Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: MVM Entertainment
- MSRP: £15.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Black Lagoon
Black Lagoon Vol. #2
By Christopher Homer
June 04, 2008
Release Date: May 26, 2008
Black Lagoon Vol. #2
What They Say
© MVM Entertainment
Filled with scenes of heroic bloodshed, Black Lagoon is Action Incarnate!
The Black Lagoon Company gets into a brutal head to head battle with a bunch of neo-nazi freaks after the same sunken booty. Revy and Dutch blaze a trail full of blood and bullets in an attempt to get back their bounty and make an exit in style. The tension between Rock and Revy builds up to such extreme levels that an easy day of running errands has almost fatal consequences! Will they kiss and make up or will Rock get a bullet in the head?
Dog Tag is enamel coated and features engraving on Both Sides!The Review!
The tension increases as the philosophies of Rock and Revy put them at odds several times and end with a finale which begs you for more.Audio:
For this review I listened to the disc in Japanese to compare the 2.0 track to the 5.1 English track on the previous review. Much to my pleasant surprise after my brief listen on the previous disc, whatever problems I had of it seemingly been weaker than most 2.0 tracks had been truly fixed and the atmosphere is truly captured in the audio, both in the backgrounds, speech and sound effects - this was one of the closer 2.0 tracks to an actual 5.1 Dolby and I was very impressed. Both languages in Japanese and English were very clear and no problems with distortion or translation, an excellent track to listen to.Video:
There is some great attention to detail as the vibrant colours hit you once you get into the show. The weaponry, the vehicles, the overflowing blue skies and seas, and the characters all seem to have a definite personality that shines through beautifully to the screen. The panning/wide screen effect seemed to enhance the video quality on my screen, which again, didn't show any lack of effort from the animators and the transaction to DVD. There were some great visual moments on this disc, from the underwater battle in episode 5, the close up tense shots between Revy and Rock in episode 7, and the final shot in episode 8 of Roberta...Packaging:
No packaging was supplied with this test disc.Menu:
A very simple menu is showing for the second disc, scanning vertical is the Black Lagoon logo, with a scrolling horizontal background with a shot of Black Lagoon's 'boss' Balalaika, in a very business like pose. The screens are easy enough to navigate, albeit basic from set up and extras. The languages switch is in the set up, which actually briefly confused me for a moment because I've been so used to the language section being separate - not a big deal in the long run though.Extras:
The extras are very basic in the 2nd disc. The good news is there is a textless opening that wasn't on the first disc, there is also a very brief Japanese CD commercial for the opening theme tune and trailers of FLCL and Shana - nothing big like the dub extra on the last disc but the textless opening is always good. Content:
After a hooking introduction, the second disc gives us a mixture of a stand alone episode, a continuation of the previous arc, a beginning of a new one but in each episode still keeping the focus on the different philosophies of Rock and Revy and how they clash - which is the true hook to this show.
We start with the continuing story of the Nazi group searching for the painting that Revy and Rock are trying to scavenge. Almost immediately the show's point of the different lives of Rock and Revy hit you hard and just how much chalk and cheese the two are - Revy is calmly grave robbing whilst Rock wants to leave everything alone - they get into a deep conversation as bits of Revy's past are shown and how her philosophy of life is so different to Rock's. It definitely weighs heavy on both of them, surprisingly more Revy though as this and the next episode show. However, the Nazi group (called the Suicide Corps) take them by surprise and whilst they survive and trick them to thinking they've died, they manage to take the painting from the Lagoon.
There is a lot of talk from Dutch about the different politics and objectives from their group and the Corps and the difference of how Rock relates with Dutch than he does with Revy shows as the two speak with intelligence and calmness compared to the heads on approach and don't disagree with her methods that Revy employs. Revy is very downcast and almost zombie like and it doesn't help much when she and Dutch decide to raid the Corps ship. Revy is obviously pissed off with Rock and she takes it out on anyone that gets in her way - the image of her walking across the ship with bloody footprints is a testament to the show's visual appeal - as Benny and Rock hold the fort and some excellent background music and effects are heard, Revy nearly kills some outsiders in her mental state but Dutch stops her in the nick of time. Dutch's comparison of Revy to Charles Witman is a scary thought but they finish the job with more of a bloodbath - it leads to an almost humorous finale with the realisation that both the Lagoon and the Corps were hired by the same person and the rumour that Hitler painted the painting, as well as Revy's 'bet' with the Corps' commander. However, the final part with Revy talking how she and Rock are incompatible and whilst she doesn't mind him as a person, she cannot work with him...
