Anime Club: Black Lagoon

Hello everybody! For this week’s anime club we join the Lagoon Company in Black Lagoon.

BLACK LAGOON

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DIRECTOR: Sunao Katabuchi

NO. OF EPISODES: 29 episodes

GENRE: Crime, Action, Black Comedy

YEAR: 2006

COUNTRY:  Japan

The story follows a team of pirate mercenaries known as Lagoon Company, that smuggles goods in and around the seas of Southeast Asia in the early to mid 1990s. Their base of operations is located in the fictional harbor city of Roanapur in southeast Thailand (somewhere in the Amphoe Mueang Trat district, likely on the mainland north/northeast of the Ko Chang island or on the island itself). The island is home to the Yakuza, the Triad, Cuban and French cartels, and a wide assortment of pickpockets, thugs, mercenaries, thieves, prostitutes, assassins, and Gunmen of all sorts. They transport goods in the 80-foot (24 m) Elco-type PT boat Black Lagoon. Lagoon Company does business with various clients, but has a particularly friendly relationship with the Russian crime syndicate Hotel Moscow. The team takes on a variety of missions—which may involve violent firefights, hand-to-hand combat, and nautical battles—in various Southeast Asian locations, even going as far as Phu Quoc island of Vietnam and when not doing much, the members of the Lagoon Company spend much of their down time at The Yellow Flag, a bar in Roanapur which is often destroyed in firefights.

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Over the course of the show, Rock serves as the viewer’s guide into the bloody part of the world Lagoon is set in, and manages to befriend his crew mates at Lagoon Company: Dutch, the cool-headed leader; Revy, the short-tempered gunslinger; and Benny, the comparably pacifist tech wiz. Lagoon Company faces off against the Russian Mafia, the South American Cartels, the Yakuza, Neo-Nazis, a weapon smuggling church and many other law-abiding citizens in the city of Roanapur. Black Lagoon ran for two seasons, the latter of which is aptly named “Second Barrage”. In addition to this, a 5-episode sidequel OVA was produced, titled “Roberta’s Blood Trail”.

Black Lagoon is a fantastically well-produced anime. The visuals are stunning: fight scenes are beautifully choreographed, characters display emotion without looking goofy, settings and backgrounds are beautiful, and the animation is fluid. Sound design and mixing are done fantastically: guns are loud without drowning out dialogue, fights are hectic, and the acting in BOTH the English Dub and Original Japanese are phenomenal. Writing and scripting are handled very well with this series, and each major character gets enough screen time and character development to make them lively and loveable. What really sets Lagoon apart from similar anime is that the character development is well-balanced with the action, and the pacing of the anime never suffers any sudden jolts or lulls.

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The antagonists are really hit and miss in how little depth some of them have when they seem. One in particular involves an army of Aryan neo-nazis that seem more like just fodder characters that don’t get a lot of profound characterization that, while I can forgive it, given how it’s portrayed in an action show, it would’ve been more than what it already was. For the one that does hit the mark is oddly enough a Roberta maid who is given some context for her intentions on being who she is and the show handles it very well despite her strange terminator-like persona that wasn’t given much explanation, but then again the show is nutty enough to let it pass as just another Black Lagoon style of logic put in for good measure.

PROS:

  •  Main characters.
  • Foul language.
  • Animation style.

CONS:

  •  Antagonists.
  • Some characters lack development.

SCORE: 9.0 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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All check out my lengthier video game reviews over at Nerd Bacon Games.

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