-Black Lagoon, a on the sea version of Outlaw Star, except extremely dark (RATED TV MA)-
Summary of Black Lagoon Review:
Rock, Revy, and the rest of the Black Lagoon cast. Keeps everything interesting in Roanapur. To the point you are binge watching the show. Then you start to wonder where is season 4? Despite it not ending on a cliffhanger. The story feels slightly unfinished. Definitely not for kids or people sensitive to sadistic material. Regardless it has very few flaws. Being both musically and visually appealing. Its’ one of those anime to put on the shelf. Genres: Action, Crime drama, Dark comedy. Episodes: 29 (including OVA).
-Rock, the Twilight of Roanapur-
So Black Lagoon was a roller coaster ride for me. Starting right from the opening theme song (Red Fraction by Mell). Which is lit as fuck and is spewing with creativity. Then all of a sudden you hear a familiar voice. My mind at that point is going, God no! Please don’t let it be that cry baby Amuro Ray. Sure enough it is the same voice actor and you start having flashbacks because Rock comes off as a big whiner at first.
But slowly you begin to warm up to him and realize he is your gateway into this crazy crime setting called Roanapur. Which is a city located in Thailand. Where crime lords are doing dirty business.
-Rock is Sane, Smart, & Dumb at the Same Time-
This is why Rock gets slingshot into the mix. By balancing out all the insane characters in the anime. Such as Revy and Balalaika. Who take great pleasure in dishing out violence, suffering, and pain to others. Rock however is the exact opposite and a truly smart character. Seeing Rock use his whit to stay alive and achieve his goals. Becomes entertaining to watch.
Although he does stupid stuff every now and then. Like staring into a fire, while a pissed off Roberta (a former F.A.R.C. assassin). Is trying to kill them. Or saying things to the wrong people. Who don’t give a damn about his moral values.
Crew members like Benny (the tech geek of Black Lagoon). Do their best to help Rock accept Roanapur for what it is. Yet still Rock doesn’t accept this. So instead he gets caught up with battling the good decisions, vs. bad decisions within his mind. The rest of the crew like Dutch (the leader) and Revy (the guns man). Pretty much add to this persistent mind battle of his.
-Early Beginnings, Hang in There-
The first 2 episodes start off good. Then the next 2 episodes were blah. Boat battles just aren’t all that exciting. I rather watch space battles like Outlaw Star (another good anime to watch). Black Lagoon’s constant gun fights, occasional explosions, and rare sword fights are splendid. So I recommend don’t give up on it yet. Because starting on episode 5. It picks right back up and never lets off the gas peddle.
Black Lagoon has several great philosophical moments. Which are set up perfectly within the show. If you go to this link (Funimation’s official YouTube channel with subs of Black Lagoon) and start at 13:42 to 16:25. This gives you a perfect example of what I am talking about.
Revy for the most part is trying to tell Rock. That having a sentimental value towards a object is meaningless. The only real value it has is cash. Money gives you power and guns. Revy touches on more things such as her past, but I don’t want to give too much away. There are some obvious reasons why. She tends to come off as a psychopath. However this does make her one of the most dangerous gun fighters within Roanapur.
-Controversy 1, Shenhua-
Now time to address two controversies. 1st starting with Shenhua. Who Revy makes fun of constantly. Saying she is speaking Chinglish and the voice actress (Saffron Henderson). Is trying her best job to fit the stereotype.
A handful of people might be offended and others will be laughing. Before you do get offended. Keep in mind Shenhua is a native Taiwanese and the creators aren’t trying to be racist. In fact, Black Lagoon has a really diverse cast of characters. Rock is Japanese, Dutch is African American, Revy is Chinese American, and Ben is Jewish. What I just mentioned. Is only a fraction of the other characters ethnicity within Roanapur.
-Controversy 2, Romanian Twins-
That moment you meet the Romanian Twins. Will be the 2nd controversy within the show. I’m trying to avoid spoilers (link at bottom), but still keep in mind. This is a very dark anime. Not for kids at all. Earning its MA rating with violence, blood, drugs, alcohol, hookers, foul language, Nazis, murder, torture, various ages making out, and nudity. The only thing it is missing is hentai/porn style sex scenes.
I think it is fair to say. That Rei Hiroe’s Black Lagoon is on par with Elfen Lied and Dance In The Vampire Bund. If you are not able to handle/stomach animes like those. Stay far away from this one. Especially if you hate feeling sad because there is only so many hints I can give. Before ruining the story for others.
-…and Where is Season 4?-
Black Lagoon’s story is told in mini plots and sometimes gives a vibe of lacking direction. At any rate, I won’t knock it for that. The thing I will knock it for. Is not finishing with enough details. About the history of the characters and not completing the overall story arc. Basically, where is season 4? Rei Hiroe has left the manga unfinished as well. So we are all SOL. I can easily give this anime a perfect 5 out of 5 stars, but at the moment. It is stuck at 4 stars.
Maybe we can all just keep asking everyone involved with Black Lagoon. “Where is season 4?” Over and over again. Then a miracle may eventually happen. Fans need more Rock, Revy, and Roanapur mayhem. Hopefully the creative bodies of Black Lagoon. Are able to see. They have something amazing going for them. The story & characters are not only crazy and darker than black. But they manage to make you stay tuned in and entertained.
-Seasons We Can Actually Buy-
At the end of the day. Money speaks louder than words. When it comes to scenarios like this. Currently your best bet is the premium edition. You’ll have both seasons and the OVA (season 3). All in one package and if this is still available. You can wait for sales or Black Friday. Furthermore, you will actually have some value in your hands. Just in case you ever want to sale it or flip it later on.
Lastly I would like to applaud the English dub. Seeing that it was spectacular and dare I might say. Even out shined the Japanese dub for once.