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Han Shot First

November 29, 2009

Darker than Black just went George Lucas on us, except it didn’t take 20 years and a “special edition” to do it.

Let me say this first: I love Darker than Black. Between the first series, which I’ve gone back and started watching since my last DtB post, and this sequel series, It’s one of my favorite series in recent memory. I’m loving the Cold War-like implications that are brought about by the Contractors (Contractors = Nuclear Weapons, countries grow suspicious of anyone using them, etc). The series is nigh-brilliant. But the implications brought about by the latest episode baffle me.

Suou’s storyline has been building up to this moment. She’s struggled with the notion of protecting herself through violence. She intentionally missed targets early on in the series, but in the previous episode she showed a willingness to kill when July’s safety was at risk. She’s slowly coming around to accepting the fact that the DtB world is a grim, violent, uncaring world and that one needs to be willing to do terrible things to protect the few things worthy of said protection.

All of this is usurped by having Suou not shoot Tanya.

Based on everything we’ve seen so far in the series, Suou shooting Tanya would be a natural progression. It’s like Han shooting Greedo first in the cantina scene from Star Wars. Han firing first is intrinsic to his character, and having Suou kill Tanya out of self-preservation and as retribution for the death of their friend appears to be where the series was heading up to this point. Instead, Suou’s brother is the one to take the shot.

Why? Are they intentionally going against expectations? I’d be cool with that, but I don’t think this is a case of “oh yeah, got you there, we’re doing this instead.” I’m afraid that my initial concerns may come to pass. I was afraid that the series wouldn’t have the guts to allow Suou to “descend” into the mindset of the DtB world. The creators seem to be segregating Suou from reality, as if they need to keep her pure and innocent. Do they think current anime viewers will cease to like her if she takes a cue from Han Solo and shoots first? Would that make her less “moe” or something?

I hope I’m proven wrong, but after this episode I have a feeling my worries are well-founded.

At least they had the guts to off Tanya. That’s keeping with the Darker than Black spirit. Now all we need is a “Suou Shot First” moment and everything will be right.

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