Darker than BLACK – 09
In a dark tunnel, Misaki meets with a man named Richard Lau who has information about a Contractor. Richard wants her to guarantee his safety, but Misaki is only willing to do that depending on what he says. When she realizes that he knows about VI-952, she grants him the protection, though she still wants the information first. Richard is about to tell her the name of the Contractor, but she interrupts him to point out that there’s blood on his back. In a panic, Richard tries to take off his jacket, but the blood stain is on the back of his shirt too. Someone nearby snaps their fingers, and Richard’s back suddenly explodes, killing him. The police soon arrive, and Misaki’s fellow detectives think that it was a type of matter transfer ability that killed Richard, and they know that he was Wang Shao Tang’s right-hand man. Misaki’s father, superintendent supervisor Kirihara Naoyasu, then arrives to survey the scene and speak to his daughter about how this is the ninth death. It seems that all the victims have been members of the Hong Kong mafia and Naoyasu suspects internal struggles within that organization. Father and daughter have both figured out that these murders have all been carried out by one Contractor whose Messier Code is VI-952.
Naoyasu then notes that working hours are over and suggests that they go out for dinner, despite Misaki’s protests that the case isn’t closed yet. Because he orders her to go, she agrees, but stipulates that she gets to choose the place. She ends up taking him to a hotel’s Chinese restaurant that is owned by Wang Shao Tang, the boss of the Qinglongtan, though she claims to simply want to eat there. When Misaki questions her father about what he wanted to talk about, Naoyasu explains that Misaki is being promoted to senior superintendent, and he envisions his daughter some day becoming the first female superintendent supervisor. Recalling that Misaki joined the police in order to help the weak, Naoyasu suggests that she can save a lot of people from a higher position. Fortunately, there’s still some time until the announcement, so he asks her to prepare herself for it. After dinner and after seeing her father off, Misaki runs into her old friend Alice in front of the hotel. Alice thinks that Misaki is here for her birthday party and is disappointed when she realizes that Misaki didn’t know about it. She then introduces her bodyguard Wei and invites Misaki inside, promising to show her a place that the police aren’t allowed in.
After stepping out of an elevator on one of the top floors, Misaki notices all the cameras, but there are none inside the penthouse that Alice and her father live in. When they’re alone, Alice teases Misaki about liking greasy food and getting fat, though Misaki feels that it’ll be okay because she moves around a lot. The two break the ice by laughing about this, and Alice eventually forces Misaki to put on a qipao as punishment for forgetting about her birthday. She also takes off Misaki’s glasses and wants her go downstairs to the party like this. Looking in the mirror as she holds Misaki, Alice comments on how strange it is for the daughter of Wang Shao Tang to be together with a police detective. Many years ago, when they were in high school, Misaki had one day taken away Alice’s pack of cigarettes. Misaki wanted Alice to quit smoking, and when Alice said that it had nothing to do with her, Misaki insisted that it did because they’re classmates. In trying to get back her cigarettes, Alice played the “do you know who I am” card, but Misaki declared that Alice’s father had nothing to do with this and asserted that smoking would make her weak. Alice didn’t care about that and feels that the type of person she is has nothing to do with Misaki. However, Misaki continues to insist that it does, mainly because Alice sits beside her in class and smells horrible from the cigarettes. This had caught Alice off guard, and as she’s leaving school, she is embarrassed to see Misaki waving goodbye to her. Still, after she gets into her car, she fondly remarks that Misaki is odd.
At the party, Alice introduces Misaki to her father who comments on how much the qipao suits Misaki. Although Wang Shao Tang acts very pleasant towards Misaki, he privately questions why Alice brought Misaki here. After Alice declares that Misaki is an important friend, her father then acts displeased with how the Japanese Misaki is wearing a qipao whereas Alice is wearing a western dress. As Wang Shao Tang leaves the room, Misaki struggles to survey what’s going on around her because she lacks her glasses. To her surprise, she finds her subordinate Saitou working undercover here as a waiter, and he gets her embarrassed by commenting on her provocative dress. Since he’s on the job, Saitou explains that although this may look like a birthday party on the outside, it’s actually an urgent meeting of the mafia leaders. Their conversation is soon interrupted by an incredibly loud stomach growling – Hei’s. It seems that he’s also working as a waiter, though this noise causes him to get sent to wash dishes instead. Saitou laughs at this, but their supervisor catches him and accuses him of flirting with Misaki, so Saitou gets sent to wash dishes too. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to everyone, all the security cameras are now inactive, and the building’s security room is littered with the dead bodies of guards.
As they wash dishes together, Saitou learns that Hei accidentally approached the elevator upstairs to the top floor that only the owner and his daughter are allowed on. Hei notes that Saitou seems to know the details of the place and their conversation then turns to Misaki. When Hei says that she’s pretty, Saitou explains that her looks are deceiving and that she’s actually quite scary. Back at the party, the leaders get called in to the meeting with Wei. Alice doesn’t let Misaki approach the meeting room, though she does offer information to compensate: VI-952′s true identity. She leads Misaki upstairs to the top floor where there is a large greenhouse, inside of which is a room of stone flowers. As Alice reveals that they’re not artificial and are from the Gate, she shows Misaki some bees that are flying around the flowers. These bees produce a special substance, and Alice proceeds to stab herself with one. She claims that it causes her pain and sadness to disappear, and she tries to force Misaki to use it too, but Misaki manages to dodge out of the way in time. However, this movement causes her to fall, and she finds herself on the ground next to the dead body of Wang Shao Tang.
Downstairs, Wei starts laughing in the meeting with the other leaders. After declaring that Wang Shao Tang won’t be coming and that their organization will be entering a new age, Wei pulls out a knife and slits his own wrist. The blood spurts all over the nearest man, and Wei proceeds to explode the spots where the blood landed. Back on the top floor, Alice reveals that Wei is VI-952. She then points a gun at Misaki and says goodbye, but at that moment, the lights suddenly all go out, and Misaki uses the opportunity to hide herself. To her surprise, she finds Hei hiding in the same spot.
Although this episode still doesn’t appear to advance the overall plot much, it does manage to still be quite interesting. Misaki is a character who I think deserves more development, and it doesn’t hurt that she got taken out of her normal clothes for something a bit more attractive. It was nice seeing her past (it sounded like another Mai Yamane song during that scene), but the episode didn’t really get exciting until the final few minutes when all the action started. The scene where Alice lunges at Misaki with the bee even startled me quite a bit with its suddenness. I guess Alice graduated from one drug – cigarettes – to another (whatever the bees are giving her).
Wei’s ability to explode whatever his blood lands on has me a bit confused because he and his eyes don’t glow like all other Contractors do when they use their power. He just snaps his fingers and people get chunks taken out of them in a gory manner. I’m not sure if that’s an oversight or if I’m forgetting something or if Wei is special, but maybe we’ll find out next week in the conclusion to this two-parter.