Black Lagoon Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 12 & 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. #3

By Christopher Homer     June 24, 2008
Release Date: July 07, 2008


Black Lagoon Vol. #3
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
Filled with scenes of heroic bloodshed, Black Lagoon is action incarnate! Dirty jobs are a part of life for the Black Lagoon but things seem to be getting worse by the minute. Their latest problem is a maid from Columbia. She's a killing machine out to rescue Garcia from the clutches of the Black Lagoon and will kill anyone who gets in her way. As if that wasn't enough, international terrorists make their move and set the scene for a showdown with the Hong Kong Triads, the C.I.A. and the Black Lagoon smack dab in the middle. Can Rock count on his new family to pull him out of a pinch or will he be left to rot?


The Review!
An unusual 'ending' for the series only whets the appetite for Second Barrage as two arcs start and finish as Black Lagoon can only do - with lots of guns.

Audio:
For this review I listened to the disc in Japanese. Again, the initial problems I had with the first disc have been truly wiped off as the atmosphere is truly captured in the audio, both in the backgrounds, speech and sound effects. The gunfight between Roberta and Revy in particular shows off the excellent audio quality. 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 night skies and roads, 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. Some personal favourite moments were the debuting Shenhua going into battle with her blades and the entire chase sequence between Roberta and the Lagoon, as well as the gun/fist fight between Roberta and Revy.

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 the lethal looking Shenhua, twirling her hair with knives on her thighs. 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 final disc - the clean ending is provided - the ending of Black Lagoon is one of the strangest ones I've encountered I might add - there are also two short promotional videos which are actually quite impressive as it really draws you in that BL is going to be a big action series, along with trailers for Witchblade and Shana. Again, nothing big like the dub extra on the first disc though.

Content:
Black Lagoon has definitely been more of a hit than a miss and with the first series over, it ends with more on the way which is good because it ended a little flat - however the episodes still kick up the atmosphere as only Revy and crew can do.

We start off where we left the series - Roberta being made fun of and she launches her umbrella at the gangsters just as the Lagoon comes in - Rock in the episode makes a comment about she being like a certain robot from the future, the Terminator comparisons cannot be understated - Robert is an unstoppable force of nature - blocking bullets with her Kevlar suitcase, shooting anyone in sight, but Garcia is shocked at the sight of his maid doing this carnage - even Revy is put down temporary and knocked unconscious. Dutch suggests escape when Roberta drops her suitcase in shock when Garcia says he doesn't like her like this and wants to go with Rock. We found out who Roberta really is - nicknamed the Bloodhound of Florencia, a wanted mercenary who I had flashbacks of Bulleta from the Darkstalkers games with her gun skills and grenades up her outfit which trashes the bar - and the surreal Terminator-esque image of her leaving the bar in a blaze of flame - very atmospheric. The following sequence of the car chase is fantastic to watch as Roberta chases (and fires) at the Lagoon - as Balailaka takes charge to deal with her (and her own personal army emerges from the depths to assist her) a great gun/car sequence involving Roberta and Dutch which leads to Roberta's car getting blown out, yet still manages to follow them from on top of some buildings as Robert smells blood...

...Garcia asks Dutch not to kill her, where Dutch knows that it's impossible anyway considering how strong she is. She is slung from the Lagoon's car as she clings on, smashes to a wall and STILL recovers. As Rock wonders if his theory is true, Revy finally wakes up and she's ecstatic that Roberta is still alive - she wants to take her out herself. It leads to a gunfight between the two psychotic women as Garcia screams for Roberta not to lose. The sequence, while brief is great, it ends with the two rushing each other, deflecting bullets and prepare for the final blow - but are interrupted by Balailaka who explains the situation regarding Roberta - the showdown between the three women is really scary (Benny says they are the three most frightening women in the world) which leads to only one smart conclusion. You got it - fistfight. As the soldiers and Dutch/Balailaka bet on the outcome (and Rock tries feebly to stop them - and gets a unison 'STAY THE HELL OUT OF THIS!' from the women) - it ends up with Garcia and Roberta being reunited, a bit of Balailaka's past brought up, and the significance of Robert's glasses as a sign of her being Roberta, and not the bloodhound.

