The second volume of Black Lagoon is just as fast-paced and exciting
as the first, and the show continues to delve into the background of the
main characters to make them feel like real people. This is one of
the shows that quickly went out of print when Geneon abruptly folded, but
the good folks at FUNimation were able to obtain the rights and this fine
series is back on the shelves once again.
Rokuro Okajima was a typical low-level salary man working for a large company
in Tokyo. He was charged, unbeknownst to him, with smuggling some data
that implicates his company in some highly illegal dealings. Others
could profit from the data, so the Lagoon transportation company is hired
to steal it.
The Lagoon Company consists of boss-man Dutch, a muscular man who is as street-smart
as he is tough, Benny, an American tech guy who ended up getting in trouble
with both the FBI and the Mafia back in the States, and Revy, a tough as
nails young woman who is as deadly as she is beautiful. They're based
out of the (fictional) city of Roanapur, Thailand and mainly smuggle contraband
with their PT boat the Black Lagoon.
Attacking Rokuro's boat at sea, The Lagoon Company gets not only the data
the young man is carrying, but they take him as a hostage too. They
figure anyone carrying such important information must be worth something
as a hostage. They thought wrong however. When his company hears
that Rokuro and the information have been taken, they hire a team of assassins
to destroy the data and the young clerk. When that fails, and Rokuro
learns that the company that he devoted himself to was trying to kill him,
he decides not to return to Tokyo. Instead he changes his name to "Rock"
and joins the Lagoon Company.
At the end of the first volume Rock and Revy dove down to the wreck of a
recently discovered German U-Boat that was sunk in the last days of WWII.
They've been commissioned to retrieve a painting, The Twelve Knights Led
by Brunhilda, by an obscure artist. The problem is that they're not
the only ones after this uninspiring canvas. A group of well armed
Neo-Nazis show up and send a diving bell down to the wreck too. After
a brief skirmish, the Nazis grab the painting and flee, followed by Rock
and Revy in their scuba suits. The Nazi may have the painting, but
Revy isn't about to let them keep it. Meanwhile Dutch starts wondering
exactly why they've been hired to get a seemingly worthless piece of art,
and why the Nazis want it too.
Then Dutch decides that Revy and Rock need to work out their differences
so he gives them a list of errands and sends them on their way. The
hot-headed Revy and the bright but timid Rock will either become friends
or kill each other by the end of the day.
The final episode on this disc starts the next story arc. The Lagoon
Company successfully delivers a ship load of cargo to a foreign port and
they are commissioned to bring an item back to Roanapur. Dutch, Benny,
and Revy are cool with it, but Rock has some serious problems with the cargo:
it's a young boy, Garcia, who is going to be sold into slavery. Digging
into the situation, Rock discovers that Garcia is the son of a rich South
American who refused to sell out to the mob. In retaliation they've
stolen his only child. Though Rock doesn't like the set up at all,
Garcia isn't worried, he's sure his maid, Roberta will come to save him.
This volume was just as exciting and fun as the first and it continues to
develop the characters when the bullets aren't flying. A nice, and
rare, combination this show is able to flesh out the characters into three
dimensional people without sacrificing the action scenes.
In my review of volume one I didn't talk much about the animation, but it
is simply outstanding. Very few corners are cut. They don't freeze
fight scenes and pan across static images. This show has full animation
with a high frame rate and the extra cost and effort really pays off.
At times it looks like an OVA, the quality is that high. The characters
themselves are nicely shaded and it's possible to read their emotions from
facial expressions. The backgrounds aren't skimped on either and the
streets of Roanapur are filled with small details like garbage in the street
that makes the show a joy to watch.
This LE version of this disc (which is identical to the Geneon version in
every respect) comes with the same disc as the regular edition, but it also
includes a pretty cool dog tag necklace. The tag has the Black Lagoon
logo on it and is made out of fairly thick metal (much thicker than a real
The show comes with the original stereo soundtrack as well as an English
dub in both stereo and DTS 5.1. I alternated tracks for the first couple
of episodes but ended up viewing the show with the DTS track. It really
rocks. The surrounds really come to life in the battle scenes with
the sounds of empty shell casings hitting the floor behind you not to mention
explosions that fill the room with sound. They make good use of the
soundstage, which makes this a blast to watch. The English voice actors
do a good job to, never resorting to high pitched whiney voices or fake accents.
While it isn't as impressive as a Hollywood blockbuster, this is one of the
best sounding English tracks on an anime series.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic image looks very good also. There is some light
aliasing during camera pans and some minor posterization, but nothing to
get worried about. Lines are tight and solid too. The colors
are fine and the blacks are particularly nice looking. Overall this
is a very good looking disc.
This is a fun and exciting show that's really worth checking out. There
are few programs that mix action and personal drama so well. The show
never drags or becomes maudlin, but the characters really come to life over
the course of these shows. If you were one of the many people who didn't
pick this up when it was being distributed by Geneon, make sure you run out
and get a copy. Highly recommended.