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Anime: Black Lagoon V1

black lagoon v1

Despite being only a couple of years old, Black Lagoon reminded me (visually, at least) of some of the classic show’s I watched as a kid: Particularly Battle of the Planets. However I’m sure that if you were to actually compare the two, side by side, they’d be nothing alike – but that’s where the artistic style of this series took me. The show’s however, are nothing alike.

From the get go, the four episodes on this first volume DVD of Black Lagoon are all action. Quite literally, guns blazing.

While on a ‘business trip’ to Southeast Asia Rokuro Okajima finds himself an unwitting participant in some of his employers nefarious business dealings. Before he has any clue as to what has happened, Rokuro — later nicknamed Rock — is take hostage by a team of hardened mercenaries who go by the name Lagoon Company: a ‘delivery company’ who “sometimes break the rules to put food on the table”. Even though he’s a complete outsider Rock manages to prove his worth to the mercenaries and, when his boss double crosses him, manages to secure a place as part of Lagoon Company.

The first two episodes included in this volume act as something of an extended pilot, setting the scene for the episodes that follow. But with the series starting off with a bang, there’s little time spent on developing the characters and I began to worry that, as much fun as these episodes were, the lack of development could render the series a little pointless. Fortunately episodes three and four allow for some time to get to know Rock’s new companions.

Dutch is the leader of the Lagoon Company and the captain of the ex-U.S. Navy PT boat (named: Black Lagoon). Dutch is a cool talking Vietnam vet who seems to take a liking to Rock even when he’s still, technically, holding him hostage. His demeanour and dimensions allow him to maintain control over the twin Beretta wielding Revy.

Revy is tiny by comparison to Dutch, but she’s a far more fearsome character. Put simply, Revy (Rebecca) is barking mad! She delights in the action and danger that her role with the Lagoon Company brings her into contact with. In the later episodes contained on this DVD we get a brief look into Revy’s dark past and a sense that she and Rock may become closer as the series progresses – although what form this relationship will take (romantic or sibling-like) is unclear at this point. But even at this early stage it seems apparent that finding out exactly what makes Revy tick is going to be at the heart of this series.

Tech expert Benny completes the group. He’s not cut from the same cloth as Revy or Dutch, he’s not a gun toting killer. He is a quiet boffin, who attended the University of Florida, which — other than his apparent ability to build or repair anything electronic — is just about all we know of him.

What I found refreshing about Black Lagoon is the fact that it is set in the real world. There are no demons, cyborgs or monsters in this show… well, at least none yet! You wouldn’t want to, but these characters inhabit a world that your or I could get to. Sure it’s bloody and violent, and the action is a little over the top and unbelievable, but if it wasn’t then it wouldn’t really be ‘action’ now, would it?

Along with the first four episodes the Black Lagoon V1 DVD contains both the Japanese (with English subtitles) and English dub audio track, the music video for the show’s theme and a fifteen minute ‘making of’ documentary with the cast and crew behind the English audio.

By the fourth episode the show has settled into a rhythm, the characters haven’t been completely exposed yet, but these episodes instil faith that this series will plum deeper. Be warned though, the fourth — Nazi filled — episode will leave you hanging! [source] [source]

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