After that explosive arc, we move straight onto another one - as we're introduced to a new character, Mr Chang, who is a very unique character. A boss of the Triads, he's different from many of the other bosses we've seen, as he's very friendly with the Lagoon, and even Revy seems to like him or have respect for him. This is shown when he offers a job for the Lagoon, and some gangsters raid it, and Chang shows some top quality shooting - almost like gun-fu - even Revy admits her skills aren't up to his. The fact that Revy actually calls him 'sir' suggests that Chang is possibly the only person Revy would ever stand down for. The job itself is for a certain document to be taken to Basilian Island within 2 days - as the Lagoon escapes, Revy and Rock are separated as they are given a password that only their contact should know. However, we are introduced to a Japanese terrorist fighter named Takenaka, who, like Chang, seems unusual for a boss type character is that he's quite friendly and respectful to strong people like Chang and the Lagoon, plus whilst part of an Islamic terrorist group, he himself is atheist. When he and Revy collide as Takenaka tries to pretend he's the contact, they rush and dash which leads to Rock getting kidnapped with the case on him. Whilst Revy gets pissed, a beautiful lady comes in and kills a couple of guards in a knife style which reminded me completely of Chloe from Noir - she apparently was the contact named Shenhua along with a constantly marijuana smoking driver named Leigharch. The ending of the episode is funny because Shenhua and Revy immediately have a rivalry as Shenhua's spoken English isn't good (think Shampoo from Ranma ½) but she seems to speak the language of 'kick your ass if you don't shut up' pretty well.

The finale involves Takenaka being the good cop towards Rock whilst his sub-ordinate Ibraha is not happy as he sees that the two Japanese men are having a chat rather than trying to get Rock to spill the beans about the documents. It's an interesting conversation as it dates back to the first two episodes as Takenaka asks why does Rock do what he does away from Japan. Takenaka concludes that they are both outsiders in different ways, but Rock declares himself being different, he was chased out of society whilst Takenaka was trapped in a corner and forced to escape. Meanwhile, Revy surprisingly gets the two Triad workers to help her rescue Rock - unusual considering she said she'd never do such a thing earlier in the series and in this disc - as they get to their base, Takenaka is the only one who realises they are there, but it's too late - the duo of Revy and Shenhua is amusing as they both kick ass without remorse and work well as a team...whilst still trading insults and threats. Revy even gets a little teasing in when she rescues Rock and the scenes with Leigharch's hallucinations in the van are hilarious. However, I guess with BL being such an action driven sequence and with this being the last episode of the present series, I expected maybe more of a bang to finish off rather than a bit of comedy. There are definitely some surprises, as Revy confirms SHE had the documents so saving Rock was her own wish (though she still kicks the crap out of him) and Takenaka survives the onslaught as you get the feeling he will be back...

Some of the sequences in this disc are a joy to watch. The high impact car chases and gun battles between Robert and the Lagoon, and the subsequent fist fight made the Roberta arc very fun and easy on the eyes - the Terminator references just added to the imagery. The second arc had the potential with in Chang and Shenhua two fun yet dangerous characters and a surprisingly sympathetic villain in Takenaka considering he is wanted as a terrorist. There were some weaknesses in the last volume though - the main one being that it ended rather flat. If I didn't know there was a second season on it's way (and the end did show a preview for episode '13') it would have been a rather anti-climatic ending, but there is more on the way so that worked. Also, Dutch and Benny rather get put to the wayside (Benny hardly figured at all after the first two episodes) in this volume, and even the famous Revy/Rock confrontations all but died apart from the amusing attempt to break the girls up in episode 10 and their reunion at the end of episode 12. Lastly, new characters which have a past and future with the main cast (especially Chang) introduced in the later episodes probably wasn't the best thing (though it does crave for more BL). However, these are all minor things, which basically led up to a thrilling series that any action fan will love.

Summary:
Black Lagoon was something that I didn't know of before and became a fan after it's all said and done. An action series of the highest order, where whilst a lot of focus in character development seemed to be reserved for just Revy and Rock, those two make the series what it is. Revy herself is such a unique character that despite her psychotic nature you still root for her, and the eternal underdog Rock seems to make Black Lagoon the nature they are now. With Second Barrage on the way, there is so much more to discover and potential, and with other characters introduced throughout the series you get the feeling they will return to join or hinder the Lagoon, which means more Revy ass kicking. And that is always a good thing. Recommended highly.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Closing,Promotional Videos

Review Equipment
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

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