One word that keeps propelling itself to the forefront of my head when I go to describe this show is: ‘refreshing’. Generally, I tend to avoid those anime which are blatantly action-oriented, because an action anime series so often means that it will be generically shounen, or be some kind of absurd mecha-combat series; very rarely can I find an action series which does not fall to those and other traps, and Black Lagoon is one of them. From its premise to its execution, the show provides thrilling action sequences, from boat and car chases, to messy fisticuffs and bullet-spamming gunfights, the show covers all
typical action bases you could expect from hollywood, but which, for one reason or another, anime rarely delivers. Although its depiction of battle features the usual problems of character shielding and the Stormtrooper effect, overall the show is very much grounded in reality, with no magic or science-fiction elements whatsoever. I found this refreshing because, typically, the only anime you are likely to find set in present-time reality are slice-of-life, revolving around dramatic or romantic themes. So Black Lagoon was a great change of pace; a hollywood style action/adventure shoot ‘em up but with a darker and more thoughtful approach to themes and characters (as is often found in mature anime) - it’s a splendid mix.
The production values for the show are certainly excellent, some of the best to have come out of 2006. It shines during the action scenes, which are very fluid and detailed, but overall has no real flaws other than the occasional lapse in consistency. The character designs are all attractive and original. The music is not something that impressed me; there isn’t a lot of score music in the show (which is slightly refreshing given anime’s habbit of blasting violin and choir over every scene), and what it has is fitting, but not really memorable.
The characters are well defined, although I felt the focus given to the characters was rather strangely distributed; Revy and Rock (the two main characters) aside, the rest of the Black Lagoon barely garnered any attention, and their involvement was so greatly reduced by the end of the series that you had to wonder why the show was even named after the group. I am not kidding that the majority of the villains the group encountered received considerably more character exploration than either Benny or Dutch (the other two Black Lagoon members). I understand the importance of giving depth to the antagonist perspective, but I got the feeling that the original creator just kept falling in love with the antagonists he introduced, and neglected the protagonists in order to delve indulgently into the villain’s pasts and characters. The best example would be Hanzel and Gretel, the goth-loli twins and their arc. They were given so much background, and such a poignant send-off yet had so little effect on any continuing plot, or on the characters.
Revy was certainly an interesting character. I’ve seen the hardened, indifferent criminal stereotype before, but Black Lagoon takes Revy to the next level and actually glorifies her as colourfully maniacal. It makes the show fun to watch because you never know how to feel about Revy; sometimes you’ll side with her and cheer her on, or feel sorry for her, but then the next moment she’s slaughtering innocent people for enjoyment. Essentially she’s a juxtaposition of ‘cool’ and ‘reprehensible’. Rock is a character who is much easier to make a connection with, in fact I like to see him as being the representative for the audiences perspective on the show as it traverses the challenging lands of immorality. He is described in the show as being ‘in the twilight’, neither living under explicitly righteous terms, nor wholly endorsing the injustice of the underworld. This allows him to be constantly critical of the actions of those around him, but from an intelligent objective position (ie he does not decry their actions through blind morality). His criticisms of the actions Revy and others around him take make for the most profound and thematically crucial dialogue in the show, and despite his outwardly plain personality, also make him a fascinating and important presence in the show.
This brings me to the real crux of the matter: the show is really about the criminal mind, and the life of crime in all its forms. It paints an alluring portrait of the attraction to such a life, but never forgets to challenge that attraction by showing the kind of sacrifices one has to make of their humanity. It shows crime as a dangerously beautiful thing, and also shows it at its most sickening. All the exciting action is secondary to this. In conclusion, Black Lagoon should be watched by all action fans, but is a step above most shounen series due to its challenging and, at times, risqué foray into the heart of the criminal world. It is for mature audiences, because, despite having such character and being so colourful about murder, it is also very dark at times. There are flaws in the way it is paced, and the way some of the characters are neglected, but it has some very sharp dialogue, and is regardlessly entertaining thrill
"This is way more entertaining than Hollywood is ever going going to be!" truer words like that have barely been spoken in anime in my opinion, and with the shit that's out now, I'm inclined to believe them.
STORY: Enter Rokuro Okajima, a typical meek japanese office worker of a large corperation who's the epitome of ordinary with a life so boring, bland, and not so envious with complains such as his boss kicking his ass, but his bleak life style comes to an end when a business trip cruise to South East Asia turns into hell as a group of modern day pirates take him
hostage and gives him much more to complain about than just a kick to the bum.
After a wild couple of bullet-filled days with said pirates, he decides to join up out of the feeling of excitement he experienced and the way his company has treated him like a worthless throw away and takes up the name, "Rock".
Rock's fellow crewmates include Benny the mechanic, computer specialist, and researcher, Dutch the calm, easygoing leader, and Revy the merciless, sadistic, foul mouthed gunner who's skill is almost unparalleled, she also goes by the name of "Two hands" cause of how she normally uses two guns in gun fights, heck any kind of fight.
The story of Black Lagoon is mostly episodic with a few arcs that normally last about three to four episodes, but the lack of on ongoing plot continues on towards the second season, yet it's no problem at all, though it would've been nice if there were some that involved more development of the main characters (Besides just Revy and Rock).
The anime follows the gang as they try to complete jobs so they can earn a living, just like the main cast in Cowboy Bebop except these outlaws usually get their jobs done.
And during their jobs they face against a wide array of foes including gangs, nazis, and several eccentric foes such as a nearly unstoppable maid, and allies like a taiwanese assassin, with the main cast in nearly endless gun fights. With most of their requests coming from Balalaika, a leader of a russian crime syndicate "Hotel Moscow."
The anime has a some what crude and black sense of humor, with mostly excessive cursing and yells and screams such as "I'll rip you a new asshole!"
But probably the funniest stuff is the insults, especially when Revy meets a certain assassin near the end of the anime, the insults bounce back at each other like a well written conversation.
Truthfully the anime might have ended up becoming a mindless bullet hungry action anime, and ultimately making it another waste of potential along with many others that have stacked up in the pile, if not for the characters, specificly the interaction between them.
Especially between Rock and Revy, through the daily dangers and learning about Revy's past that was full of unbearable hardships that bulids up to her character, Rock learns that his partners are almost the complete opposite of him, especially during one episode where the tension between he and Revy becomes so deadly guns are involved.
These interactions are tense, nerve wrecking, and may just be much more entertaining to watch than the fights, which is unique for a heavy action such as this.
But slowly and surely, Rock starts to become used to this new way of life he chose, and begins to fit in, yet still is faced with his decision, and is constantly asked, Is this world right for him? or is he simply just an outsider and nothing more?
ANIMATION: Great animation, displaying exciting gun fights, and little still frames with an overall dark feel to the series.
Good character designs being very diversed. The anime sometimes uses CG animation. but only during chase scenes in the vehicles, which thankfully doesn't look out of place that only the whiniest of nit pickers would complain about.
SOUND: Noticeable background music that fits in with most of what's going on at the moment, especially with the ending theme which starts playing during the anime and it helps to indicate whenever an episode comes to an end, and really feels a perfect song that will make you think back to the episode you've watched, and it has like a mysterious yet calm feeling to it, then ending with a rock conclusion that reminds you what the anime is (mostly) about.
The opening theme, Red faction, is an awesome theme, despite it being in engrish.
The english dub is by Ocean (Known for the dub of Death Note and Inuyasha), and is a one of a kind dub where it would feel weird to listen to in japanese, all due to the overall setting of the series.
But the stand out performance (Among a cast of great voice actors) is the voice actor of Revy, giving that crude attitude of Revy a great convincing performance and just makes every scene with her just entertaining to even just listen to.
+ Excellent characters and character interaction.
+ An incredible english dub that even makes the japanese audio seem out of place.
+ Good opening and ending theme music, good back ground music.
+/- Very violent and action oriented. / May be too violent for some.
- Lack of a continuing plot.
- Not too much of character development.
This anime just barely shy's away from getting a nine overall.
Each form of media entertainment has their crap, with more so than others, but it's anime like this is the reason way I choose to stick with this media.
And I guarantee you'll feel like a pansy if you watch something moe or fluffy after leaving the lagoon.
*Quick word on season two*
Season two is pretty much what I feared what Black Lagoon would mostly be about, absurdness with a penchant for wasting so many bullets that I'd feel sorry for the janitor who would try to clean it all up, but ends up getting killed by a stray bullet fired for no reason.
Not that I'm trying to say that it isn't entertaining, but just not more of the same gun and smoke. 7/10 for season two.
- - - - - [ Black Lagoon Season 1 :: Ep-12 ] - - - - -
- [ Intro ] -
Black Lagoon. That's a name that easily caught my eye. After reading the brief review, I said "why not?". And so I found a great anime that would get me hooked for quite a long time! And it definitely deserves rewatch! On with the review!
