Non-character trope listings '''N''' through '''Z''' for the first season of ''DarkerThanBlack''. Please ensure that new additions are added to the correct sub-page.

Tropes that are inherent spoilers should go in the DarkerThanBlack/SeasonOneSpoilers article.

----
!!Examples:

* NakedFirstImpression: Played with, since the naked party is a man, and the other is a cat... yeah.
** An absolutely ''mortified'' cat. Seriously, the look on Mao's face is priceless.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast:
** PANDORA, which is a great example of ironic naming. Their stated goal is to study the Gate and its effects and protect the public. Of course, [[GreekMythology Pandora]] is known for ''releasing'' the SealedEvilInACan...
** Would you want to be anywhere near someone [[RedBaron nicknamed]] "The Black Angel of Death"?
** Played with in the case of Havoc. She certainly earned the "run away now" title when she had her powers, but now everyone just wants to give her a hug and make her feel better.
* NastyParty: Thrown by Alice.
* NiceGuy: Hei's cover. Also, Nick. [[spoiler:Of course, he's also actually a Contractor.]]
* NobleDemon: November will cheerfully announce his own immorality and sociopathy, but is usually polite and charming despite his highly questionable sense of humor, has several PetTheDog moments, and [[spoiler:eventually pulls a HeroicSacrifice]].
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Hei does this regularly anyway, but if he has any reason to connect someone to [[BerserkButton his sister]] they're in for a truly staggering amount of pain.
* NoirEpisode: Kurosawa's arc is a PrivateDetective parody.
* NoNameGiven: The main Contractor/Doll characters are all known by code names. We do learn that Yin's name was Kirsi and November 11 introduces himself as Jack Simon (although this does sound suspiciously like a "John Smith" kind of alias). Hei is also a code name (Chinese for black), and WordOfGod is that his real name is...Li. Yes, the code name he used in his civilian cover.
* NonstandardCharacterDesign: Gai and Kiko do not look like they belong in this show, and often use effects like WingdingEyes, BlueWithShock, and CrossPoppingVeins that the rest of the show never uses. This is probably to mark them as the PluckyComicRelief. Dr. Schroeder also looks totally different from every other character.
* NoTellMotel: November 11 and co. find Havoc living in one of these.
* NotOfThisEarth: The setting has strong ''Literature/RoadsidePicnic'' style setup, so it has ''lots'' of strange things ranging from small plants to Dolls' and Contractors' abilities to the AlienSky. Some of weird stuff found BlackBox [[ImportedAlienPhlebotinum applications]].
* NotSoDifferent: There's a lot of moments that show the audience how the protagonists and some of their antagonists aren't really different. For instance, the episode explaining Bertha's past parallels it with flashbacks of Yin's past and shows a similarity between the two; November 11 is told by the Evening Primrose members that he should do what's logical and join them, and he recalls telling Hei the same thing- although, November 11 concludes they are very different, as Hei acts illogically, while November 11 thinks it's logical [[spoiler:not to join Evening Primrose]]; Hei's advice to Kirihara in one of the last episodes to "trust no one and rely on her intuition" is pretty much word-for-word the same warning November 11 gave her, causing her to do a bit of a double-take.
* NotSoStoic: Havock deliberately provokes Hei into this by [[BerserkButton badmouthing]] [[CynicismCatalyst his sister]]. But any other time a Contractor or Doll shows emotion also counts, such as when Yin starts crying in [[spoiler:Ep. 14]] or when Maki goes full-on {{Yandere}}.
* NotWhatItLooksLike: The time when Kirihara ran into Hei in a department store- buying a wig and a bra. [[spoiler:They were to help disguise a doll, you pervs.]]
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Hei in his "Li Shengshun" persona. Not ''stupid'', just so naive, clumsy, and {{Adorkable}} that no one thinks to look for the Black Reaper behind that smile.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: TheSyndicate seems to use these as an added safety net. Also, there's the [[WhatAnIdiot morons]] at the American embassy.
* OccidentalOtaku: Episode 17 features an Israeli otaku who came to Japan to study animation, claiming it’s the world’s finest. He speaks with [[OohMeAccentsSlipping varying degrees]] of an accent that [[AsLongAsItSoundsForeign doesn’t sound remotely Israeli]].
* OddCouple: Film/JamesBond-ish November and HardDrinkingPartyGirl April.
* OffscreenTeleportation: Hei's StealthHiBye abilities often reach this level.
* {{Omake}}: Two chapters' worth in the first manga, a HotSpringsEpisode and a CookingDuel in the {{interquel}} manga, and basically the entire {{OVA}}.
* OneHitKill: [[spoiler:Shihoko]]'s power basically dissolves the victim's internal organs. Anyone hit with it dies pretty much instantly.
* OnePersonOnePower - each Contractor has one superpower only.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Hei manages to drag himself halfway across the city with a bullet through his leg. But then, [[BerserkButton Amber was involved]], so it's not totally surprising he went {{Determinator}}.
* OpaqueLenses: November 11 sometimes wears these and tends to act particularly insincere when doing so. Notably, there's a scene [[spoiler: shortly before his HeroicSacrifice]], where November teases Kirihara while wearing the glasses, but then takes them off and acts in a more caring manner.
* OurSoulsAreDifferent: The subtitles of one episode indicate Hei describing Contractors as being soulless, which is intended to characterize the fact that they are in some sense shells of humanity.
* OverdrawnAtTheBloodBank: Seriously, the amount of his own blood Wei spills would have made him faint at least. Once, he waves his hand at Hei and it makes a stain bigger than him.
