Roberta, the terrorist-turned-maid that made her appearence in the first season of Black Lagoon, returns in this five-episode OVA series—and this time, all bets are off!
Roberta's benefactor, the patriarch of the Lovelace clan, is murdered during a political rally. The assassin's trail soon leads back to Roanapur—so now she has returned on a mission of vengeance! However, close behind her is the new patriarch, Garcia, as well as Roberta's apprentice (and maid), Fabiola Iglesias. As the body count of Roberta's bloody rampage mounts, forces from within the corrupt island (which includes the Lagoon Company), as well as overseas converge on what threatens to escalate into all-out war!
[b]Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail[/b]
The third part of Black Lagoon eps. 25 to 29 after three years 5 OVA, 1 eps. every 2 months and a half, i can't imagine how the people watching at that time felt waiting so long for this, and for this big of a story, it should have been longer and better developed for the time they had.
Just a little better than the previous parts, focused on one single story rather than in three, a story with flaws but entertaining in some way, bloody and dark, sad and disgusting at times, this time focused more in Rock and his little change to orchestrate a plan, a plan that i undestood completely in ep. 28 and i knew he wasn't transforming in the likes of Chang or Balalaika, it was a great plan that upsetted the ones involved, but it was the only way and i knew Revy admired and was attracted to Rock, when she gets an explanation from Rock himself about the plan, she got mad because she wants him to save her, just like Fabiola said, she knows he's not like them but he's starting to adapt to Roanapour and she doesn't want that to happen, but like Fabiola said, she's afraid to get closer to Rock because she doesn't want to lose her hope for him; (Eda asks again if they banged earlier in the anime, and she as before changes the subject because she is atrracted to him but part of her reaction is because of what happened in her past) The thing is that he saved people with that plan, something that Fabiola didn't understood or Revy, he planned the outcome of Roberta's outburst to a crazy full of drugs in her system Robot like, immortal (?) Roberta; Rock saved the day and he wanted to clean Roanapour too, happy ending for everyone, but it ended like a normal ep. just like previous parts for a path to a new season/part 4, very good story and Eda's identity and half of her goal is revealed, something that i claimed an answer in Second Barrage. This was a very good story.
[b][u]Art & Animation[/u][/b]
3 years has passed, but little changes been made, almost the same very good animation, but they could made something a little better, but i didn't care that much, more bloody and gorier than before.
Just like with the animation, still it's very good, great VA, great sound effects, the same OP song with a remix, it sounds amazing with a different video clip, great like before but i was expecting to pause at sec. 36 like in the previous ''seasons'' i couldn't see my cute Revy... oh and a different ED song, just normal, the sound in general is great.
Just like in every ''season'' some characters are missused but still, the ones that are there are interesting, like the comback of the kid Garcia and her new maid Fabiola is interesting and a smartass towards Revy and almost skillful as Roberta but obviosly not like her.
-Roberta comes back, the story is about chasing her to stop the revenge that Garcia never wanted, while we get her perspective too, my mind was changing towards her, because i liked her a lot in the first ''season'' and i wanted them to save her, but then i changed my mind, it was her own fault looking for a revenge that Garcia never wanted and what she was doing was too much, so i didn't care if she was killed later on, but because of Rock i still had hope for her to recover.
-Rock has a bigger role this time, he had to come with a plan that prevented a war requested by Mr. Chang because they don't want U.S. to find out about how things are in Roanapour, but that wasn't his only plan and because of that Rock had to use a different plan, he wanted the opposite of what Chang wanted, it worked but didn't have an effect at the end (that part of the plan at least).
