Rokuro Okajima had a nice life as a white collar worker in a large corporation in Japan. Life was simple, peaceful and secure. But when Rukuro goes on a trip that all changes. He ends up being taken hostage, only to find that his employer has discarded him. Having no where to go, Rukuro ends up staying with his captors: The Lagoon Company. And receives the nickname Rock.
So Rock begins his life as part of a group of mercenaries in South East Asia. His new diet of beer, pizza and cigarettes goes well with his lifestyle change of being shot at constantly. Yet he actually finds that while he doesn't completely accept the life of a mercenary, he doesn't miss what he gave up either. He is where he is. And most of the team seem to be in similar circumstances, doing what they can to survive. In their corner of the world where the good guys are just the least bad guys, the Lagoon company will have a tough time doing just that.
Not having looked very deep into the series I didn't have high hopes for Black Lagoon. The series starts off with this guy Rock in part of a negotiations gone awry. Rock becomes one of the team as he is disposed of by his former corporate employers. By the end of the first two episodes I didn't see much happening with the series. It seemed like just a regular action based title, with some over the top anime themes.
But then Rock actually started to interest me. In this strange world of mercenaries, you have this guy formerly integrated into the Japanese corporate world as a salaried ass kisser, now a part of a lawless band of transporters. And under his own will. Rock is the person who gives you a perspective on things. He continues to wear a shirt and tie despite the fact that he's a borderline pirate and it looks absurd. He also has a much more grounded point of view, while staying quite sharp and a part of the team. He also seems to have discovered a lot about himself when he was thrown away from the safety of Japanese society like rubbish.
In the series you also have Revy who acts as a counterpoint in a way to Rock. She's hot headed and rarely thinks much about anything. She is however quite good at what she does. With a brain behind her (Dutch), the Black Lagoon team is able to distinguish itself. However not long into the series you realize that for Revy to become this way, she's actually pretty screwed up. And while waving a gun around works wonders in most situations, Rock points out that it seems to be the only way she can really resolve anything.
A few episodes into it Revy and Rock start having various conversations that are interesting considering the perspective of each. It gives this series a nice bit of thinking in between the merciless fighting. And by merciless I do mean merciless. Revy leaves heaps of blood and dead people in her wake once she gets started. So by offsetting the action a bit it keeps the title more grounded and relateable.
Animation wise Black Lagoon does very well for itself on a TV budget. Designs were good but not spectacular, however one plus of this series is that both animation and designs were consistent. Music was also strong in the series. One notable part being the somber ending theme which fades in at the end.
So in the end I thought Black Lagoon was a very good title. Lots of action and a bit thought provoking at times. It is however very violent which may not be suitable for some. Likewise the theme of being a mercenary stuck in Southeast Asia may not be the sort of theme some people are looking for. And Revy swears like a drunken pirate. And compared to Black Lagoon the only way you could pack more guns, beer and cigarette smoke into a place would be having an NRA convention at Oktoberfest over a burning tobacco field. And this title also tends to lend itself to the girls with guns genre. Now I thought that possibly only involved Revy, but this anime takes it to a whole new level. You have Revy who is the action girl with guns. The Russian business woman with guns. Nuns with guns. And even chamber maids with guns. And while a bit bizarre the maid with guns was totally awesome.
So I would say if you fit into the target audience that is OK with all that, then Black Lagoon is a title you should be watching.
Rock: I don't know what broke to make her like this, but I must be broken too if I'm standing here praising her destructiveness
Eda: Want me to show you how to smoke through your forehead?
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