* TheParalyzer: Probably one reason Hei can get away with being less [[MurderIsTheBestSolution rampantly violent]] than most Contractor special agents is because he has pretty good control of his power, and can choose between killing, rendering unconscious, or stunning, depending on the circumstances.
* ParrotExposition: Parodied in "dumb-wrestling" between Kurosawa and Norio. One can almost see the shower of sparks from their mental brakes. [[spoiler: - Case? - Contract? - Former wife?]]
* ThePenance: Bertha's remuneration doesn't actually have to be the NauseaFuel it is; she just chooses to do so to punish herself for something she did in the past.
* PercussiveMaintenance: Hei in the first episode with the landlady's TV (although [[MundaneUtility he probably just used his electricity powers to fix it]]).
* PersonalityPowers: A couple of examples- [[spoiler:Mai]] is a schoolgirl at the "going through a phase" stage of life, and suffers from PowerIncontinence causing her to horribly burn people to death when she becomes emotional; Wei's [[PsychoForHire murderousness]] is symbolized by his [[BloodyMurder blood-fueled powers]]; Brita is a SexySecretary and has [[PowerPerversionPotential the power of teleporting out of her clothing]] and the [[IntimateHealing remuneration of kissing]] (this one might overlap with AstonishinglyAppropriateAppearance).
* PersonOfMassDestruction: Havok before she was {{depower}}ed. [[spoiler:And, for that matter, Hei's dead little sister during Heaven's War.]]
* PhenotypeStereotype: [=MI6=] agents November 11 and July, who are blond-haired and blue-eyed, but then averted with their partner April, a black British woman.
** All the Americans seen are blond as well.
* PhlebotinumWar: "Third South American War, also known as Heaven's War".
* PillarOfLight: Side effect of CY-463's power is "pretty". [[spoiler:And then even "prettier" when he turns out to be a greater bastard than one would expect. By orders of magnitude greater.]]
* PlayingPossum: In [[spoiler:ep. 2]] Hei puts on a pretty convincing "shot and not getting up" act until everyone is looking the other way. He was also "killed" by [[spoiler:Wei, via blasting him off a building,]] who NeverFoundTheBody and got kicked in the head a few minutes later for his trouble.
* PlayingWithFire: [[spoiler: Mai]] and Maki, in different ways.
* PleasePutSomeClothesOn: Amigiri to [[InnocentFanserviceGirl Brita]]. She's fine with GodivaHair. He isn't.
* PluckyComicRelief: Kurosawa, Kiko, and Saito [[spoiler: all of whom [[SortingAlgorithmOfMortality survive]] the series]]
* PointyEars: Wei, a Contractor with [[BloodyMurder the ability to use his blood as a weapon]] has pointed, elf-like ears for no apparent reason.
* PortalCut: This is technically what Wei's powers do: he teleports whatever's covered in his blood, leaving the rest intact.
* PowerAtAPrice: Arguably, the premise of the whole show. SuperpowerLottery gives you a superpower but you must pay the price for using it. When it's something that you can do yourself, like breaking your fingers or smoking, it's compulsive. When it's aging forward or backward, it triggers after each use. Also, the show strongly implies that the main price which all Contractors must pay is losing your humanity and becoming an [[LackOfEmpathy absolutely rational]]... [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman being]]. There are at least two ways of using the power and not paying the price, though both aren't cheap either. [[spoiler: Losing your body is really a price to pay. Or gradually turning into walking plant. Hei subverts this because he [[SoulFragment inherited]] his abilities from his sister, who effectively paid the price for him (and depending on how her merger with him works, she may still be paying the price for every time he uses the power as her sleeping probably wouldn't impact Hei all that much).]]
* PowerGlows: Contractors using their powers are surrounded by a cool-looking blue aura, and [[GlowingEyesOfDoom their eyes]] glow [[RedEyesTakeWarning red]]. This is taken UpToEleven [[spoiler:when Hei gets a little... upset... near the Meteor Shard, which makes the entire ''neighborhood'' and everyone in it glow.]]
* PowerIncontinence: Contractors who enter "Moratorium" aren't forced to undergo Remuneration, but lose control and begin unconsciously using their powers while slipping into trances. If the power involved is [[spoiler: ''setting stuff on fire'']], this can be [[TragicMonster very bad]]. The odds of regaining control are slim.
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: Effectively, ''[[HauntedTechnology cyborg ghosts]]''. Though it seems that comatose Dolls weren't put into this state on purpose, as not everyone is lucky enough to end up as just an ExtremeDoormat.
* PowerPerversionPotential: The power to teleport someone out of their clothes? Seriously?
** This series plays up on the theory that only the mass that is part of the object being teleported would be. Anything else would stay behind. Clothes are not part of a person's body mass, thus cannot be teleported.
* PowerTrio: The [=MI6=] agents.
* PreMortemOneLiner: Not a prominent feature, as the style is more realistic than "CallingYourAttacks", but Hei once said something like "Wipe that smile off your face" to a Contractor just before zapping him to death.
** Although he doesn't succeed in killing him at that point, when he first confronts the body-stealing Contractor, Hei says something like, "So you kill people and make it look like suicide; how about I try the same thing with you?"
** In his first appearance, November 11 has one. A gangster tried to double cross him, and ends up frozen in the middle of a street. After begging November 11 not to kill him, the gangster reveals the location of the [[GirlInABox package]] November had intended to pay for. November 11 pats him on the shoulder and says something like "I knew we'd work well together". As November walks away, the guy freezes into a HumanPopsicle and smashes on the street.