- [ Animation: Good quality and well-detailed -> 9 ] -
Let's set things clear now. Black Lagoon (BL) has one of the best animations i've ever seen! If you pay attention to details, you will like BL. The animators have
invested great effort in creating detailed backgrounds and characters. OMG! You can even see the demin texture on Revy's short sometimes! Now, another thing that amazed me is that both the characters and background are animated at the same time. I know, this sounds simple but no! These two are almost independent of each other but even them, you will see the characters interacting with the backgrounds in a number of ways. When the characters are being shot at, notice the number of bullet-holes on the walls increasing. Notice the gun smoke that dissipates when the characters walk. All these details make BL's animation great and lively.
The character motions are smooth and natural, even during the very fast-paced action scenes. Even then, the background does not lose its details. On one scene on a ship, you can see the rivets as Revy is fighting! Quite a number of details to watch out for. The play on lights and atmosphere renders a great effect too. The animators definitely knew what they were doing.
As usual, I don't pay much attention to sound. NOPE! Here, it got my full attention! The Opening (OP) and Ending (ED) credits music is very good, specially the OP. It really suits the mood of the series in my opinion. Now for the ending, you will notice that the music starts within the episode, starting at a very low hum to gradually attain its normal level as the episode ends. It's a superb blend. It's the first anime I know that uses this technique and I can say I'm impressed. It was a good idea.
Next, the in-series music is nonetheless amazing! It really enlivens the scenes to their respective paces. In dramatic situations, you will get the appropriate music. In fast-paced scenes, expect hard rock or similar. It was a good choice of music for the series. For once, the sound of an anime caught my attention. I am looking foreward to a Black Lagoon OST.
- [ Story: No real plotline ->7 ] -
Story? Don't expect any in BL! There is none. BL is a collection of short stories, pieced together to show you the lives of the characters at a point in time. There is no plot, not even in the second season (Second Barrage) of Black Lagoon.
However, the short stories are very good and definitely deserves watching if you enjoy action and gun-fights. They place the main characters in a variety of situations in which their work places them.
I have not introduced the story yet! Sorry. So, Black Lagoon is about a man, Okajima Rokuro, who is entrusted the mission of delivering a data disk to some people by his company. The man is travelling on a ship when the latter is attacked by pirates (not really pirates but anyway..). After some time, we are told that the pirates are after the data disk carried by Rokuro. The pirates, a man-and-woman team will eventually get the disk, but also take Rokuro as hostage to get some ransom from his company. However, the data disk contains sensitive data about the company, and merceneries are sent after the pirates to destroy them. The demand for ransom is immediately ignored and Rokuro is considered dead. Here begins the life of Rock, formerly Rokuro, as a delivery agent on the Black Lagoon speedboat, together with gun-slinger Revy, captain Dutch and computer whiz Benny.
As you can see, the plot is fairly interesting. You will soon see that delivering goods, specially illegal stuff, is not a safe business. Often, the characters are put in life-threatening situations and major gunfights resulting, specially with battle-maniac Revy around. Rock is sort of the negociator for Black Lagoon Company, negociating terms of business and often toning down conflicts. We are also presented with the clients of BLC, namely the Russian Mafia boss Miss Balalaika and Mr Chan, leader of the triads or even the Church of Violence.
The short stories are definitely worth watching, and seldom offers time for boredom. Watch if you need something fast-paced and energetic. There were no nudity, although some exposure was shown. Violence? BL is filled of it. Bad language? Same. Humour? Yes. Crude jokes and black humour is there for you. So, it's not an anime for young people.
- [ Characters: Development & Variety ->9 ] -
This is where the fun lies in BL, the characters. Each of them is so very unique in their own way that you feel that they really possess emotions. They fight for their own causes, have their own motivations which sound very heroic or plausible. They have their own strengths and weaknesses and can each be liked or hated by the viewer. The main characters of BL are each well-developed, this being one of the great parts of BL. The main characters are:
Revy: She is the gun of Lagoon Company who gets everybody out of trouble. Apparently she does not like Rock, but what she hates is his attitude. In fact, she will often go out of her way to help others and specially Rock. She is an expert when it comes to fighting techniques, who can single-handedly eliminate every enemy, armed with her twin-guns, Cutlass. Sometimes, she is so addicted to fights that she would go berserk. No one is spared then, not even her crew, as Rock saw for himself in an episode.
Dutch: He is the captain of the Lagoon speedboat. Tactial, he never does things rashly. He seems to be African, something rare in Japanese animes. He is equally talented when it comes to guns. However, he prefers to avoid fights when possible.
Benny: The computer genius of Lagoon. Not much is known about him. He never fights but is an expert getaway driver.
Rock: The newest member of Lagoon. Although he never fights, he is an expert in negotiations and at pacifying Revy, often at the cost of blows! He always try to hold back Revy and has a strong sense of justice. He will try to protect anyone and everyone, something which exasperates Revy.
Balalaika: The woman who controls Hotel Moscow. She was an ex-millitary and is very proficient when it comes to wars of any sort. She also commands a small army which often comes in play in BL.
As you can see, the characters of BL are varied. You have to see for yourself to enjoy BL. I can't say more.
- [ Value and Enjoyment: Very good -> 9 ] -
If you want action, and specially fast-paced action, BL is for you. But since there is no real plot, many viewers will be turned away. I, for my part, really enjoyed BL and even rewatched the whole series a couple of times, just for the action and butt-kicking. It kinda pumps up the adrenalin, if you see what I mean. The series, being short, is easy to rewatch without severe boredom. The small stories furthur eliminate boredom, and plotholes.
- [ Conclusion ] -
If you are looking for something good to watch, check out Black Lagoon. If you like it, there is a second season with 12 episodes called Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage. The situation is nearly same for Second Barrage. It's not really a continuation but just more short stories. There is no ending to BL, and I don't even know if there would be a real story. Some people have been speculating that the real Black Lagoon has not yet started and that we were merely watching the prequel. That would be the longest prequel I've ever seen, with 24 episodes! :S
I've got nothing more to say. Just go watch BL. The lack of a plotline made me give BL an overall 8. Apart from that, there are no major flaws. You won't regret it, in my opinion. And thanks for reading!
With a genre that deals with a lot of action set-pieces, a show of this specific genre is usually bogged down into mindless entertainment territory with absolutely no substance to it at all. There have been in the past many action films, and TV shows that have shown to become competent in the history of film-making, examples in mind are the works of John Woo, Michael Mann, and Quentin Tarantino. But what if I told you that there is an anime show that encompasses everything that is great about those three directors and succeeds on every possible level? The show in question is Black Lagoon,
a show that showcases a blend of mindless Hollywood action and juvenile humor in the best possible sense of the word juvenile.
Black Lagoon's story is mainly focused on our four main characters and their adventures together through plot arcs that tie in together through the chemistry that helps make them grow with each other. There isn't much of a deep, complex plot to behold in the show; it's about as cliché as any Seinen action show in the past decade. That may seem like a negative when you put it that way, but sometimes clichés are used to good effect when you have competent writing to flesh out your characters and set-pieces. Black Lagoon is a definite exception to this rule; it manages to pull off even the most ridiculous plot arcs that could easily be looked at with eye rolls and as a laughable premise. One glorious example is just how dark and witty the dialogue writing is that it hits the mark on every scene it creates within the framework of the show. It gives Black Lagoon a spark of creativity in its witty black humor that creates its unique personality to deviate itself from other shows like it, in terms of writing. It never gets old because it's not repetitive in how it's delivered by the characters sparingly and not done on almost every scene in each episode, it makes the jokes work more effectively with clarity and sensibility.
Now when you talk about the characters in Black Lagoon, the one character you must acknowledge the most is the one and only Revy. She's the prototypical "girl with guns" character that spouts off adolescent language and a dark past that shadows over the overall tone of the show to not only to become a dark comedy but a dark one altogether. So how is Revy different from any other female character in a "girls with guns" show? She does have similar characteristics that could be pointed out as being standard or generic from other characters like her. But it's because Revy is Black Lagoon. Her presence in the world of the show is very charismatic and alluring that demands your attention by not only her design, which is by far one of the sexiest I've seen in a long time, but by her character background and her hilarious dialogue. As I said before about the writing, the writers give Revy a ton of material for her to shine on-screen when she is either going into these well put together action scenes and her funny, snarky remarks at any of the characters. There is even a Tarantino kind of quality to her where she is this sick woman who only cares for money and violence, but she's also portrayed in a sympathetic light when she explains why her mentality is the way it is from her troubled past. They don't necessarily go in too much further in this season, but regardless it is a high starting point to a fantastic character.
