Thursday, October 16, 2008

Black Lagoon: Second Barrage 001 Impression

Black Lagoon The Second Barrage 001
Revy, Rock, Dutch and Benny. The crew of the Black Lagoon get ready for more gun toting, fast paced action in Black Lagoon The Second Barrage 001 from FUNimation. Murder, gruesome and targeted at Hotel Moscow, have left the city shaken and leaders on guard. As the murders continue those who perpetrated the crime come to light, twins. One young boy, one young girl, who thirst for the kill, for the taste of blood. As the murders continue a bounty is put out on Hansel and Gretel, a bounty nobody can ignore including our twisted sister Eda as she teams with Revy to hunt down our twins. Things get really dicey as Balalaika calls in her old Russian special ops unit to handle the twins, which she does with her own style and voracity. As the curtain closes on our blood drinking twins it opens on some slick counterfeiters on the run. When on the run from Miami mafia, where do you go? Why you stumble on the doorstep of the Rip Off Church.

Lots of story elements left out above, and done for a reason. Long have I read comparisons of Black Lagoon to Cowboy Bebop. Long have I said whatever, until now. I found Black Lagoon to be lacking, not in action or unique characters, it has and has had those in spades. No, it’s been lacking in story, until now. The same solid animation and character design seen in the Geneon released first round of Black Lagoon returns, ditto for the solid voice work, but the story really steps up with these twins, and begins to feel like the dark side of Bebop. Three episodes are dedicated to the murders, Hotel Moscow and the hunt for the twins. Learning who hired the killers, their origins and the emotion, it’s a rock solid offering that is propelled by a dark and gothic art style. I found myself drawn to this story, sucked into it like the vampire these children were supposed to be. They were not just more fluffy characters, they had depth and a history, tragedy mixed with a very sad ending. Three episodes that changed my perspective on a franchise. The final, to be continued, episode about a US counterfeiter on the run is ok so far, but it’s not over yet, so more on that soon. This episode has potential thanks to Groovy Guy Gus who’s on the hunt for some funny money makers on the run, so we shall see.

Hmmm, one more thing. These episodes which hooked me had limited, almost no interaction from the crew of the Lagoon until the final part of the final episode. There is an interaction with Gretel but its ties to Rock feel forced. Revy’s hunt with Eda is more a side-story to a story that the twins and Balalaika take over. I now have great hope for Black Lagoon. I may be a bit scattered in my summary but it’s tough when you don’t want to ruin a story this good, worth the purchase.

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