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|Index||14 reviews in total|
I just recently picked up this anime because I heard good things about it from some friends, and I am glad they told me about it. Its about a group of mercenaries, that remind me of modern day pirates. They take jobs from various organizations, including the Russian mob. Some of these tasks include robbery, and other mischievous things. The animation is very crisp and clean, and the gun fights are awesome. It makes numerous pop-culture references, which I found amusing, and it also has a touch of comedy, granted its dark comedy. The characters are all very interesting, with the main character,Rock, who joins the group out of circumstance. He is a very likable character and doesn't care for violence. Revy, the main female character is another favorite and a total opposite of Rock. She is tough, enjoys killing people, drinks, smokes and cusses more then anyone else in the show. Dutch who is a large African-American Vietnam veteran and the commander of their small boat, and Benny, a computer geek, and a non-violent person, much like Rock. Over all, if you want some anime with action, interesting characters, and a good plot, you should check it out.
Watching an episode of Black Lagoon reminds me of an 1980s era action movie. There are fights, shootouts, car chases, explosions, and of course plenty of one-liners. Although the show's main aspiration is to be an action series, it has interesting characters and pretty good story lines, making it more than just a run of the mill action anime. The show is set in southeast Asia and centers around a mercenary group (Black Lagoon) whose members include the leader Dutch, mechanic Benny, Rokuro Okajima a.k.a. 'Rok' a businessman who gets shanghaied into Black Lagoon, and probably the best known, Revy, the group's best fighter who shoots up opponents with two pistols at once. Their ethics are of course flexible so they often take jobs from local criminal organizations, and unsurprisingly the Black Lagoon crew definitely qualify as 'anti-hero' types (except perhaps Rok). It could even be argued that they cross into outright 'bad-guy' territory from time to time. This is what makes this series interesting though, that the characters aren't trying to be good, and their only real code of conduct is their loyalty to each other and of course to turning a profit on their shady jobs (think Sam Peckinpah's Wild Bunch). As you may have guessed Black Lagoon is aimed squarely at an adult audience. There is occasional nudity (i.e. dancers in a topless bar), drug use, and killings and profanity are frequent. Although its concept may not be all that original, its execution is good, so if you like your action bloody and your 'anti-heroes' profane, Black Lagoon is definitely worth a look.
A creation of eastern production team Madhouse and American Geneon from
an original graphic novel by Rei Hiroe, this is an adult-aimed anime
series which turns out well above average, even if not quite on the
consistent level as such standalone Madhouse features as Millennium
Actress (2001), or Tokyo Godfathers (2003).
Much of the particular flavour and interesting tensions within Black Lagoon can be put down to its split production origins, a dichotomy also reflected in dramatis personnel. Besides Dutch there's a Jewish-American (Benny) and Chinese-American (Revy), as well as Rock's Japanese presence. At the same time, set pieces familiar from American action cinema jostle for screen time with characterisation and some graphic styling typical of homegrown manga. As the varied team undertake a series of assignments (at least in First Barrage, the name of the series' initial half, reviewed here), it gradually leads to an escalating tension between Rock and Revy. The new recruit, out of the boardroom and now onboard, so to speak, seeks to establish himself in a new and bewildering world, where he has a chance of gaining the respect previously denied him.
Revy has issues and internal strife all of her own, increasingly aggravated by the new arrival. It's the relationship between these two that's at the heart of the series, and gives events a centre of gravity. As white-collar Rock gradually grows into his new relationships, so Revy has to face up to new emotions and truths. Confrontations will make her doubt the real strengths of her much vaunted self-reliance, and how much her troubled past still influences her. It becomes obvious that, despite her best efforts, a problematic relationship is forming between her and the new arrival. Meanwhile, Rock's corporate-inspired guile, outwardly conservative image, and sly negotiating skills gained in a past life prove an increasingly valuable asset, even as he assesses his past existence in the light of the new.
Operating out of the south Pacific city of Raonapur as the 'Lagoon Trading Company', Dutch's small professional team one held together by a quirky mixture of greed, bravado and camaraderie. Their main, continuous interaction is with a former Soviet military officer known as Balalaika, a big wheel in the crime world they inhabit and service. She quickly uses the Lagoon Company to help secure her ascendancy. In events after that, concerning a group of Nazis and a sunken submarine, she is largely absent, but comes to prominence again as events proceed, notably during the episodes of The Unstoppable Chambermaid. Here she helps to adjudicate at the finish, bringing to a climax stormy events between Revy and the murderous servant Roberta (a peculiarly enigmatic figure, demure but full of unstoppable violence), which have played out with a due nod to The Terminator. Towards the end of this first series Rock and Revy again provide the most interest from point of character until, at the close, we learn some more about her personal history from the CIA, which continues the process of humanising her, putting her life more in context.