*** This was also an IronicEcho, since the guy had said the same thing to him at the beginning of their meeting.
* PrimalScene: Played seriously, with Yin when human, where she was blind and her music teacher was having an affair with her mother that they hid from her, but she discovered evidence of it anyway. [[spoiler: Besides her connection to her TrueCompanions, this may be one more reason why she doesn't go with the music teacher when he comes looking for her.]]
* PrivateDefective: Let's face it, in the setting where ready answers just don't exist and ''nothing'' should be taken for granted, any WrongGenreSavvy guy without a helping hand of [[TheoryOfNarrativeCausality narrative causality]] is doomed to become a pawn at worst and [[PluckyComicRelief clown]] at best anyway. Attempts [[ScullySyndrome to find normal answers for abnormal questions]] and [[WeirdnessCensor ignore the weirdness]] only makes Kurosawa's [[AssPull shots]] fall so wide of the mark that [[TheFool he's almost safe]].
* PrivateEyeMonologue: One of many tropes parodied by Kurosawa. He starts in on one when he's first introduced... only for Kiko to march in, open the blinds, empty his ashtray out the window, and yell at him for his poor hygiene and the fact that he's just sitting around when he should be working.
* ProductPlacement: A billboard featuring the name @Nifty (the company sponsoring the webcasts of the show) is prominently seen in the city. Also, Pizza Hut and Coca-Cola logos can be seen at various times. See also "[[http://brianandrew.wordpress.com/2007/06/24/the-keiyakusha-conspiracy/ The Keiyakusha Conspiracy: Nifty and Pizza Hut are sighted together.]]"
** Pizza Hut supports the [[strike:[[Memes/CodeGeass Rebellion]]]] Syndicate!
** For some reason or another, the vast majority of the Pizza Hut logos were cut from the dub and awkwardly replaced with "[[BrandX Pizza Slice]]".
*** ProductPlacement in one country does not transfer over to another. At least they bothered to replace the logos, unlike [[CodeGeass a certain other show]] that Pizza Hut sponsored.
* PsychicAssistedSuicide: A possessor-type Contractor early in the series had been killing people by taking control of their bodies, positioning them on the edge of a building, then snapping back to his own body, leaving them to fall to their deaths, which would appear to be suicides.
* PsychoElectro: Averted, as Hei is one of the more mentally stable and humane Contractors [[spoiler: as is Nick who has the same power]]. At least, when [[BerserkButton his urge to find his sister]] does not turn him into violent JerkAss.
* PunchclockVillain: Hei, Mao, and Yin, since pretty much every episode consists of them receiving (sometimes morally dubious) assignments from TheSyndicate via their handler, Huang... who might also be counted as he doesn't like it much either [[spoiler:and joined TheSyndicate not of his own volition]]. [[spoiler:Given the whole TheManBehindTheMan thing going on, even Kirihara and her colleagues are involuntary punch clock villains]]. November 11, April, and July also have this dynamic, being a rather friendly group protective of each other. Then there's Bertha and Itzhak...heck, this seems to be the default state for Contractors.
* PunnyName: While it may or may not be accidental, this is a series that has a cat who is very nearly named "Meow." Of course, it might just be because it's Chinese for "cat."
** Which is in itself punny.
* RansackedRoom: Happened to Chiaki.
* RazorFloss: Luke's telekinetic whip.
* RealPlaceBackground: The show's Tokyo is picture-perfect.
* RealityIsOutToLunch: Let's just say this place was named "Hell's Gate" for a reason...
* RecognizableBySound: [[spoiler: Hei, brain-churned by a telepath]] snaps back when he hears [[spoiler: Yin's]] voice. [[Heartwarming/DarkerThanBlack Awww]]...
* RedBaron: Hei is often called "the Black [[{{Shinigami}} Reaper]]" due to how very good he is at taking down Contractors. [[spoiler:The really fun part is that he earned it as a BadassNormal.]]
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: Several characters, most heartbreakingly [[spoiler: Havoc]].
* RedEyesTakeWarning: Contractors' eyes glow red when they use their powers.
* RedRightHand: Arguably Wei's pointed ears and Maki's heterochromia. Although they aren't acknowledged as odd in-series, they are certainly a sign that the characters are up-to-no-good.
** Kirihara's boss, [[spoiler:who turns out to be part of TheSyndicate]], wears black gloves to cover up his prosthetic hands.
* ReplacementGoldfish: One cannot help but notice the physical similarities between Yin and Bai, [[spoiler: Hei's dead little sister]]. Given that Hei is a bit of a loner and seems generally uninterested in making friends with people, this trope may explain his exceptional protectiveness towards Yin.
* RequiredSecondaryPowers: At least, Contractors are mostly immune to the effects of their powers. [[spoiler:Mai]] walks OutOfTheInferno intact ([[MagicPants and her clothes too]]), and when Hei and [[spoiler: Nick]] electrocute each other they aren't even knocked out. Lampshaded in the second example when [[spoiler:Nick]] wonders why the hell that didn't work.
** Actually, the second example was due to the two characters unknowingly making an electrical circuit by touching each other.
* RevealingHug: The second episode; the cut between "Li's" blatant flirting and his ice-cold expression a few seconds later is probably about where someone who didn't watch the SpoilerOpening would start to wonder about him.
* TheRival: Wei to Hei.
* {{Roofhopping}}: Along with [[BuildingSwing other acrobatics]]; see BookEnds.
