Black Lagoon: Probably the most badass series you will ever see. A story full of guns, violence, sex, drugs and characters who don’t really care about sugarcoating anything.
In A Nutshell
The story follows the adventures of Black Lagoon, a pirate company composed of Dutch, the boss, Benny, the navigator and tech savvy and Revy, the gunfighter. During one of their missions, they take Okajima Rokuro (Rock), a Japanese businessman, as hostage. Due to several circumstances, he will end up joining the crew, even though he doesn’t really fit in.
Meet the Characters
Revy is the main female character. She’s also commonly known as “Two Hand” due to her skill with dual-wielding. Of Chinese-American origin, she was born in New York City. She has a very dark past in which she had to deal with an abusive father. Due to everything she has gone through, Revy is cold-hearted, blunt, violent and rude. When it comes to fighting, she’s merciless and sadistic. She also seems to have a particular interest in Rock and often teases him for his past as a civilian/businessman.
Rock is the main male protagonist of the series. He is a Japanese businessman who was born into a well-to-do but neglectful family in Tokyo. He is a humble and good-natured person. Usually nice to everyone, Rock works as the outer “innocent” POV of the story. Within the company, he is usually responsible for account management, diplomacy, negotiation, translation, interpretation, and running occasional errands.
Dutch is the leader of the Lagoon Trading Company. He is said to be a former United States Marine who fought in the Vietnam War. He is often smoking and drinking beer. He is African-American. Despite having a tough appearance, he usually stays away from fights and limits himself to giving orders. He’s the primary negotiator for the crew.
Benny is the computer hacker/mechanic of the crew. He is Jewish-American and is a dropout from the University of Florida, where he studied computer engineering until he got into trouble with the FBI and the mafia. He’s usually easy-going and nice to outsiders. He’s also very protective of his computers and personal items.
A Brief History of Black Lagoon: The When, Where and How
Black Lagoon is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rei Hiroe. It has been published in Shogakukan’s Montly Sunday Gene-X since 2002. So far, ten volumes have been released. Madhouse was in charge of producing the anime back in 2006. A second season, subtitled “The Second Barrage” came out later that same year. Lastly, an OVA titled “Roberta’s Blood Trail” consisting of 5 episodes, was released from 2010 to 2011. In total, 29 episodes have been released.
Why It’s Awesome
There are many seinen animes that try to come out all tough and edgy but don’t really get accomplish it. The reason why is that these series are usually good morals disguised with a tough appearance that ends up disappointing you. We all know the story of the cold/tsundere character who ends up becoming more friendly due to having made friends along the way. This is where Black Lagoon is different because, underneath their tough appearance, there’s actually meaningful, relatable content. Characters don’t get nicer, if anything they get meaner or sadder.
That is probably why Black Lagoon manages to be unpredictable most of the times. It is realistic and it tells cold hard trues. Actually, some of their speeches (the majority by Revy) might come out as too crude or harsh for some viewers, while others will nod because finally, someone tells it like it is.
On the other hand, when someone thinks of piracy in anime, the first example that comes to mind is One Piece. In that sense, Black Lagoon offers a different approach to pirates. Actually, it’s pretty close to what you could expect to see if there were still pirates in our world. First of all, the story is based on Earth and there are plenty of well-documented and accurate historic references, from the Vietnam war to Nazi Germany. The only thing that is fictional, besides the characters and organisations, is the city of Roa Napra.
Bottom line, if you’re one of those people who like stories packed with action and badass characters, you should definitely check out Black Lagoon. It’s not considered one of the best seinen of the 2000s for nothing!