Anime Review – Black Lagoon: Season 1
Having watched both seasons of the show on RPG.net for a Where I Watch thread, I’d say it’s about time to pass judgement on the show, and how good it actually is. There’s enough of a difference between seasons for me to split the review between seasons as well. I’ll get the second season’s review up tomorrow.
Rokura Okajima is your sort-of-average salaryman. He goes to work every day, does a good job, and tries not to stand out too much. He gets sent to deliver some documents in the south pacific, only to have the ship he’s on board be hyjacked by Lagoon Company, which is made up of gun-woman Revy, computer wiz Benny, and grizzled Vietnam vet Dutch (the group’s leader). Burned by his employers, he joins up with Lagoon Company and is dubbed “Rock.”
For a 13 episode series, we get a lot of character development. We really get to know all 4 members of Lagoon Company, the way they are now, if not their backstories. Rock, while he is the outside observer, learns quickly, and while on occasion he’s the excuse for some of the other characters to play Basil Exposition, he is always able to carry his own weight, and generally is a useful, functional character. To make this clear, Rock can at no point be mistaken for Shinji. He does not whine (except when he’s stoned). He does not sit in the corner repeating to himself “I mustn’t run away.” He carries his own weight. Which is good because this show could get annoying really quick if the character sucked.
The pace of the show is fairly light as well – there are serious moments, but nothing particularly grimdark or ultra-depressing in the show. It has its depressing moments, but it’s not a downer.
Rock’s adaptation to his circumstances seems… rather unrealistically quick. One day he’s behind a desk in Tokyo, the next day he’s doing business-related travel in the South Pacific, then he ends up becoming a modern day pirate and a smuggler and he just rolls with it. Admittedly, you would have to learn to roll with it to survive in Roanapur, but he still adjusts insanely quickly, for someone basically getting a major lifestyle change forced on him with nothing but the clothes on his back.
This season, doesn’t quite get across the ugly work these people do. The closest we get to really, ugly and unethical work is on one occasion Lagoon Company ends up transporting a cargo of a kidnapped person (trying to minimize spoilers here, but it’s hard with a show this short). Otherwise it’s stuff like underwater salvage, basic cargo transport, smuggling a document to a rendevous with the CIA, Firefly stuff more than than anything actually illegal. It sounds like a stupid complaint, but it fits, particularly considering the next season.
If you liked Cowboy Bebop, you really might as well get this. It’ s a good anime series, and definitely worth your time.