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Black Lagoon, the first season, is a beautifully drawn and animated work of art, but it's violent (sometimes brutally violent) and it's drenched in animated blood. It is populated with unsavory characters, likable villains, questionable heroes, and one guy who thinks he can somehow bring meaningful ethics into the underworld. The world of Black Lagoon is a funny place, where the most appropriate punchline to life's terrible joke is sometimes a punch in the face or a bullet in the gut.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
In a criminal underworld just out of sightApril 4 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
I don't even recall how I first heard of Black Lagoon. Having watched the series on YouTube, I was hooked from the first episode. The animation is stunning, especially the beautiful shots of the South China sea. This disk contains one of my favorite parts of the series, from the beginning of episode one, where we meet Rock and see the life he escapes from, to the beginning of episode three, when we first see Rock "on the job" and attempting to reason with the freight ship until Revi uses an RPG in her own particular method of persuasion.
Black Lagoon teases us with a world so close to our own that we are never quite certain if we are dealing in supposed reality or not. Though the city of Roanapur doesn't really exist, it very easily could under another name, it seems, and the geographic locations are mostly accurate. Back stories set in real history (such as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan) provide a realistic setting for some of the characters as well. Weapons depictions are also almost startlingly accurate.
On the other hand, the use of those weapons and the capabilities of the characters often reminds us that we are indeed watching an anime, with various characters (mostly female) who are able to wield their choice of weapons with nearly supernatural finesse and ability.
It's all in good fun, and the series isn't afraid to poke fun at itself, while sometimes thoughtfully raising questions of moral perspective.
There is some mature content, which while often unnecessary is also part of the criminal underworld backdrop that is reinforced throughout the series.
These are not nice people, they live by violence and crime. Yet still we develop an unshakeable attachment to them: The capable and dangerous Balalaika; the murderous, hot-headed, yet somehow endearing Revi; the reluctant but ultimately courageous Rock; and many other characters, developed to varying extents but all interesting.
I look forward to the rest of the episodes being released.
Like everything else, this series has its flaws, but is intense, compelling, and ultimately satisfying.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Promises to be an Entertaining Series at the Very LeastJune 30 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
At the onset, although little has been revealed about the characters, this promises to be an engaging series. The gunplay is quite impressive as is the animation and the pulsing soundtrack's style is unique in anime. The story revolves around four mercenary sea pirates, one of whom, Rock, was recently recruited after he was kidnapped from Japan, where he was working a white-collar job. It's amusing to see Rock trying to adjust to his new, criminal lifestyle while he is surrounded by already hardened, brutal cohorts...but it's Revy that steals the show. Her savagely casual way of slaughtering her enemies is quite chilling to watch, yet she retains a human quality that seems to come out when she deals with Rock. Despite her shockingly nihilistic violence, Revy still emerges as one of anime's sexiest "heroines". (wait, is she a heroine?) Fans of Cowboy Bebop-style action and drama will enjoy this. Recommended!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant, violent, sure to please!June 16 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
TOKYO, Japan: Meet Rokuro Okajima, a young Japanese businessman...in a town full of young Japanese businessmen. He's just another working stiff who's trying to claw his way up the corporate ladder--until it's kicked out from under him.
ROANAPUR, Thailand: Rokuro is kidnapped by the "Black Lagoon" company, who are after the valuable CD-ROM he's carrying. Now dubbed "Rock" by his captors, he is dragged into a world of mercenaries, mobsters and corporate malfesance. If he's going to survive, "Rock" will have to learn how to play by their rules.
BLACK LAGOON CO.: Led by the burly Dutch, supported by trigger-happy Revy and expert computer-hacker Benny, the Black Lagoon Co. will take on any job--for price. And God help you if you don't pay up!
DVD notes: The theme song is actually sung in English, but heavily accented and badly slurred in places. Special Features include English & Japanese dialogue, English subtitles, preview trailers & DVD credits.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Not too shabby.April 18 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
"Black Lagoon" is a pretty typical anime action series, not really outstanding in comparison to some of the shows that have come before it, but it's a series that does almost everything right. "Cowboy Bebop" on water pretty much sums it up. I'm reviewing the series as whole here, so bear that in mind as I will reference things that may not be on this particular disc. The show follows the adventures of a rag-tag crew (is there any other kind?) of modern pirates as they pull off jobs and capers for various crime bosses. The protagonist is a jaded businessman who becomes known as "Rock" after he is kidnapped by said pirates and eventually winds up joining them after he turns out to be more resourceful than one might expect. Rock may be the protagonist but make no mistake, the star of the show is sociopathic she-pirate Levi, a one-woman wrecking crew with bad attitude to spare. This girl in the best thing this series has going for it as she is a true-blue anti-heroine; mean-spirited, apathetic, and often beyond psychotic. This is rather suprising since the female leads in these shows are typically rather sensitive and heroic types inside of their harsh exteriors, but Levi is bad to the bone and she never lets you forget it for long. Her clashes with the level-headed newcomer Rock make up much of the first half of the show and believe me, it gets ugly. Rounding out the crew are Dutch, the captain of their torpedo boat, and Benny who appears to be the tech guy but frankly, he doesn't do much. Most of the missions are split between two or three episode arcs and consist of such glamorous fare as salvaging a sunken Nazi U-boat or kidnapping a rich brat. Of course there's always a catch such as a battleship full of neo-nazis coming to reclaim their artifacts, or a nanny/housemaid (complete with fetishistic outfit) that gives Levi more than a run for her money in some gunbattles that would make John Woo want to throw in the towel on his career. These kind of fringe characters are another reason that "Black Lagoon" is such a success. My favorite is a rather vain blademistress in a Chinese dress who teams up with Levi during the last arc of the series. The scene where the two of them are being pursued in a car and fighting with each other over who gets to stand up through the sunroof and engage the pursuers is a riot. Also of note is the crew's primary employer, a Russian mafiosa with badly scarred skin named Balalaika (say THAT three times fast!) who shows up often as the consumate crooked businesswoman. The series is a too-short 12 episodes with no larger story to tell. Levi's past is hinted at or glimpsed several times, but never truly explored and I'd consider a follow-up series likely. "Black Lagoon" is a fun show with fantastic action sequences, great animation, and plenty of colorful characters. Well worth a viewing. If you worship at the altar of "Cowboy Bebop", consider this series a must, though newcomers to anime and casual fans should also find a lot to like here. However, if you're looking for something new and are rather bored with typical anime fare I doubt you'll find anything mindblowing in this show.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Way Over The Top, But Is That So BadFeb. 7 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Okajima Rokuro has been taken hostage while on a business trip. He is written off by his company and decides to join the Pirates that have taken him hostage. He soon learns that pirating is just one of the jobs that the Black Lagoon mercenary group performs. He is now known as "Rock" and is the 4th member of the team. The only female member, Revy, takes a strange sort of liking to him. He watches her and learns to fight with the kind of fearlessness that makes her so unstoppable.
This series is way over the top, but that is makes Black Lagoon so interesting. There are a lot of animes out there that are over the top. So this is not a new concept to the genre. The explosions, harsh language, and gratuitous violence are very American cinema-ish. Black Lagoon is well animated, has a good soundtrack, voice cast, and an entertaining story. It's hard to give this volume 5 stars, since there are only 4 episodes on it. But I am very impressed. The story moves quickly, and stays interesting. It has a very episodic movement to it. Each of the 1st 4 episodes is a separate little story, kind of like Cowboy Bebop was. This anime isn't at all like Cowboy Bebop, it just moves the same way. I really enjoyed Black Lagoon, and I am definitely gonna watch the rest. I recommend it to mature anime fans.