With Revy out-of-the-way, the other characters may not have as much depth or even characterization as our larger than life heroine, but that certainly does not mean that they are wrong in any way shape or form. Our main hero, nicknamed Rock, does have some of the same levels of charisma as Revy and how he doesn't come across as a weak-willed character as most characters of his archetype typically are. It isn't as if Revy's presence overshadows his own because he doesn't have much of a personality, Rock carries the show by himself quite well and even together with Revy. The chemistry between the two is pretty unique in how they always are at odds with each other because of how different they follow life, but in the end, they still view each as part of a team whether they want to or not. No scene involves them immediately becoming friends overnight, the show takes it's time to build them up as a team that has to trust each other, or they might end up in a bad situation, and it's written intelligently by this very fact. The two other people in the group named Dutch and Benny aren't given much to go around as complex characters, but this does not automatically make them evil characters, what little background they bring on the table for them is still much appreciated in how they even offer some great scenes with each other.
The antagonists are hit and miss in how little depth some of them have when they seem. One, in particular, involves an army of Aryan neo-nazis that look more like just fodder characters that don't get a lot of deep characterization that, while I can forgive it, given how it's portrayed in an action show, it would've been more than what it already was. For the one that does hit the mark is oddly enough a Roberta maid who is given some context for her intentions on being who she is. The show handles it very well despite her strange terminator-like persona that wasn't given much explanation. Then again the show is nutty enough to let it pass as just another Black Lagoon style of logic put in for good measure.
For the style of animation that Madhouse put together back their swell days, it still definitely holds up as a great visual treat. The action scenes are done with absolutely great visual flair and technicality that are inspired by the works of John Woo, as I've mentioned in the beginning. Although not perfectly seamless in how slick the characters move, it is nonetheless spectacular to see how the animators put their hearts and souls to not cut any corners whatsoever in detailing every aspect of Revy and the rest of the environment on the sights of her gun. The violence and carnage in Black Lagoon are not necessarily as gory or blood-splattering as many would argue; there is no question that it celebrates its carnage, but it's not done in a way that is so blatant or in-your-face where it gets tedious or loses its momentum in how effective each shot counts. There are some that do fit in that class, but for the most part, it handles its violence with nice precision and intelligence that make every scene brimming with fascinating acts of carnage that is more exciting to watch than just rolling your eyes in boredom. There are even some elements of neo-noir in the case of how it handles the violence how it cuts immediately away from Revy shooting a man in the head at close range; not to mention the show has some great camera angles that make the scenes have some profound impact to them.
The music is about what you would expect out of an action show like Black Lagoon. Standard rock and metal music that isn't very memorable to even try to buy an album for since it's just there to fill up the show's audio production and nothing more, not to mention the shooting and the characters shouting over the music doesn't help either. It does its job well to create a fun dark humorous vibe to the action scenes. The voice acting, however, is what makes the dialogue spice up to new heights. I've only listened to the Japanese voice actors in Black Lagoon, and they all own their roles. The one to mention out the rest is Megumi Toyoguchi who does a helluva performance as Revy by giving her a tremendous sarcastic essence to her voice that makes her so alluring and almost sexual. It fits the design of Revy so perfectly that Megumi almost becomes Revy just through her voice alone. Daisuke Namikawa, as usual, does an excellent job voicing Rock and doesn't seem like a novice compared to Megumi's performance, as do the rest of the cast members with some that aren't noteworthy to discuss.
For what it's worth, Black Lagoon is about as silly and stupid as one could get out of an action show that would even make Steven Seagal blush, not that Black Lagoon quality-wise is comparable to his films, just from a contextual point-of-view. Stupid is usually used to describe something without context or substance when relating a story or character in any medium, but if the show is self-aware of the fact that it is and takes advantage of this aspect. It is clear that there are some genuinely serious moments found in Black Lagoon, even though they are effective in achieving the dark tone that it is known for. Even with that said, it doesn't seem out-of-place or distracting from the humor of the show because of how greatly paced the narrative of all the arcs. All of these are what make Black Lagoon easily one of the most entertaining and hard-hitting action shows that treats its audience as grown adults and creates some of the most well-choreographed action courtesy of Madhouse; one terrible aiming bad guy at a time.
If there was an anime that would make you look like a pink pair of panties with a little bow on it, it's Black Lagoon.
This is seriously one of the toughest, bloodliest, sexiest, kick tushiest anime ever created and it is better than you can ever be. It's not better than me, because it does have some flaws, but then again, nothing is really better than I am.
The story follows some pirates (not the "Argh, mateys!" kind) who do all sorts of crazy shady jobs for MONEY. Yeah, it's original that these people are motivated by cash and not by personal beefs. Makes it
realer. Most of the anime has a realistic storyline, except for the unrealistic parts like killer twins and fighting maids and whatever.
Art and sound were seriously good. Character design was really damn good. Music was always interesting to listen to.
Revy has to be the best anime character in this show. She can kick your ass right off your body and make you wipe your tears with it. Then there's the wet blanket Rock, but unlike most wet blankets, I don't want to hang him out to dry (or die) since he's actually just being a realistic character i.e. a wimp. Then, to spice it up, since you don't only want Asians, there's a Jew and a black dude. Way to spice it up, Japan!
All in all, if you want to be amazed by cool gun fights and pirates and boats, this is the anime for you. If you haven't seen it as yet, stop washing your undies for a minute, get some bladder control, and sit back and enjoy one of the coolest anime ever.
Black Lagoon is an action fan's dream come true, but those looking for characters and plot might be a bit turned off.
As always, my reviews are spoiler free.
I avoided this anime for the longest time, since I am generally not a fan of this kind of action series. After a year or so of procrastination, I finally got around to watching it. Here are my thoughts on the series as a whole (including Second Barrage and Roberta's Blood Trail OVAs, but not the odd Omake Spin off).
Story - 5/10
Make no mistake about it: Black Lagoon is an action series through and through. It's gunfights galore,
with some explosions and hand-to-hand combat thrown in to spice things up. All this action comes at the expense of an intricate and well thought out plot. I can forgive the show for this, however, since story telling is not its goal. The story of Black Lagoon (and sequel/OVAs) has two good things going for it, though.
1. The story may be simple, but it is still coherent. There are no huge gaps that you are expected to just accept.
2. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time, despite having no intellectual value whatsoever.
With this in mind, come for the action, not the plot.
Animation - 6/10
Black Lagoon does not have particularly great animation, but it doesn't really detract from the show. Colors are bland, character models are a bit simple while managing to be inconsistently drawn at points, and the gun models were often cringe-worthy. With that said, character movements are fluid throughout the action scenes (so most of the show), so I will give it a little extra credit there. Roberta's Blood Trail is slightly better done, in my opinion.
Sound - 7/10
I loved the opening, Engrish and all. The gunfire was good as well, and the backing soundtrack matched it well.
Characters - 5/10
This is another area that had to be sacrificed to make room for action. Few characters other than Rock, Revy, and Balalaika get more than a minute or two of development. Another contributing factor may be the large cast of characters that make up the show, not allowing any particular one to get much time on screen. This results in characters being pretty one dimensional, with the exception of the three mentioned above. Rock's character develops a bit over the series, but it is nothing to write home about. Revy and Balalaika have their pasts explained, which helps the viewer to better understand their actions, but neither develop at all over the course of the series.
The only other notable characters are the Vampire Twins of Second Barrage. While I won't go into spoilers, they were some of the most interesting and tragic villains I've seen in a series of this nature.
Enjoyment - 7/10
While I don't normally enjoy plotless action series, Black Lagoon was an exception. I was kept on the edge of my seat the whole time, and watched episode after episode soaking up the shear fun and absurdity of it all. If I enjoyed it, it would be any true action fan's dream come true. If someone did not care as much for plot and characters as I do, this show could be much higher ranked for them.
Any fan of action series should not hesitate to watch this series.
While I nearly always prefer watching a show raw or subbed, I can assure you that the dub for this series is superb (after the first few episodes, while the characters get into their roles).
While the show has a lot of violence, it is seldom very graphic (there are a few exceptions). However, the profanity in the English dub is harsh and frequent.
Omake has absolutely nothing to do with the series, and you can skip it without missing anything.
One of the darkest animes I've seen in my life, Black Lagoon portrays quite brilliantly the gritty and obscene lives of mercenaries for hire and the underworld of crime. Casting an academic and otherwise completely innocent person as the protagonist just makes this anime even more explicit and realistic than any other.
