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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Black Lagoon: Season 1, Vol. 2 - Limited Edition
Black Lagoon: Season 1, Vol. 2 - Limited Edition
FUNimation // Unrated // August 19, 2008
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted September 20, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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The Series:
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.

Series Background:

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.

This volume:

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.

The DVD:

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 dog tag.)


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.



Final Thoughts:

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.

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