It's no surprise then that the closing credits of each show are shown over a notably melancholic sequence, reflecting Revy's trademark emotional desolation. The viewer follows her feet and lower legs along a beach watching her slowly discard cartridges, shoes and trademark twin handguns into the sand. Then, with a final flourish, Revy turns abruptly and confronts us with another weapon, as if warning against any attempt at communication. In contrast to the interest generated by such handicapped and resentful psychology, other parts of Black Lagoon are less rich in character studies, as individuals too readily give up what secrets they have. For instance, the Nazis faced by the team in the three-episode Die Ruckkehr des Adlers sequence are stereotypes, cardboard fanatics with none of the originality we find elsewhere. Only the claustrophobic scenes set inside the sunken submarine, rife again with tension between Rock and Revy, give this section much interest.
A good deal of the show is taken up with violent set pieces that, typical of the genre, often bring an episode's climax. This is all orchestrated with some élan, but in matters of sex Black Lagoon remains surprisingly reticent. Some viewers will note the coded lesbianism of Balalaika, or the constant smoking and cigarettes, those small symbols of virility, which are passed round or enjoyed by characters during the film. There are the hot pants of the busty Revy, clearly geared towards the fantasies of a male audience even if her continuously sexualised character remains an erotic aspiration only. She even expresses a surprising innocence early on when accidentally confronted by Balalaika's pornography ("do you mean he is actually going to put that up her ass?"). Mostly, adult sexuality is confined to the background: mute whores in bar rooms, or the surrounding street life.
If the vividly realised experience of Black Lagoon can teach Revy - or us - anything more worthwhile, its the importance of establishing one's place in life with dignity, all the while discovering and valuing real friends. Worthwhile relationships are at a premium in a lawless city such as Raonapur. Those like Balalaika can only purchase the loyalty of associates; Nazis combine together through blind political obedience, Taiwanese assassins are necessarily hirelings, or servants like Roberta remain emotionally stunted. On Dutch's small, intimate boat however, people interrelate on a far more critical level. Here genuine loyalty and trust can quite literally mean matter of life and death.
Black Lagoon is one of those action-packed Animes where the blood flows
thick and red, the guns and explosions are loud and when somebody
dies...they die hard!!!
Along the same lines as "Cowboy Bebop" but more grounded in reality than space, Black Lagoon's frequent pop-culture references help keep the show current and believable in a "this could be happening somewhere" kind of way!
For those of you who enjoy a good story/ plot, the story definitely is there and really is not all that complicated to follow. However, this show is definitely more about the action scenes as they are fast, hard and over-the-top which is great for any action-adrenaline junkie!
The story in a way is just a series of events which links together a whole lot of action scenes but it is the way it is all done which truly makes this anime show brilliant.
The characters are another great point to the show as it really delves into peoples relationships with each other and why it is that they act the way the do or have such a dark view of the world. The interesting thing is that there really is no "good guys" in Black Lagoon. The good guys are in a way just as bad as the bad guys yet still manage to gain sympathy and laughs from the viewer.
Which leads to another great thing about the show, the humour! Brilliant...though very dark, it is still very funny!!!
Each season is short (12 episodes) but each episode runs so well into the next that it is hard not to watch another one straight after just to see what happens next. Same can be said about season 2 as it pretty much just continues right from where season one left off. I don't know the exact details but I'm sure the show must have just been one season that was split into 2 possible for DVD release purposes but I'm not 100% sure of that fact.
I will say that season 2 does take the action to a whole 'nother level and it is a lot more brutal than in the first season. There is also more bad language and adult/sexual themes in season 2 which is great but maybe not for all, especially people who found the first season a little bit much.
All up a great action series for fans of Anime or just action in general.
I hear rumours of a third season on the horizon which I hope is true as I'll be happy to watch another 12 episodes (or more) of Black Lagoon just to get another healthy does of non-stop action, guns, babes and bullets!!!
"Don't bother me, the door is locked!"
- Luke: 11 (apparently).