The story follows a team of mercenaries known as Lagoon Company, who smuggle goods in and around the seas of Southeast Asia. Their base of operations is located in the fictional city of Roanapur in Thailand, and they transport goods in the PT boat Black Lagoon. Lagoon Company does business with various clients,
but has a particularly friendly relationship with the Russian crime syndicate Hotel Moscow. The team takes on a variety of missions - which may involve violent firefights, hand-to-hand combat, and nautical battles - in various Southeast Asian locations and when not doing much, the members of the Lagoon Company spend much of their down time at The Yellow Flag, a bar in Roanapur.
The characters in this anime stay in the mind long after the anime is over. The story follows the plotline of Rock, a Japanese salaryman kidnapped in the early episodes by the crew of Black Lagoon which provided the various main characters of Revy, Dutch, and Benny. Rock of course is the gentlelest of the crew as he gradually assimilates after the various bloody mercenary jobs he undertakes. Using reasoned arguments and persuasion, he's the counterpoint to the jaded and oftentimes brutal teammates.
In the last point, specifically to Revy a hardened Chinese lady mercenary whose looks hide a merciless and cold exterior. She likes to systematically take apart the enemy and relishes gunfights. However, later she develops feelings for Rock.
The main point of this anime lies in the fact that the world is cruel, and dark. Throughout the series, Black Lagoon crew takes pay for various dangerous and very gruesome jobs, often paid for by Balalaika, the cynical lady boss of the elite Russian Mafia whose members consisted of basically "Russian SWAT".
The episodes are usually gritty and dark with plenty of disturbing themes and pulse pounding action. In this aspect, the gunfights are simply spectacular and perhaps the best in anime. It is definitely something worth seeing.
We have seen countless struggles in anime between good and evil, but what about a struggle between grey vs. grey or evil vs. evil? There are actually a few anime that fit that description, but few quite as celebrated as Black Lagoon. Lets go into the depths of the criminal underworld and look at one of the darker anime ever to reach mainstream popularity. What you want to know is, "Is it any good?" Well...sort of.
The story can be broken down into arcs, but there is no real overall progressive plot. Just more dirty jobs that need to get done. "Its like wagon train,
it's a great show but they never really get anywhere, they just keep wagontraining" -Stand By Me. The main character is a quirky Japanese businessman who is captured by a modern day pirate crew. They hold him for ransom, but his company refuses to offer a dime to save his life. Rather than killing him, the crew make him a member after he has the admittedly awesome idea of launching torpedoes at a helicopter while jumping their boat through the air. Together, our modern pirate crew take on Nazis, homicidal twins that were previously stars of a series of pedophile snuff films, and other bad guys. All the while, our "heroes" or more accurately protagonists since they aren't really heroes, are working for a Russian mob division called Hotel Moscow.
One reason Black Lagoon is praised is for the sheer amount of melodramatic, dark and depressing shit that happens. Seriously, critics who attack other anime for trying to be "dark and edgy" praise Black Lagoon for doing the same thing! In reality, Black Lagoon is a poorly written melodrama with mediocre action scenes. It is an absurdly overrated anime both here on MAL and over on 4chan. If the series wanted to be dark because it was bringing attention to real world issues or was a well written tragedy, that would be one thing, but Black Lagoon is dark for the sake of being dark and violent for the sake of being violent. Black Lagoon has no morals or messages to teach. I would also be fine if Black Lagoon were a pure, fun action series. However, as previously mentioned the action is too sparse and is mostly rather unsatisfying. Black Lagoon goes halfway between being the dark, bloody insanity of Hellsing Ultimate and the thought provoking darkness of Berserk. By not settling on just one, Black Lagoon ultimately fails at both.
There is a wide cast of characters, but most of them are either unlikable bastards or just not that interesting. A lot of people like Revi and say she is the most badass chick in anime. This is pure bullshit She comes across to me more as a loud, obnoxious, ceaselessly strutting bravado whose skill doesn't live up to her ego. She is great at slaughtering weak opponents, but can only beat the few quality opponents she faces in ridiculously cheap fashion. She also cries like a bitch and passes out after getting stabbed in the leg, which isn't very badass. She's less Alucard and more Luke Valentine. She has the cliche' tragic past, but we can't really empathize because she feels no remorse for her misdeeds. She grew up slaughtering families to stay in their houses much like Lucy from Elfen Lied, but whereas Lucy actually has a conscience, Revy is a complete sociopath. She is less Lucy and more of a lame version of Captain Hans from Hellsing. She is a seemingly nihilistic monster that has a few moments where she seems to still possess a human soul, but not enough to make us actually root for her. However, she isn't nearly as cool as Captain Hans, so if he fought Revy, I would root for the SS Werewolf all the way! It is a bad sign for a character's likeablility when the audience would rather cheer for an SS member. Dutch could have been an interesting character if he was developed more, but most all of the development and back story goes to Rock and Revy, who are probably my 2 least favorite characters in the show. The 2 best characters in the whole show are the Incredible Mr. Chang and Balalaika. Guess which 2 characters have the least screen time? Yep, unfortunately it's those 2. If they made a spinoff series with just Chang and Balaika, it would actually be a substantial improvement.
The art and animation is honestly pretty damn good. I don't really have much more to say about that.
The soundtrack is best described as weak and utterly forgettable
I really can't say I enjoyed this series very much. There is no single category where this show really shined. It was decent as an action, but not truly outstanding. It was bogged down by needlessly depressing melodrama for no reason as explained above. If young otaku want a "dark and mature" anime to feel like men, why not watch Berserk or Monster? Those are plenty dark and a SHIT load better than Black Lagoon.
Black Lagoon isn't a horrible series, but it isn't really a good series. The best characters are wasted, and it isn't as entertaining as it could have been. If it had focused more on longer, higher quality gunfights and less on needlessly depressing bullshit where our "heroes" must help the Russian mob ship children into slavery before vivisecting some puppies and burning down an orphanage on Christmas Eve, maybe it could have been a good series.
When I first read about Black Lagoon, and read that it was a story about a group of mercenaries based in the modern world. A grounded tail with no space travel, superpowers or the like. I thought it would be a nice change, and the animation looked good. It did start of good in the first three to four episodes, but then things began to go down hill. Most episodes went no where, other anime did episodes like that. Cowboy Bebop had many, but they were fun and still had meaning behind
them. Black Lagoon on the other hand had no point. Then there was the final episodes. What a major disappointment, what were they trying to tell. What was the point of the series. It went no where, the characters weren't interesting, the story wasn't very good. Over all a bad show.
In many respects, Black Lagoon is difficult series to review. At its core it is a show which takes what is an essentially interesting and engaging story and then promptly covers it with a rather thick layer of absurdity and an aesthetic love of violence for its own sake. That is to say, for a series which outwardly claims to be "mature" and "realistic," in one sense it succeeds, and in another it fails. [It should also be mentioned beforehand that this will be a review of the first 12-episode installment of the series only, and not the Second Barrage]
Beginning with the positive side, Black
Lagoon can be seen first and foremost as story of transformation, namely, a transformation of two of its main characters, Rock and Revy, during the course of the narrative. What the series does particularly well is illustrate how these two individuals are changed for the better not only through their respective circumstances, but through their interactions with one another.
On the one hand, Rock goes from being a whiny, non-confrontational sycophant who has spent his entire adult life working for nothing but a comfortable mid-level position in the business hierarchy to someone who is not only courageous and willing to stand up for himself, but also someone with an unapologetic sense of virtue and ethical character (denounced by Revy as mere residue of his pampered upbringing); in fact, his later insistence on keeping his shirt and tie in a way symbolizes how he has not left the beliefs of his old life behind completely, but rather has managed to strike a kind of sensible medium. The rather dire nature of his initial circumstances (that is, unexpectedly joining a crew of pirates) slowly forces him to realize that there are fundamentally better things in life than climbing the corporate ladder and sucking up to others in a value system of decadence and wealth. Shortly after becoming a hostage on the Lagoon, he himself states that "I guess this must be what they call the Stockholm Syndrome," suggesting that, already at the first episode, he indeed feels more liberated being surrounded by pirates on a ship than pirates in an office. Throughout the series, Rock realizes more and more how hollow and meaningless his former life was and how strangely pleased he is with his new line of work. This does not seem to necessarily be praise of piracy, but rather more simply a love of adventure and, at the same time, a denouncement of the phony smiles and hypocrisy of modern Japanese bourgeoisie culture.
