Since when have cases of "Death by Electrocution" had their causes of death marked as "Unknown", as indicated by the police in the first episode? I mean how is Hei killing people with electricity without damaging any organs, or if he does damage organs, how does the Police Coroner miss it?
As pointed out on the Fridge tab, Hei's power is a bit more than just shocking things. He doesn't always electrocute people (especially ones like Loui, who jump on his Berserk Button by telling him to be rational). He stopped the natural flow of electricity in Loui's body, basically turning him off like a light switch.
Another explanation can point that Hei can control the electricity flow (he can HACK electronic locks with his powers) efficiently enough to stop human heart or scramble brain without whatsoever collateral damage.
For example, Hei could cut off the electric signals in the muscle creating cardiac arrest or stop him from breathing or he could just "turn off" the brain.
Going by the other Wiki, electrical currents don't have to be strong enough to damage tissue in order to cause lethal heart problems. Combine that with the fact that autopsies are pretty unreliable in detecting myocardial infarction, and that Hei's victims are typically not in the immediate presence of hazardous electrical equipment when found, and it's pretty much a given that John Doe's autopsy would be inconclusive.
In Episodes 9 and 10 of the first season, how exactly did Saitou get himself established undercover so quickly? The manager of the catering staff knew him by name and didn't say anything along the lines of "Who are you and why are you wearing one of my uniforms?" This kind of implies that Saitou had been working undercover for a while, but if this is true, why didn't Kirihara know about it? And if he hadn't been working undercover, how did he get in so quickly?
I don't really see a problem. The hotel is big, but I douby it hosts giant events like that one every single day. The party is HUGE and they probably hired some extra help for it. Which, I assume, they'll do through some catering company which just provides servers. The staff manager surely works for the hotel, but not all of the servers - he just needs to know their names (which isn't that hard) so he can yell at them, instead of going "Yeah, you, that guy". The hired servers may have been "working" in the hotel prior to the party, though - maybe something like a couple of days - enough to get them familiar with the setting and what is where. And by "working" there, I mean they might have been stocking up the kitchen, cleaning the floors and generally just preparing for the party. A couple of days should be enough for both familiarizing them with the layout, being given instructions how to conduct themselves, and to prepare the hotel for the party. As I said, I really don't see what's the problems of somebody infiltrating the place - especially if they would have documents and references and stuff readily made for them.
But if Saitou had been there for a couple days, why was Kirihara surprised to see him? Isn't she his boss, and therefore responsible for his assignments? But the whole 'outside serving staff' makes a lot more sense than what was going through my mind as potential explanations: thanks.
Why does the second season not have more episodes? The first season did really well by having two-parters with really good but simple self-contained storylines that still built on the overall myth-arc. And that was just with Japan to play around with. Season two took place throughout Russia and Japan, and the massive change in the status quo could have been some good fodder for new stories. While I don't exactly mind the focus on the overall story, it's kind of lacking in flavor-text, as it were, and characterization is a little bit watered down due to the number of important characters. It would also have diluted the rampant pedophilia subtext. The OVA even pulled it off to some extent by focusing on Hei and Yin's interactions and characterizations on the island as well as the inspection of the contractor society, even though it only had four episodes.
While it's Handwaved that this is because of the random nature of the Gate, I've noticed that Renumerations/power use only really come into effect when the plot demands. Specifically, while I get that Hei won the Superpower Lottery, there's no explanation for why the French Contractors as well as November 11 get really physically exhausted after using their powers on top of their renumerations (in fact, the French ones have it a lot worse- November is able to get away when he's tired out; they just lay on the ground in the middle of combat) but on the other hand, Wei is able to continually use his Bloody Murder power and releases it with a snap of his fingers. Literally, this guy is continually cutting himself and shows no signs of pain or fatigue from blood loss.
Wei's Required Secondary Powers are weird. But he has "elven" ears and survives electrocution without police noticing he's not exactly corpse, so his entire physiology seems to be deeply messed up by the powers of Gate, so this weirdness is sort of justified.
Plus if you actually watch the finale your discover that Hei did not in fact win the Superpower Lottery.
Wei's remuneration is to shed blood, making himself a sort of endless murder cycle. It seems to depend a lot on chance, and the people themselves. For example, singing, invoked right after the death of a loved one. Bai, for instance, may well have just up and passed out the first time she used her powers.
It's a psychological compulsion, not a requirement. You can use your powers for an extended period of time, but at some point, you have to smoke/break your fingers/ etc. Most of the contractors who simply "get away" don't manage to stay away for a very long time if they have a time-consuming renumeration.