* RunningGag: November 11 is [[IWasJustJoking just joking]] and Hei [[BigEater will get fat when he hits thirty]].
** The secondhand smoke rant is becoming one as well. First November 11 gives it, then [[IronicEcho Amigiri gives it to him]].
* SaltAndPepper: November 11 and April.
* SarcasmFailure: If November stops cracking jokes, it's time to run.
* SassySecretary: The comical detective has one in a young girl who is both a CosplayOtakuGirl and a YaoiFanGirl. Basically, Kiko is kind-hearted, but a ''little'' too crazy to be good companion or reliable partner.
* ScaryShinyGlasses: In one of the last episodes, a leader of TheSyndicate [[spoiler:and one of Kirihara's superiors]] gets these when plotting [[spoiler:to wipe out all Contractors]].
** Similarly, Nishijima's glasses flash all menacing-like when he's [[spoiler:discussing his orders for the Syndicate to assassinate Hei's unit.]]
* SecretIdentityIdentity: Hei is arguably three people- the "Black Reaper", a mass-murdering [[MookHorrorShow unstoppable]] contractor; "Li Sheng Shun", a kind-hearted but naive [[{{Adorkable}} dork]]; and the real "Hei", [[spoiler: a gentle, friendly guy who hardened his heart and TookALevelInBadass so he could stay with his [[BigBrotherInstinct beloved sister]] after she turned into a cold-blooded killing machine]].
* SelfParody: The first season OVA episode (involving a CrackFic-writing LoonyFan StalkerWithACrush), the vast majority of which is [[CrowningMomentOfFunny absolutely hilarious]].
* SexySecretary: One contractor, whose [[PowerPerversionPotential power]] is to teleport people out of their clothing and whose [[IntimateHealing Remuneration is kissing people]].
* ShellShockedSenior: Havoc, and to a lesser degree Hei.
** One scene in the {{interquel}} has Hei freezing up in an absolutely textbook PTSD way.
* ShipTease: Most of episode 23 consists of Hei and Kirihara on what is, essentially, a date. Kiko certainly thought so.
* ShipSinking: Out of Hei's potential love interests, Kirihara is the only one who [[spoiler: survives for more than two episodes.]]Oh, and Yin if you count her.
* ShirtlessScene: The manga shows that November 11 isn't [[http://www.onemanga.com/Darker_Than_Black/3/09/ the only one]] who can provide fanservice. Of course, Hei being... [[TinMan well, himself]], he doesn't even notice [[IDidntMeanToTurnYouOn the attention he's attracting]].
** Not to mention the shot where he's dressed only in shorts while he's going through the screening process to enter the Gate. Not played for fanservice, though.
* ShockAndAwe: Hei. [[spoiler:Or rather, Bai. Also Nick.]]
* ShootYourMate: At one point the Syndicate leaders [[spoiler:ordered Huang to kill Shihoko]] to test his loyalty, with secret instructions to the rest of the team to kill him if he didn't comply. [[spoiler:None of them were willing to, and she killed herself rather than let them be put in danger on her behalf.]]
* ShoutOut: Several, including references to ''Manga/DeathNote'' and ''CodeGeass''; additionally, the anime that Kiko is said to watch in episode 7 bears a considerable likeness to ''OuranHighSchoolHostClub'', another BONES series.
** The last episode is potentially an extended shout-out to Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion.
* ShowDontTell: Relied on to the point of ViewersAreGeniuses and MindScrew.
* ShownTheirWork: The series is painstakingly researched in most imaginable aspects, down to copying a foreign language graffiti in distant locations and accurately representing various [[RareGuns obscure guns]].
** Then again, they couldn't even translate the title properly.
** And there's a reason we always refer to PANDORA by the acronym; their English needs some work.
** Contractor's Renumerations are pretty much exactly true to how OCD sufferers function in real life. The few times we see a Contractor try to put it off, they become increasingly erratic and can't focus.
* SingleStrokeBattle: This aesthetic was subverted/mocked when Hei fought Wei in episode [[spoiler:10]]. It had most of the usual traits: the two characters charge at each other, it goes to BulletTime as they pass each other, and they both stop in one place and look dramatic before the results become clear. However, [[spoiler:those results were actually ''faked''; neither of them managed to hit the other one, and the blood on Hei's mask was actually his own, put there to fool Wei into writing him off as dead. As a result, the supposed loser crashed in through a window a few minutes later and beat the crap out of the supposed winner.]]
* SlowMotionPassBy: Always done in real time, but the same idea. Usually, it's someone chasing Hei who goes straight past "Li" without noticing him, but at least once someone misses Amber instead.
* SmokeOut: A couple of times when Hei is in an otherwise inescapable position ([[spoiler:November 11 gluing his feet to the floor, Kirihara and a squad of her heavily-armed subordinates aiming machine guns at him from ten feet away]]), Huang drops a bomb that gives him a chance to [[StealthHiBye disappear]]. In the first example, it also [[spoiler:melted the ice holding him in place]].
** Actually if I rembember correctly, [[spoiler:he melted the Ice with his electricity]] in the first example.
* SmokingIsCool: Interestingly subverted. Contractor November 11 has to smoke after every time he uses his powers... which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't hate smoking and smokers. It's somewhat jarring watching someone [[AnIcePerson freeze]] some guys in the most BadAss manner possible, nonchalantly light up a cigarette, then start coughing like a child. In his first appearance, he also gives a [[CharacterFilibuster very long and very specific address]] on the dangers of second-hand smoke.