Revy, on the other hand, of course begins her transformation from the complete opposite end of the spectrum. That is, she starts off as a trigger-happy loose cannon with poor judgement, someone who believes that might automatically equals right and that all problems can be solved by threats of physical violence--which is, after all, how she manages to keep Rock under her thumb for the better part of the series. She also exhibits a kind of adolescent pseudo-nihilism, thumbing her nose at compassion and believing that monetary gain is the highest good and the only law. However, through her experiences with Rock she begins to exhibit a more human emotional side, and perhaps begins to realize that she is not as nihilistic as she would have others believe; this is demonstrated particularly well in the final arc, but even more so in her verbal/physical confrontation with Rock in episode 7, which arguably comprises the best and most thematically significant scene of the entire show. It is here that Rock finally stands up for himself, and Revy's full hatred for him is revealed: she hates him not only because he has just shown her that "you can't solve everything with a gun," but also that it is possible for one to be steadfast and virtuous at the same time, even in the face of death. It is here that he points out that she has merely been hiding behind a complex of presumptuous self-victimization and pretentious nihilism and that a person's origins (either privileged or impoverished) cannot act as a surrogate for personal responsibility. It is also here that Rock informs Revy that she was the one who "shook me awake," thereby illustrating that he is indeed conscious of her instrumentality in his own transformation. Thus if the show has a point, and I believe it does, it can all be summed up in this relatively brief, five-minute altercation. Also, notice that it is only after this scene that Revy even begins to treat Rock like a true comrade.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that Black Lagoon's semi-episodic narrative style actually serves this thematic touch rather well. When I first watched it about a year ago, I was disappointed that the given premise of the series (a naive businessman flees his corrupt superiors who attempt to hunt him down) was only carried through the first two episodes. On second viewing however, I realize the importance of having a variation of story arcs, which allows one to focus more on character study than on a linear story, and certainly in this respect marks out the series as a deservedly more mature, seinen title.
However, this is where my praise must end.
To begin, it is important to keep in mind that Black Lagoon is of course still essentially a gun-slinging action series, and in this respect is falters somewhat drastically. That is, for a series which markets itself as something "mature" and "realistic," there is a very noticeable lack of either of these qualities in the bulk of the action-oriented scenes. Firstly, in nearly every hostile encounter, it appears as though Revy is of basically superhuman power and speed, as well as being somehow impervious to physical harm. In episode 1, she takes out an entire squad of trained mercenaries armed with automatic weapons using only two 9mm pistols; she jumps into their midst, kills all of them will relative ease, escaping without a scratch. In episode 3, when the Lagoon is being chased by Chinese mafia, she destroys five boats of men (again, armed with automatics rifles) singlehandedly, again, and does so without a scratch, again. Not only that, she accomplishes all this while leaping from boat to boat, apparently immune to all incoming gunfire. Again in episode 5, when the crew must retrieve a painting from a group of neo-Nazis, Revy is shown casually strolling from one room of their ship to another, killing everyone execution-style, and meeting little to no resistance, despite the fact that they were heavily armed. There are several other examples later on as well, particularly episode 12 where Revy and Shenhua play "tag team" in killing hordes of nameless enemies from the back of a jeep, being sure to make it look as "cool" as possible, regardless of the inherent absurdity. In fact, the only time Revy is even injured is during the fight between her and Roberta the maid-- someone equally as overpowered to superhuman degrees.
In perspective, all of this seems rather half-baked and juvenile. The "maturity" of this kind is simply the maturity of any run-of-the-mill "M"-rated shooting game: plenty of blood and gore, but little necessary attention to how even semi-realistic gunfights might actually take place, even between very skilled opponents. It is almost as if Black Lagoon is uncomfortably stuck somewhere between the lighthearted (and completely unrealistic) bullet-dodging of a Trigun and the brutality and blood-soaked sadism of a Higurashi. There is something very reminiscent of Kill Bill in the grotesqueness and ease with which the blood so freely flows, and despite its more mature side, there is a very strong and unexamined suggestion that violence for the sake of violence is inherently appreciable and makes for quality entertainment by itself. Normally this would be less of an issue, but in a supposedly "realistic" setting where there are no superpowers or cybernetic implants, in practice Black Lagoon seems to take great pride in throwing many such suppositions to the wind. Granted, while some of the show's "stunts" can be amusing in their inherent ludicrousness (e.g. destroying an assault helicopter with a torpedo), most of the time these willy-nilly takes on violence and death simply feel unpleasant and out of place.
As far as technical merits go, this being a Madhouse production there is little that needs to be said. The animation overall is rather excellent and well detailed, although perhaps there is an overly liberal use of CGI, particularly when it comes to animating cars and other distant moving objects. The character designs are Death Note-esque with an obvious tendency towards the cartoony and exaggerated, particularly during comedic moments. For an action series, there is a very effective contrast between the grit and smoke of urban warfare and the beautifully drawn tropical waters and open spaces of the less-inhabited parts of Southeast Asia (particularly the underwater scenes). The soundtrack complements this contrast well by providing a mix of hard rock/metal during most of the gunfight sequences and soft, acoustic guitars and droning ambient during the quiet and contemplative moments, which are surprisingly numerous. A big deal has been made about the English dub, and for the most part, this would be well-deserved. Being an Ocean Group production, the casting and performances are all of the highest quality, particularly when it comes to voicing all manner of distinct accents (Chinese, Scotts-Irish, Spanish). My only complaint about the dub is Maryke Hendrikse's rendition of Revy, which I felt had a kind of unnatural roughness and sounded rather forced and uneven, as opposed to the original Megumi Toyoguchi, who hit a much more convincing medium between gruff and feminine.
Therefore, while Black Lagoon certainly deserves to be praised for what it does well (as seen in its insightful story of personal development, realization, and transformation as well as its social criticism), it is difficult to consider it masterpiece-level work given its obvious penchant for over-the-top absurdity, particularly in its B-level portrayal of violence. It is well paced, looks great, and is sure to entertain all diehard Quentin Tarantino fans, but is not quite consistent enough in either its realism or maturity level to really be considered a work of genuine excellence.
Black Lagoon is an Anime that centers around a group of modern pirates who call themselves the 'Lagoon Delivery Company'. They operate in Southeast Asia, and they basically deliver anything at all as long as the price is right.
Story wise, the episodes are a collection of completely unrelated short stories, showing the different jobs that the Lagoon Delivery Company takes on. The storylines are fairly unique, ranging from a run in with a bunch of wannabe Nazis to delivering papers for a Chinese Triad. Each short story is packed with action and superb gunfights, and the plot speeds along, leaving no time to be bored.
There isn't an 'actual plot' to link the whole series together, but with all the fast-paced action, you don't really miss it. However, there are some recurring elements that ties the series together, such as the belief that there is no such thing as right or wrong, it just depends on how something is justified.
The animation quality for Black Lagoon is amazing, especially during the gunfights. The overall animation is extremely smooth and character movement is fluid, without annoying jerks in the animation. Also I love the angles that are chosen, as well as how they frame certain scenes, as it increases the impact that the animation gives.
The images are also well rendered and extremely detailed, especially the guns. Black Lagoon is rather more realistic than other Animes, and features very few exaggerated facial expressions and the like. Heavy attention is paid to details, especially in the rendering of the backgrounds. The animators also play around with dramatic lighting a lot, and this helps to create extremely outstanding scenes.
In terms of sound, the upbeat OP fits the show extremely well, while the ED is a quiet enigmatic piece. A unique feature of the ED is that unlike most other Animes, there is no clean break between the episode and the ED. The ED starts softly when the episode ends, and blends in very nicely.
Most of the in-episode music for Black Lagoon is fast and upbeat, and it fits the situation extremely well, and at times, it helps to create a very tense and dramatic atmosphere, which is very fitting for Black Lagoon, considering the nature of this Anime.
Characters may seem to be somewhat stereotypical at first, but as the series progresses, we discover the many different aspects of each character's personality. Black Lagoon places a lot more emphasis on character development than most gunfighting Animes, and the interactions between characters are interesting to watch.
The main characters are very diverse, each of them having a different set of beliefs and their own strengths and weaknesses. There are no perfect characters in Black Lagoon, every one of them has some kind of fault, and that makes them all the more human, allowing viewers to empathise with them more.
Throughout the series, many minor characters are also thrown into the mix, each of them unique in their own special way. While some stereotypes may be present in Black Lagoon, the characters are still sure to surprise you in some way or another.
I gave this series an overall 10, but I will be the first to admit that it may have been a little biased because I love action. But still, Black Lagoon is an amazing Anime, with high quality animation and a fitting soundtrack. If you are the type who cannot stand long, drawn out stories, then Black Lagoon is the Anime for you. With the fast-paced and epic butt-kicking action, Black Lagoon promises not to disappoint.
Black Lagoon have a live and well-produced plot, the writer place many combinations of elements in 12 episodes. Although, Black Lagoon did a poor and a little confusing opening on their story. But, in generally, the story is fine and balanced to watched.
For the period of 2005 anime, Black Lagoon’s art is well comparable with other anime. For me in personal, I pretty find for the art of Black Lagoon, I totally appreciate what the creator produced.
Black Lagoon have a well-produced background music and sound effects. The opening song is not bad at all in my opinion. The seiyuu did a very good
job in delivering such a living characters to the screen.
