“Guns ‘n Roses” – Black Lagoon (anime) -10/10 Sunflowers

Genre: Action/Adventure

Review Status: Complete (12 Episodes/12 Episodes)

Licensed: Yes, this is licensed by Funimation in the US.

Art/Animation: Faaantasitc! The action scenes look terrific, with plenty of smooth animation great action shots to go around. Character designs are pretty standard, but they totally work since all the characters are from different backgrounds. Mixing all the different characters from what you’d usually find in a single series together make them all distinct.

Dub Vs. Sub: While normally a sub fan, the dub for this is absolutely fantastic! Both have some issues where the chosen language trips up due to the

Summary: Rokuro Okajima is meek, mundane, and metropolitan. His business trip to South East Asia turns from pleasure cruise to festival of pain when modern pirates board the ship and take him hostage. Revy, Dutch and Benny are merciless, maniacal, and mean. Together, they make up the crew of the Black Lagoon. Making a living in a city where the most villainous of villains make themselves at home isn’t without its risks, but they take on any job available to them. Smuggling guns, drugs, kidnapped children, and stolen goods is all part of a hard days work. (Funimation.com)

Review: I don’t do action shows. Usually, they involve a lot of explosions, a trite plot, one-dimentional characters, and sexy women. Black Lagoon takes the best of the action genre and takes it up to 11. No longer are the women merely sexy eyecandy – they are as badass as the men and are going to blow the brains out of any guy that dares cross that line. Every main character is as fleshed-out as you can get, with great personalities and interesting backstories. Those backstories aren’t the point of this show, though! It’s all about the adventures these guys go through that bring out the fine points of their personalities and make bonds between them.

As far as plot goes, this is filled with several one-shot or two-episode storylines that could have been utterly ridiculous in any other context, like fighting neo-nazi’s. Yeah, you got me right, at one point they’re fighting Nazis! Sometimes they’redoing retrieval on expensive goods, sometimes they’re settling accounts, sometimes they’re dealing with the local mafias and their politics, but whatever they’re doing there’s sure to be a gunfight and more than a few explosions doing it. That part is the entertainment, but each episode is sprinkled with solid character development, usually in the form of Rock and Revi’s clashing moral and societal standards. They come from two different worlds. Revi’s deliberately vague description of her childhood leaves no doubt that she was raised someplace where there was no place for innocence. Rock has an idealism about him that seems out of place in with the group’s get-what-you-can attitude, and definitely clashed with Revi’s hot-headedness and can see through it – a position that makes Revi more than a little uncomfortable, but she’s now being held to a higher set of standards.

It’s not all about them, though. Some of my favorite lines and scenes are from they’re dark and mysterious leader, Dutch. He’s a fantastic mediator between the two worlds that are clashing on his ship, making sure that they direct their anger towards each other in more productive ways and seeing to it that the business runs smoothly. Benny is the one member that seems almost like an afterthought. He’s more comedic relief than anything, only coming into the picture on certain occasions, but there’s some hints that his backstory is intrinsically tied to the mafia that they’re more often than not beholden to for work. Which brings me to the most awesome mafia on the planet! The Lagoon Company is most often doing runs for the Russian lady Balalaika, and she and her company is not to be messed with. They can (and did) take on their enemies faster than they could blink. All of them are hard-core killers and I hope to see more of them in action in the second season. Some of the assignments Lagoon Company takes on can be filled with their share of equally awesome characters, also, like the maid/assasin that is more than a match for Revi! That was some serious inventiveness; whomever wrote that gets all the cookies.

I can honestly say that I haven’t seen many action movies or shows that can match this in terms of intrigue, characterization, and sheer balls of steel. Most are content to be what they are: expensive special effects and video editing. This dares to be more.

Overall, this is a top-notch action anime, and definitely worth it.

Recommended: 18+. This has a lot of death, onscreen. Some of them are pretty brutal. There is also a decent amount of sexual innuendo, from hookers wandering the streets, to two girls in barely-there outfits (bare breats – detailed – are visible in the scene though it’s a short scene).

Other titles you might enjoy:

Sword of the Stranger (anime)

Firefly (American live-action – YES I am going there. I just finished it and think these two stand on equal grounds of awesome)

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