Wei's biology may have been supremely messed up by The Gate - he can lose buckets of blood and as written above, can survive electrocution without the cops noticing he's Not Quite Dead.
Regarding the suggestion on the Superpower Lottery page that Amber is immortal, it bugs me that she is strongly implied to die. I would think that anyone who ages backwards would be immortal - at worst, they'd end up trapped as a baby forever, but I can easily see them "resetting" or just being normal once they've aged down to an infant.
She could be immortal, but she overused it. Remuneration happens after the use of power, not before or at the same time, even postponed a little. So nothing prevents her from being driven far beyond the age when she would be unable to activate it — but she will suffer this after dooming herself by accumulating enough of "debt" to be dropped to -1 year or so and vanish.
While it's a cool concept, I'm a bit bothered by the idea that you can erase someone's memories or implant memories in a Doll, but the methodology is never explained. The series hints at the Gate providing Magitek to The Syndicate, but this is never really explored.
...or advanced Truth Detector and countermeasures for it, or glass flowers, or those seeds. Whoever stole stuff got from it whatever they could. After all, people we see are handful of operatives and handful of technicians with already working systems. They know which button to press, but it's all they can do about "xeno"-tech. That is, everyone save Mad Scientist (who's not quite sane to begin with) and some of his comrades (who never said anything on screen). Handwave is simply out of scope. That, and none of "Roadside Picnic" derivatives ever unambiguously handwaved anything. Uncanny Valley incarnate is supposed to be weird.
It doesn't make any sense if you think about it a bit that Contractors could have any talent as covert operatives. Sure, they kill without remorse, but as is noted, they each have their power tied to the artificial stars created by the Gate, and using the "Messier numbers" you can tell when any Contractor is using their powers. Bearing that in mind, the covert aspect doesn't seem to hold up.
It was not stated that anyone with sky map and eyes can do this. As long as agency they work against has access to observation-analytics-library facilities like the one we saw, they aren't too "covert", yeah. And that's what happened on-screen, especially if Contractor doesn't leave the scene immediately. Lois was cornered, and then cornered again. Berta and her partner were pinpointed after first use of her power and would be caught if guy could not deal with so many observers so quickly. "Gate-sama" was an enigma only for Muggles. Primrose's hideaways were visited by police at least twice. Hei got away repeatedly only on pure ninjutsu. On the other hand, we see too many Contractors already knowing each other anyway, whether personally or from briefing.
Well you need to remember that the real power of the covert Contractor is their complete and utter self-interest. So long as the agency they work for has them rationally convinced that staying with them is the most reasonable course of action for their own survival, you now have an agent the won't betray you, whose lack of emotion affecting judgement means they can make rational decisions in even the gravest of emergencies, who will do WHATEVER it takes to complete the mission, who is able to seamlessly keep up a lie and who is able to use some crazy super power that the enemy will probably not have a ready made counter for, which means they will scythe through normal soldiers like a hot knife through butter, which is what contractors tend to do.
Complete and utter self-interest is a horrible attribute for a covert operative. It means they'll betray you and give up everything they know the instant they think it's the best chance they have to get out of a bad situation. Also, if they can seamlessly keep up a lie in front of your enemies, they can do the same in front of you.
That's the trick though, all these secret agencies seem to have their operatives convinced that it's in their best interests to stick by them. Obviously we do have some examples of people betraying them for what they see as a better option, but as a whole they have done a pretty good job convincing them. They are probably informed that if they ever betray their organization, said organization will scramble every available unit to take them out as fast as possible, and considering the organization they defect to will most likely send them out into the field, that's a pretty big gamble to take. Of course, Evening Primrose is the exception because when you join, you die only if Amber decides she doesn't want to work around having you live, and if she wants you dead.... you're already dead.
As it was stated in the end of season 1, the sole reason to use contractor as agents was just a long term plan to make contractors wipe out themselves. It is implied that less complicated scenario could provoke an outright rebellion and world scale guerilla war. And despite obvious setback it is just nice to have around a guy with the firepower of a tank.
This is of course correct, the above debate was simply about their viability as covert operatives in and of itself. And as you point out, even if their spying capabilities weren't that great its just really nice to have an enforcer who can topple buildings and kill scores of people at once(and not even need mental conditioning beforehand or run the risk of needing therapy after) on hand in that kind of buisness.
