Imagine my surprise when one of the more entertaining anime series I’ve watched in recent time was sitting as a commercial release in my local comic book store. I am talking about Yami no Matsuei, domestically titled (and correctly translated) Descendants of Darkness.
Descendants of Darkness is an anime about an Angel of Death investigator, Tsuzuki Asato, who works for an FBI-like bureau in the land of the dead. He investigates mysterious deaths that appear on the list of the dead before their appointed time, or he recovers lost souls and guides them for judgment. All Angels of Death in this bureau work in pairs, so Tsuzuki is teamed up with the young, mysterious Hisoka. In their first adventure, they investigate deaths with a vampire’s trademarks, except the suspected vampire is a well-respected opera singer. Is she really dead, or somewhere in between?
Don’t be deceived by the corny-sounding title. Descendants of Darkness is a very good series operating on story arcs that extend over two episodes. The series itself is very short, around 13 episodes, which is half a regular television season. The manga that this series is based on is prolific, and I’ve been told that – of course – the manga is better with extensive character backgrounds. Tsuzuki appears to be a general ne’er-do-well, but when the chips are down and the fight begins, he is one of the best Angels of Death the bureau has. Apparently, all Angels of Death can summon “Shikigami,” or mythical beasts to help them fight the forces of evil. Tsuzuki can summon an amazing 12, while most can only handle one. Questions about Tsuzuki and Hisoka’s past lead up to one wicked villain, and I cannot divulge anymore for fear of spoiling it for you, dear reader.
“Bishounen,” or “pretty men,” populate the anime and it also has some homosexual overtones, but such lowbrow tactics never dominate the plot. The investigations Tsuzuki and Hisoka perform are in the feel of The X-Files, and there are plot twists in every story arc. This series is dark, seductive, and of good animation quality. One might think this show is only for the hardcore female anime fans, but many male anime fans also like Descendants of Darkness for its edge and grit. Personally, I have watched the whole thing fan-subbed, and I really liked it! I do hope that they will continue animating some of the manga story arcs, but as that doesn’t seem to be in the cards, I try to read the manga whenever I see them. Now that it is coming out domestically, I recommend it to any anime fan that likes dark mysticism without overdone gore.
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Series Information: www.animeokashi.com