For me, Black Lagoon’s character is more than a word. Is not boring, is entertaining. But in my opinion, the character needs more development, more details about their past time shall do the trick. And have to watch out about the balanced of the main characters personality.
This is one of the anime that persuades me to sit down and just enjoy the show, the show is full of excitement and surprises. Black Lagoon is really showed the beauty of action genres, and for me is more than enough to give an 8 on excitement.
At the end, Black Lagoon did pump all people who had watched them with excitement and entertained them with outstanding action anime. Although have some weak spot, Black Lagoon did very well to earn the right to be watched. And earn the right to be a good anime. Anime4Life
It's was really hard for me at first to actually give my honest opinion on Black Lagoon because the show itself is really good and I don't want to be biased. However I' have finally made up my mind to give my thoughts and review. Black Lagoon, in terms of a more "realistic" action adventure anime is highly acceptable. What I mean by that is the events that took place during Black Lagoon are like real events that we see or hear about happen in our world everyday. Black Lagoon gives you a sort of up close and personal experience on what the characters
go through everyday in our favorite messed up place called Roanapur. What I loved most about the series of course were the unforgettable characters, action and adventure that was given to us. I really loved how each of the characters had some sort of terrible backstory of bad history, and when the character moved or stayed in Roanapur the bad influence of other people rub of on them and mold them into something.... "new." My best example of this is of course our main character Rock who we see goes from a typical Japanese businessman who after staying in Roanapur becomes... well no spoilers. The action of Black Lagoon is intense. It was like a "sitting at the edge of your seat" experience for me. That is how engaging it was to me! especially during scenes like one on one gun fights!! I strongly felt that the amount of action made up for what Black Lagoon lacked in story telling. That is because the story isn't really, or well I felt that Black Lagoon doesn't really need like a complicated story or much of a background story at all. Overall Black lagoon is a very enjoyable show that I would highly recommend for anyone who wants pure action with little story, yet provides easy to like and memorable characters, functioning story, decent soundtrack and art. 8/10 for me mates.
wow.. this anime is shit!
Because of its non existing storyline and its uninteresting and stupid character the only thing this anime got left, being worthy to watch, would be its action scenes... and they sucked. They were complete unrealistic and stupid. (I am not agains unrealism in anime at all, but this action scenes were like a fist of "unrealism" punshing into my face. I will come to the action scenes later on)
Well lets start off with the character (cuz i cant tell you much about the story):
You got rather 2 dominant main protagonists: Revy and Rock. I call them the dominant one because the
black guy Dutch and the computer freak Benny werent much included in the show at all (a bit in the beginning but they disapeared more and more later on).
So Revy: Many people refer to her as an example for badass female protagonists, because she curses a lot and is good at shooting people... Well besides the fact that she looks like an 14 year old highschoolgirl (you saw that at many moments) dressed up like a hooker( and even sits down like a hooker (fanservice) most of the time) I am really interested why she has to curse all the time. Its like noone would believe she is an badass without her insulting her oponent (and all her allies) all the time. I mean, when you look at Balalaika: her cursing is nearly nothing compared to Revys and she is still 100 times more badass than her.
So we got a cute looking woman who curses all the time so you believe she is badass and who kills bad people in unrealistic gunbattles (kinda like an american version of a tsundere charactere... and everyone knows tsundere==shit)
Rock: Well Rock is the pussy of the anime (a bit cliche), who shows you the real power of gunfighting.. just kidding. WTF is the meaning behind a character who never uses a gun and who whines all the time about his situation (well at least he stopped that later on), being in a pure action gunfighting-anime???? Are u kidding me????? And the fact that in the second epiosde (or so )Balalaika seriously said to him what a tough guy he is made him even a bigger pussy than shinji was in the NGE anime.
I have to mention that Black Lagoon at least was able to introduce some interesting characters, like Balalaika...and i guess thats the only one.
To the action scenes:This anime is one of these were you know from the start who is going to win the fight( that is kinda stupid in the first place) and besides that fact, you only watch how much unrealistic stuff was put into these fights. I want to give you some examples for my statment:
Well there was this scene were their ship was chased by 4 others or so (episode3) where Revy jumped about 5 meters with an rocked lancher on her back then survives the rocked explosion right next to her with no scratch and could dodge (or whatever) the bullets from 2 guys fireing at her, who were both right infront of her... ofc. But the inability to aim or to pull the trigger bothers me a lot of this anime (do the enemey have some kind of fingere arthritic or something?) The enemies rather tell you their life story than shooting at you so that you could create the best plan for killing them (or whatever). Thats just retarded and the amount of facepalms in this anime was very high. (If you need some more examples for how stupid the action scenes are just message me)
I also have to mention that they actually did 1 good episode (EP15) where they finally didnt tell their life story to each other before the were going to fight.
There is much more that bothers me about this series and i cant tell you about all of them (mostly because i would have to rewatch the anime).
If you think I spoilered too much of the series then i have to tell you: If you havent watched this series yet i hope my review prevent you from doing so. You can thank me for this.
So overall it gets a well deserved 1/10 (could have been worse)
Firstly, let me state this review may come off as sexist but I am indeed not a sexist. Now,
I'm ok with a typical tough anime girl. I'm ok with a tough anime girl with a gun. I am not ok with a tough anime girl with a gun killing dozens of enemies at a time. Black Lagoon attempts to come of as a realistic anime about mercenaries, but many things in the anime detract from this attempt.
But before I rant, I'll talk a little about the 4 man crew.
We have Rock (protagonist): Japanese business man who is tired of being pushed around and so
becomes a mercenary.
Dutch: Strong black guy with a deep voice. (Pretty much everything you'd expect from a black guy in an anime so no need to go into detail)
Benny: The blonde haired wiz with glasses (again no need to describe since he fits the sterotype)
And then there's Revy: You're typical tough girl with a bandanna who "takes shit from no one". She is very fond of vulgar language and likes to shoot people more than anything else it seems. However, her constant drivel became annoying and boring amazingly fast and I couldn't help but hate her.
The show's man problem is its storyline because there basically isn't one. It just shows the crew doing a job, shooting people, and then relaxing with a cigaratte. The character development is poor and Black Lagoon fails miserably in making you feel anything for them.
And now to the realism aspect. Since I do not wish to spoil anything, though you can pretty much play this anime in its entirety out in your head without watching it, I'll give to examples of how unrealistic this anime is at times.
First we have Revy cartwheeling and leaping ship to ship, massacring the entire crew of the ships methodically. If this scene appeals to you, then well, ... I really don't know what to say.
And lastly we have the most hilarious scene of all. Imagine the huge, muscular, and tough black man stereotype mentioned above. And now imagine that black man being overpowered by a woman in a maid's outfit.
This anime was actually a struggle to watch, but I gave it a 6 because the music and art are both incredible and I like the vulgarism and bloodiness at times.
"Look, everyone in here is carrying a gun! It's like we're in a parallel universe where everyone is Clint Eastwood." - Rock
[Viewer Discretion is advised, review contains profanity, just like the show it's written for.]
If the everyday, ubiquitous, slice of life anime is a Toyota Prius... environmentally conscious, economical, quiet, and serene, then Black Lagoon is like a 1970 El Camino with a 572, two 4 barrel carbs, straight headers and a supercharger with a bugcatcher on top so big you can't see anything but dotted lines turning solid.
But that's okay, because the only thing you're gonna see is the other suckers in your mirrors.
It's big, it's loud, it's fast, it's rough, it's tough, and it's got a mean bite. Black Lagoon is this machine from hell of an anime that's just way, way too much, but you can't help but want to floor it every time you get in... because it's just too much fun. You gotta respect it though, because you don't take it for a ride, it takes YOU for a ride.
This is the essence of Black Lagoon. It's like 24 episodes of nonstop Mad Max Fury Road. Unrelenting, punishing, deadly action. Don't f*ck with it.
Artwork and Animation: 9
"So I guess you'd probably have a hard time believing I watch Oprah instead: "the result of the extreme makeover, right after the GUNSHOT!" - Revy
Even though Black Lagoon is almost 10 years old now, it still holds up excellently. It's yet another awesome title from the Madhouse dominant era of the mid 2000s to sit with Death Note, Hellsing, Paprika, and others. The attention to detail, particularly with the guns and vehicles, is striking.
Instead of just having generic pistols and rifles, they went the extra mile fleshing out the detailing that make individual and branded weapons unique. Real life brand names are mentioned, and the weaponry are identical replicas. Famous pistols like the Beretta 92F (Revy's signature), Tokarev TT-33s, Colt 1911s, Lugers, and the fan favorite gold plated Desert Eagle make appearances, along with tons of other revolvers, autos, and even cap and lock pistols. A dizzying array of rifles, launchers, and mounted weapons are used throughout the series, all direct copies of real life weapons. No made up stuff here. The weapons themselves are nearly characters, and I had a lot of fun picking out which ones were which. All told, there are 81 different weapons either seen or used throughout the series.