Those random Scandinavians (which I think are supposed to be Finns, based on the names, but I could be wrong here, as the guy's name is kinda odd, as far as I've observed) were an interesting addition and all... but c'mon, is it too much to ask to get the VAs to learn how to pronounce their characters' names right? Eelis' VA did get close with Eelis' name, yeah, but considering that Eelis should be of the same nationality as Yin/Kirsi, not to mention having been closely acquaintaced with her, he really should be capable of getting Kirsi's name right.
This is a failing of the Japanese language, not the V As. They don't actually have a "si" sound, so the closest approximation is "shi". Unless you're talking about the dub? In which case, just ignore me.
Actually this troper, when I was learning Japanese, was taught to pronounce his name in Japanese syllables when introducing himself. It's possible they're simply doing the same thing, rendering their names in a way that's easier for the language?
If rockets vanish once they're launched past the stratosphere due to the false sky, how come cell phones and other commnication devices are able to work?
Well, cell phones use cell towers, not satellites, so they wouldn't have a problem. However, satellite TV, spy satellites, and anything else that relied on satellites would be in trouble. However, that would mostly effect the government, not your average citizen. Satellites do a lot for us, that's true, but most stuff still that your average citizen uses uses cables or radio waves as opposed to satellites. And even if they did run into trouble due to the lack of satellites, they'd have had plenty of time to have set up alternatives.
Read Robert Charles Wilson's Spin; it has the same premise as far as the sky vanishing, and explores how telecommunications could work with the same limitations.
"Obeisance" makes more sense than "remuneration", given that the latter implies money while the former is a physical act of submission. Why did the translators change it?
Presumably to keep the "contract" metaphor.
Why did Mayu focus on Hei's collarbone when she had such a wide array of much more gorgeous features to choose from? Girl must have issues.
It seems to be missing, but one of the pages had a quote from her Doujinshi which involved a character based on Hei having sex with a male elephant. So yes, yes she does.
...Wait, What? I must see this page and quote, if only the confirm that totally cracked-out tidbit (as for the initial question, Mayu's collarbone fixation probably has to do with the fact that Hei was wearing a) a mask and b) a shirt that was neither his usual man-cleavage-showcasing button-up nor the skin-tight spy catsuit that's usually under the Badass Longcoat. Therefore, the most immediate object of focus would be the infamous "delicious collarbone." Also, she was drunk during the rescue. People think of some pretty weird things while drunk.)
Issues? You clearly need a crash course in the Female Gaze; male collarbones are revered.
That's the joke.
The fucking pedophilia everywhere.
Ugh yes, it's really starting to put me off season 2, which is a shame because it's otherwise excellent.
Sex is a major theme in season 2, especially sexual deviancy. There is exactly one lolicon, one shotacon, one lesbian, and one okama in the cast so far, in addition to Suou's period. Why? I have no idea, but if I were paid money to guess I would say that it's meant to tie in to Suou's Terra-esque "what is love" motif. Alternatively, the writers may be going for an X-Men vibe of equating contractors to sexual deviants, much as X-Men recently started using mutants as the new gay people—note that the okama father is immediately and utterly accepting of contractors and doesn't question their coldness.
Suou also has a very strong theme of not belonging to any group and searching for connection.
I am also offput by all of the lolicon- they better not hook up Hei and Suou. On the other hand, I did get the vibe that with the crossdresser father, they might have been going for the gay = mutant idea of the X-Men. On the other hand, it's kind of surprising, but besides The Syndicate, average people so far don't really seem to hate Contractors, which is weird given how mutants are treated in most series, and Contractors are a lot more dangerous. Like that mother in the latest episode telling her child not to look at Hei fighting Genma, because if Contractors see you, they will "take your bellybutton". Sure, that's making them bogeymen, but she seemed pretty calm.
I always wondered what was wrong with the people in the marvel universe. Look, there is the guy who can disintegrate me with a though. Let's throw some rocks at him, what could possibly go wrong. It is entirely reasonable to be as polite as possible when you talk to them and run as fast as you can when you are out of their sight.
I thought that the series handled the interaction well enough to be neither 'fucking' nor 'pedophilia', seeing as all but a handful relationships are developed in a way that practically spells out: "this is not healthy". And then there's Suou's heartbreaking "confession": ("It hurt even more when you hit me. There are so many things I don't understand... but when you called me Suou, I was so happy. Then I found out it was to save Yin, I became confused. You killed my dad. You're a terrible, good-for-nothing, violent drunk. Yet I became so lonely when we were separated.) That's bad enough coming from an abused wife, but this is from a kid, barely in her teens, who's been screwed up by events entirely beyond her control. If her character is being exploited, it's tugging at our heartstrings, not our nether regions. As for Norio, he's a nutjob and never taken seriously. It's interesting to note that Norio and Suou's age gap (~18 and ~13) happens to match that of another famously doomed couple.
