- - - - - [ 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.
- [ Sound: Suits situations and fast-paced -> 9 ] -
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!