Darker than BLACK – 24
As he drives the group towards the drop off spot, Huang talks about how he’s thinking about going to the countryside to fish. He thinks that watching a flowing river will make him forget about the time, and he compares their lives to leaves floating in a river. When they arrive at their destination inside a tunnel, Huang pulls out a cigarette, but Hei makes it explode with a jolt of electricity and advises Huang to stop smoking. Huang responds by telling Hei not to eat too much, and to his surprise, Yin then hugs him. As Huang drives off and is being pursued by the Organization, the Stargazer meanwhile starts talking again about the beginning of the end. At the same time, Misaki is trying to get into Pandora to see Schroeder, and she’s thoroughly searched before being allowed to meet with him. Eric Nishijima is with the professor when Misaki arrives at the meeting room and offers to explain things since they’re pressed for time. With a diagram of the Heaven’s Gate on a nearby screen, Nishijima quickly goes through how humans lost access to Heaven’s Gate five years ago. Misaki knows that it was BK-201 who caused this, but she questions why he would cause this tragedy.
Hearing Misaki refer to BK-201 as a male, Schroeder corrects her because that Messier Code belonged to a female back then. Nishijima then reveals that EPR is trying to cause the same South American phenomenon here in Tokyo, causing Misaki to ask how he knows. He answers her that they’ve been fighting EPR for a long time, and then goes on to talk about something he calls the Tokyo Explosion where Japan is swallowed up by a physically impenetrable area and all existence in there vanishes into thin air. However, he reassures Misaki that they won’t allow this to happen, and according to Schroeder, this can be prevented if they destroy the Hell’s Gate. The wall around the Hell’s Gate isn’t there just to prevent intruders – it’s also a fortification to protect a certain something. Nishijima then has Misaki look at a computer screen showing something he calls the Saturn System, and Schroeder launches into an explanation about how the Great Dark Spot reaches its maximum size 45 days after it appears. This final stage will last 30 minutes, and in that time, they plan to shoot an accelerated anti-gate particle into the core of the Hell’s Gate with the Saturn Ring, destroying the Gate.
That being said, BK-201 is also restricted to this final stage time period to cause the Tokyo Explosion, and Schroeder finds it very intriguing that mankind and the Contractors’ battle will unfold over these 30 minutes. Looking at his watch, he eagerly anticipates the five hours and twenty-seven minutes until what he thinks will be the moment of the century. Nishijima then gets a call from a subordinate informing him of the beginning of hostilities in the city, and he presses a button to reveal a large command room on the other side of the wall. On the screens of this command room are the same computer readouts that the Astronomy Department is getting, and they show a ton of Contractors active across the city. By this time, Wei, Hei, Yin, and Mao have reached a hidden tunnel under the city that Mao realizes is a subway that officially doesn’t exist. Wei explains that information about this place was lost in the confusion from the appearance of the Gate, and he plans to walk through the subway system to get to the Gate since the police’s Surveillance Spectres can’t come in here.
Though her Contractors and the military forces are engaging in battle throughout the city, Amber is actually in a quiet apartment with Amagiri who is boiling some eggs. When she gets ready to head out, Amagiri stops her as if he has something to say, and he ends up asking if they need eggs, so she has him give her one. Meanwhile, Hei and company have reached the section of the subway directly below the Gate wall, but it extends all the way down into the tunnel, preventing them from continuing. To everyone’s surprise, Wei pulls out a knife, cuts himself, and attacks Hei. Wei’s deal with Amber had been to lead Hei here, after which he was free to do what he wanted. He had cooperated with her so that he could fight with Hei again because he feels that it is a humiliation to lose to anyone after obtaining this power. The two then run parallel to each other using the pillars as cover, and after Hei grapples up towards the ceiling, Wei splashes his blood onto the pillar he last saw Hei move towards. Unfortunately for Wei, Hei is already swinging towards him and finishes the fight.
Back at Pandora, Schroeder is explaining to Misaki how the Hell’s Gate and the Heaven’s Gate are two sides of the same coin where closing up one side causes the other to disappear. When Misaki asks him what will become of the Contractors, he says that they’ll all disappear like the sugar in his coffee. She’s outraged to hear this because she believes that Contractors are still human and that they’re not all criminals, but Nishijima wonders if she’s willing to sacrifice several hundred million people for several thousand Contractors. It is at this point that Hourai enters the room and says that while it’s easy to talk about humanism, overlooking reality and exposing people to danger isn’t something permissible as a police officer. He apologizes to Nishijima for his subordinate, and Nishijima uses the chance to leave with Schroeder to take care of some things. Once they are gone, Hourai tells Misaki that using the Saturn Ring was a difficult decision for them, and she now realizes that he’s on the other side.
Misaki feels that Pandora doesn’t have the authority to carry out an operation where hundreds of millions of lives are at stake since it is only a research laboratory under United Nations’ management. It’s clear to her that what’s happening here is an unauthorized act, and she goes as far as to call it a crime. She figures out that November 11 must have been chasing after the Organization that had this enormous power, but Hourai shocks her by saying that she’s incorporated as part of this Organization. Every country’s intelligence agency, government, and powerful people are influenced by the Organization for the sake of protecting the order of the world. This causes Misaki to realize that it includes BK-201 too, so Hourai confirms that Hei is the most elusive guy in the Organization right now. Misaki then wonders why he’s telling her the truth now since she could do the same thing November 11 did. Hourai answers this by saying that it’s easy to kill her, but they always want talented people like her.
