazama later says it’s because it made Murasame look like a boy, but I’m not buying that for a second, especially when there’s yet another heartfelt, silent moment later, as they say goodbye. My guess is Kazama doesn’t know what’s going on in her head, but she’s an adolescent, nothing unusual about that. To spice things up even more, Aoi loves the yuri books that are secretly written by Kazama’s brother, and now has a crush on Murasame and might even be stalking her. Appearances, covers, secrets, genders, all tossed in the air and mixed about, it’s a wonder Akemiya didn’t appear, though we had plenty of him last ep. As usual the humor mixes in slapstick and gentle irony, which enhances all the earnest longing without making them any less poignant.

A VERY good night of anime viewing!

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