Personally, it's the never-taken-seriously aspect that I found most creepy. Norio is a nutjob, but none of the characters even tries to stop him from sexually harassing a young girl, except on the grounds that he'll get hurt. Suou's speeches do call out the abusive nature of her relationships with him and Hei, but only ambiguously. Add in Mina apparently thinking that grabbing someone and holding them restrained against your body (whilst explaining that virginity is unhealthy) is a reasonable way to make a pass, and I'd really like a lampshade to tell me whether or not sexualised abuse and pedophilia is considered acceptable.
It bugs me that everyone says Contractors are emotionless when they're clearly not.
That would be a major theme of the series, yes.
In season 1 they pretty much are. Hei is the exception because he's not actually a contractor. It's stated that the contractors are "evolving" to have emotions but it's pretty well showcased that they're a long way from normal. Suou was explained with some hand waving and "she's an imperfect copy" but again the rule generally holds true for season 2 as well.
Mao, in season 1, says something weird about being able to be scared, but without putting the emotion in the equation. Huh.
Tin Man is invoked intentionally for that reason. And the finale hints that Contractors used to be more emotionless but are slowly developing them.
Well look at it this way: When you feel fear, you have physical signs (blood moving from your stomach giving it butterflies), and often an awareness of the practicality of getting away, but also your brain goes "ohcrapcrapcrapcraprunmustgoaway". The question of "what is emotion?" is an interesting one, but when talking about The Sociopath it seems to be the first two are considered irrelevant compared to the last. After all, you have butterflies in your stomach when you're attracted to someone, how can you tell the difference between fear and attraction if you lack the "ohcrapcrapcrap"?
Based on what i heard about the evolution of contractors, I always thought that it wasn't so much that becoming a contractor got rid of your emotions, so much as it just divorced the level emotions are felt on from higher thought processes, which is why they are completely rational, they feel fear, it just doesn't affect their decision making, they get angry, but it doesn't make them irrational or aggressive. Once you think about it like this, we can think that this causes them to just start to ignore their emotions because they serve no practical value, the ones who seem to express emotion are the ones who haven't ignored them, thus they can take action based on how they know those emotions would make them act if they were affecting their thinking processes. However this evolution might be causing the emotions to begin affecting their thought processes again.
Contractors DO feel emotions. Mao, a contractor himself, said that contractors do feel emotions, its just that their emotions don't interfere with their thinking (e.g if a dude walk into a bar and someone said bad things about his mother, then the obvious reaction is talk back or attack, as their emotions get the better of him. However a Contractor would still feel the same emotions but they wouldn't get overwhelm by it. So Contractors aren't experiencing Sociopathy, but rather some form of Asperger's Syndrome(which is often mistaken for Sociopathy). Which would explain why Hei's Sister and Amber care about Hei, or how Mina wants revenge for having one of her friend hert. They don't feel any empathy towards a random strangers whom they are assign to kill, and can often ignored the emotional sting that comes with it. However they can form personal attachment to those they are close to long enough (Albeit its extremely difficult). However they can't become instantly social with a random person, like a normal human can do, and such have only really tight-knit social groups (an example is Mao and Hei's relationship, or Hei, Pai and Amber's own team during the South American incident).
Maybe it's just me who completely fails at physics, but what exactly happened to that blonde superspeed Contractor at the end of that fight in Season 2, Episode 1? Running at the speed of light and connecting to a raindrop and all?
Pay attention carefully to when and where he glows, and you'll notice that he doesn't necessarily use his power whenever he runs. Instead, he uses it for just a moment, existing at the speed of sound for just a split second and using his inertia to slow down (that's what happened when he ran into the tree—he couldn't stop himself in time). Now, speed has one of the longest lists of Required Secondary Powers—not only do you need some sort of protection against the muscle damage that would be caused by punishing your muscles like that, but you need to have a temporary forcefield that protects you from being brained by a fly, or ripped apart by the air particles themselves. The Russian had neither. After April was knocked down, a couple things happened at once: she used her contractor ability, making it start to rain, and the speedster started accelerating. Now Russia, you may be surprised to learn, is very cold—it actually shouldn't be possible for it to rain, because the droplets should freeze before they even hit the ground. When the rain did fall, it was supercooled, meaning that despite being liquid they will act like a solid upon contact with anything, like hail. What you had then, was a human being at the highest point of acceleration using a power that allows him to dodge bullets (much faster than the speed of sound, meaning at least four hundred meters per second) running into a wall of tiny balls of ice, which is something like what would happen if you were to fall into an iron maiden from a height of two hundred feet.
