DVD Review: Black Lagoon Season 1 & 2 Collection
A well constructed violent black comedy anime!
Black Lagoon is an interesting series, based on the manga by Rei Hiroe and produced by Madhouse. This DVD set consists of the first and second series “The Second Barrage” and contains no extra content. The series itself comprises of 2-3 mini adventure episode with no overall plot to follow. Instead these stories are used to explore the characters of shipping company Lagoon in this fast paced black comedy.
The Black Lagoon of the title is a World War II American torpedo boat that is very fast and maneuverable, and is used by the Lagoon company to smuggle goods and people around the South Asia Seas. The crew of the boat consists of Dutch, Revy, Benny and Rokuro – better known as Rock.
Dutch is the calm and stoic captain of the boat and leader of the Lagoon company. He appears to have come from a military background and is usually seen wearing army fatigues. He tries to avoid being involved in combat however when he does get drawn in, he proves to be very handy with his revolver and pump action shotgun.
Benny is the ship tech and mechanic. He joined up with the company while on the run from the FBI and the Mafia, he doesn’t get involved in the violence perpetrated in their adventures, but he is also not against it either. He also drives the crew around when back in their home port in his Dodge Coronet.
Revy is the foul mouthed, hot headed, heaving drinking gun slinger of the group. She is also known as Two Hand’s due to her use of two Beretta 92FS handguns. She refers to these as her “sword cutlasses” and they are engraved as such on the slide. She is a no nonsense person who will and does kill anyone who gets in her way, even civilians. Revy had a very troubled childhood, she killed for the first time as a child and as a result of her early life has a skewed view of the world.
Rock is a Japanese salary man who gets caught up with group in the opening episode and taken hostage. He ends up joining the crew after his employer abandons him to his own fate. Like Benny, Rock also does not get involved in the violence, but unlike him he tries on occasion to take a moral stand against some the groups actions. He is very good with words and his negotiation skills come in quite handy.
Black Lagoon is set in the fictional harbour city of Roanupur in the south of Thailand. This city is teaming with low life and criminal oraganisations. The main focus through all of the episodes is on the relationship between Rock and Revy. They are two people at the opposite end of the moral scale and very far removed from each other in terms of their upbringing. However despite this, and even after threatening to kill Rock on occasion, Revy goes out of her way on a number of occasions to protect Rock. As time goes on they begin to affect each others’ characters softening one and hardening the other. This is quite interesting to watch. In the course of this the crew tangles with the Cartel, Neo-Nazis, the Yakuza, gun-running nuns, the CIA and more. They mainly tend to work for Hotel Moscow a Russian mafia group run by a former Special Forces officer called Balalaika, who is named after the sniper rifle that won her the respect of her men; also the Hong Kong Triad led by Mr Chang.
There are a few standout stories, such as the Cartel kidnapping, with the family maid Roberta coming to the rescue of the missing child. And the gothic lolita twins Hansel and Gretel, who are assassins hired to destroy the ruling organisations in Roanupur. These stories feature some great action scenes and lots of violence.
All in all this violent, black comedy anime is a well constructed series of mini adventures. I sometimes wished for a bigger plot arc to drive the character exploration of Rock and Revy, but it is still a very enjoyable series.
Label: Manga Entertainment
Release date: 9th July 2012
Number of discs: 6
Genre: Anime/ Black Comedy – contains some scenes of violence
Director: Sunao Katabuchi
Series 1 & 2 also sold individually.
Review written by Tim Grimes