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Friday, April 13, 2007

Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage

I’ve just finished the second season of Black Lagoon, called The Second Barrage. Actually, it didn’t really seem like the second season to me, I watch all 24 episodes of the 2 seasons in one long continuous stretch, over a slow few months.

First off, for those who haven’t watched Black Lagoon, it’s anime about the a pirate torpedo boat and it’s 4 crew members, Dutch, Revy, Rock and Benny. It’s a modern-style anime, with good 2D and 3D animation over what looks like watercolored background. The important thing to know is that the series is pretty violent – it isn’t something you’d see on Saturday morning cartoons on RTM2, there’s lots of swearing, lots of guns and blades, severed heads, bloodshed and all that jazz that get our moral guardians in tight knots.

Season two has only 3 story arcs, the first one is about the murderous Romanian twins ('Bloodsport Fairytale' Ep#13-15), the second is the one with the counterfeiter girl ('Greenback Jane' Ep#16-18), and the last one is the pretty long one about the Japanese Yakuza ('Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise' Ep #19-24).

The first thing I notice about the progression into the second season is the growing significance of two characters into the storylines – Eda from the Church of Violence and Balalaika from Hotel Moscow. In comparison, there is less emphasis on uber-cool Dutch and Benny, who hardly even feature much in some episodes. The last story arc excludes both of them almost completely.

Eda is appeared in only one or two episodes only in Season 1, here she’s added as more of a comic relief, playing Revy’s ‘friend’ and accomplice mostly, as much of a ‘friend’ Revy can have. She’s quite funny at times, and not too shabby with the guns, although not as deadly as Revy, of course. Miss Balalaika, mostly client to the Lagoon Company, plays a key role in the storylines here, and quite a bit of her history is revealed towards the end.

Black Lagoon is, at the heart of it, still the Rock and Revy show. Rock is still philosophical and human as ever, but I still feel that his character is still not entirely believeable as a member of the crew, how do you keep that shirt and tie clean and uncreased all this time?! Revy, on the other hand grows in character and yet remains a loose cannon as before, the way we all like it.

I found the Romanian Twins storyline a bit too much, even for a matured anime. Rock’s justification at the end of the arc didn’t save it for me, however you look at it. It's also a little unbelieveable how a couple of pre-pubescent kinds can be so well-skilled with an axe that's probably heavier than them, but then again that's fiction.

At the end of the season, everyone comes back to Roanapor, and nothing much has changed for the city and the characters, probably paving an easy transition into Season 3. And Eda’s probably relieved that Revy still hasn’t ‘done it’ with Rock yet...


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