Watched the English Dubbed. The anime revolves around a harbor city
Ronanapur- center for drugs trade so we have the Triad,Italian mafia,
South American drug lords , Russian mafia in the form of X-military
paratroopers and of curse Uncle Sam in the form of CIA operatives. Our
protagonist- The Black Lagoon company is a group of 4 doing the
transportation/pirate/mercenaries business. Took me time to get the
hang of the anime, the starting was too fast for me. Wasn't sure where
they were going with the story, add the many American/pop culture
reference, as a non-American i wasn't getting the hang of the
dialogs.Ones the new recruit Rock settled in among the crew of Black
Lagoon i really started enjoying. Ones i got the hang of the pace, i
really started enjoying the dialogs. They are intelligent, funny and
critical - very realistic. The main characters Rock and Revy change
there attitude from having fun to being depressed, from being nice guys
to being bad without remorse. Loved all the different characters and
there are loads of them. This anime has many complicated bad-ass
characters who have the presence of being the main protagonist. The
detail going into each scene was awesome. One of the few animation were
even the background seemed to be worked upon. Work was done on
everything making them look very realistic and stylish. The Action is
mind blowing and artistic. Its macho and all done by girls. Girls with
balls of steel. Really enjoyed roberta's arc in the end,total
bad-ass,although the last episode 29 was a bit of disappointment.
Will love some historical arcs on any of the elite citizen of Ronanapur.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I liked this anime at the beginning. Revy was a lot of fun and the action sequences were good. But, then it went over the top, while completely neglecting the characters. More or less, this is the kind of show I used to watch as a child. Every few episodes mean one story and the stories only connection to each other are the main characters. Every story starts the way it starts and usually ends with Revy shooting her way out at the end. My problem with the show is that nothing really happens to the characters once Rock gets integrated into the team. The only one who changes a little is Rock. Other than that, little to none character development. There are many side characters there are many adventures, but there is no conclusion to the show as if it could go on like this forever.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Anime compress a wide variety of themes. But, we are pretty accustomed to a lot of clichés (pretty, hot teenagers in school uniforms; swords and wings, the search for a stronger foe), not that we dislike them, only it's nice to explore new ways of story telling. Black Lagoon its a series that draws not only the standards of anime, but china movie flicks, spaghetti westerns and south American drug movies. Forget about the pretty girls and the "tsundere/yandere/wherever-dere" archetype (that is rather dull), who can't work without his "oni-san/sempai/kun": in here, women are strong, will-filled, completely independent and have a very, very bad mood. No swords/wings: in here is about guns, pistols, shotguns, bazookas, missiles...and machetes (well, a couple swords in last episodes, but absolutely no wings). Search of the stronger? Nah, forget it: this is about money...lots of money. Paying homage to great visionaries (sigh!) like Quentin Tarantino, John Woo,... we view the ways of living/survival of a "delivery company" in the eastern seas of Asia (no Japan? yeah: almost NO-JAPAN). From recovering lost art, to dealing with human trafficking, serial killers, we witness the drug wars in the eyes of former "salaryman", now turned mercenary/diplomatic/translator for the Black Lagoon company. It's in his eyes that we witness the low ranks of the human race. IN our screens wheel dance a lot of bizarre-dark characters, with twisted ways of living (the Chinese knife-fighter, the Venezuelan soldier turned maid, the Gun- dealer nuns...), and, our protagonist, we will try to understand them... but this not a humanist story, there are no answers here, just questions: How he/she has landed in rock bottom to be like that? But, the same characters will stop any questioning as they shoot each other... if you analyze beyond the action you'll find some very sinister and deep concepts. Some episodes can be hard to swallow (for example, the Vampire Twins episodes are extremely emotional, easily can put your faith in humanity at test). If you ignore this, and only focus on getting a good time, this anime will fulfill your expectedness: action, explosions, and lots of adrenaline...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This series follows Rokuro Okajima; a Japanese salaryman who finds
himself taken hostage by a trio of pirates aboard an old torpedo boat.
When he learns that his boss has no real interest in him he joins the
pirates. The crew consists of Dutch the captain; Benny, a computer and
communications expert and Revy, a woman with a bad temper and two guns
that she uses expertly. Revy soon dubs Rokuro 'Rock' and this new name
sticks. They are based in the lawless city of Roanapur where there must
work with and fight against a number of dangerous organisations most
notably 'Hotel Moscow' a Russian Mafia run by a woman called Balalaika.
Over the course of the series they will have many scrapes and in every
one the bullets will fly!
