DARKER THAN BLACK OAV REVIEW
Although it aired after Season 2, the OAV actually takes place chronologically between the seasons. I found viewing the OAV prior to watching S2 a prerequisite for understanding S2.
Here's my bottom line on the OAV: it had some kickassingly awesome action sequences, but little of the compelling character work of S1. The opening battle sequence was absolutely breathtaking, and there are many such awesome sequences throughout the 4 OAV episodes. For an action fan like me, Gaiden was heavenly.
The problem was that the character work wasn't quite there. The show tried to develop the Hei/Yin relationship, but for me it felt extremely forced--as if they were just trying to please shipping fangirls. I was annoyed. I don't mind romance if it feels organic and natural (e.g., Kenshin and Tomoe in Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal), but Hei and Yin really didn't have much going for them. Their relationship really just didn't make any sense to me, except as a device to suck in a susceptible female audience.
Well, I, for one, couldn't stand most of the lovey dovey Hei/Yin handholding scenes. And it's not because I want to see Hei get together with Misaki or Amber or anyone else. Goodness god, why must characters get together with other characters?
I wanted to see Hei take down the motherf*cking Syndicate! To become a leader, develop a plan, set goals, and execute them. I did NOT want to see him run around aimlessly trying to protect some flat-as-hell doll character just 'cos a bunch of screaming girls wanted them to get together.
Without a narrative to propel the story, I was left clamoring for more Hei-electro-fries-everybody-else action scenes.
...which S2 supplied, in good amounts, as mentioned previously. But still, the character work was missing. Watching a doll evolve is like watching paint dry.
I appreciated that the OAV made S2 more comprehensible, but the increasing weirdness of the supernatural plot from the OAVs into S2 made me go "WTF" more than a few times. Yin turns into some crazy Izanami thing that kills contractors because she evolved too fast out of love for Hei?! And she's destined to join with Izanagi and bring forth devastating change to the world? WTF.
Yes, yes, I know, loosely based on Japanese mythology and whatnot, but still, WTF? Again, my reaction to DtB OAV (and, eventually, S2) reminded me of my reaction to the end of Evangelion. I guess my appreciation for the weird and supernatural only goes so far.
Oh well. Anyway, I enjoyed the OAV because of aforementioned kickass action sequences. Black Reaper = badass. But . . . Gaiden really doesn't really live up to Season 1 . . .