Anime Review – Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage
Well, we got Season 1 out of the way, now on to Season 2, appropriately titled “The Second Barrage.” There are spoilers here.
Rock is still working for Lagoon Company, and has gotten the hang of Roanapur, a city that practically makes Mos Eisley look like the suburbs, in terms of violence, criminality, and organized crime. This season becomes darker as Roanapur finds itself recieving two most unwanted visitors, and Rock returns to Japan, with Revy and Balalaika and gets caught in a gang war.
The writing is just as good, if not better than last season. The relationships between the characters deepen, and we get some more backstory for some characters who didn’t get very much in Season 1 – in particular Balalaika. The tone of this season is more balanced towards the grim and gritty side of the equasion, but it still works, more or less, and the 3-part humor arc in the middle of the season (the Greenback Jane arc) really helps break things up.
This season is a lot more nasty. I didn’t have too much of a problem with this, but if I was going to choose one trope from TVTropes.org to describe this season, it’s Break The Cutie. Though, it’s not always used on Cuties. To varying degrees, the “Cuties” being broken are Rock (girls think he’s cute), Greenback Jane in her arc, and Yukio Washimine in the Fujiyama Gangster Paradise arc. The last one, at the very least, is very, very successful. Maybe it’s because of the end of Berserk, as well as finishing Silent Mobius, but I’m kind of sick of seeing female characters put through hell at the moment. Yukio in particular is basically stuffed in the refrigerator. The circumstances are in keeping with the setting, but… it still was a bit much for me, at least at the time I was watching it.
I don’t want to sound cliched, but the hearts of the characters in the show. A lot of characters who we’d come to like in the previous season are revealed to have been Evil people all along. Not “Not Nice” people. EVIL. Notably, Balalaika. We really get to see how evil, ruthless, and nasty she really is, and it’s hard to like her after the fact.
If you liked Season one, give this a shot. But, be forewarned, it gets much darker in this season, and you’ll probably want to have a cheerful show standing by as a chaser once this show is over.