Story & Characters: 75%
Probably among the darker anime I have ever watched, Black Lagoon is a story about outlaws, Mafia, the most hardened of criminals, social misfits, and such. There are absolutely no “Heroes,” so to speak, in this series. No main distinction between “good guys” and “bad guys” – it really depends on the viewer’s perspective. No noble ambitions, cheery qualms and such; just the simple but blunt and brutal concept of the survival of the fittest in a world with no laws and the only rule is anything goes, to survive and to win.
Overall, the best way I can describe this series is that it is stylishly crude. The portrayal of the derogatory setting about social misfits who crowd the land Roanapour (as it is a fallen place) gives the viewer a crude and pessimistic impression of the plight. And yet, it is stylish in the execution of the story in how the characters live, particularly with Revy and her just-STFU-and-die-already attitude, preceded by lots of crazy gunfights and badass sequences.
Girl in tights, inhumanly powerful maid, nuns with outrageous supplies of armaments…Lagoon would have been the perfect picture of the stereotypical otaku’s dream – if it weren’t for the fact that the girls wouldn’t hesitate to stuff an RPG down one’s throat. And don’t forget the other characters in the cast: a laid back Chinese Triad Boss… and, of course, how can we forget the ruthless and seemingly invincible Russian Mafia? Without a doubt, Revy’s the star of the show. The way she won’t hesitate to pull the trigger and go on a killing spree further enhanced the spunk of the series. Even Rock turned out to be no pushover, though his main role seemed to be more of presenting to the audience the stark contrast of the plight the characters are in: Rock constantly facing the conflicting issue of trying to hold on to moral values AND still be able to survive the vile situations.
While it is not perfect, the animation quality is superb and the graphic design is great too. I particularly liked the art style for Revy. The highlights are obviously the gunfights: fast-paced, furious and definitely highly enjoyable to watch. Even the background is detailed and production team certainly has put in considerable effort for the car chase scenes.
The OP is – there’s no other word to really describe it – kickass! Accompanied by the animation for the OP, it delivers the rebelliousness that is the very essence of Black Lagoon. ( I won’t criticize the “Engrish-ness” of the lyrics though 😀 ) The ED is also another plus point; I like the way it is orchestrated with a slow, mournful feel, but ends off with the rapid drum beats. Nice use of rock music for the BGMs.
A must watch for fans of action series, packed with lots of gun swinging and explosions. There are certainly no dull moments in this series. And oh, you’ll have to kick morals to the curb if you want to enjoy this series … … because of the lack of it in the series. Well, as I mentioned, there are technically no heroes in this story. Most importantly however, the series turned out to be way better than the manga. Then again, gun fights are static in manga, and they are like the flesh of the series.
Personal overall rating: 85%