-Revy has a minor role than before, but is there to be with Rock and help him, we even see one of her bewbs while she showers while Rock convinces her to help him, and Fabiola confronts her about stopping Rock's crazy ideas and starts sayig things that Revy doesn't deny but that makes her mad because it's true and then we get to see something that really made me a little mad, it was her flashback that appeared in ''season'' 1 and 2 about her like a kid, this time was complete, i felt more empathy with her and disgusted to see that scene, i was mad, poor Revy, she didn't do anything wrong or bad, that's why she always change subject ot gets mad at Eda when she asks if she and Rock banged (maybe not a big part of the reason) but i didn't wanted to know tho, since the beginning i knew it was a bad childhood, but this one, i wish i didn't saw that part, in other animes it bugs me not to know characters past, but i knew i didn't wanted to know Revy's past, now i hope not to associate that image with Revy.
-Eda is like a double agent, it was a little complicated to know where side she was more related with, but she is a great character now.
There are characters that comes back like that Lotton guy, who is in the wrong bussiness and lives together with the sexy Shenhua and the emotional Sawyer after saving them, they appear again to find Roberta, Mr. Chang is a bastard whose ideals were like Rock's ideals but now he's a bastard and we get to see why Balalaika is in debt with Black Lagoon, the thing is that they don't appear much, because there are little eps. to develop them more but for the ones that are there it was very good.
I enjoyed a little less this one but still i got a very good enjoyment from it, and this time more because of the story, i just wish it wasn't Madhouse the one distributing the anime, they tend to release only one season in a lot of cases and milk them releasing specials or OVA while people request second seasons, just like the animes that i have seen from them with endings without conclusion and screaming for second season, like Shigurui as a big example, for me that didn't have an ending just like with every ''season'' of Black Lagoon but that's a discussion for other forums.read more
The move from that of a televised anime series to an OAV format did its fair share of good for the crew of Black Lagoon. By allowing them to work without worrying about censorship, they could get the violence as visceral and hyper-sexualized as possible and create a no holds bar bloodfest the likes of which anime has rarely had before. Going into this, it should be perfectly evident from the name what you’re in for: A tale of carnage caused by everyone’s favorite former guerilla warfare enthusiast maid, Roberta. And boy does it deliver.
Our tale starts with a public bombing orchestrated by a contracted group of US Marines killing the head of the Lovelace family in Venezuela, leaving the family heir Garcia orphaned and under the care of his maids. At this point, we also learn of Roberta’s career prior to her joining the Lovelace family as a maid, where she was a revolutionary in a group that ruthlessly killed anyone that got in their way.
After the marines kill the head of the family, Roberta goes to Roanapur for revenge in what is easily the most entertaining OAV series to come out in recent memory.
Roberta’s Blood Trail follows the titular supersoldier maid on her quest for vengeance, involving everyone in Roanapur and several outside forces in a drug fueled battle that could escalate in an all out war to end all that Roanapur is. It’s not a complex story that’ll shake the very foundation of storytelling, but it has its fair share of intrigue, particularly with Rock participating and running the course of actions from the sidelines. Revy and co take a back seat to Roberta as far as plot focus go, and it ends up all the better for doing so.
If this OAV does have a weakness, and it has plenty of noticeable ones, it’s the constant shifts in perspective between the groups going after Roberta and Roberta herself. For two episodes, this creates a narrative that’s spread extremely thin, developing nobody and raising more questions than are answered. You have Roberta on her own, the marines and drug trafficking forces hounding her, Revy and the group of psychopathic mercenaries that she contracts to help her, Garcia and Fabiola on a mission to bring her back with them, Rock scheming while occasionally contacting Mr. Chang and berating him with passive aggressive language, Balalaika and her cohorts…
If you think that’s a long list, that’s because it is, and it gets hard to follow in some parts. Everything gets resolved, but many of the factions seemingly drop off before being brought into the game again just to be eviscerated by either Roberta or Revy and her group.
Even with Roberta as the main character, there’s effort made to characterize some of the bit players a bit more, which in the end does more harm than good. Roberta’s given plenty of time to develop, and that time is relished completely due to the utter insanity of Roberta (Even almost killing her master in a hallucinogen induced hysteria) being an utter treat to watch. However, it’s when they begin to delve into Fabiola’s hypocritical stance against unnecessary violence and Rock’s slow transition from victim to influential figurehead for Roanapur that the cracks start to form and widen.