Damn. Well, for moving so fast, he sure changed his expression into the show's biggest "oh shit" face in time. Thanks for the explanation!
Problem is, why doesn't his moving at the speed of sound through air itself trigger existence issues? Surely the body is not made to withstand air resistance while moving at 340 m/sec? Unless he has some secondary powers not mentioned.
I always assumed that he had some form of force field that could protect him from the impacts/friction but once they get up to a certain force value they just blow through the shield.
What the frick happened at the end of Ryuusei no Gemini? I got parts of it, but you can only put so much down to "mysterious setting" and "brain occupied with ignoring the squicky pedo subtext" before the Gainax Ending gets ridiculous.
I wouldn't dream of trying to make sense of all that, but here's what happened in no particular order:
spoiler Shion copied either the entire planet to shape it to his will, copied the moon to slip it underneath the Gate's veil, or copied the entire universe and shaped that to his will. The backlash of this remuneration killed him.
spoiler To be honest, I'm not really sure why he had to meet up with Yin in order to do this. There was an obvious metaphor where Izanami (Shion) was the god of life and Izanagi (Yin) the goddess of death, but there was never any mention of Yin killing or destroying anything in order for Shion to put his own copy there.
spoiler As Shion's copies must always have something different about them, in this world/universe/whatever he never existed, and his father and Suou live a happy generic schoolgirl family life, reunited with Suou's mother, and July could live a normal life as well.
spoiler This was the "end of the world" foretold in the prophecies concerning Izanami and Izanagi, and in a sense it was the end of the world. Oreille's organization, for whatever reason, had been working to make this happen because they too wanted the world remade.
spoiler I guess Japan is a strategically valuable island or something, because this allowed the United States to take it over.
spoiler August 7 was alive, I guess. Either that or July had his own personal CONGRATULATIONS vision and he really is dead.
spoiler Another gate showed up somewhere, I guess. I'm not sure if Japan's gate is still there or not.
spoiler Contractors still exist, though, as evidenced by the bit with Yin at the end.
spoiler Suou's memories and "soul" had been stored in the meteor shard. That's why the anti-contractor machine caused Hei's powers to go to it rather than Suou herself— because that's where "she" was.
An OVA is slated to come out in 2010 concerning the events between seasons 1 and 2. At the very least, it will explain some about Yin.
How I saw it:
spoiler If you watch carefully, Shion copied the planet/universe/whatever before he started deteriorating, and well before he met Yin. I think it was Yin's influence that killed him in the end.
spoiler Shion's copy of the world had neither himself nor the Gates; hence July's display of considerably more emotion than before.
spoiler "Izanami" is some sort of Eldritch Abomination-type consciousness that will presumably be a little better explained when the OVA comes out, but at any rate it causes Yin to force Contractors to commit suicide and, apparently, takes their souls; Yin managed to overcome/suppress it at the end when she asked Hei to kill her.
spoiler Hei stopped whatever would have happened because of Izanagi and Izanami by killing Yin.
Unfortunately, I have no freaking clue what Madame Oreille was trying to accomplish in this interpretation, or why.
My guess is that she was trying to stop the Izanagi and Izanami as well, Hei did it for her
A clip-show montage, multiple single instances of flashbacks, and a totally mood-breaking insert of the transformation sequence? Is BONES really so strapped for cash that they had to cut that many corners for a final episode?
I don't really like how Hei x Yin is more or less official. I always saw their relationship as that of a protective older brother and his little sister, which combined with the Lolicon factor creates a moderately uncomfortable amount of Squick for me. Sure, they love each other, but I never saw it as that kind of love.
Probably because all the other characters assume that's what's going on and shippers are physically incapable of accepting the Like Brother and Sister explanation.
No, not really. All we see is that they're really close and Hei gets extremely protective of her, which we already knew; it's deliberately left open, so a shipper can legitimately interpret their relationship one way, while someone who disagrees can interpret it differently. Sure, Izanami is all over Hei, but it's hard to tell if she's a Split Personality or a separate entity, and he mostly seems quite understandably creeped-out. Otherwise, all that happens is that they hug, which can just as easily be platonic.
That's just your personal opinion, Word of God has already stated them as being canon.