Back underground, Wei is lying against the wall with his blood splattered all over it after having been stabbed in the chest by Hei’s blade. In his final breaths, Wei laughs because he knew he was going to lose from the beginning, but he couldn’t help but fight. Though he blames Hei for this, he urges Hei to go and blows himself up to make a hole in the wall that was blocking their way. Above ground, Huang is still being chased by the Organization and finally gets trapped. Men with guns surround the van, but a badly bleeding Huang activates the bomb that’s strapped to the dashboard, blowing himself and everyone else up. Over at Pandora, Brita and Amagiri teleport in behind some soldiers, and Amagiri blows them all away with his power. After Brita kisses him as part of her price, Amagiri picks up a fallen soldier’s uniform and puts it on. The two quickly make their way to the particle accelerator, but before Amagiri can do anything to it, he notices a female Contractor – Mai – standing on a walkway above. Mai uses her own power to engulf both Brita and Amagiri in deadly flames, but a moment later, Amagiri suddenly finds himself transported back to a minute ago when he and Brita had first entered the room. Pulling out the egg in his pocket, he realizes that this was Amber’s doing.
This time around, Amagiri anticipates Mai’s appearance and hits her with a blast wave before she can burn him. He then immediately gets to work destroying the Saturn Ring, but shortly after he finishes, he’s again engulfed in flame because Mai hadn’t gotten knocked completely out. However, this does allow Brita enough time to react and teleport away before getting killed herself. She arrives at in the back of the truck where her allies are housing some of the Dolls they need for their operation and reports on the destruction of the Saturn Ring. One of the other Contractors tells her that their attacking forces have been virtually eradicated, and the survivors are beginning to retreat. Unfortunately, they soon detect a new anti-gate particle coming from inside the wall, and Brita figures out that they weren’t the only ones with a counterplot. As it turns out, Nishijima had been using the Saturn Ring as a decoy because he had another one in reserve: the Jupiter Ring. Meanwhile, Hei, Mao, and Yin emerge from the subway and find themselves inside the Gate. When a Surveillance Spectre appears nearby, Yin says that it’s calling to them and disappears through a portal beside it.
The group emerges on the other end walking sideways along the side of a building and head towards the next Surveillance Spectre along their path. Unbeknownst to them, the Astronomy Department is detecting a lot of interference noise coming from a system that’s using Surveillance Spectres. With Yin holding him now, Mao suddenly experiences a painful jolt and explains that he was in Pandora’s servers looking for an old research paper before getting cut off. What he found out was that it’s quite painful to make a Surveillance Spectre penetrate the interior of the Gate, but it’s possible to do so if you link a large number of them together and create a system that amplifies their ability using the meteor fragment. What he doesn’t realize is that Nishijima and Schroeder have already recognized that the attack on the Saturn Ring was a diversion and that BK-201 is already in the Gate. Schroeder is able to trace the sources of the interference noise, and they send men to take care of it. Back inside the Gate, Mao suddenly declares in a serious voice that he likes food that’s not crunchy. Having gotten Hei’s attention, Mao admits that it was interesting being with them, and, speaking like he’s losing his breath, he says that a cat similar to him will visit them someday. With that, Mao reverts back to being just a cat, bites Yin’s finger, and scampers off somewhere.
Yin and Hei continue onwards and soon cross over a bridge, but the Surveillance Spectre in front of them suddenly disappears. The reason is due to the Pandora soldiers having destroyed all the trucks containing Dolls, which Schroeder knows will lead to the loss of guides inside the Gate for Hei and Yin. As he watches all this occurring, Hourai tells Misaki that humans are living beings that make mistakes and that there is no justice for everyone. He feels that in order to choose the path with few mistakes, sacrifices are needed, and he’s willing to get his hands dirty for that. In the end, he tells her to grow up. At the Astronomy Department, the Stargazer meanwhile laments being left behind by the falling stars and starts laughing after talking about a large hole. With the sun rising now above the Gate wall, Yin climbs over the side of the bridge she’s on and stands on the surface of the water, eventually pointing in a direction for them to go. Hei joins her in walking across the water, and standing on a pier on the far side of the water is a smiling Amber who has turned younger yet again.
Let’s see, Huang is dead, Wei is dead, Amagiri is dead, the human behind Mao is probably dead, and countless Contractors are dead. None of those deaths were particularly moving or seemed really important though since they were all supporting characters, and none of them got a long farewell. Even Huang’s death didn’t affect me much, though I did like the cigarette and hug scene in the beginning. The Mao part was the most confusing because they didn’t provide an explicit reason for the cat taking over the body, though maybe it had something to do with pain he got when he got cut off from the Pandora server.
I did really like this episode though, especially the Amagiri time-jump scene which I wasn’t expecting at all. The main question I have now is how can possibly end well if the Organization is everywhere and wants to get rid of Contractors. They’re trying to commit genocide, and whether they succeed or fail, elements of the Organization will still be around. Plus, I have my doubts that Hei will survive the final episode, and there are still all those issues with his sister and Amber to be resolved, so I’m really curious to see how this ends. The one thing I’m fairly certain about is that Misaki will survive, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she voices over whatever epilogue we get. For now though, I need to get that creepy image of Amber out of my head…