In a story with such a large number of groups, you’d expect a lot of memorable faces to make appearances. And fortunately, you’re entirely correct. The only three noteworthy survivors of the manhunt for Jane are along for the ride (Za Uizaado, Shenhua, and Sawyer), Balalaika and her crack team join in on the hunt for Roberta, and Garcia is back from Season One to bring Roberta back. Even Eda the corrupt nun is along for the ride, reporting to her higher up as events unfold.
It’s a colorful cast that’s a delight to watch as they shoot, impale, slice, and run their way through Roanapur’s back alleys and slums to find the berserker maid. Even if none are characterized exceptionally well, they lay their parts well as far as entertainment and badassery go.
Black Lagoon has never been one to make a point, but has never been afraid to give the otherwise gleefully murderous cast the occasional moment of somber introspection. It’s these slow moments that really let the gravity of the situation sink in, from Revy’s monologuing about her past on the sunken sub in the first season to Fabiola arguing with her over her corrupt ways.
Even Roberta occasionally takes a break from her rampage to reflect on the ramifications of what she’s doing, or just how her past has caught up with her.
Despite how much they add to the series, I don’t think that these moments are always implemented properly. Very often they’ll follow an intense, engaging fight where the characters won’t even have a moment to clean off the blood that has sullied their outfits. It’s not much of a gamebreaker by any means, but in a show that’s almost fetishistic with the level of action that it uses, it can seem a bit out of place most times.
The only ones that ever really feel appropriate are when Fabiola and Revy butt heads over each others’ personalities. The two have a volatile chemistry that makes their anger fueled arguments a marvel to behold. What’s even better is these escalate each time as they learn that the other isn’t going to budge in their stance.
On the animation front, Black Lagoon’s always been a step above average. The environments always look lush yet sinister, helped by fantastic lighting and keeping things from remaining completely static. The characters are rarely off model and are animated very fluidly. It helps that the violence is done very smoothly, making the bloodbaths that give the fights life even more enjoyable than they would be if done even just a little more poorly.
Being an OAV and thus having a larger budget, things are done to even better effect. With the lack of censorship helping things out even more, the team finds itself able to do stunts with viscera of multiple varieties that would make even the most avid horror fan give pause.
The music is a hard bumping, hard thumping soundtrack of electronica and hard rock, each episode opening with a remix of the delightfully Engrish Red Fraction by MELL and each episode ending with an orchestra version of Johnny Comes Marching Home, pumping you up for the next episode of blood and butchery. The seiyuu cast is appropriate, well rounded, and excellent in almost every case, special mention going to Roberta and Lotton “Za Uizaado”.
The best, or least fortunate part depending on your tolerance for it, is the distinct lack of groan-worthy Engrish. It was amusing in Second Barrage, but ultimately came across as too clumsy to take seriously. By eliminating that entirely, Roberta’s Blood Trail lent itself an air of somberness that Second Barrage ultimately failed to attain in the last arc.
Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail is a competent, compelling, and superbly well coordinated OAV that does much to impress. It has plenty of flaws, particularly in the middle with all the different groups after Roberta and the violence never catching a break, but it ends on a very satisfying, open ended note that leaves enough room for more seedy goodness in a possible sequel.
If you like action series or have watched and enjoyed Black Lagoon before, Roberta’s Blood trail will be right up your alley. If not, as long as you have no objection to sexualization and violence in overwhelming amounts, Roberta’s Blood Trail will be well worth your time.
Of course some prior knowledge through the anime or manga will be beneficial to enjoying it, but I think the idea of a Terminator-esque maid making mincemeat of an entire town of criminals is an interesting enough premise on its own.
