Anime Review: Black Lagoon, Season 1

Anime Review: Black Lagoon, Season 1

Girls, guns, and pirates. What more do you want?

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Wow another review already? Keep em coming.

Awwh man, Black lagoon, I approve.

Needs more torpedoes =]

Nicely done, Tom. Nicely done indeed. You got to review one of my favourite series, to boot. As you've heard, second season actually breaks away from the formula in some very interesting ways. Give it a shot if you enjoyed this one.

bue519:
Wow another review already? Keep em coming.

We're going live with a week of anime - one review per day.

After this, it'll slow down some :)

I noticed that you switched between the opinion that the females are cardboard cut-out eyecandy and strong characters with real depth several times throughout the article.

Other than that, very nice. I liked this series alot.

I do love this show ^^ and Season 2 is worth a watch too.

Season 2 is hard to judge. Black Lagoon is at it's best with witty one-liners amidst explosions and all around goofy craziness and the bulk of season 2 is very much not that. It does have the Greenback Jane arc which is by far my favorite plot in the series. But, it's sandwiched between two dark and sombre arcs that, while still good, aren't nearly as entertaining as most of season one.

I don't know why I fell out of anime but I know part of it was the art style. I find that a lot of anime is way too polished now. I remember when knowing that all the work done by hand and seeing the amount of work shown for each episode along with the artist style like Robotech really stood out for me. Now while style still exists they all look so polished and clean that it lacks that roughness knowing that the artists did the work by photoshop instead of by hand.

Silk_Sk:
Season 2 is hard to judge. Black Lagoon is at it's best with witty one-liners amidst explosions and all around goofy craziness and the bulk of season 2 is very much not that. It does have the Greenback Jane arc which is by far my favorite plot in the series. But, it's sandwiched between two dark and sombre arcs that, while still good, aren't nearly as entertaining as most of season one.

Interestingly, I found that the dark and somber arcs presented more character progression than most of the traditional Black Lagoon arcs, making them equally entertaining for me. I have a soft spot for the dark and brutal. Not that I didn't love the Greenback Jane arc; it was like a Who's Who of sub-par villainy!

This was a decent review. I think that you covered most of the things I'd point out about the series. I saw the character development as stronger than you did. But then, I've seen both seasons. In season two there is a growing, subtle chemistry between Revy and Rock, which is done very well.

I'd contend your point about the females in the show being "strong" since I honestly feel like the female side of the cast was customized to be "[character stereotype] + boobs". Roberta and the two from the Church of Violence stuck out like sore thumbs when it came to this; I sat back and said "Okay, an emotionally hardened guerilla...just in a maid outfit. Nice gimmick" or "Former American intelligence agent now a 'Catholic'...plenty of fap material there". I'll give as much to say that the backstories of the females are convincing enough to give credit to their current characterizations and are justified in that, it's just that the gender thing is rendered moot by that point. A male character could have taken their place and it'd be relatively the same character...just without boobs. I guess all I'm saying is gender-specific points when it comes to Black Lagoon are hardly noteworthy except for getting "those kinds" of fans to watch it.

However, there IS a great deal of subtlety to the show that you scratched the surface of. If I recall, the highlight of characterization was the scene in the sub when Rock was going on about how they shouldn't steal some war medals from the dead and Revy countered with something along the lines of "They're just things, Rock. They only have as much value as we give them". That was a powerful philosophical argument though it may not have seemed it at the time; Revy is alluding heavily to Jean-Paul Sartre there, and the whole show is packed with subtle existentialism.

But anyway, I'm sure most people don't watch Black Lagoon to think and I kind of feel like Hiroe is just making reference to that stuff viscerally. It's nice to imagine the show isn't "about" the action and zaniness, but considering how ham-handedly the characterization plays out it's hard to doubt. It's probably best not to get the "thinky" crowd lured in under false pretenses...

Still, I liked it. Succinct and fun with some light humor. Keep it up.

church of violence:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9o9Sd5Ps9I
one of the coolest things that I have ever seen.

This is so old, but I suppose you're just starting the reviews.

Also madatory viewing. The second season has even more over the top action. good times.

Black Lagoon is fuck awesome.
The second season wasn't as great as the first, but it was a solid series overall.
Still waiting on that third season they teased us with.

RollForInitiative:

Silk_Sk:
Season 2 is hard to judge. Black Lagoon is at it's best with witty one-liners amidst explosions and all around goofy craziness and the bulk of season 2 is very much not that. It does have the Greenback Jane arc which is by far my favorite plot in the series. But, it's sandwiched between two dark and sombre arcs that, while still good, aren't nearly as entertaining as most of season one.

Interestingly, I found that the dark and somber arcs presented more character progression than most of the traditional Black Lagoon arcs, making them equally entertaining for me. I have a soft spot for the dark and brutal. Not that I didn't love the Greenback Jane arc; it was like a Who's Who of sub-par villainy!