** A more straightforward subversion is CluelessDetective Guy Kurasawa, who smokes because he thinks it looks cool, and is yelled at by his SassySecretary because she says it makes him smell even worse than he already did.
** Subverted again, more subtly. Before Huang decides to [[spoiler: go out]] in one of the most BadAss ways possible, he asks Hei to light his cigarette. Hei initially seems to comply but destroys the cigarette, admonishing Huang on his bad habit and forcing him to be a BadAss without relying on smoking.
* SmugSnake: Eric Nishijima
* SocialDarwinist: Amber's philosophy has a lot in common with {{Magneto}}'s.
** Maki states this philosophy and specifically states that it isn't something Amber taught him. Amber's plan was to give Hei the chance to choose the path that He'd be happiest with, very little opinion on the superiority or inferiority of either race.
* SoulFragment: ItWasWithYouAllAlong. And mediums, as proven by CY-463.
* SoundtrackDissonance: The [[RelaxOVision especially peaceful]] EndingTheme.
* SpiritualSuccessor: It has the same premise as ''Literature/RoadsidePicnic'': "[[NotOfThisEarth exclusion zone]] just dropped on us - [[ImportedAlienPhlebotinum weird artifacts]] - contraband" -- and is close in spirit. Show "Hell's Gate First Reconnaissance" or other scenes inside the Gate without main characters to someone knowing Picnic but not [=DtB=] and ask where they came from. That's not counting an alleged wish power of the Golden Ball and the Gate. Though the circumstances, scale and focus are different.
** Within the anime genre, there are some similarities to ''Anime/ErgoProxy'' (Re-l and Kirihara and Vincent and Hei), ''Anime/WitchHunterRobin'' (GrayAndGrayMorality involving {{Differently Powered Individual}}s), and ''Manga/ElfenLied'' (living security systems, although much much less squicky in this show)
*** If you want more {{squick}}y, there's "[[Anime/{{Witchblade}} I-Weapon]]", sorry, "D-Weapon" project in manga. Based on the Dolls' ability to cope with the degree of cyborgization normal people couldn't take (easy brainwashing is a bonus, of course). And yes, when that guy was plugged into his wall socket, his legs clearly weren't there.
** And of course ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}}''
** Don't forget ''{{sCRYed}}'' (supernatural disaster splits part of Japan off from the rest and grants a percentage of the population special abilities).
** There's also quite a few similarities to ''CodeGeass''; both feature morally ambiguous protagonists with special powers and [[BigBrotherInstinct issues regarding their little sisters]] who are on the wrong side of the law and [[ChickMagnet have girls throwing themselves at them]], and said protagonists are both up against a HeroAntagonist who wants to catch them for crimes they definitely committed, but who is being used by a corrupt government for their own ends. Not to mention the Pizza Hut ProductPlacement and the well-established fact that Amber is pretty much a [[CaptainErsatz clone]] of C.C.
* TheSpock: Another aspect of the Contractor mindset.
* SpoilerOpening: If you don't pay attention to the OP [[FirstEpisodeSpoiler the first two times around]], it can come as quite a surprise that innocent, bumbling Li is a contractor.
* SpyVersusSpy: A serious version with numerous intelligence agencies battling one another for control. [[spoiler:However, they were all being manipulated by TheManBehindTheMan in order to keep the contractors distracted fighting each other.]]
* StalkerWithACrush: Maki has an obsessive affection for Amber and tries to kill Hei because of this and likely would have tried the same against Amber's other followers.
** Also, quoth Kiko, [[ChickMagnet "Only I can stalk him!"]]
* TheStarsAreGoingOut: Or rather falling, or appearing, or disappearing, or getting brighter, or getting dimmer, or any of a number of other things, depending on what Contractors are doing. [[AlienSky The normal stars have been out (or at least hidden)]] since the Gates appeared.
* StartMyOwn: [[spoiler:The motivation behind Evening Primrose.]]
* StarsAreSouls: The anime inverts this. Each star in the AlienSky above Earth represents a living Contractor, which falls out of the sky when the Contractor dies.
* StaticStunGun: Hei [[TheParalyzer uses this all the time]], once even pretending he had a taser.
* StealthHiBye: One reason Hei is known as [[FanNickname Chinese Electric Batman]]. He has a distinct tendency to vanish if he's out of someone's sight for even a second. Arguably the most impressive was when he disappeared from ''right in front of Kirihara'' during the time it took her to put on her glasses, while sporting a bullet wound that had him limping so badly he was having trouble walking.
* StereotypesOfChinesePeople: Kind of a mix of examples. Alice and Wei are rather negative examples, being a psychopathic MafiaPrincess and her equally psycho Contractor BattleButler. Hei is Chinese and a BadAss martial artist, but in his Li persona presents himself as a friendly, unassuming Chinese immigrant. Kenji, seeing how Hei wins the fight with a troublesome client [[CoverBlowingSuperpower while feigning weakness]], notices the skill and makes a comment to the effect that "[[AllAsiansKnowMartialArts it's true that all Chinese people are martial arts masters]]". Li's landlady jokingly mentioned [[ForeignQueasine attitude toward the Chinese idea of food]], but other than that she cares not who came from where.
* StockSuperheroDayJobs: Hei pretends to be an exchange student while working at various menial minimum-wage jobs.
* TheStoic: Since Contractors are stoics by nature, damn near half the cast. Hei in particular.
* StuffBlowingUp: Of particular note is Maki, whose power is blowing up anything he's left handprints on. But plenty of stuff goes boom even without his help.
* SuperHumanTrafficking: All over the place.