It’s a fun, occasionally nauseating watch with more than a little wit helming it, and I for one enjoyed nearly every second of it. And if you’re anything like me, you will too. read more
The quality present in the original Black Lagoon anime series is taken up to a whole extra notch with this no-holds-barred OAV series. What I first thought would be a casual revisiting of a character notable seemingly only for fetish fuel turns into an in depth look into why Roberta earned the name "Bloodhound." Blood has been spilled, and Roberta's out for revenge, and with no television censorship to worry about, this series is free to show Roberta's Blood Trail in all of it's violent glory. The entire crime ring of Roanapur, from the Hong Kong Triad to the Hotel Moscow, to the Italian Mafia and the Colombian Drug Cartel, rallies together in a rare display of cooperation to deal with the war Roberta attempts to start in Roanpur against the US Grey Fox Unit. Garcia, the new Lovelace family patriarch, along with a new gunslinging maid, Fabiola Iglesias, have arrived in Roanpur to find Roberta, and appeal for the aid of the Lagoon Company, and Rock specifically, whose misfortune in taking on lost causes is starting to wear heavily on his partner, Revy Two Hands.
All the famous characters make their return in this OAV series, and it even throws in a few new ones, including Fabiola Igelsias, whose impish, yet hot-blooded, tomboyish and proud personality strangely reminds me of Edward Elric from FMA. She brings a much needed, yet strangely believable cuteness factor to the Black Lagoon mythos. Not to be outdone, our protagonist, Rokuro "Rock" Okajima, seems to have caught his stride in the city of Roanapur. Rather than the stumbling and out of place businessman, he's reached a level of stoic compromise with the city he lives in, and manages to score a few badass points with some brilliant strategizing and planning. He stands in stark contrast with Revy, who lives in complete coexistence with the vice of her surroundings, and even craves the adrenaline rush of a good firefight. She stands in even greater contrast with Fabiola, who refuses to sink to Revy's level, and constantly butts heads with her. All of these characters are outdone, however, by Roberta herself, who undergoes a complete transformation (or perhaps the better word is "regression") into her old trench digging, rough and tough mercenary persona who can simultaneously no-scopes and pool-cue 50 caliber sniper rifle while standing on a street sign. Despite the badass exterior, we see her begin to fall to the depraved depths of her own personal hell, popping nervous system stimulant pills and speaking to the ghost of one of her former marks.
The artwork is everything I've come to expect from Black Lagoon - even the filler scenes are a bite above what the average anime series - even those with big studio budgets - have been able to produce. With all 5 OAV's played back to back, the whole series will seem more like a two and a half hour movie than a mini-series. As this is an OAV series, expect to see more blood and nudity than in the series, though in the scene with Rock and Revy in episode 2 in particular, this actually has a much more pronounced effect than it would have under TV censorship.
A remixed version of MELL's "Red Fraction" opens each episode, and ends with a marching band chorus of "The Ants Go Marching," and both have very different effects. While the familiar opening emphasizes the principle characters, it is the ending theme that harkens to Roberta's shadowy past (and really, a lot of characters' pasts) and how they are now marching to the beat of their own drum in a different world while still attempting to stay true to their former beliefs.
I've always been a Black Lagoon fan, so seeing the series get a kickstart such as this is thrilling. Viewers who are unfamiliar with the Black Lagoon series might not be able to appreciate the main characters or Roberta's backstory, but that should not take away from identifying with Roberta herself, or the motivation of the other characters to either stop her or help her. This is very much an adult show, however, and not just in a fan service kind of way - a good deal of scenes are gruesome and downright hard to watch at times, and I wouldn't recommend this show to viewers under the age of 16. But anyone who appreciates war movies, gangster movies, or any kind of shoot-em-up movie will definitely get a kick out of Roberta's Blood Trail. read more
Roberta's Blood Trail is a direct sequel to The Second Barrage. I'll try to make this review as much objective as I can because there are a lot of emotions from me.
This OVA is 5 episodes long, which is kind of strange if you take that the source material is 33 chapters long and involve various fractions with their own goals. Although title character, Roberta is not as present as many suggest, but her appearance it's worth the time.