The characters themselves are drawn excellently and consistently too. From Revy's signature tank top, jorts and dual Berettas, Rock's stuffy businessman look, cross dressing twins, gangster suits, Nuns With Guns™, military fatigues, and Nazi uniforms to Roberta's crazy French Maid getup, there is a wildly varied cast of characters and looks.
Sound and Voice Acting: 10
"Man, that's f*cking pathetic. Only some tit sucking mama's boy would come up with that bullsh*t conversation you're enjoying." - Revy
Revy: "You whiny bitch, you're lucky I was around to save you from having your f*cking balls shot off by those guys from Hotel Moscow!"
Eda: "Last time I checked, I didn't have a set, but maybe you do you nasty she-male!"
Revy: "ALL RIGHT YOU ASKED FOR IT BITCH!"
Eda:"WHEN I'M THROUGH WITH YOU, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PICK WHICH ASSHOLE YOU WANT TO SH*T THROUGH!"
Revy: "HEY YOU OLD BITCH! It's Rebecca! from Lagoon Company, open the f*cking door you old skank!"
Revy: "You don't want to charge in with this piece of sh*t, especially not with a crackhead at the wheel"
Leigharch: "F*ck you! I'll have you know this is the world's greatest offroad vehicle you heartless bitch!"
Revy: "This piss tank is getting on my last nerve. Listen up you f*cking leprechaun, you're gonna wait here until you get our signal. If you run away, I'll hunt you down and castrate you!"
Shenhua: "My, she say good thing, I agree very much!"
I'm with Shenhua. Everything that comes out of Revy's mouth is gold. This is a must watch in English. While the Japanese has some profanity, this one takes it BEYOND filthy, and with that comes so many laughs at the horrible things the characters threaten and say to each other. Panty and Stocking is really the only comparable dub, and the banter between Eda and Revy is like Panty and Stocking awesome, but better. Think Tarantino movie language- it flows really well, and sounds realistic. It's not overly pretentious or stuffy, it's just rough and raw.
Let's hear it for cultural diversity! MADhouse in tha house!
Seriously, if there's ever been an anime out there that's covered as many different enthic groups, religions, creeds, cults, groups, countries, races, and who even knows what other kind of label, it's Black Lagoon. All right, a show about pirates with cultural diversity, sounds freaking great right??
Well get this:
You've got the military, crooked cops, Yakuza, and the Triads, and the Russian Mafiya... yeah those are pretty run of the mill type stuff. Then you've got a little bit more out there stuff like Nuns With Guns™, cowboy bounty hunters, a mute chainsaw wielding girl, and a Hank Hill inspired flamethrower wielding middle aged fat man. Then you get on up in to the upper echelon of crazy sh*t with crossdressing murder twin child soldiers, a Terminator French Maid, Neo Nazis (with full dress uniform), and one Shenhua, the sexy Taiwanese chinglish spewing, Enep knife wielding assassin. There's even a schoolgirl Yakuza boss, and Mr Chang, the Chinese Triad John Woo movie clone!
As far as main characters go, though, Revy is one of most outstanding and instantly recognizable characters out there, with her untied boots, jorts, tattoos, tank top, and signature double shoulder holsters. She's almost always smoking a cigarette, and trailing a stream of profanity and insults so rough it'd make Gordon Ramsay piss his pink panties.
Sexy, tough and with a temper like Christian Bale and Mel Gibson combined times two, Revy exists to smoke, f*ck sh*t up, get paid, and drink straight liquor- in that order. She's corrupt and violent to the core, no whiny, needy clingy woman tropes here. Nothing gets her off more than getting lit and shooting shit up.
She's the quintessential badass, and she don't take shit from nobody.
Rock, on the other hand, is a guy stuck in the middle. When his dead end corporate grind job lands him in the middle of the South China Sea amongst a hive of scum and villainy, his outlook on life really changes- from bad to worse. As a guy who has been on both sides of the fence, he has a pretty unique perspective to the seedy gangster's paradise of Roanapur. His skills as a businessman do end up coming in handy when the all guns blazing route fails, but more often than not, he finds himself a spectator to the violent brutality of the city and its denizens.
In this criminal underworld, anything goes. Cops on the make, thugs on the take, and shootouts over dinner are the norm. Get f*cked up every night, drive it like you stole it, and crash only to repeat it the next day. If you're lucky, you might get some kind of job from the mafia. If not, you just had your last shot of rum- forever.
Black Lagoon's story takes us on arc based tales straight out of an action movie. Every 2 or 3 episodes, the real life pirate crew of Dutch, Revy, Benny, and Rock take on some new job from the Russian mob and whatever crazy adventure it entails. They aren't some 16th century sailboat crew with tricorns and peglegs though- they're straight off the mean streets of Compton, I mean Roanapur. Armed with a stolen military torpedo boat and a million dollars' worth of military grade weaponry, a cunning captain and Revy's famous temper, they take on a variety of different missions. The episodes featuring Roberta, a Colombian terrorist turned maid, the twisted, murderous twin children Hansel and Gretel, and the Greenback Jane saga are highlights of the series in the insane, over the top, brutal, and hilarious elements respectively.
I really liked the realism in this show. So often, action shows have to do with the supernatural or occult, and it was incredibly refreshing to see something that was grounded in realism, used real life guns, vehicles, and kept the story within the realm of gritty action movie. The hilarious dialogue was delivered perfectly, and the voice actors sounded great. While it was very over the top at times, this show watches like a John Woo movie mixed with Tarantino. It's just a heck of a lot of fun.
It's a real shame Marÿke Hendrikse didn't do many other voice roles. Revy will live the f*ck on forever though, because like she gives a sh*t.
+ Awesome characters that kick a lot of ass
+ Dialogue that will make you sh*t your pants, then kick you in the face for laughing
+ Excellent arc based story
+ Great animation and attention to detail
Of course. If you don't watch this, Revy is going to come shove her boot up your ass and make you lick your own crap off of it before busting a cap in your sniveling dome!
Seriously, if you like rough and tough with dark comedy- this is not to be missed.
"Roanapur is the kind of place where violent jokes come true." - Benny
Anime seems to be very tame these days. If it isn't about whiny high school kids living their boring ass lives, it's about overachieving, insane kids with magical notebooks (cough Deathnote). I like these kinds of animes as much as the next guy, but sometimes I feel like doing nothing more than bathe in my own testosterone and achieve a massive erection looking at either tits, guns, or cars. Enter, Black Lagoon. An anime with tits, guns, AND cars. Expect testosterone, and lot's of it.
The story is as generic as it can get. Some pussy ass bitch decides to change his life and he starts
to do dangerous and badass things. Rock, the main character, is a brown nosing Japanese business man who is sent on a business trip to South Asia or somewhere around there. He is then kidnapped by a group of pirates/mercenaries called the Lagoon Company. Rock then has an epiphany or something and decides to live the hazardous life of a mercenary. This story has definitely been used multiple times in countless action movies. However, I never saw recycled action movie plots as a bad thing. It seems to attract the majority of males, so why not? The story itself is very cliche and overused, but since I am a healthy man, I loved it anyway.
At first glance the cast may seem to have generic written all over it, but it is special in it's own sense. The Lagoon Company consists of a pussy, a white computer guy, a buff black guy, and an insane triggerhappy monster of a woman. There's not much character development besides Rock, but you will find at least one character you will like. There is a rather large variety of characters and each one has a dark past of some sort. One of the aspects I liked about the characters was that almost everyone was interesting. In fact, my favorite character was Balalaika, who is a supporting character. All of the characters are very realistic and each one has his/her own unique personality and mannerisms.
Art and Animation
I could tell that Black Lagoon had a rather high animation budget. All the explosions and battles were animated smoothly. I felt like I was watching Die Hard or something. The art is nothing new or innovative, but all the characters and backgrounds are drawn superbly. The colors are quite vivid and contribute to the overall atmosphere.
I feel like mentioning the opening is a must. The opening is a J-Rock song and it fits perfectly with the series. From the moment I heard it I knew this was going to be an intense anime with lots of violence. Not to my surprise, I was right. The BGM is also very good and contributes to the mood of the current scene. The ending was the only dissapointment in the soundtrack department. I expected another hardcore rock song, but all I got was a depressing, quiet melody.
Black Lagoon is a series any MAN can enjoy. Some women might like it too but men will enjoy it more. I feel like this anime was made by a group of muscular men drinking beer and lifting weights. Almost every part of this anime is action packed and there are so many gunfights and shit that I turned into a brainless neandrathal for a whole week. Watch this anime with lots of action and violence in mind and you will no doubt enjoy it. This series is a must watch for any action fan. Thanks for reading yo.