* SuperWeight: Ranging from -1 to 0 for normals and dolls all the way up through 4 for Amber, [[spoiler:Hei/Bai in the Gate]], and possibly Izanami. Most Contractors are about a 2, with some (Havoc, {{Gravity Master}}s, and Hei by virtue of being absurdly badass anyway) coming in at 3.
* SuperpowerLottery: Some Contractors have rather useless powers with a high price to pay, while others are very powerful with a small Remuneration (like drinking beer) apparently as a result of the unpredictability of the Gate and possibly twisted PersonalityPowers. The cake taker though is [[spoiler:Hei himself]], who has the ability of [[spoiler:manipulating matter on a quantum level (though he's only aware of the [[ShockAndAwe electrical attack]] his sister used it as)]] and a remuneration of [[spoiler:sleeping, which he doesn't even have to fulfill due to the unusual means by which he acquired his powers]].
** [[spoiler:Amber]] may have done even better. [[spoiler:She can manipulate time, stopping or rewinding it as suits her wishes. Her]] remuneration is [[spoiler:''getting younger''- she could have theoretically used this to make herself immortal.]]
* SuperpowerRussianRoulette: Contractors can have powers all over the place on the SuperWeight scale, but it's also possible to get turned into a Doll or Moratorium or have a remuneration that can kill you.
* SupremeChef: Hei, according to Havoc and the manga {{omake}}. He certainly has a [[BigEater good reason]] to be.
* SwordLimbo: Done with [[BloodyMurder blood]] rather than a sword, but the same idea.
* TheSyndicate: Even called that.
* TakingTheBullet: Subverted in the second episode, but played straight when Saitou gets in the way of a [[BloodyMurder blood splatter]] from Wei to protect Kirihara. [[spoiler:Or maybe not so straight, since Hei shows up and zaps the hell out of Wei before he can actually detonate it.]]
* TakingYouWithMe: [[spoiler:Huang.]] Well, pulling one's foes into a street race with an opportunity to be [[StuffBlowingUp caught in one big fireball]] as a main prize is truly {{badass}} way to die.
** [[spoiler:November 11 gets an impressive one as well, killing several of his treacherous superiors, all members of TheSyndicate, but dying in the process. Extra points for killing of his boss with his own glass of bourbon.]]
* TalkingAnimal: Mao.
* TeamChef: Most of the time when we see Hei in his apartment, he's cooking something. Being a BigEater is apparently a full-time job.
* TheTeamNormal: Huang.
* TeamPet: Mao for Hei-tachi, and July for the [=MI6=] PowerTrio.
* TearsFromAStone: Tears from someone who's supposed to be an EmptyShell.
* TechnoBabble: Everything involving the Gate.
* TeleFrag: A Contractor with swap-teleport powers kills by replacing victims' [[BeatStillMyHeart vital organs]] with inanimate objects.
* TemptingFate: "Don't test my patience, [[spoiler:KABOOM]]!". [[ObstructiveBureaucrat He should have seen it coming, though.]]
* ThemeNaming: Most of the Syndicate agents are codenamed [[ColorfulThemeNaming based on colors]], such as Hei (black), Bai (white), Yin (silver), Huang (yellow), and Amber. [=MI6=] agents are named after [[TemporalThemeNaming months and days]], such as November 11, April, July, and February.
* TheyWouldCutYouUp: There are references to PANDORA practicing human experimentation on Contractors. In fact, it's mentioned that initially, various countries did this, until a U.N. treaty intervened. You might think that the U.N. would stop this, but instead, all they did was demand that countries would share their research. The [[LackOfEmpathy sociopaths]] aren't [[HumansAreBastards the only bastards in this setting]]...
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: The third episode has a Caucasian assassin paired with a black Contractor and the two are a good fit for the trope and definitely call to mind ''Film/PulpFiction''. More sympathetically, Bertha and her partner have philosophical discussions establishing them as {{Punch Clock Villain}}s, in between trying to kill Hei.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Kirihara's subordinates, Saito and Kano. Also PluckyComicRelief Kurosawa and Kiko.
* ThrowAwayCountry: More like throw away Continent, being most of South America after the "Heaven's Gate" incident.
* TinMan: Nearly every Contractor or Doll encountered. Others, such as Amber, seem to have realized that this idea is really stupid.
* TitleDrop: Within a title. Episode 25 is called ''Is the Somber Dream of the Grim Reaper a Shade '''Darker than Black?'''''
* TokenNonhuman: Mao, a TalkingAnimal in a team otherwise comprised of ([[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman mostly]]) humans.
* TheTokyoFireball: They even call it the "Tokyo Explosion."
* TokyoIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse: A poster child for the trope.
* TokyoTower: Can be seen in the second TitleSequence.
* TooDumbToFool: The incompetent detective notices how Hei (in his Li identity) is always there when something odd is going on, and is suspicious of him. Notably, Kirihara, who is much smarter and more competent doesn't pick up on this. [[spoiler:Well, not until the last episode, at least.]]
* TortureAlwaysWorks: On Contractors, it ''does''. Since they place their own interests first, they have no reason not to spill their guts at the first opportunity if the alternative is pain.
* TouchOfDeath: Several Contractors have abilities that do this. Hei has a habit of leaving behind corpses for the police with no visible cause of death, November can [[CryonicsFailure freeze someone solid]], and the main villain of the {{interquel}} manga, Harvest... well, his ability dissolves matter. The results aren't pretty.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Most of the time Hei is shown eating, he favors bowls of noodles; also, April generally drinks Guinness.