Word of God has been pretty tight-lipped about the entire situation, actually. This Troper hasn't seen much of anything from the writers alluding to them being in a romantic relationship or having mutual romantic feelings for each other. As the above troper states, it's relatively ambiguous and shippers can ship whoever they want, or ship no one at all. In other words: if you want to see it, it's there. If you don't want to see it, it's not there.
This troper doesn't really see it as lolicon, there doesn't seem to be that great a difference in height (at least in the OVA) between the two and the manager of the resort they visit posing as a married couple seems to easily accept that Yin could be Hei's wife so it doesn't appear the age gap between them is all that big.
Well if you remember Yin's backstory episode, she's around ten or so at the time, and this is 10 years later so she is probably about 20 give or take year or two. Hei was 16 in Heaven's war 5 years ago so he is 21 right now, which means that the relationship between the two (while unexpected given that yin is a doll) is perfectly reasonable
except it was never said Yin became a Doll ten years ago. She could be fifteen or twenty since it's never clear if she became a doll ten or as little as four or five years before the story.
Okay, this has been bugging me for ages, but I think I finally figured out why Hei's second-season characterization bothers me so much. I understand that they wanted to do a storyline where he's in terrible shape psychologically and slowly gets over it. Heck, I might have been able to forgive some of the jerkass behavior under different circumstances. But why the hell would someone whose job constantly puts him in situations where he has to fight for his life start drinking? Hei isn't stupid; he'd know perfectly well that not thinking clearly in his line of work is a really bad idea. Not only that, but his reaction seems extreme even given what he went through, since he's had to cope with pretty much the same thing in the past. I'd think it would be more in character for him to just retreat even further into stoic paranoia, with Yin/Izanami as a new Berserk Button, since that's what happened last time he was betrayed, had his hopes smashed, and lost someone he loved. There's no previous evidence to suggest that when he's angry he lashes out at random people; he just gets quiet, calm, and absolutely vicious to whichever poor sap pissed him off.
Perhaps because, no matter how depressed he gets, Hei retains the need to consume. Since he doesn't feel like taking a real job in Russia, going to the local restaurant is out of the question. Thus: bottled calories.
There's also the fact that Hei, already a pretty sombre character, was originally notable for having the single comedic trait of eating a lot. By taking away this trait and replacing it with the much less humorous alcoholism, the show achieves a sort of Player Punch without having to kill anyone.
This troper skipped the entire second season really. The first season stands up on it's own and the ONLY plot hook is very transparent and was obviously added at the last second.
Good point. I was glad to have Mao there, but there's really no reason at all he should have been.
I'm going to disagree with Mao, mostly because his reappearance solved some Fridge Logic I had with his death. I wondered if they still had the backup of his brain still on the server somewhere, and could just turn it back on. Made sense to me.
This troper was always under the impression that Suou was a deconstruction of the self-insert Mary Sue. Given the nature of the show, it's entirely plausible.
When Suo is not transforming she is either mourning someone's death, stalked, beaten up or kidnapped. I don't think labeling her Mary Sue is justified.
Tanya's abrupt personality change doesn't mesh with any previous precedent. Most Contractors seem to retain their personalities for the most part; they just don't mind killing people. In contrast, Tanya instantly became a pod person. In fact, it's even implied elsewhere that Contractors are becoming less sociopathic over time, which makes her personality shift even more confusing.
This bugged me too. Maybe when they turn into Contractors they start off emotionally blank, then they slowly redevelop over time?
This is very heavily implied. Heck, the original poster touched on it when he said that "Contractors are becoming less sociopathic."
This is in accord with episodes 3 and 4 in the first season. A character changed from a Muggle to a Contractor. As a Muggle, she was a normal girl with a full range of emotions. When she manifested Contractor powers, she suddenly became robotic and monotonous, both in the flashback and in the resurfacing.
It is implied that contractors learn to behave less sociopathic and emotionless. It's not that hard and it makes interactions with muggles much easier.
Actually its pretty difficult to learn to seamlessly blend in when you have no emotions. Ask some real life sociopaths about it.
Even Real Life sociopaths (who aren't completely devoid of emotions, by the way) learn to do it overtime, hence why the disorder is so hard to diagnose in the first place. And contractors don't "seamlessly blend in" anyway. There's always something "off" there, even with the more charismatic ones like Mao or November 11.