“This is more entertaining than Hollywood is ever going to be!” - Revy
Black Lagoon is one of Madhouse’s greatest works. In terms of action and seinen, we no longer have to frustratingly listen to long speeches before gunshots fire. Black Lagoon is well-known for its nonstop action and features one of the most memorable and merciless women in the anime industry: Revy (famously known as “Two Hands”), who is noted for her “kill first, ask questions later” style. Its depiction of Hollywood action films with the explosions, car chases, and gun-fighting at sea makes this entertaining to watch, especially with its mature dialogue and dark
Black Lagoon’s cast makes up the entire story alone. The story follows the Lagoon Company as they take on paid missions and kill anyone who interferes. The dark humor and foul language are hilarious and bring out maturity. This brings along a fine set of characters, including mafias, Nazis, and war veterans for the fast and the furious. The four members of the Black Lagoon cast are unique amongst themselves: Revy; Dutch, the serious yet chill guy; Benny, the tech geek; and Rock, the Japanese guy who is trying to get used to the pirate lifestyle. Black Lagoon is mostly popular for their memorable and merciless female characters, including a Russian boss and killer maid, who shows no hesitation in fulfilling threats. The tragic and violent pasts of the female characters give them an ideal role for Black Lagoon.
Because of character development, I wouldn’t consider Black Lagoon to be episodic. New to the game, Rock started out unreasonably annoying, suddenly contributed clever schemes, and later went back to being a wimp again. He unchangeably grew some balls midway in the series, but his behavior seemed illogical how his personality kept going from scared to fearless back and forth in the beginning. Because of her rough background, Revy’s cold-heartedness made her appear childish and selfish as she uses torture and violence as her therapy. Her attitude lessens a bit as she balanced the ability to know right from wrong. Revy and Rock's relationship undergoes the most development, since they both come from completely opposite background.
One downside is the failure to follow up on deceased supporting characters' past. Black Lagoon also ends incompletely with a lack of explanation about some of the characters’ pasts and last minute questions presented in the last few episodes. As someone who watched all three seasons, I can confirm that the plotholes receive explanations within the two sequels. However, it would be better if it ended with some kind of conclusion. Since it continues with Episode 13 in the 2nd season, I found it useless to have Black Lagoon and Second Barrage separated.
Character designs were very distinct. Revy is popular for her daisies, but it’s honestly a turnoff. It’s possible to fight and jump long distances with short daisies. The background design and settings were realistic with the lights and character interactions, especially in a bar. The blood splattering was not exaggerated or excessive, so it is easily tolerable for one who is not a fan of gore. There were a few stills, but the visual effects were really good, especially the fight scenes.
Black Lagoon is one of the few anime meant to be watched in English, because it sounds more natural than the Japanese. The seiyuu do not nearly fit the character’s personalities as the English VA. Marÿke Hendrikse portrayed Revy’s tomboy personality perfectly. I’m glad Funimation chose Dean Redman to voice Dutch for his deep yet laidback voice. It was hard to hear Brad Swaile (voice of Light from Light Note) play a less villainous character, but he did a great job switching to Rock’s attitude changes throughout the series. Also, the seiyuu sound horrible when a certain scene to be in English. Their English sounds broken and slow, interrupting and slowing the action of that scene.
The music is wonderful, and both the OP and ED centers on Revy. The English OP “Red Fraction” by Mell sung has lyrics that fits the hardcore action. The scores, usually instrumental rock music, suits the fighting scenes, too. The ED “Don’t Look Behind” by Edison is fully instrumental. Although it's seen as a disadvantage with its slow tone after a hardcore episode, it actually has a smooth transition by not immediately jumping to the song. A calm setting moves away from the action and presents right before the ED.
Black Lagoon is a dream come true for one who craves a sense of maturity in an action anime. The pacing is good and doesn’t waste time with lengthy dialogue like other seinen. The dark humor and action mixes well together, and the characters are unique and memorable. I highly recommend checking out Black Lagoon if you’re into Hollywood films or just looking for a change of pace in terms of action. It was a wonderful experience for me, because every episode had nonstop action to look forward to.
Black Lungs, oh sorry, Black Lagoon (they smoke a lot, and they probably have lung cancer) is a solid action anime, lacking in story and focused more on episodic stories...
There's no story, or that's what i got watching the anime, and is focused more on doing jobs because their company Black Lagoon is a mercenary group that does this kind of jobs, every job, even the despicable jobs (is a seinen so...) they are not moralists, that really applicable to Revy and in the last ep. maybe there was something that i didn't understood, what was that at the end those guys said, judging
by Revy expression it was something that she didn't wanted Rock to hear but he was stoned so he either didn't hear or pretended not to hear because she is...Revy, well for being an episodic anime it was good and expect Nazis.
Art & Animation
The animation is really good, the details the blood spilling, the bullets impacts, they are very good, and for being from 2006 is impressive but there are flaws, and not that i was looking for them, the flaws were in front of my eyes, but despite that it was very good and not to mention Revy's details
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Maybe the best of the anime, the sound, the VA is great, really fitting voices, the background music is very good as the sound effects are great the OP is one of the best i have heard in anime OP music and the the video clip was amazing, i liked her a lot for some reason at sec 36 of the video clip where she is sticking her tongue out with a cute face, great lyrics too, the ED song was a weird transition, well it was great in general.
The characters are very good, they are enjoyable, likeable at some extent, i didn't like their ideals, maybe Rock ideals, to be honest they all are interesting:
-Okajima Rokuro ''Rock'' was a employee of a company that was contrabanding something i can't remember but he was then kidnapped by Revy to request for a reward but he ends up joining them, he is for some reason likeable since the beginning or at least for me, he's intelligent and confronts Revy with a great speech in ep. 7 because she's full of rage and wants to kill 24/7.
-Rebecca aka Revy is a US-Chinese woman with a really dark childhood and a dark present, she is heartless, ruthless, immmoral bitch but she's funny and likeable and sexy and i couldn't hate her, she is great and i liked her voice, it really is fitting for her.
-Dutch is a badass who always thinks before going on a kill frenzy like Revy, nothing much about him as a character tho, or about his past.
-Benny is a smart guy, in charge of the intel but not developed just like Dutch.
-Roberta is a ''maid'' one with a darker past than Revy, with a despicable past, but i couldn't hate her because i liked her at first and thought she was badass and when i knew her past, i was like WTF, and i had a conflict wheter to like her or not but i still liked her but not as much as when i first saw her and she's stronger than Revy, oh and despite her being Colombian she speaks spanish really bad, i heard better spanish in El Cazador de la Bruja.
There are other good support characters too, like Balalaika and Mr. Chang who is more skillful than Revy and she admits he is, i would like to see him much more, he was cool.
I was expecting a story to be honest, a deep one, but the episodic stories weren't bad, i enjoyed them and much better when Rock finally confronts Revy, that was what waked me up, i was losing interest till that part came, and the OP is magic, and this felt more like a first part than a first season, they shouldn't have been splitted in seasons but more like part one and the second season the part two, but i had a very good enjoyment with this season/part 1.
Black Lagoon as a whole was pure entertainment and is one show that most viewers could keep on going back to for more. This is one show that after concluding its first and second season i could only think when will there be more.
Black Lagoon lacked any long term story arc and was basically a very long but strong intro to the series. By the end of the first season you get to know the entire lagoon squad, and all the other characters within the supporting cast along with some short but strong story arcs as the lagoon crew went threw their
jobs. Even though it was there was not really an overlying plot to the shows first season i don't really think that they needed one based on the content we were given within a 12 episode season.
The Characters in Black Lagoon were easily the shows strong point. There are not many characters within this show that i found dull or boring in any way. The characters of Black Lagoon were so great because we got some back story for almost every character. This helps us understand how they developed to where they are when the story begins. Whats really special about the characters within the show isn't the characters themselves but how they act together. The interaction really drives the entertainment and conflict within the show. The only problem was there was not much development.
The art within was quite good but the animation was where this section shined. This show is pretty much built around gun fights, conflict, and violence. Which means this show required a lot of animation and the show puts out, i could not find one dull moment were its quality even sank to average.
The variety of sound effects presented in Black Lagoon were amazing. Anything from gun shots to explosions were high quality. I can also speak for the English dub which i found great. It was not great just because of the voice actors performance but also because they did not provide any censorship which allowed a lot of swearing and i mean a lot. Giving the characters this extra freedom provides a stronger form of expression that helps define the characters even further.
This was a strong character driven show that had good back story, and great dubs. With only the lack of a strong story arc holding it back.