For many fans of the franchise, it is incredible news that Funimation has decided to assemble the full previously Geneon-exclusive property and release it as a complete series box set.
Black Lagoon is one of those rare anime titles that manage to combine a near endless succession of violence and gunplay with a gritty back-story that provides far more than just a catalyst to advance the action-sequences along. Thanks to collaboration between Geneon Entertainment and Funimation, the Black Lagoon series is one of several titles in which while Geneon retains the license, Funimation holds the rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution in North America.
In terms of the Black Lagoon mythos, The Complete Box Set represents the full two-season run of the anime, which was itself based on a manga written and illustrated by Rei Hiroe.
Released across eight discs (thin packs) and packaged within a cardboard outer slipcase, The Complete Box Set consists of episodes 1-24. Bonus discs are loaded with a host of interesting material including the show's Promo Video, "Red Faction" music video (performed by MELL), a behind the scenes documentary on the English production, an interview with director Sunao Katabuchi, textless opening and closings, and Funimation trailers. The show comes in at a total runtime of 660 minutes and wears a very appropriate TV MA (mature, 17+) rating.
Language options are standard sub & dub with both an English dub and original Japanese soundtrack (either of which is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0) & the choice of English subtitled if so inclined to turn them on.
The show, for those who have yet to experience it, has a distinctly Asian-movie quality about it. While graphic violence segments are often retained from the manga source material, the core of the show's uniqueness comes in the form of spectacular feats of physical display during the intense and frequently occurring battles. Think slow-motion back handsprings to avoid a stream of dangerously spinning blades ala John Woo.
Fantastic visuals aside, the story shows several moments of gang-driven brilliance throughout. Rather than focus on a single character's trials and tribulations, the Black Lagoon saga is known for its penchant for popping around on several seemingly disconnected story arcs, which are ultimately tied together pretty nicely. The first season introduced viewers to the Lagoon Company, which was essentially a band of mercenaries who smuggled goods in and around the waterfronts of Southeast Asia in the 1990s. As expected with a group of pirates, the team were often placed into a wide variety of scenarios which included violent firefights, hand-to-hand combat (with gleaming blades a plenty), and nautical battles that would, of late, fit right in on the headlines of the news. When not involved in death-defying blood baths, the members of Lagoon Company could often be found scheming on the stools of The Yellow Flag, a shady bar in Roanapur.
I bring up events of the past because the first season made it quite clear that while Lagoon Company does business with a wide variety of clients from many nations, they are particularly friendly relationship with a Russian crime syndicate by the name of Hotel Moscow. The Second Barrage sets up the story of a string of disturbing murders taking place where twin killers appear to be targeting members of Hotel Moscow.
Without giving too much away, the plot this time around follows three story threads that delicately dance around one another but all progress toward the greater goal of getting to the bottom of the string of murders in question.
Often criticized for its violent content and heavy existentialistic-themes, the truth about Black Lagoon is that true enjoyment is often the result of zoning out and simply enjoying the nearly endless and incredibly cool action segments (one guy can slice a fired bullet in two with a swipe of his katana- it doesn't get cooler than that).
English dub work is solid although the emotion and intensity level is superior in the original Japanese soundtrack. The only problem with viewing the subtitled version is that reading the text can often distract from the lightening-fast action taking place at any given moment.
In all, Black Lagoon The Complete Box Set is a welcomed release of a well-regarded franchise with enough new twists and turns to keep viewers (both experienced and new to the show alike) glued to the set. It's not for everyone, however, as the show is littered with adult-themes, violence, and gore.
Fans of action-driven story telling, scantily clad women with big guns, and action sequences that are often superior to big-budget Hollywood feature films, reserve a space on your shelf for Black Lagoon. An extra star for Funimation's decision to slap it all together into an 8-disc volume (6 discs plus 2 worth of bonus material) all for a little more than the individual seasons have been selling for.
on December 1, 2009
Although it lacks the nuance and subtlety of Cowboy Bebop, Black Lagoon more
than makes up for that with fast moving stories and almost non-stop action and
mayhem. Black Lagoon has all the elements that made Bebop so good but it is
darker in vision and definitely way more violent. The music is well done, it's not
Yoko Kanno, but interesting enough for me to order the soundtrack, which is
available off Amazon for less than half the price here.* The packaging is weak.
Comes in a flimsy thin box. Using two discs for the bonus material is a waste
as neither is "loaded" with features. Lastly, there is humor and light moments
in this series to keep it balanced like Bebop and all the characters are interesting.
