Black Lagoon: Season 1 & 2 (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD + Blu-ray
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Rokuro's mundane trip to South East Asia turns from pleasure cruise to festival of pain when modern-day pirates take him hostage. Revy, Dutch, and Benny are the ruthless crew of the Black Lagoon. For them, getting shot at while smuggling drugs, guns, and stolen goods is part of a typical day at work - and Rokuro is joining the team.
The action-adventure series Black Lagoon (2006) shoots off more ammunition than a Clint Eastwood film festival. Rokura Okajima, a minor flunky in a major corporation, thinks his life is over when he's kidnapped by pirates, but it's only his business career that ends. He joins the pirates as "Rock," and the trio of Dutch, the understated leader; happy-go-lucky techie Benny; and trigger-happy, potty-mouthed Revy becomes a quartet. They're less pirates than soldiers of fortune, ready to do anything if the price is right. They pursue adventures involving treasure left on a sunken World War II U-boat, pornographers, drug- and arms-dealing nuns, kidnappers, and a terrorist plot to blow up US embassies. The second season of Black Lagoon ratchets up the action and the violence, as two sadistic assassins throw the underworld into an uproar: a pair of Romanian orphans who developed a taste for cruelty performing in snuff films. But most of the Second Barrage focuses on Rock serving as a translator when Russian crime boss Lady Balalaika intervenes in a yakuza gang war in Tokyo. Revy serves as his bodyguard, leaving Benny and Dutch behind. Rock falls for Yukio, a high school girl who succeeds her father as head of the Washimine crime syndicate. When Lady Balalaika comments, "We're all going to be knee-deep in blood before this ends," she isn't kidding. The Russian gangsters, who command more men, vehicles, and weapons than many national armies, quickly exterminate most of the Washimine gang. Amid the carnage, Yukio complains bitterly (and seriously), "Honor and justice are dead." Although bullets, blood, and four-letter words fly, it doesn't add up to much. The gun battles, car chases, knife fights, and explosions take up so much screen time, there's little left for character development or a coherent narrative. Extremely violent, misogynistic, and profane, Black Lagoon is not for squeamish or easily offended viewers. (Rated TV MA: graphic violence, violence against women, extensive profanity, grotesque imagery, alcohol and tobacco use, racial slurs, offensive ethnic stereotypes, Nazi imagery, offensive religious imagery, references to child pornography, suggested incest and torture) --Charles Solomon
(1. The Black Lagoon, 2. Mangrove Heaven, 3. Ring-Ding Ship Chase, 4. Die Rückkehr des Adlers, 5. Eagle Hunting and Hunting Eagle, 6. Moonlit Hunting Ground, 7. Calm Down, Two Men, 8. Rasta Blasta, 9. Maid to Kill, 10. The Unstoppable Chambermaid, 11. Lock'n Load Revolution, 12. Guerrillas in the Jungle, 13. The Vampire Twins Comen, 14. Bloodsport Fairytale, 15. Swan Song at Dawn, 16. Greenback Jane, 17. The Roanapur Freakshow Circus, 18. Mr. Benny's Good Fortune, 19. Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise, 20. The Succession, 21. Two Father's Little Soldier Girls, 22. The Dark Tower, 23. Snow White's Payback, 24. The Gunslingers)
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Top Customer Reviews
The title alone should be a clue that this is a mature show, although I suppose the incredibly child-friendly One Piece anime about pirates could cause confusion there. If there is any, BLACK LAGOON IS NOT FOR CHILDREN. Period. Unless you want your children f-bombing every other sentence, chain smoking and waving guns everywhere. Then go ahead and sit down for some quality time around Black Lagoon.
If you're of an appropriate age and enjoy heavy action, fun characters, entertaining stories and occasionally some very dark humor, this one's worth a look.
Best part of all? This show makes you grow to like and care for Lagoon Company, even though their morals can be questionable at times. Revy is crazy for violence and bloodshed yet you really start to like her the more you dive in (2nd arc pun). Of course, no anime is complete without a pacifist character that tries to solve all the problems without violence; this goes to Rock. The Lagoon Company is really diverse in many ways, and their interactions really work well.
If you are interested in this genre and have the stomach for it (its not that bad), then you will have quite some fun watching this.
