Sunday, November 18, 2012

Anime Review: Black Lagoon

I'm a little out of it today. I have a slight cold, and my neck is a little tweaked after doing a very bad backwards roll yesterday. Anyway, it's been a while since I've done an anime and there are a few that I've seen recently. Largely this was a choice between a pulp action series and a dumb overly lengthy giant robot series with designs that seem to be a complete rip off of Transformers... Guess which one I chose to do.

Well this is a rude awakening.
Rokuro Okajima was a normal average Japanese Businessman. His goal in life was to take all the crap he receives from his bosses so that one day he might be that boss who treats his subordinates like crap. That was his plan, that is until he was kidnapped while transporting valuable intel for his company. The people who kidnapped him was the Lagoon Company, a shady "Transport" business based in the seedy, crime filled harbor town of Roanapur (you will never find a more wrenched hive of scum and villainy). After being betrayed and abandoned by his company, Rokuro decides that he has had enough of this shit and joins Lagoon company under the alias "Rock." Now Rock works along side Dutch, the captain and straight talking, no nonsense leader; Benny, the company's expert hacker and computer man; and Revy, their emotionally unstable gun-slinging killing machine, to do the odd jobs for the worse of humanity in the criminal underground. Will Rock survive in this world where even his "allies" are just as likely to shoot him as his enemies?

This is Chang. Chang is awesome.
Black Lagoon was described to me by my brother as "An anime version, of a Hollywood action movie." And that is more or less accurate to what it is. While the plot is usually more developed than the standard Jason Statham fare, it is still more about over the top action set pieces than actual engaging storyline. That isn't to say that the series doesn't become heavy with it's topics, as there are a few times where the series contemplates on the ideals of "Justice" in a world where you have to do anything to survive. Nor does it mean that it has absolutely no redeeming qualities outside of mindless action, the characters and many of the more humorous bit are entertaining as well. But more often than not we are watching people shoot other people with moral impunity because those who are getting shot are usually just random goons who have no existence that the audience cares about (much like 90% of the body count in any popcorn flick) and you are laughing your ass off at the sheer impossibility of what is going on on screen.

You'd be surprised at how many guns are pointed at Rock.
However, this does pose a problem for the series as the tone can really shift from story arch to story arch. For example, one story arch which follows a pair of twin children who murder countless people because their own twisted mindset is that the more people they kill the longer they will live, is particularly dark and disturbing, while the very next story arch is very lighthearted following a counterfeit artist who got in way over her head. It's really hard to know whether to take the series seriously, when you have very dark consequences for some story arches and in others you have a maid who is the equivalent to the Terminator. Finally, this series suffers from what I call the "non-ending." After the final episode the series just stops, there is no kind of resolution, nor is there a wrap up to what occurred over the course of the series, nor is there any answers to some of the questions that was brought up during the series, it just stops with the conclusion of that story arch. Which gives the impression that the series doesn't so much as "end" as it just "stops" which gives kind of a feeling of being unfulfilled.

While it has its unusual parts, the series is fully enjoyable, especially if you like popcorn action films. It is still smart enough and has good character to satisfy people looking for more from their anime.But if it doesn't sound that interesting to you, there isn't much else to really keep your interest. If you want some enjoyable action, I'd recommend it.

Until next time.

-Crescent, Some days, you just want to smoke your troubles away next to a large black man.

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