The Taiwan assassin "Chinglish" was a favorite and Sister Etta with her Rip Off
Church is an original twist. Nuns with guns. Revy is basically Faye from Bebop
on steriods but more in attitude and bloodlust than appearance. Animation of
characters and city is great. Background country scenes looks as may have been
farmed out to lesser studio. All around this series is a good buy and I am hoping
for more. *(buyer beware, my order took 3 weeks to arrive).
In 2002, Rei Hiroe ("Gunparade March", "Phantom Bullet", "Blade Guns") would create his latest manga "Black Lagoon". Featured on Shogakukan's "Monthly Sunday Gene-X" and still an ongoing series today, the manga series would receive an anime adaptation by Studio Madhouse in 2006. The first "Black Lagoon" series featured 12 episodes and several months later, the second season titled "The Second Barrage" would air in Japan. And in 2010, the OVA series titled "Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail" was released in Japan via OVA.
Both seasons were released on DVD in the U.S. back in 2008 and 2009 from Geneon Entertainment and FUNimation Entertainment and aired on television via Starz Edge. And now the series will be released on Blu-ray as a complete set (not including the OVA's) in December 2012 courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.
"Black Lagoon" is a series that has a strong following in the U.S. According to Rei Hiroe, the series was inspired by James Ellroy, John Woo, Quentin Tarentino and Stephen King and also the piracy cases that took place in the East China Sea back in the '90s. A big Tarentino fan, "Black Lagoon" pays homage to films by Quentin Tarentino but also films from the Coen Brothers.
"Black Lagoon" is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ration). First, I have to admit that prior to watching this Blu-ray release, I was expecting the series that would look good as an upconvert, considering it was made back in 2006. And because it's a TV series, expecting the usual TV series softness. But prior to the Blu-ray release, I always thought that "Black Lagoon" was a series that looked stunning on DVD. Felt that Studio Madhouse did a wonderful job with the character design and shading of the characters and really going out in bringing Rei Hiroe's characters and the "Black Lagoon" world to life in an anime series.
On Blu-ray, I will say that the series looks much better with bolder colors, better line detail and I wasn't detecting any major banding or artifact issues while watching his Blu-ray release. There is softness, as expected from a TV series, but for an upconvert, "Black Lagoon" looks very good on Blu-ray!
"Black Lagoon" is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. And as one can expect from its lossless 5.1 soundtrack, there is better dynamic range due to the plenty of action in each episode, the 5.1 soundtrack utilizes the surround channels effectively, especially with LFE. Explosions, gunshots, this is an active anime series that sounds great on Blu-ray. But I also want to add that the English dub track was very well done! For a series that features a diverse group, the writers for the English dialogue knew they could make the storyline feel like a seedy underground environment and that is too have your characters become the badasses with profanity and all.
Where the Japanese soundtrack is very good and appropriate for television, "Black Lagoon" has an English soundtrack that works effectively because of its profanity and nature of the main characters. Revy is featured as a loudmouth, a person who can easily cuss up a storm and the writers took advantage of that. Especially making the characters feel real thanks to casting. The English dub track has is made better by its more mature dialogue.
"Black Lagoon: Complete Set - Season 1 & 2″ comes with the following special features:
The Crew Behind the Scenes of English Version Production - (15:36) Featuring interviews with the original cast and crew of "Black Lagoon".
CD Commercial (Japan Only) - (:16) A short commercial for the CD soundtrack in Japan.
Promotional Video 1 - (1:55)
Promotional Video 2 - (1:19)
Second Season Promotion Video - (1:19)
Japanese Opening - (1:31)
Japanese Opening for "Black Lagoon: Second Barrage" - (1:31)
Textless Closing Song - (1:41)
Textless Closing Song - Episode 15 - (1:34)
Textless Closing Song - Episode 24 - (1:19)
"Black Lagoon: Complete Set - Season 1 & 2″ comes with the entire series on both Blu-ray and DVD.
Once in awhile, you come across anime series that manage to entertainment American audiences more than the audience in Japan. Typically, these are series that tend to feature a lot of action and series that happen to be very violent.
And with Rei Hiroe's inspiration from Quentin Tarentino and Coen Brothers films, he knew what he enjoyed about those films and did his best to create a storyline that incorporate the seedy criminal underground life. Full of people who are greedy, dangerous and often are deadly.
"Black Lagoon" is an interesting and unique anime series because most often, series that showcase protagonists who are thieves often are comedic and tend to use a slapstick style of comedy. But with "Black Lagoon", it's a series that was cleverly planned in how various crime organizations from different countries are integrated but also the moral dilemma that arises when the Lagoon team brings in Rock as their newest member.
You have characters who have come from terrible childhoods and had to compensate by becoming a criminal. Revy is a Chinese American who has lived in poverty and will do all it takes to never ever be poor, but at the same time, not many have tried to calm her anger. There is so much pain, so much hatred in her character but no one was brave enough to stand up to her, that is until we meet Rock.
