Top Anime

Black Lagoon – 1/2 [The Black Lagoon/Mangrove Heaven] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome all, to the next season of Throwback Thursday and the first post of Winter 2024! As you can see, we’re covering Black Lagoon! We have a fair amount to talk about, from initial impressions to where I think its going, so lets dive right into it! Oh and real quick, I apologize for this being late, it was a pretty hectic Thursday and I had my last tattoo session so typing was… hard. The entire arm hurts.

Since these episodes are a joint intro, lets cover them both together, “The Black Lagoon” and “Mangrove Heaven”. Right off the bat, and I need you to understand this is me being completely and totally honest… I would let Revy ruin my life. Sure it would only last maybe a month, and afterwards I’d have no idea where I was or how to get home, but it would be a good damn month. Oh right, I’m supposed to be talking about the episode. Overall I think Black Lagoon did a solid job with this introduction? Episode two wraps it up, but I think the way it justified/transitioned from that regular and dreary salaryman life to that of a mercenary was pretty good. I especially liked the color palette swap where everything suddenly got a lot more vibrant, it’s basically the same thing Zom 100 from last year did. Always effective!

Getting into the details, my two big takeaways are that I like Rock and Revy as characters. Rock because I love watching him find some purpose for the first time, find a place with these people. His banter with them, figuring out his situation, relaxing, not giving a shit and stepping up to their stupid bullshit,  then by the end lashing out at the system that used to oppress him. It was compelling and, if you ask me, made sense. If you were told that you had been written off as dead by the company you spent your life working for, wouldn’t you start pushing back too? He threw some darts at the wall and one happened to stick, in this case blowing up a helicopter. Feels like a natural, if anime-ified, progression to me.

As for Revy, I’ve already mentioned that I think she’s hot. That’s a given. But personality wise, she seems very… unattached? To just life in general? The way she has fun in fights, not really caring what happens or planning things out, randomly shooting things, taking every day on its own as shown by how poorly thought out her “ransom” thing was. It feels like she’s looking for some purpose, which isn’t so dissimilar to Rock. I’m looking forward to watching the two figure each other out. We got a bit of this at the end of episode two, where Rock is still stuck in his business ways a bit and tries to resolve things peacefully before Revy just says fuck it, and it was pretty fun. I really like that she, and the others for that matter, accept him for the formal salaryman he is rather than demanding he change.

Speaking of the rest of the crew, Dutch and Benny are alright. We haven’t gotten a whole lot from Benny yet, mostly that he got in trouble with the FBI in college and wound up in this life of crime. Meanwhile for Dutch, we don’t have any of his backstory but he definitely seems like the most “reasonable” of the crew. He had nothing against Rock from the beginning, even going out of his way to give him cigarettes and buy him a drink to calm his nerves while they figured stuff out, then offering to let him go if it didn’t pan out. I’m glad he wasn’t some kind of musclebound, “Rawr ima kill you” sort of character. Yeah he’s willing to resort to violence when annoyed or pushed, but he doesn’t resort to it first like Revy does.

This brings me to some criticisms I have. First and foremost, the show doesn’t look that great. Not yet at least. Airing in 2006, the show was made during the early transitionary days of cel to digital, and it feels like they hadn’t quite yet figured it out. Some shots feel oddly out of focus or fuzzy, leading to a loss of detail. Characters also don’t really move all that much outside of one or two scenes, instead making use of copious amounts of sliding still frames and close-ups. It’s not all bad, I think the coloring and lighting is fantastic. The contrast in some scenes, the way the ocean or Benny’s shirt pops, the glinting steel of the guns. This all looks great! Black Lagoon just isn’t terribly consistent about it is all.

I also found the main storyline with the disc, the one containing information about how the company helped a third-world nation creation nuclear weapons that was stolen and given to the Russian mafia just to be bought out by the company first after their hired killers failed that disc, to be rather weak. The mercenaries were kind of stupid, even if played up with that “Gunslinger” bit, and the company didn’t seem very important. Now I get it, this was just an introduction, something to get Rock out of Japan and into the East China Sea, which it accomplishes admirably. I’m simply not seeing any threads for Black Lagoon to really pull on to turn this into a larger sort of story. That’s fine, just means Black Lagoon has to pull from the characters a bit, that’s more than doable. Just isn’t the strongest narrative hook outside the characters.

So yeah, all in all Black Lagoon didn’t look the best considering the era it came from and the central story was kind of ham-fisted in places, but the characters are great and Revy is hot they seem to be the center of the show, which is a good sign of things to come. So long as Black Lagoon takes the time to explore and expand on this motley band, go in on how Revy ended up here doing what she does, on her relationship with Dutch and Rock, maybe even bring in this Balalaika woman as either a contact or an antagonist, I think it should do fine. I’m certainly looking forward to watching the cast hang out if nothing else.

Anyways that’s all! Apologies for the shorter post this week, life is busy and I can barely move my arm.

The post Black Lagoon – 1/2 [The Black Lagoon/Mangrove Heaven] – Throwback Thursday appeared first on Star Crossed Anime.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.