Contractors don't lose their emotions, just the psychological mechanisms through which emotions normally guide behaviour. That would mean that they no longer understand why they were acting in emotionally instinctive ways (eg. being nicer to people they like) and would probably make them unable to able to detect some of their own emotions, because they no longer feel them as a desire to do something. The only context we see Tanya in before she changes is participating in emotional exchanges with people, deciding by instinct how to achieve the relationship dynamics to the ones she wants and then enjoying the emotional feedback. Assuming this implies she was a people person and one who mostly appreciated emotional interactions she can no longer experience, maybe she doesn't have much personality left to express?
All the transformation sequences. Honestly, were they really that necessary? After just one of them, I think the animators would have realized that yes, the audience knows where Suou's rifles are coming from.
The same reasons a transformation sequence, or other stock footage, are EVER used.
It's a Deconstruction Fleet. Darker Than Black has a lot of cliches like this and it's a meta show that's not afraid to make fun of itself. November 11 wore a black suit only when he died, for example. The transformation sequences are supposed to make the viewer think something like "oh, hahah, this is totally going to be plot relevant, I bet the transformation sequence will get interrupted or cause something bad to happen." And then it doesn't.
Why doesn't Wei turn his own hand into ribbons every time he uses his contractor ability? In a show focused on reality, Wei's the only one with a blatant secondary superpower. (The Russian McDonald's Flash didn't have any)
There are plenty of explanations for that: he could have the ability to decide which blood is affected, or he could be returning the blood to his own body when he does it, which would also explain why he doesn't pass out from blood loss.
Returning the blood to his body makes sense; his ability was described as matter teleportation at one point, after all.
Why are Hei's fights so ambiguous in terms of who wins? For example, in episode 2,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nE4h0w-IU8&feature=relmf, it looks like Chiaki saved Hei during 19:28. But on closer inspection, Hei looks like he was able to dodge. Also, in episode 6, when November 11 freezes Hei's feet, it looks like Huang saves him with a smoke bomb. If you look closely, though, Hei unfreezes his feet with his knife at the last minute, leaving it up to interpretation who won. My point is, Hei's fights always look unclear as who the winner is, and it usually winds up with him being saved. My problem is that it's hard to take him seriously as "one of the best Contractors" when he seems to get his ass kicked every other episode.
Well take those fights as unresolved conflicts then. Usually when he gets saved its when cavalry shows up and interferes when he hasn't asked for it, nor does he really need it. However that does fit in with the show because the interference generally comes whenever it is most practical to do so for the interferers, rather than the audience. The November 11 fight is a perfect example. When Huang shoots that smoke grenade, he is only doing it so that Hei can be sure to have a guaranteed escape route because the mission is over and he doesn't want to run the risk of losing a valuable operative for no real reason, he isn't doing it because he thinks Hei actually needs the help, at that point he doesn't even really care personally whether Hei lives or dies anyway.
Results. Hey has the most notorious record in the world. This is even worse considering that the most cases were attributed to him based on his star record only. Meaning he literally left no traces/no survivors.
Why does everybody say that Genma was a pedophile? I never once got that vibe from him. The only things I can think of that even come close are the two instances in which he calls Suou a "cute little kid," and even then, he sounded more as if he were mocking her for seeming unthreatening. In fact, he's been labeled as a Complete Monster several times on this site, but the most evil I ever saw him commit was killing Yoko and nearly killing Suou, and while those are certainly evil actions, I don't see how they transform him from "villain" to "complete monster."
His comment about Suou's thighs in the last episode, as well as several earlier in the season made it seem pretty transparent that he was interested in Suou(who he though was Shion) in some non-platonic capacity. Also the fact that he betrayed Section 3 to the CIA and helped in the annexing of Japan by a foreign power made him seem pretty monstrous.
Probably an effect of differing translations. The comment about Suou's thighs is pretty unambiguous, unless the translator was specifically attempting to censor, but unless you caught that or his comment on first being thwarted by Suou that he could fall for the "little prince" if he kept being so tricky, it could easily be missed.
Also, Yoko was restrained and drugged into pliable compliance. When her body was discovered, she was still restrained, but bleeding from numerous places (that she couldn't have done herself). The implication of gratuitous violence is not helped by Genma's unprompted statement that he "treated her so nice" when getting the information.
If Contractors only care about self-preservation, why do so many take jobs that put their lives at risk? There are other ways to make a living, after all.