As I'm a fan of Roberta, and I like Black Lagoon, I read all of the released chapters, and although the manga story is not perfect, the OVA story is butchered to the point where you need to stop and ask yourself „What is going on?". Many of the important pieces of story from the manga are removed for the reason only known to a development studio, and most important thing is that those parts are the most crucial parts of the story. What is the most important are the pointless changes made to Roberta's destiny at the end of the OVA.
All of the previous OST were present here, Mell - Red Fraction remix, with the inclusion of Johnny I hardly knew 'ye as an ED for the first 4 episodes, which I didn't understand why did they use it until the end of the OVA, and the beautiful Minako Obata - This moment (Prayer in the light) ED at the end of the 5th episode.
I'm not a Madhouse fan, and I think the animation was OK. From time to time there were parts
where animation was top-notch, but the OVA during its release had many problems, so the funding problems could be a reason for animation roller coaster. The last episode has the objectively bad animation to the point it made me think that the animation studio at that point gave up on doing anything good.
The biggest assets Black Lagoon owns are its characters. Whether you love the amazing Colombian maid as myself, whether you love Two Hand, or the Russian war-lady, there is something for everybody. Why rating 8? Because, for some reason the OVA removed the information which viewer can find useful. Why is that? The original story has many aspects, Roberta's grief, Revy's attempt to avoid her involvement in the whole mess, Rock's plan to save Roberta, Balalaika indecisiveness about the Grey Fox, etc... Somehow I had a feeling that animation studio made Roberta a bad person on purpose only to make the other characters good. All the time I read how the title character should be punished for all the bad things she did? Why? Even those things in her past are done when she was young (she can be around 25, so if we take that it has been 4-5 years since she came to Lovelace household, then we assume she run away from FARC when she was around 20). This is a Roanapur. The City of Vice in the Asia. Why is so strange for a person to be an aggressive one? And, either way Roberta hasn't killed a single person who hasn't tried to kill her, or involved in the assassination of the Diego Lovelace, or was a part of the Grey Fox squad.
Also, there is a Rock who's acting out of his character, which I find very strange because he was not like this in the manga.
Revy's interaction with Rock is also changed, and that's really confusing since Revy is very much protective to Rock.
For an action series, I was seriously disappointed. I felt something is missing. As I grew up on the action movies, shows, and cartoons, the action was not so much over the top as I hoped to be, but Roberta's scenes made my heart beat faster. I felt the animation was kind of stiff, and not alluring enough, but there were moments where the action really took its time, and made a bullet ballet amazing to watch. Sadly those moments are very rare, but worth of time.
Emotionally this OVA squeezed me like a lemon and made a lemonade out of me. I genuinely love Roberta character, the first amazing (for me) character I've found after many years. I felt her grief, I felt her sadness, I felt her struggle, I felt her emotions. Diego Lovelace was her saviour, a straw who pulled her from the horrors of past life, and now he's gone. Young master is sad, and she's forced to do what she knows the best. Is she wrong? She just wants an atonement.
Then we have Rock. The OVA changed the aspects of Rock behaviour in which he becomes mastermind who's coming up with a complicated plans. What I find very funny is that those plans are made without any solid foundation, and they are heavily dependable on luck.
Revy's behavior is also strange if you take that she's quite fond of Rock. I think this will leave many viewers confused. Especially if there is a continuation.
Overall: 6 (not an average rating, but mine)
As I am heavily dependable on the endings, the last episode was a rating downfall. Not only that the ending is pointless, it just ruined everything. To see how the Terminator maid is now a shadow of the former self left bitter aftertaste. Adding the parts of the Revy's past which are not present in the source material are also something I felt it was just too much. I was literally staring at the screen after the credits asking myself what just happened? I loved first 4 episodes, and I would rate this with 10 if only the 5th episode was as it's supposed to be, but I'm unable to do so. I really wish to love this. I really do. read more