I've seen quite a few anime series and think this is one of the best of them. Rock is a great character to introduce the murky world of Rainapur; in many ways he represents the audience; an ordinary person taken into a world he struggles to come to terms with. Rock may bring us into this world but it is Revy who is the real protagonist; she is a great antihero she is nearly always angry and never ducks out of the opportunity for a fight. As you might have guessed there is a lot of action in this series and it is all pretty exciting; giving us a sense that the protagonists could be harmed. Inevitably this leads to a few downbeat moments including a couple of real tear-jerking moments. It isn't all bleakness though; there are some laughs to be had; especially in scenes between Revy and a gunslinging 'nun' from the Ripoff Church. This series isn't suitable for younger viewers because of the levels of violence, swearing and one case of extreme, but not graphic, sexual threat but older viewers who like plenty of action should love this.
These comments are based on watching the series in Japanese with English subtitles.
When it comes to Japanese anime there is always a question what exactly
given show is trying to achieve and what genre it fits in - one
obviously can't watch most anime shows as entertainment for kids.
Judging by western genre conventions "Black Lagoon" is closest to
action movies from 90s or to franchises like "Transporter" or
"Expendables". It is full of improbable and highly entertaining action
sequences and awesome characters written entirely as Rule of Cool
instantiations. The plot can be shallow and at times is only an excuse
for staging another shootout. And the whole show can be really cheesy.
But instead of coming from western action movie formulas much of this
cheesiness is of Japanese origin. As a result, if someone is not
accustomed to anime quirks (e.g. underage gender-ambiguous incestuous
insane killer twins! I'm not kidding..) one may find them quite
But there are some differences which in my opinion make "Black Lagoon" a little bit better than standard action flicks. Firstly, it's the overwhelming atmosphere of moral ambiguity which pervades the whole show - the anime doesn't try to whitewash actions of the protagonists, it portrays them essentially as villains fighting other villains. Likable villains, one must give them that, but villains anyway. And, in contrast to many other similar movies, protagonists are often not even slightly more ethical than their enemies. As a result antagonists of the show tend to be better developed and much more interesting than expected (aforementioned twins and certain yakuza clan particularly shine here).
The world of the show is dark, nihilistic place inhabited by violent beings, fighting for money in criminal underworld. It happens all the time in all kind of shows, but here the series is aware to some point of its own shallow nihilism and manages to criticize it. Quite a feat for an action series, I'd say.
The other strong point of Black Lagoon is the duo of its main characters - Revy and Rock. Revy seems to be walking "chick with guns" stereotype. It's quite easy to overlook certain degree of complexity behind her sheer awesomeness and battle prowess. Below the surface she is much more flawed than typical action anti-hero which definitely makes her that much more interesting. Rock, on the other hand, as a stranger in the world of wickedness who was put there by accident, acts as a link of a viewer to the series' dark underworld and represents fading ethical ideals which contrast starkly with the place he was thrown into. The relationship between the two and its development fuels much of the series. OK one can see it through as some kind of Japanese male yuppies' collective escape fantasy. But it's really interesting fantasy, contains some serious traps and it's not as trivial as one can think.
Speaking of fantasies - one massive pitfall of the show is strongly sexualized portrayal of Revy. I wouldn't mind if she was strongly sexualized sometimes or even on a regular basis - it would be somehow justified by her character. But she is sexualized virtually always. Maybe it's just me but I really can't stand mild erotic fantasies pressed upon my face all the time. It's all the more frustrating when you notice that show is actually quite restrained when it comes to gratuitous nudity. OK, restrained at least relative to its setting.
The other flaws - the story can be at times confusing and sometimes doesn't make much sense - it concerns especially the plot of the longest arc of the show (concerning certain Latin maidservant). Additionally, some characters and events cross the border of ridiculousness by too many steps. I'm personally inclined to forgive the latter, however.
If you like action-packed movies and series but you find them formulaic and boring and you can tolerate small amount of anime peculiarities "Black Lagoon" is the ideal show for you. Exoticness and reasonable depth in both characters' development and antagonists' portrayal will come as a bonus.
Black Lagoon is a masterful mix of Action, Gun fights, Lots of explosions and a bad ass soundtrack. The show follows Lagoon Company a delivery made up of modern day pirates who end up working with gangs and criminals to earn money the show has crisp and clean animations which is just a treat. The show also has a great list of characters. Rock the main protagonist at first is easy over look by all the other characters but slowly becomes more memorable as he adjusts to the life of a modern day pirate all in all he is a likable character. Revy the female protagonist she is Tough and she enjoys killing so the is the complete opposite of Rock although they get along well, Dutch the leader/Boss of Lagoon company and Benny the tech guy he is a non violent nice guy. So sub or dub I think all up the dub is more worth it not cutting to much and its kind of nice to see them all speak English is feels more natural. If your looking for a fun action packed, bloody, profanity filled anime with a good plot and great character development this will be the show for you.
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