* [[SatchelSwitcheroo Trenchcoat Switcheroo]]: Kurosawa accidentally takes the identical trenchcoat of a Contractor involved in industrial theft and murder. The Contractor discovers the switch when he goes to pay for a meal and discovers nothing but a phone sex advertisement in the pocket.
* TranquilFury: Being TheStoic, when Hei is angry, he gets furious in a very cold and brutal way. On the other hand, the norm for Contractors is more like DissonantSerenity, killing in horrible ways with an attitude of boredom and/or amusement.
* TrappedInVillainy: Any contractor who doesn't want to be an assassin or spy is pretty much forced to do so, on pain of death.
* TheTriadsAndTheTongs: Chen Long Tang.
* TrippyFinaleSyndrome: The last episodes mostly happen in and around Hell's Gate. This would have been enough to qualify them for this trope by itself (travelling in there involves, among other things, stepping into a rift in empty air that can leave you standing sideways on a skyscraper with gravity at a 90 degree angle to the ground), but then Amber went and [[spoiler:triggered the Tokyo Explosion]] and things got '''''[[MindScrew really]]''''' weird.
* TrojanPrisoner: Accidental one. Yakuza guys thought a Doll was just one more sort of illegal goods and didn't even blindfold her. Hei, Mao, and viewers learned something new about Dolls, and Yakuza were surprised by a superpowered ninja "somehow" homing right in on their hideaway.
* TropeOverdosed
* TrueCompanions: Both Hei and co. and the British agents despite both being entirely composed of {{card carrying villain}}s.
** The Public Security Bureau's Foreign Affairs Division, 4th Section, dedicated to arresting/hunting down Contractors also counts as TrueCompanions, as they are quite close and affectionate with one another, and Kirihara refuses a promotion at least partially because she doesn't want to leave her team.
* TuckAndCover: At one point November tackles Kirihara to get her out of the way of Maki's explosions.
* TwoFaced: Wei after Hei fries him.
* {{Understatement}}: In the second episode (though exactly ''how'' ridiculous an understatement it is is only clear later): "I'm a complicated guy." Yes. Yes, you are.
* UnreliableExpositor: We get a healthy dose of ExpoSpeak early on, from a scientist who studies things that are under TheMasquerade, no less. The next thing we see? Our expo-speaker does not even know[[spoiler: who she ''herself'' is]]. Given her purpose, she presumably got no really sensitive information at all. So, have a happy dish of common oversimplifications and tampered memories. You're on your own.
** In general, 90% of what is said in the first couple of episodes is either misleading or an outright lie.
* UnreliableVoiceover: Mao, at the beginning of Episode 22, gives a dramatic speech about keeping his cool and doing the rational thing while the actual video shows him acting both terrified and mortified. It's [[CrowningMomentOfFunny funny as hell]].
* TheUnSmile: Yin [[FrozenFace had to use her fingers to smile]]. Unlike most instances of this trope, however, it was [[{{Moe}} cute]] rather than freaky.
* {{UST}}: Huge amounts between Hei and Kirihara; episode 23 brings it close to DatingCatwoman levels.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: You were expecting an ''explanation''? We gave you a perfectly good set of {{Cryptic Conversation}}s, [[DarkAndTroubledPast confusing flashbacks]], {{Unreliable Expositor}}s, and even a {{Mind Screw}}y JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind. ''You'' [[FigureItOutYourself figure it out]]. [[FridgeBrilliance We'll wait]].
* VillainousBSOD: [[spoiler:Shihoko]]'s remuneration requires her to suffer these, every time.
** Havoc could also be said to be going through an incredibly severe one.
* VillainousRescue: [[GreyAndGrayMorality Sort of]]; Hei ends up saving Kirihara almost incidentally a couple of times.
* VillainyDiscretionShot: In the time prior to the series, Hei killed ''tons'' of people, probably mostly rogue Contractors, and this is very much downplayed. Also, it's clear that Havoc was a horrific mass murderer prior to losing her powers and regaining her morality and personality, but because she is presented sympathetically, it makes sense the audience isn't shown her "in action".
* WarriorPoet: Literal. Itzhak's remuneraton is writing poetry.
* WeHaveBeenResearchingPhlebotinumForYears: In the first two episodes of ''DarkerThanBlack'' {{the hero}} accidentally saves a scientist working under the {{Masquerade}} and on the run receives a hasty explanation of what's going on.
* WeaponOfChoice: Hei fights with throwing knives and a choke wire. Handy since they conduct electricity.
* WhatIsThisFeeling: Dolls and Contractors both tend to act like this, since so many of them buy into the obviously incorrect TinMan idea.
* WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway: Some powers are nearly universal, but many are too weird or noticeable to use freely. That's not counting their random price.
** Itzhak probably bears special mention, though, since he's about the only Contractor we see who can't do much of anything in a fight.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Both Contractors and Dolls are considered no-longer human and may actually think of themselves this way but frequently show hidden depths. Dolls are quite passive at best and catatonic at worst, and Contractors' typical self-centered attitude and "WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer" style don't show that people who treat them as a sort of killing robots are too wrong either.
* WhatMeasureIsANonSuper: Evening Primrose takes this view, as do some of the crazier Contractors unaffiliated with them.
* WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer: Played with: many Contractors act like walking guns with a single type of ammo, up to using HollywoodTactics. Others are more flexible. Still others are quite capable even [[FightsLikeANormal without using their powers at all]].
