As Li carries Chiaki home, she tells him about how each shooting star signifies the death of a Contractor. On that day 10 years ago, the real starry sky disappeared and this fake sky took its place. Governments were afraid of the spread of information about heartless Contractors and soulless Dolls, so they use ME technology to delete the memories of anyone who comes into contact. The reason that Chiaki knows all this is because she worked at the laboratory for a long time. She recalls that her parents died in an accident when she was in high school, but she had seen them actually get killed by a Contractor. Since then, she has felt entranced. Elsewhere in town, Kirihara Misaki is telling the two male detectives about Jean and his matter-exchange-type teleportation ability. She also warns them to be careful, particularly with BK-201. By this time, Li and Chiaki arrive back at her apartment, but they find that the inside has been ransacked. When Li tries to get her to change clothes and starts to leave for his own room next door, she clings to him because she doesn’t want to be left alone.
Lying on the floor in Li’s dark room, Chiaki comments on how this room seems strange even though she should be used to the arrangement – it seems fake. She reveals that she’s only lived here two weeks and, for the first time, felt like she was really alive. Chiaki doesn’t know whether the her who researches all the time or the her that’s here now is the real her, but more than anything else, she was excited about Louis coming for her. Li offers to run away together and says that coming here and meeting her was fate, but the two soon get interrupted by the sound of footsteps on the metal walkway outside. These footsteps belong to the two detectives who enter Chiaki’s apartment looking for clues. Once inside, they hear a sound outside the window, but when they go to investigate, all they see is a black cat on the wall. Li and Chiaki meanwhile get out of Li’s apartment and head to a restaurant in town where he reveals that he’s got an acquaintance who’s working in Macao foreign trade. She realizes that he wants to illegally enter China, but he also says that they need a lot of money for this. Since they don’t have that money, Chiaki thinks that they can sell some of the classified information she has instead.
Because Li is still calling her Haraguchi, Chiaki finally tells him her real name – Shinoda Chiaki – and he formally introduces himself too. The waitress then brings an entire cart worth of food to their table, and Chiaki is shocked to find out that Li is going to eat it all. Starting to drink a little, she tells Li that he’ll get fat – he might be okay now, but he’ll definitely be fat by the time he turns 30. The two end up having a good laugh, however Chiaki suddenly stops when her eyes become lifeless for a moment. She returns to normal as soon as Li asks if she’s okay, though she then excuses herself to use the restroom. While she’s gone, the man sitting behind Li – one of his partners – warns him to quickly get what they’re after. Li then notices Jean’s two men are coming into the building, so he gets up and heads towards the bathroom. When Chiaki comes out, he rushes her towards the back, but the two of them still get seen by their enemies. Chiaki and Li take cover in the kitchen as one of their pursuers starts shooting with a gun, though Li manages to create a smoke screen by getting their enemy to shoot the flour. The black guy uses his power to explode a bag of large beans, causing them to fly at a high velocity in every direction. The beans kill the two chefs in the room, and they cut Li’s arm as he tries to escape out the back door.
Blocking off the back entrance with a locker, Li buys himself some time as he runs off with Chiaki. By the time the two men go back out the front entrance and around to the rear, Li and Chiaki are gone. As the guy with the gun calls up Jean to report what happened, the black guy eats a dandelion. Meanwhile, all of Li’s partners meet by the water that Yin still has her feet dipped into. Huang wonders if Hei has betrayed them because he’s moving strangely and hasn’t killed the woman yet. Mao the cat agrees that Hei has changed, and he then asks Yin what Hei is doing. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know because he’s in a place without water. At this moment, Li and Chiaki are at the bottom of some stairs somewhere in the middle of the city. She bandages up his arm wound and blames herself for what happened. Chiaki thinks that it’s impossible for them to run away from their pursuers, but Li just places his hand on her cheek and notes how her tired face is like the dead. Indeed, she is tired and places her head on his lap. Starting to talk about her past, Chiaki reveals that the thing she can’t forgive herself for is how the appearance of the Contractors charm her. She explains that the Contractor who killed her parents had still been a child, and although she could not see the child’s face, that sparkling became engraved into her mind because of how beautiful it was.