...which leads nicely into the stand alone episode. Rock and Revy are running errands much to Revy's chagrin which showcases their personalities once more, from S&M clubs (where we find out Revy's real name of Rebecca), to Balalaika (who is studying porn - Revy and Rock's different reactions are priceless) and specifically in a rather unusual church which deals with various underworld materials - Revy is all out guns blazing (and fighting with the nun there Eda, who amusingly is just as foul-mouthed as Revy is) whilst Rock calmly explains the situation to the elder nun, and subsequently gets the results he wants. When the nun compliments him, Revy point blank tells him to head back to Japan but Rock has had enough with Revy's insults and says he's not going to apologise anymore. Revy actually fires a bullet at him, but seems to miss at the last second, leads to a heated argument between Revy and Rock, Rock even getting a little physical though he never strikes Revy (Revy on the other hand has no such problems) which leads to Rock feeling like he was betrayed again after what happened with his job. Revy seems to understand a bit then, and whilst they are heading to jail, they reach an understanding which is almost borderline romantic during the cigarette scene which caught me by surprise.
Lastly, we go onto a new arc as Rock is being used in shipping work and their latest shipment...is a young boy named Garcia. It leads to some humorous 'babysitting' by Revy which is quickly changed by Rock taking care for him. Garcia is a boy from a famous family called the Lovelace household yet he's not part of one of the richer families. Revy again is concerned Rock can get too attached to the kid and whilst Rock admits that he believes him, he also understands his work so he's taking more of a conservative edge. When Dutch checks the story out with Balalaika, Garcia's story checks out - that they only have one servant as Revy jokes that the maid in question will come and save him. The next shot of the maid navigation the dark alleys, heading to the Yellow Flag to try and find Garcia leads to a few gangsters confronting her. Garcia then says her name is Roberta and that she's strong as he relates a story of the past - Revy dismisses it, the gangsters laugh at Robert...the final shot though of her raising her umbrella at them...and the explosion...
The strength of three different stories in one disc revolves around the relationship between Revy and Rock and their different ways in life. Whilst Revy accepts Rock as a person, she doesn't accept his ways in life and leads to more than one confrontation during this disc. However to his credit, Rock doesn't budge from his philosophies, his way of life has changed from being the yes-man from the 1st episode to standing in what he believes in, yet still not raise his voice unless he has to, which Revy seems to have some sort of grudging respect for and at least for the time being they have an understanding. Dutch and Benny don't figure in as much because of this but the tension between the two is enough alone to make the series. Along with some excellent battles and Revy alone being just a kick-ass character plus the Terminator-esque cliffhanger at the end of the disc, it makes you want more there and then. (Though no Hawaiian T-shirt jokes this time...darn.)Summary:
Black Lagoon continues on it's journey to being one of the top series in the UK - after an encouraging start last disc, it now goes into full throttle with the characters, specifically the two leads Rock and Revy, mixing it up everywhere and with everything where even stand-alone episodes are intriguing and exciting. Full throttle animation, sound effects, visuals and even the touch of humour mixes very well in Black Lagoon and draws you in before you even realise it does. With an encouraging Japanese track and English dub, fans of action series will devour this and even those who don't normally look into these type of series (which includes myself) may want to have a look see, as they could easily become a fan of Revy in no time flat. Highly recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Japanese CD Commerical,Japanese Textless Opening
Toshiba 37C3030 - 37" Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV - Tangent Ht-50 Home Theatre System Multi-Regional DVD Players/Speakers - Tangent Subwoofer 50-150 Hz, Impedenced 8 OHM