* WhenSheSmiles: What first made Amber fall in love with Hei. [[http://i49.tinypic.com/dphlkl.png We can totally see why]].
* WhiteMaskOfDoom: Worn by Hei, who provides the page picture at the time of this writing.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: Played for laughs. Kurasawa is terrified of cats.
* WhyDoYouKeepChangingJobs: A rare main character example in Hei's undercover missions, all of which involve him taking some kind of menial job. Lampshaded when the PrivateDefective wonders why he keeps showing up.
** Played with further in the manga omake, with stuff like [[http://www.onemanga.com/Darker_Than_Black/9.5/06/ his growing bad reputation and Kiko's interpretation of this habit.]]
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity: Contractors appear to be utterly lacking in conscience (as poor [[spoiler:Mai]] put it -- ''"Why?"''). And/or have some quirk wired to the BerserkButton (Hei:sister, Wei:[[WorthyOpponent victory]], [[spoiler:Nick:sky]] Maki:[[{{Yandere}} crush]], November 11:smoking). The few "how I became Contractor" stories we've seen suggest that it could be the other way around and people who are already about to go crazy may [[IncrediblyLamePun contract]] some unusual power.
** A further aspect of the "great insanity" involves the reaction of several people once they become Contractors. They seem to have a great desire to erase ties to their human past, which they will sometimes try to achieve by killing their closest friends. This is fairly explicit in the interquel and sequel, but can also be seen with Wei in the first season as an explanation for why he decided to kill pretty much everyone in the Tong he belonged to.
* AWorldHalfFull: For all the dark tone and BittersweetEnding, it's still generally more idealistic than not.
* WorldOfBadass: This setting is ''full'' of [[PersonOfMassDestruction Persons of Mass Destruction]], with a healthy sprinkling of BadassNormal and a RealityWarper or two. The few non-badasses are generally either some form of MissionControl or PluckyComicRelief.
* WorthyOpponent: Wei. Almost as good martial artist as Hei. Sheds blood easily, but after all ''starts with [[BloodyMurder his own]]'' and is not masochistic. He wants a "return match" with Hei [[spoiler:''knowing'' that Hei will survive]] out of pride, but otherwise is polite and helpful to the end, even though he does not fall into DefeatMeansFriendship or FriendlyEnemy.
* WouldntHurtAChild: Notably averted. Nobody has any problem fighting Maki.
* WriterOnBoard: Someone on the writing staff clearly doesn't like smoking.
** November 11 delivers a CharacterFilibuster against second-hand smoke.
** Kirihara considers smoking a disgusting habit.
** Kurosawa is a chain smoker as part of his attempt to ape private eye tropes, but Kiko breaks his PrivateEyeMonologue by complaining about the smell, and it's clear that it doesn't improve his already poor hygiene and body odor.
** Before [[spoiler:going off to perform his HeroicSacrifice]], Huang asks Hei to light his cigarette with his powers. Hei [[StuffBlowingUp blows it up]] instead, and tells Huang he should stop smoking.
** Bertha's [[spoiler:baby ''choked to death'' on her cigarette butts]], and to punish herself she chews them whole as her price.
** And, of course, November 11's cigarette packs are all black with "DEATH" written on them in big letters.
*** Actually, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_%28cigarette%29 they're a real UK brand.]] November 11 probably chose them because he found it funny.
* WrongGenreSavvy: As noted above, Kurosawa; also, the female protagonist of the OVA is a CosplayOtakuGirl who thinks she's in a {{shoujo}} story and that Hei is a romantic hero.
* XMeetsY: This show is essentially what you would get if ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}}'' was written after watching the entire run of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' and a few episodes of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' back-to-back.
* {{Yakuza}}
* {{Yandere}}: Maki would be good friends with Rollo of CodeGeass -- he is similarly a cute boy whose affection for another character makes him act in a violently sociopathic way towards potential "rivals".
** Before that we have MafiaPrincess Alice, a childhood friend of Misaki's that became a wee bit ''too'' dependent on her. She did ''not'' like the idea of Misaki becoming a cop (and therefore leaving her), so she decided that she needed to die.
* YaoiFangirl: Kiko only tolerates her work environment because she gets to watch BoysLove series on the job. Mayu is just as obsessive, if not worse.
* YouAreNumberSix: Messier codes: Hei is BK-201, Itzhak is CY-463, Wei is VI-952, and so on.
* YouBastard: Kurasawa's comments about anime in the dub of Episode 7.
* YouCanSeeMe: There's ''no way'' to tell a Contractor or Doll from normal human without their help, and two ways with it. First is a telltale sight of [[RedEyesTakeWarning eyes glowing red]] and a cool aura of blue light. Second (also applied to Dolls) is a suspect ogling an observer apparition, that is, [[InvisibleToNormals obviously empty place]]. Granted, only other Contractors, Dolls and people controlling this specific Doll can know it's there, but one Contractor's cover was blown by this mistake on-screen.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: A number of characters, usually Contractors and Dolls, have improbable hair colors like green, pink and white.
* YouHaveFailedMe: TheSyndicate, transmitted through Hei's handler Huang, often threatens to kill its members should they fail to complete a mission. [[spoiler: Not surprisingly, since their ultimate goal is to kill all Contractors.]]
* YouWatchTooMuchX: When his assistant mentions in episode 14 that their latest client was acting like parts of his memory had been erased, Kurasawa responds appropriately by claiming she's been watching too much anime.
** Of course, this time [[GenreSavvy she's right]].
* ZettaiRyouiki: By Kiko and her friend. Possibly Yin too if she uses a lower skirt.