Taking a break from all the reading I've been doing lately, I spent yesterday watching anime instead. I took up a Netflix recommendation and ended up watching through all of the first season of Darker Than Black.
I ended up enjoying the series quite a bit, so I decided to take this chance to recommend this series in case someone is looking for an anime series to watch.
The premise of the show is that an area of Tokyo gets replaced by an area called Hell's Gate where abnormal activity abounds. At the same time a number of people acquired supernatural abilities -- think superhero style levitation, teleportation, body snatching, and so on. A person with such abilities is called a Contractor and their defining characteristic is that they are unemotional and completely logical. Their presence is kept secret by the government.
The series follows a Contractor named Hei, who works for a group called The Syndicate and assumes an undercover identity of a student from China. The catch is that Hei is known as "The Black Reaper" among the Contractors for his assassination work, while in his regular life we see him as a gentle and kind person. There are a number of colorful supporting characters -- some of them work with Hei for the Syndicate, others are contractors working for the government. There is also Misaki, a chief of foreign affairs division for dealing with contractors, a woman of strong morals and convictions.
The plot follows a number of missions that Hei undertakes and eventually a number of characters end up meeting each other as the season progresses. There is plenty of political intrigue, good fighting scenes, and some funny dialogue. The season's ending explains a number of mysteries that become apparent in earlier episodes, which is very satisfying. Overall, it's definitely a show I would recommend to those who like action and intrigue in their anime. I am looking forward to the second season coming out in English sometime in 2011.