Li suggests that it would have been better if she had lost her memory about the Contractor, but Chiaki feels that if she lost it, then she would lose herself. Eventually, she opens up the heel of her shoe to reveal a key and hands it to Li. As she’s doing so, she asks him if he has feelings that he cannot erase even though he wants to erase them. He responds by saying that Contractors are not humans – they are killing machines who wear human skins. To keep their risk at a minimum, they always kill witnesses, and Li feels that they are liars and traitors. The next day, the two take the train and eventually arrive at an area filled will coin-operated lockers. Chiaki’s key opens one of these lockers and inside is a book. Li, however, soon notices that Jean and his two men are coming after them, so they start hurrying away. On the street, he sees a police car and some officers in front of them, so he orders her to forget. She suddenly stops in her tracks and fall unconscious because of what he said, but Li continues walking. As the policemen rush to her side to help her, Jean and his goons keep chasing after Li. On a highway somewhere, Misaki is driving along when she gets a report that the French men have been spotted and another one talking about BK-201’s movements. But what surprises her the most is the third report telling her that Shinoda Chiaki’s dead body has been found lying face-down in a river.
The Chiaki that had collapsed now suddenly reawakens, steals a policeman’s gun, and runs off with it after firing a single shot. Li meanwhile pulls out his black coat and puts it on before he stops to read the book. He finds it filled with blank pages, and by the time he’s finished flipping through it, Jean and company have caught up. They know that he’s a Contractor and have figured out that he’s the one who killed Louis. Chiaki appears at the other side of the empty lot that Hei is standing in and can’t believe what she just heard. In response, Hei reminds her of what he said about Contractors being liars. Jean remarks that the mouse has walked into a trap, and this causes Chiaki’s eyes to turn lifeless again. One of Jean’s men then raises his gun at Chiaki, so Hei gets in the line of fire to protect her, but the bullet ends up coming from behind him because Chiaki is the one who fires. After Hei falls to the ground, Jean explains that this woman is not Shinoda Chiaki, but rather a Doll with her memories. They were using her as a trap to lure out Hei. One of Jean’s men then shoots Hei a few more times in the back to finish him off. He comments on how easy it was, but Mao then speaks up and reveals that Hei’s jacket is bullet-proof.
By the time the guy with the gun turns around to look at Hei again, Hei is already back up and tosses his cable at the guy’s throat. Hei pulls the guy in and uses his powers to kill him, so the black guy responds by exploding his dead comrade’s body. Hei manages to get out of the way and throws his cable at the black guy. He is only able to catch the black guy’s left arm, but that’s enough for him to use his power to kill the guy. Jean then attempts to use his matter-exchange teleportation power on Hei, but surprisingly, Chiaki gets in the way and gets her still-beating heart taken out instead. With his attack failed and his allies dead, Jean escapes by replacing by exchanging himself with water. Huang then arrives on the scene and wonders if this was a decoy too. When he asks why Hei didn’t kill the doll, Hei explains that she wasn’t a doll – she was alive. Huang nevertheless still thinks of her as a doll and of Contractors as killing machines. Their job isn’t done yet because Jean is still on the loose, so Mao has Yin track him down through her water-enabled sensing powers. Hei thus is able to find Jean quickly, and though Jean tries to swim further out into the water, it’s too late for him.
In the aftermath, the police find Jean’s body and later come to Li’s apartment to inquire about Haraguchi. Since Li tells them that he just moved here, Misaki gives him some contact information. She starts to leave, but then turns around and stares at Li’s door for a moment. When the detective asks her about it, she says that it’s nothing.
Note: I’ll be using “Hei” whenever he’s wearing the black coat and “Li” whenever he isn’t.
Whoa whoa whoa, was that Mai Yamane singing that song at the end there? It sure sounded like her, though I haven’t heard her voice since seeing Cowboy Bebop years ago. It was quite a pleasant surprise and brought back so many good memories of her and Yoko Kanno’s works. I hope we get to hear more her songs in this show soon.
As for the episode itself, they appear to be revealing things little by little and dropping plenty of hints. We saw that the black guy had the power to make things explode, but he appeared to have to eat flowers as the cost of his contract. Jean was able to exchange the location of matter with teleportation, but that wasn’t enough to help him against Hei’s powers which might be some sort of electricity. It’s not entirely clear what the cost of Hei’s contract is, though with all the food and cooking he does, eating might just be it.
From what we’ve seen so far and from future episode titles, it’s clear that Darker than BLACK will be taking a very bi-episodic approach (telling story arcs in sets of two episodes each). Like they did with these first two episodes, I assume that characters and things in the world will be explained and expanded on little by little. I personally don’t like this approach very much and would prefer a continuous storyline because I think it makes for a stronger overall plot. It remains to be seen how well they are able to pull it off, but they’ve still got plenty of episodes left to get things really going.