In the 2006 twenty-four episode animated series Black Lagoon, the viewers follow a Japanese business man named Rock, who gets kidnapped by a group of pirate mercenaries called the Black Lagoon, hence the title. They smuggle goods around the seas of Southeast Asia in the mid-1990s and send them to different clients in the Southeastern Asia area. While on the job, they run into criminals and get into outrageous fights on the streets and a few boats.
Now, when first learning about the series, I was a bit skeptical about watching it because of how much mature content I read in some reviews of this show. After viewing the first episode, though, my opinion about the anime changed immediately! From the lively English voice acting and catchy music to the mind-blowing action and pure dark comedy, this series had me watching every night after coming home from school. I love almost…almost everything about Black Lagoon, except for a few flaws that somewhat let me down when watching. But as always, I will give you readers the insights of why I adore this anime.
First of all, while this story line seems cliché for an anime in the gangster genre, creator Rei Hiroe spices up the plot in the first season by adding some unique twists and turns to give an in-depth story about the real world of trading goods, adding some of the coolest fights in anime history, and to put the cherry on top, tons of hilarious and dark comedy aimed for the mature audience. Since the main protagonists are considered villains (according to those who do not watch anime), there are times where the story aims towards bashing the characters for trying to steal expensive ships and goods. He also enhances some of his main characters developments—mainly Rock’s and Revy’s—to bring his story to life for his audience. The two other main characters, Dutch and Benny, have just the tiniest but of development, but not enough to make me feel the sympathy I had for Rock and Revy. I wanted to know a lot more about those two characters, such as where they came from, how they ended up joining the Black Lagoon crew, etc., but to replace the development, Hiroe shines the spotlight on their characters during their fight scenes to make their characters extra special.
As for the season season of this anime, mostly everything was the same except for the plot. Instead of the smaller and exciting arcs from the first season, the viewer will have few long arcs in the span of twelve episodes. While some arcs blew me away, there was an arc with these two vampire twins that made me feel a bit uneasy. The story for this arc spreads out and just ends up a mess by the middle of it. Don’t worry, though, the ending for this arc brought a big bang and left me in tears because of the ending song used, The World of Midnight.
While I would watch the series, I kept visioning myself watching Black Lagoon as a live-action TV series on NBC or FOX, which was very strange because the show has a lot of elements that are similar to a crime/violent series. If there was an actual live-action series, I would watch it in a heartbeat—kind of like I said in my review for Nana.
For an anime made in the year of 2006, the animation outshines a lot of the other anime made during that year. All of the characters’ designs, outfits, and facials are so unique to one another, which helps the viewers recognize which characters is which. Also, the fight scenes are absolutely GORGEOUS, with fluid battle sequences from the characters and jaw-dropping gun plays that will leave the audience awe-struck. I remember after finishing one of the episodes of the first season that I would end up speechless from how beautiful the art and animation sequences were.
As an action-packed series, there has to be tons of lively soundtracks to go with the right scene, right? Well, for those of you who haven’t seen Black Lagoon, you are in for quite a treat! From hard rock n’ roll to soft guitar, the twenty nine pieces of music composed by Edison are from a wide variety of genres and will definitely keep the viewers jamming to or listening quietly to the tracks. On my own time, I will sometimes go on YouTube and listen to the soundtrack because it is just that awesome to listen to! Some of my favorite tracks from the show include the opening Red Fraction, of course, Don’t Look Behind, Don’t Stop, Make a Bet, Let Me Know Your Name and The World of Midnight.
The English voice acting in this anime, produced by Funimation, is so on point and there are no choppy, robotic articulation sequences at all! All of the characters, including the supporting ones, have the right voices and tones for their roles, which is important in an anime. A couple of my favorite voice actors and actresses in Black Lagoon include Brad Swaile (voice of Rock and also voice of Light from Death Note), Dean Redman (voice of Dutch), Maryke Hendrikse (voice of Revy), and Lisa Ann Beley (voice of a hilarious side character named Eda). There are many more actors and actresses that I liked who did a wonderful job with voicing their characters, but these four actors and actresses because of their amazing performances.
And there you have it, readers! Those are my thoughts on one of my top favorite series of all time, Black Lagoon. This anime series, overall, is such a phenomenal piece of art that older teens and adults will both enjoy, which brings me to my perfect score of five stars. If you have not seen the anime and love sci-fi/action packed series, then I’m sure you will definitely enjoy it. Also, if you are reading this and have not seen anime at all, then I will totally recommend Black Lagoon for you as well. This series has the story of an NBC show and battle sequences similar to The Matrix movies. For those of you who are wanting to watch the series now, buckle your seat belts, grab your friends, and get ready for the hilarious and jaw-dropping action-packed anime series, Black Lagoon.
Warnings: Black Lagoon is not an anime for all viewers, since there are bits of scenes with suggestive themes, profanity, heavy symbolism, and mind-provoking episodes where the audience has to think about why certain symbols are used for each character or scene.
Started watching the series: September 2016
Finished the series: October 2016
I would like to thank one of my really good friends from my school for recommending this anime to me. 🙂 This series was such a joy to watch and I was on the edge of my seat during each episode! I think that I may watch the series over again since it’s just that great! XD
If you have seen Black Lagoon, leave a comment about your thoughts of the anime. ❤ 🙂