Because if they don't, the government will kill them. Take for example Tayna in season 2. Right after she became a Contractor the military found her and recruited her, and from what we see they gave her a pretty obvious "join or die" ultimatum, which based on how people in general treat contractors is most likely the same option given to all of them. Not to mention that even if they did fight off the initial team it is nigh impossible for a new contractor to blend in with society(and thus get a job) due to the extreme sociopathy (which seems to take years to begin to fade), and if they try to use their powers to survive they get found by the military, and while they are indisputably badass they are not immortal or omniscient. They could turn to crime or prostitution (neither of which is overly safe) but they may very well get caught and sent to jail or something without copious use of their powers which while taking care of the food and shelter issue is still a fairly dangerous place, and would likely result in them using their powers for protection after pissing someone off accidentally anyway, which has us run into the government again either way. Sure many of the Contractors we run into could go rogue and have a decent run of it(Amber and Hei both go rogue twice for example), but a new contractor won't have the experience or training they do. A new Contractor doesn't really have any experience using their power and while admittedly they seem to instinctively understand what it is and how it works, they won't be well versed in ingenious combat applications (outside the obvious) and unless they had pre-contract training no combat experience either. Thus while they can and will use lethal force defending themselves, they won't be very good at it or at least not as good as the ones chasing them.
Why does everyone think contractors are completely rational when the very fact anyone knows about implies they aren't? Think about, the first thing a coldly rational contractor must think when they discover their powers must be that they need to keep it a secret if they want to stay in control of their life. Since they don't suffer from Power Incontinence, the best way to do this is to simply not use their powers unless absolutely necessary. This, of course, means that they should be predisposed to avoiding situations where they might need to use their powers. There's no litmus test for contractors, so why would they reveal themselves in the first place instead of living mundane lives without attracting attention to themselves? They may be sociopaths, but they should still have the sense to, for example, obey the law out of fear of the consequences. Considering that science has apparently declared contractors to be Always Chaotic Evil, this seems like a pretty big hole.
First of all, a true contractor is completely emotionless and amoral when they first get their powers, every new contractor we have seen has demonstrated this. Also, a new contractor doesn't seem to care much about laws and such. Remember that girl from eps 3-4 in season one? When she killed a man with her fire powers she was told basically "WAIT DON'T DO IT!" and her response was "But why not?". And one more thing, its difficult for a contractors to go about "living mundane lives" because as the first response mentioned, they are total sociopaths, something that just turns people off/weirds them out whenever they interact with a contractor, making it very difficult for them to land a job, and thus support themselves. Finally, science didn't declare them Always Chaotic Evil, it really declared them The Unfettered and a threat to humanity. The reason people were trying to eliminate the contractors was because they were afraid contractors would decide regular humans were inhibiting them and try to wipe them out.
The fact that her response was "why not?" proves that she isn't rational. It's obvious contractors are sociopaths, they don't care about anyone or anything but themselves. However, they are also seen as being perfectly rational and unfeeling; any rational person would respond to "why not?" with "because it's against the law". It logically follows that this will force the person to give up something they currently have (freedom if they are arrested, safety if they fight, security if they run, or money if they do anything they didn't prepare for), the exact opposite of what someone motivated solely by self interest would desire. It would simply be in their advantage to never attract the attention of the law in the first place. Cold rationality may be amoral, but it must take the public's or government's opinion of your actions into account. Contractors are The Unfettered, but it is that precise trait that declares them to be as irrational as anyone else.
Well let's meet in the middle here then. They are The Unfettered with their primary purpose being self preservation. They are coldly rational about everything except for self preservation.
Coldly rational doesn't mean good at thinking things through. Most people decide what's worth devoting energy to considering from the emotional impact it has on them. Without those cues, it probably doesn't occur to contractors to think things like whether their power might attract hazards they didn't previously have to worry about through until they're immediately and directly affected. Also, a lot of contractors who did realise it was safer to hide their power would probably be caught out by either using their powers in secret or looking at surveillance spectres, which would seem fairly safe for the untutored.
What's the deal with people turning into Contractors left and right in the second season? The impression I got from the first season was that the transformations into Contractors and Dolls all occured around the time the Gates appeared. The only person to turn into one, as far as I recall, had had the change delayed by her father with that special seed in her arm, implying it would have normally happened back then, too. Could it be because of Hei's "choice of future for both humans and Contractors" at the end of season one? Was it ever addressed?
No, people can turn into Contractors or Dolls whenever. It appears to be completely random, though there was one theory that a new one is born every time an old ones dies. That Moratorium was an exception, but for different reasons. It's just a little confusing because all the Contractors in the first season were well-established.
Given that Mai's father was already researching Contractor power suppression before Mai turned, and considering that there was already an established stigma by then, I think we can safely say that Mai started turning into a Contractor some time into the Mass Super-Empowering Event - maybe a year or so.