Darker than BLACK – 04
After staring at the now-withered plant for a moment, Tahara picks up the pot and smashes it on the table. Across town, the police are inspecting the scorched bodies at the construction site and are talking about the appearance of a Moratorium. Watching from nearby, Mao asks Li if he found out anything special about Tahara’s daughter, and this causes Li to remember her showing the faint light coming from her arm. At that moment, Mai is aimlessly wandering the streets of the city when she bumps into a pole and returns to her normal self. Noticing that the faint light that was shining from her wrist is now gone, Mai runs out into the street in a panic and nearly gets run over by a truck. The only thing that saves her is her own flame power igniting the vehicle and its occupants. Refusing to acknowledge that she was responsible, Mai runs off. Kirihara Misaki meanwhile is in her car getting briefed on the Meyer & Hilton Company which uses Contractors as weapons and is crossbreeding people of different abilities to produce hybrids. They also are experimenting on using brain surgery to allow ordinary people to get contracts. When Misaki asks about the connection to the appearance of the Moratorium, she is told that it is uncertain. However, about 10 years ago, there was a Japanese person who was employed as a researcher and is connected to this appearance of a new star. Misaki is told to hurry because they must secure and isolate the Moratorium – they are neither Contractors nor Dolls, but rather failed monsters.
Misaki then arrives at the National Astronomical Observatory and goes inside to see the old Hoshimi (Stargazer). Afterwards, the female chief Ishizaki explains to Misaki that those known as Moratorium delay the compensation that Contractors have to do. After a period of time, Moratorium become Dolls, much like their observatory’s spirit mediums. These Moratorium are different from standard Contractors in that they can’t control their own power. Misaki looks so serious after hearing all this that Ishizaki teases her about permanently wrinkling her brow. Back in the city, many of the residents have been asked to evacuate because of a supposed gas main break. Mai’s friend Yuka spots her sitting alone in an alley and tries to convince Mai to escape with everyone else. When Yuka’s father joins in to coax Mai out, she tells them not to come towards her. The father tries to grab her arm, but Mai’s power activates and start burning his arm. Yuka then notices that her feet are on fire, and soon both she and her father are completely engulfed in flames. Unable to watch her friend burn to death, Mai runs away again. Because of this incident, Misaki and the others at the Observatory are alerted to her location and get her surrounded with police. Unfortunately, all of those officers die bloody deaths after being cut apart by the large, black man Luke’s Contractor power. Later that afternoon, Tahara gets a phone call from Kenneth who, along with Luke, is now holding Mai hostage. Kenneth still wants Tahara’s research that seals Contractor ability and knows that Tahara had used his own daughter as an experiment. Nearby, Mai is drawing on the ground and has taken on a very child-like persona.
As Tahara hangs up the phone, he hears Li asking him if it’s true that he used his daughter as an experiment. Li also questions what Tahara put into her wrist. Starting from the beginning, Tahara explains that he is the only person remaining from the first investigative team that went into the Hell’s Gate. He had taken from there a certain substance that he discovered could seal a Contractor’s ability when embedded into a Contractor’s body. At the time, he had been employed by the Meyer & Hilton Company. When he found out about his daughter’s ability, he tried to seal it off by putting the substance into her wrist. He continued his research because the seed would someday decay and her abilities would activate again. Tahara realized that it was impossible to completely seal off the powers, and what’s more, the person embedded with the seed would be transformed into a Moratorium. Thus, he now feels guilty about having changed her into a monster because he didn’t want her to become a Contractor. Continuing his explanation, Tahara says that all the data was destroyed, Mai’s memories were deleted with the ME, and he left the company. When Tahara claims that he really didn’t want to make Mai an experiment, Li accuses him of abandoning everything and running away. This gets Tahara mad enough to pin Li to the bookcase and declare again that it’s impossible to seal off the abilities, so he couldn’t continue with the meaningless experiment that his daughter became. As he calms down, Tahara reveals that he had two seeds. One was the one in Mai’s wrist and the other was planted to grow a new plant for when the seed in Mai’s wrist decayed. He had hoped that this would allow him to seal off forever the Moratorium that Mai would become.
Tahara then tells Li that the only time he was able to rest his mind was when he was watering this plant. However, that’s over now because the seed was not able to bear fruit. As Li starts to walk out, Tahara admits that he was scared of the moment where he would see the result of his mistake. That night, Hei attacks kidnapper’s warehouse and forces his way through until he comes face to face with Luke. Hei manages to keep from getting sliced apart by Luke, but he does get his mask cut off. The fight gets interrupted when Kenneth sees Tahara come in and ask for his daughter back. Although he refuses to return to the company, Tahara is willing to hand over his research. Since Tahara wants Mai back first, Kenneth lets her go back to her father, but Mai says that she doesn’t want to because she doesn’t know who he is. Tahara then walks up and grabs her arm, causing her flame powers to flare up again. With his daughter back, Tahara tosses Kenneth the remains of the plant that he had been growing. Kenneth thinks that this is a joke, but Tahara insists that this is all his research. Before Kenneth can take the flower though, it burns up because of Mai’s power. Even after Tahara hugs her, Mai continues to resist her father’s grasp, saying that her real father is cooler and more amazing. When Tahara admits that her father is a cruel person, Mai actually rejects this notion and says that she loves her father. Having heard this, Tahara tells Mai that he loves her too, but, unbeknownst to her, he’s also holding a dagger ready to stab her.
Before Tahara can kill his daughter, Luke fires at his hand and forces him to drop the weapon. Since they have no more use for him, Luke follows this up by impaling Tahara with a projectile. By now, however, Hei has managed to get behind Luke and him. In his final breaths, Tahara tells his daughter that his work is finally finished and says to her that he’s home. With tears in her eyes, Mai welcomes him back. Her father now dead, Mai stands up and gets ready to kill Kenneth. Hei attempts to tell her to stop, but she turns around and questions why, all while her eyes have started glowing Contractor red. She then engulfs Kenneth in flames until the sprinkler system turns on and puts out all the fires. Mai starts singing right as Mao arrives at the warehouse, and the cat figures out that this must be the price for her contract, meaning that she’s changed into a Contractor. Huang also shows up and thinks that Tahara doesn’t matter so much since they’ve obtained something interesting instead. When Mai stops singing, she thinks that she killed a lot of people, so Huang tells her that this isn’t something to get depressed about. He also answers Heaven when she asks where she’s going now. By the time the police arrive on the scene the next morning, everything is gone except for Tahara’s body, and Misaki recounts that they weren’t able to find the Moratorium or BK-201. The only certain thing for her is that the new star that was born then still hadn’t fallen yet.
With the Contractor death toll in previous episodes, I had thought that Mai would die too, so I was pleasantly surprised when she survived. Instead of her death though, there were a lot of other people dying. I was a little shocked that she killed her own friend (not willingly of course since she didn’t have control over it), but it seems to me that they’ve shown pretty well so far that they’re not afraid to kill off almost the entire minor character cast from bi-episode arc to bi-episode arc. And with scenes like the one where the policemen get chopped up, Darker than BLACK is turning out to be a lot more bloody and violent than I thought it’d be, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I hadn’t really cared about the relationship between Mai and her father as much as everything else, but the music during the scene where Tahara died was really good, and I thought it added a lot of emotion. Mai was also exceptionally creepy sounding in her Contractor state, so props to Nasu Megumi for her work. I hope we get to see more of her in future episodes, but that’s also me hoping for more continuity between each arc. From what I’m told though, the preview for next week shows some characters who may have recurring roles, so that’s a good sign.