What is interesting about Rock is that he's not great with fighting, nor is he great with artillery. He's a smart man who knows his geography, linguistics but also a man who gave his company his all, and now his company pretty much did all they can to kill him off because they were trying to hide their illegal dealings.
As Rock sees himself as a dead man with no strong ties to his past, he moves on as a new man with the Lagoon Company but also a man who has morals, a man who finds it difficult to think why criminals do the things they do. Why men, women, children get killed. But as his fellow associates don't question their jobs, Rock is there to challenge, to question them. And it becomes very difficult for a person like Revy, who has lived her life hating or fighting for what she hates. She has taken on the worst of the worst with her gun but yet this one man, without a gun, fights back with his words. Not afraid to upset her, not afraid to get in her face and tell her how he feels, knowing that he will get hurt by her. He doesn't care, as long as he gets his word out.
You don't really see this in a anime series. And throughout "Black Lagoon", we see Rock getting involved with various crime organizations and those wonder how the Lagoon company could hire someone so "good". But they start to realize that even though he is a "good" guy, he's also a smart guy that makes good decisions most of the time, especially in the best interest of the client and his Lagoon friends.
And "Black Lagoon" not only offers a deep and clever story, it also offers a lot of action and violence. What would you expect from an anime series that was inspired by Quentin Tarentino films? Suffice to say, it's the action that gets viewers all pumped. Along with "Hellsing", "Black Lagoon" is an anime series that shows crazy violence, gun wars, explosions, people being impaled. But it's what makes "Black Lagoon"so popular is that it delivers in action and storyline and also for its time, Studio Madhouse really created a series that looked amazing.
But how does it stack up on Blu-ray via upconvert? Well, it is important for people to remember that these are TV series and while there is wonderful animation, great character shading and art backgrounds, as one can expect from a TV series, there is softness. And it's important for people to remember that the series was released in 2006 and I've always said it before that series made after 2008, are the type of series that tend to look more amazing in HD. But with that being said, I have seen some really amazing upconverts from FUNimation of older series and "Black Lagoon" can be put in the category of very good upconverts. Colors are bold, line detail is very good and I detected no problems whatsoever in terms of banding, artifacts. Fans of the series will definitely be pleased with this Blu-ray release. And the Blu-ray also contains a good number of special features.
Was there anything that I found bad about this set? Not really, unless you were really hoping that the OVA series would be included. But you get both TV series included in this set and for its price on Blu-ray, it's a pretty good deal (especially compared to how much people paid for the DVD set back then).
Overall, "Black Lagoon: Complete Set - Season 1 & 2″ has received a distinction in America of being one of the better anime action series to be released stateside. I tend to look at "Black Lagoon" as an action anime series with a unique storyline that is a rarity to see among the plethora of action anime series released each year. But for the most part, I enjoyed the series then and I enjoy it even now on Blu-ray.
If you are an anime fan who craves kick ass action with a well-written storyline, look no further, "Black Lagoon: Complete Set - Season 1 & 2″ is highly recommended!
on July 7, 2014
Excellent and brutal anime to add to any collection. While many stories pull punches and hide behind cute cats and kid-safe emo-battles (I'm guilty of owning and enjoying many such series), Black Lagoon throws you into a dark and violent world filled with rich characters and simple-minded villains alike. In fact, often the line between villain and hero gets blurred as you discover how messed-up this account of our world is.
If you watch this, be prepared for a mature story with adult themes, violence, dark humor, and an abundance of vulgarities. And if you're fine with that, you'll probably love it.
on December 21, 2012
I wasn't sure if I was going to like Black Lagoon, but was able to get the dvd/blu-ray combo on a different site for a pretty good price, so I checked it out. Normally I'm not a big fan of big action shoot-em-up type of anime, but I was pleasantly surprised with Black Lagoon!
My first thought was that it's similar to Cowboy Bebop. But Black Lagoon ended up being much superior to Cowboy Bebop in my personal opinion. The individual story arcs are about 3-4 episodes each, which is the perfect amount of time to build a nice storyline and climax (much better than Bebop's short one-episode stories) without it ever getting boring or dragged out. The action itself is awesome and its actually meaningful because the story has already drawn you in. The animation is vibrant and beautiful.