I'm all for characterization. They certainly didn't leave that out in either of season 2's serious arcs and I applaud them for it. But the first arc was a bit too creepy for my taste with not nearly enough of Revy swearing and shooting people in the balls. Instead it was mostly everyone running and hiding from Balalaika. The third arc was one long tag-team pity-fest between Rock and a loli and left out Dutch and Benny altogether. On top of that its main villain was grossly unsatisfying. I'm not saying it didn't have good points. But, they were outweighed by too drastic a deviation from the series' regular tone.

Started watching Black Lagoon season 1 last week and found it mediocre. I don't know what, but something about it seemed repetitive and I didn't really come to get hooked on it.
It seems like a bad attempt to copy certain parts of Cowboy Bebop...

I guess I'll finish the last two episodes of S1 and try out Season 2.

Then I shall follow your recommendation :P

Black Lagoon is really underrated. At times it does seem like the characters aren't exactly groundbreaking, but it's much like a well done romantic comedy. Even if you know the end result, getting there is most of the fun anyway. And Black lagoon is lots of fun and is filled with refreshing dialogue.

I don't know if Black Lagoon is underrated.
But then I don't really pay attention to the popular opinion of Anime or Manga.
Just because it's popular doesn't mean it's good.

Back on topic, I liked Black Lagoon quite a bit.
It's not one of my favourite Animes, but it's worth it to watch both series.

The review was quite well done.
I don't think including more detail about this series would be helpful.
It would most likely end up spoiling too much.

Silk_Sk:

RollForInitiative:

Silk_Sk:
Season 2 is hard to judge. Black Lagoon is at it's best with witty one-liners amidst explosions and all around goofy craziness and the bulk of season 2 is very much not that. It does have the Greenback Jane arc which is by far my favorite plot in the series. But, it's sandwiched between two dark and sombre arcs that, while still good, aren't nearly as entertaining as most of season one.

Interestingly, I found that the dark and somber arcs presented more character progression than most of the traditional Black Lagoon arcs, making them equally entertaining for me. I have a soft spot for the dark and brutal. Not that I didn't love the Greenback Jane arc; it was like a Who's Who of sub-par villainy!

I'm all for characterization. They certainly didn't leave that out in either of season 2's serious arcs and I applaud them for it. But the first arc was a bit too creepy for my taste with not nearly enough of Revy swearing and shooting people in the balls. Instead it was mostly everyone running and hiding from Balalaika. The third arc was one long tag-team pity-fest between Rock and a loli and left out Dutch and Benny altogether. On top of that its main villain was grossly unsatisfying. I'm not saying it didn't have good points. But, they were outweighed by too drastic a deviation from the series' regular tone.

As well minded and masterfully superior your point might be i still must disagree, because season 1 of black lagoon was absolutely my thing. Maids riding on the back of a car then crashing into a building and living through that? yeah i love that. Yes the plot of the cross dressing twins was interesting and all but gritty reality is being over done now days. and black lagoon had allot of gritty reality during its early episodes but only during exposition time. Season 2 became a grit fest, exactly the same way that GTA went from cartoon wacky fun to: "Ugh, my life sucks." In my opinion the second season felt less entertaining without ever dropping the quality of the show. But yet again to all his world because I might be complaining about what you liked from the show.

one correction...revy's guns are desert eagles (no wimpy beretta! oy!). on another point: the tension between revy, the loose cannon, and rock, the uptight salaryman, is really one of the high points of the series. she even buys him an hawaiian shirt, which he refuses to wear, and their argument over "loosening up" is really to the point. the fight at the end "SPOILERS" with gin is also interesting from the point of view of japanese culture. lots to love with this series. oh, don't listen to subs, they suck big time! you'll miss revy speaking "english"!

Silva:
This was a decent review. I think that you covered most of the things I'd point out about the series. I saw the character development as stronger than you did. But then, I've seen both seasons. In season two there is a growing, subtle chemistry between Revy and Rock, which is done very well.

True there is a greater "will they won't they" undercurrent in the second series. I enjoyed Black Lagoon and this review, although I think the second series is a bit better because it gives a little more insight into the characters and does deviate from the delivery boy style missions on occasion.

geezer_man:
one correction...revy's guns are desert eagles (no wimpy beretta! oy!). on another point: the tension between revy, the loose cannon, and rock, the uptight salaryman, is really one of the high points of the series. she even buys him an hawaiian shirt, which he refuses to wear, and their argument over "loosening up" is really to the point. the fight at the end "SPOILERS" with gin is also interesting from the point of view of japanese culture. lots to love with this series. oh, don't listen to subs, they suck big time! you'll miss revy speaking "english"!

Um no, she uses Beretta M92s. If you read the gun closely during the title credits it even says M92 on the side (you know before the Tai writing anyway). The barrels have been extended that's all. Yolanda from the church, she uses a Desert Eagle, a gold plated one. You can tell it's a Desert Eagle because of the distinctive delta shape.

Can anyone recommend anime similar to Black Lagoon. I tend to be very hit and miss with anime.

not modern day, the show is set in the early to mid nineties.

not modern day, the show is set in the early to mid nineties.

 

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