Black Lagoon & Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage FNAR #74:
Welcome to my fucking review of Black Lagoon as a collective fucking series. I’ll save Roberta’s Blood Trail for a different fucking day. This is gonna be a solid fucking read, so sit the fuck back and enjoy the fucking ride. Black Lagoon is a series produced by the wonderful fuckers over at Studio Madhouse about a Japanese man named Rokuro Okajima who gets his dumb fucking ass captured by a small band of mercenaries or pirates or whatever you wish to call them. They call themselves Lagoon Company and do a large portion of their work using a PT Boat called the Black Lagoon. They are based in a city of evil, violence, chaos, conflict, death, and a power struggle in the criminal underworld. The city is called Roanapur which is in southeast Thailand. The members of the Company are the hot-headed, combat-skilled, and pretty much crazy fighter of the group, Revy, the leader and captain who keeps a cool head and is able to stay intelligent and deadly, Dutch, and the computer and tech guy of the crew, Benny. Rokuro ends up becoming party of the crew and adopts the name “Rock.” The show follows the jobs and different encounters that the group has, ranging from diving for art in a Nazi U-Boat to hunting down crazed Romanian psychopathic and murderous twin children.
Before watching Black Lagoon, I had let myself fall under the impression that it was nothing but guns, violence, and some good old fucking cursing. And while many of these things were very present throughout the show, it doesn’t forget to construct things for you to care about and get into. If you just have violence in a show with characters that you can’t attach to and don’t care about, then you won’t care what happens when they are in danger and then the show has failed. Black Lagoon, while never failing to keep the intensity present, even if a little slower at times, makes a point to create and portray fun and interesting characters that you love to watch interact with each other no matter what side they are on. Having all of these purely cool characters makes the action itself all the more engaging and fun. Perhaps the only characters that changed noticeably over the course of the show were Rock and Revy. A lot of their development resulted from their interactions and missions with each other. They start off as such polar opposites but slowly begin to acknowledge each other’s ideals and lifestyles. Other characters changing is limited to their opinion of Rock but not a whole lot else although a good number of characters do have an interesting back story even if a little bit bare at times. The story itself was strengthened because of all of these wonderfully entertaining personalities. The jobs they had were fun to watch and full of enough action to satisfy the type of viewer who came for just that reason. The jobs get longer in terms of episode length as the show goes on and whether this is a good or a bad thing is hard to pin down, especially since I thought it was neither. I think both ways had it’s merits. The short arcs are good just as they are and the long arcs were just fine as well. The only thing that screams out to me about the story is the fact that I just want more. The show ends in a way that is satisfying as a chapter in these peoples lives but you know that there’s much more that can happen after the final credits roll. The animation for Black Lagoon is pretty fantastic, especially on the Blurays. For something that came from 2006, when studios were still struggling to get a hold of how to use digital animation, Madhouse makes this thing look fluid and gorgeous with layered and complex tones and colours. Everything had a dark, dirty feel to it in the best way. Even on the sunniest of days, you could tell that the air reeked of salt water and the blood of people who just couldn’t make it in Roanapur. The animation was crucial to the overall success of this show when speaking about both the action and the settings presented. The music was surprisingly good in this series. I had heard the opening before and have been fond of it for quite some time but it, similarly to the ending song, become just so much easier to appreciate as the show goes on. The background music was also fantastic in portraying just the right tones and feelings that the viewer needed to get. One of the ways it noticeably accomplished this was with its timing. The series knows how to use silence to its advantage and then the music will enter at precisely the right moment to make everything in the scene fall together PERFECTLY and resonate with the audience for weeks to come. Even if you don’t remember a specific scene, the feelings are what stay. Also while on the subject of sound, this dub. If you are not watching Black Lagoon in english, you are making a sore mistake. It is one of my favourite dubs that I have ever heard. Every actor was absolutely perfect for their characters and were able to breath a whole other layer of life and attention to detail into this anime. Absolutely fan-fucking-tastic.
The more and more I think about Black Lagoon, the more fondly I feel about it. There were a lot of ups and not too many downs about the series and I think that it definitely deserves a 8.5/10 if not almost a 8.75. I think that Black Lagoon is definitely worth checking out and buying especially since it looks fantastic on Bluray. Both seasons of Black Lagoon are available on Rightstuf.com, Amazon.com, and Funimation’s website for somewhere between $30-$40 and I’d say it’s well worth it. I bought it blind last spring and today I’m completely pleased with the results. Have a good fucking day everyone, I’ll be back with another review next Thursday.