The language is very foul. The violence is very graphic. The action is not very realistic (Revy consistenly takes out full platoons of guys without ever getting shot once herself) but that's what this is, an over-the-top type of show. Some of the characters are more like superheros. And even though you might dislike Revy at times (cus she is psychotic) I can promise you'll be rooting for her when she's up against the enemy. Dont expect any big conclusion here, but its a great adventure.
on January 26, 2015
Great animation, terrific action, interesting characters! However, if you cringe at gratuitous violence and filthy language, this is NOT for you. Black Lagoon has some of the most powerful, gritty, dark female characters in anime history. Usually, strong anime females are forced to sacrifice so much for the greater good. These women forge ahead, larger than life, more brash and cut-throat than the males around them. They're not sacrificial lambs; they're forces of nature. They're never objectified or relegated to background eye-candy. And these aren't some pathetic little Thelma and Louise victims of fate/ wannabe badasses. They don't go out in a blaze of glory; they exterminate with precision and very little emotion. There are no crybaby sisterhood rah-rah moments. They just do their job, then go home (or to the Yellow Flag).
Oh, and the guys are pretty good, too. Especially Chang, who is dreadfully under-used.
(Please note: I also love HOTD, so this isn't a feminist rant. BL is just a pleasant change from the usual fan service and harem-themes -- but I like that stuff, too.)
on May 15, 2014
Lets start off, the English voice over for black lagoon is 5/5 simply the best of any show I've seen its just perfectly picked and done. The animation is 5/5, i have no flaws with it at all, its very clean and nice to look at. The plot and character development is 5/5, unlike many shows that you watch the first 5 episodes show you all the back story of all the characters and show you who they are, well not black lagoon with every episode you get one piece of the puzzle into these characters lives and what made them who they are. The story line is very good and violent, if blood, bullets and immorality are your thing then your gonna love this show like i did!
Now for this order itself, its an insane deal! When i ordered this i was under the impression i was getting seasons 1&2 on blu-ray for 26bucks, now for two seasons of a good anime thats dam good. But i was wrong, your not getting just blu-ray your getting seasons 1&2 on DVD AND blu-ray for 26bucks, you literally can't get better then this. On top of that i ordered this on a Sunday night and they said it would be here that coming Saturday, well i got it at 1pm that Thursday. Thats 3 days later with free shipping option!
on July 14, 2013
While I had the previous release the problem was pretty typical, a crack had formed on one of the disc and having to decide whether to buy the single dvd or this set and with it's more affordable price the choice has been made. The series shows the darker side of human nature and morality from killing to compassion and which makes a person stronger especially on the life their living. That is the situation you get to see with this series as a character named Rock(Not real name of course) had a typical Japanese life on the surface until he meets the Lagoon company during one of their jobs and due to some setbacks and certain situations joins the group and thus learns a new way of life far different then the one he was used to.
Violence and gore are plenty in this series with a touch of nudity though not as much as you'd think,also some of the episodes can be pretty hardcore subjects ranging from kidnapping innocent people to the subject of pedophiles. Though that's pretty much expected with this series think of a more present day and much much darker Cowboy Bebop. The animation is great and the voice cast are terrific doing their character roles,while with half the anime series usually the Japanese subbed cast are superior in their roles but like with the other half the Japanese and English cast are pretty equal in talent when voicing their character roles.
If you have an aversion towards brutality and gore then obviously this series is one you should pass on but for those who can recognize the series is fictional and is a great series regardless then now is the time to get this set especially as you now have a choice between regular and blu-ray versions of the series.
on October 15, 2014
Black Lagoon dives into the darker side of nature. The story follows a crew of transporters who deliver any goods to anybody any place. Think of it as the black market underworld for assassins, spies, traitors, and the worlds most wanted criminals. The show takes the side of all seriousness and leaves only enough room for a good chuckle here and there. Lots of foul language, guns blazing, casings bouncing, insane driving and car crashing stunts to satisfy any action starved junkie to the hilt. Black Lagoon is geared up and aims for an adult audience, but my nine year old son loves it and thinks it is the bomb. ( contains smoking, drinking, cursing, crude humor, blood, and violence.)
on February 23, 2016
Well made anime. Absoultely ideal and an essential for any anime fan's collection. As for anti-anime people I still actually surprisingly reccomend this anyways. For film buffs I believe you will definitely enjoy this seireis as it's cleary Tarantino inspired action and in depth stories are a plus to the series.Easily in my top ten shows ever and top ten Anime ever. I put this up there with films like Akira and Ghost in the Shell series/movies/shows . Reccomended for adults. As in 17 and older. This is really not a teen show or anything but I feel that's what help made this series so distinct and gather so much critical acclaim as it shows no censorship for the most part. Also there are two seasons within this collection and you get everything made for this show except the more recent sequel OVA collection called "Roberta's Blood Trail" which is just as good I advise to watch this first and then the trail collecton as the trail is the sequels to the last episode shown in this collection. This I believe came out like a few months before the trail OVA's came out is why the trail isn't featured as part of this set. 100/10 and 500/5 stars.