BANG! (another reference)
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.
I won’t go into plot too much, as I believe this is a show worth experiencing in its entirety, but will break down the pros and cons of the series.
Action Action and MORE ACTION!!!
Twisted story (if you can’t handle it this can be a con)
Unique pace and style
Sort of a “dude” show (more on that later)
Box set feels incomplete (but the OVA, sold separately, finishes up the series nicely)
Voice acting is… a mixed bag.
Okay, here we go. I have been a big fan of anime all my life, and this has got to be in my top three series watched (and I have seen a LOT of them.) Black Lagoon is unlike any other anime series out there, to the best of my knowledge. It is what I imagine happens when a Japanese man with a fascination for guns and girls writes a manga paying honor to Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, and the Die Hard series.
At a first glance Black Lagoon is just another Michal Bay film, only animated, complete with subpar acting; but this is how it is supposed to be. You aren’t supposed to take the show seriously until it starts taking itself seriously. This can be haphazard at times, but the transition from “mindless shoot-em-up” to “story about the depravity of humanity” comes along in a surprising way.
This is a show where you are never more than ten minutes away from a firefight and never more than one minute away from an F bomb; it is clear that this show/manga was geared towards a male audience. However, as there is not a single female cast member who is not a bona fide badass, I would encourage everyone to watch this. It jumps away from the typical anime trope of “giddy teenage school girl” female characters, and the lead, Revy, is one of the most twisted sociopaths you’ll ever see.
The animation is amazing, too. From the characters expressions, to the intense detail placed in the action sequences, to the stunning hand-drawn backgrounds and tropical environments. No detail is omitted and you can really appreciate just looking at the scenes. Right out of the bag you’ll be introduced to amazing ocean environments that will leave you wanting to go to the beach. There is very little CG in this show and, in my opinion, it comes out better for it.
Now I’ll mention a little about the story before talking about the most important aspect of this show, the VA. The story starts of bland and un-inspired. Rokuro (Rock) is a Japanese business man whose luck runs out when he is hijacked by a group of international pirates known as Black Lagoon. A thousand bullets, one of those rare helicopter/boat collisions, and a few dozen explosions later nothing really changes aside from the fact that he decides to toss his old job and join up with Black Lagoon.
The series is a collection of Black Lagoon’s exploits after Rock joins. They are more like mercenaries than traditional pirates and pretty much work for the highest bidder. The story doesn’t get really compelling until the second season, “Second Barrage”, where the stories take a turn for the macabre. By the end of the series you will have that “Elfin Lied” feeling, where you will be questioning your own humanity and the meaning of life. Until then, though, just enjoy the ride and laugh at the curse words and vulgar behavior.
As I mentioned before the series doesn’t feel complete until you watch the OVAs, which is called “Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail.” The manga which this anime is based off of is still under production, and the second season ended pretty much right when we start learning a little back story. You still won’t know much about the cast, except for Revy, by the end of the OVAs but it does feel like a better place to end, slightly more conclusive (though, again, the manga is still going on so we may even get more eventually)
Okay, lastly the Voice Acting. I know a fair amount of Japanese, and am traditionally in favor of Sub over Dub; I can tell good and bad voice acting regardless of language. I have only ever watched one other series where I prefer dub over sub, and that was Samurai Champloo. This show suffers the same fault as that series (or perhaps benefit, depending on how you look at it.) That is: the voice acting is…okay? In either language. I’ve watched Black Lagoon through in both languages and the quality is decent, but not great, it both languages.
NOW, as to why I prefer Dub over Sub in this instance? One: Watching a show in your native tongue when you have nothing to gain by watching it subbed is always easier. Two, and most importantly: The English language has a much more…. Colorful vocabulary. The majority of Black Lagoon (the pirates) is of American origins, and Rock is multi-lingual so everyone speaking English makes more sense. Not to mention it fits the tone of the series more, we Americans have 101 ways to say “F you” whereas in the Japanese language you are much more restricted. The cast is all pretty violent and vulgar, so having a wide variety in the curse words is a must for comedy’s sake.
Well that about covers it. A 4.5 star show in my opinion, with only the slightest of faults weighing it down.