Black Lagoon

Genre: Action
Format: 12 Episodes
Allegiance: Geneon
Director: Shoji Kawamori
Vintage: 2006
Intelligence Agency Report by: Erigion
Okajima Rokuro is having a terrible day – his boat has been hijacked, the disc he was transporting was stolen, and to top it off he’s been kidnapped. But things really turn for the worse when his company decides that it would be better off if the disc and he never existed in the first place. With his regular life kicking him to the curb, Rokuro, newly dubbed Rock, decides to join his kidnappers, Revy, Dutch, and Benny in the Lagoon Company.

Field Agent Report by: Erigion
Overall 7.50
(not an average)

Quick, name the key ingredients to your average shounen series. If you guessed guns, fan service, swords, mindless plots, and stereotypical characters then you’ve seen too many of them. You can probably also guess that those are the exact things that make up Black Lagoon. However, what Black Lagoon does so well to rise above the masses of mediocre shows is to embrace those aspects and execute them as well as it can.

If you’re expecting a meaningful plot coming into Black Lagoon then you’ve come to the wrong place. This is almost as episodic as anime can get, as each story arc spans two episodes with almost no introduction and little to no conclusion. Aside from some residents of Roanapur, the Lagoon Company’s base city of operation, side characters in each arc are tossed aside like three week old leftovers. The main characters don’t get much better treatment either; Rock and Revy, whom the series focuses on, are given standardized reasons as to how they both ended up on an island full of criminals. They also have the dubious honor of being in the most inane and boring scene of the series where they wax philosophy about morality. But they got the five-star treatment compared with Dutch and Benny, who are given about as much character development as their boat.

But no matter, this is a shounen series – it doesn’t need no stinkin’ plot or character development since it’s got enough guns, fanservice, and badass characters to entertain throughout its short run. As with most action shows there’s a progression in the degree of difficulty in enemies that the Lagoon Company comes across during their shady dealings. First, you have your basic run of the mill mercenaries, and then come neo-Nazis, then the anime version of the Terminatrix, and finally an entire rebel army. Each fight is bigger and more impressive than the last as the director Katabuchi Sunao shows an almost Anno Hideaki-like disregard for his budget. However, with only 13 episodes there’s no sudden drop in the quality of animation or crazy, real-life introspective hallucinations in lieu of actual animation.

There’s no real reason that an action series has to devote time and energy to creating an interesting plot or deep characters if it can bring the meat where it counts: action scenes. Black Lagoon does just that by tossing in just barely enough plot and characters to create spectacular action scenes. By doing this, Katabuchi Sunao and Madhouse have created an entertaining action series, which is more than can be said about many others.