Okajima Rokuro is pretty much the average white collar Japanese businessman. He eats, drinks and works, pretty much the boring routine followed by all living in the metropolis that is Tokyo. However, he finally gets a chance to make it to the big time when he is assigned by his company to the tropical seas of Eastern China in order to deliver a very special disc.
And that is exactly when the trouble starts.
It would seem that disc is important to more than just the people waiting for it, and Rokuros ship gets hijacked by a band of mercenaries on a torpedo boat known as the Black Lagoon. And from that point on it is one firefight after the other as the disc proves more trouble than what it is worth. Cut off from Japan, hunted by highly-armed unknown assailants and held hostage by Black Lagoon, Rock (as he is now been dubbed) must make some tough decisions if he is to survive – even if it is just to survive from the suicidal psycho gunslinger Revy holding him hostage!
Black Lagoon is a 12 episode long exercise in action. Gunfights, brawls and big explosions is the name of the game for this hilarious, fast-paced and action-packed series that leaves you begging for more once it finishes its run, dropping you quite literally in the middle of nowhere (luckily the first 12 episodes were quickly followed up by the second set of 12, named Black Lagoon: Second Barrage, basically a continuation of the first arc).
The story follows the adventures that befall Black Lagoon and the hapless Rock that is forced to tag along with them. The team is made up of Dutch, a big African-American gunman who is ex-military and the leader of the team. Up next is the very sexy Revy, a tough as nails gunslinger who cares for nothing more than making money and firing guns. Her trademark dual wield pistols earned her the nickname Twin Hands and she is the most deadly tornado you will ever encounter. Benny is the teams electronics expert, handling all of Black Lagoons communication and electronic needs, while Dutch and Revy are out there firing the guns. Rock is well Rock. A trained analytical mind, it is very much the case of trying to force a square peg into a round hole – he doesnt belong in this violent underworld.
The story is very fast paced, and the focus is often on the intense action sequences that make up most of the story. There is a lot of humour as well, mainly through the interactions of the easily riled up and hot headed Revy and Rock. A fair bit of world development goes on through this short series, and a person quickly gets a feel for the world that Black Lagoon operates in. I found that the episodes moved along quickly and provided me with enough plot, thrills and spills to make it a thoroughly enjoyable watch.
The animation for Black Lagoon is surprisingly good. Apart for some exaggerated facial expressions (particularly from Revy), the character animation is solid, detailed and nicely proportioned. The animators use a bevy of techniques for the stylish gunfights and explosions, making it an absolute pleasure on the eye to witness. Special mention must be made of the extreme attention to detail paid to the weapons and military vehicles in the show. Each gun is exquisitely detailed and even the sound of it cocking or firing is as authentic as you will get. The same can be said for the various helicopters and boats that make their rounds in the show. The backgrounds are detailed, lush and colourful – to be honest, there is nothing that I can complain about in this production – Madhouse Studios are as per usual on top of their game.
Exactly the same can be said for the sound production for this show. The background noises and sound effects are all spot on. The voice actors all do exceptionally good work. Revy sounds like the carefree maniac that she is, Rock is the typical soft spoken businessman and Dutch is the tough big guy. The soundtrack is also up-tempo, with a great rock-based opening track and a hauntingly beautiful closing piece of work.
I liked Black Lagoon. An extremely fun watch for all those action junkies out there and it really is brilliantly executed. Whats more, there are a lot of deeper themes and thinking touched on as well, making it more than just popcorn filler. If you want a fun, fast-paced action romp, then you really cant go wrong with Black Lagoon, but make sure you pick up Second Barrage with it as well. Too much of a good thing in this case is definitely not a bad thing :)
Note that this isnt a kiddies title. These are mercenaries for goodness sake – they kill people. However, it is not particularly gruesome, and the blood is kept to a minimum. There is a lot of swearing though.
Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_lagoon