Salaryman Rokurou Okajima spends his days trying to climb his company's corporate ladder, until one day when a business negotiation in Thailand goes awry. During the botched deal, he falls hostage to the Lagoon Company—a band of ruthless pirate mercenaries. Left to the whims of his captors after his managers refuse to pay his ransom, Rokurou does the unthinkable: instead of begging for his life, he joins the very crew who kidnapped him.
Now a member of the group, Rokurou must adjust to his new residence in the dissolute hellscape known as Roanapur, a city where corruption and crime run rampant, and even the smallest slipup could cost him his life. If not for one of the many crime syndicates on the island, Rokurou also constantly finds himself at odds with his brash, gunslinging colleague, Revy.
As Rokurou struggles to abandon his past—and with more than just the profits from the Lagoon Company's illegal trading on the line—he must quickly find the resolve to make tough decisions in high-stress situations while keeping his humanity intact.
The Anime Critic Reviews: Black Lagoon
Welcome to Roanapur, a city teeming with criminals, mercenaries, and bounty hunters; a murky domain where morality is subjective and survival is paramount. This is the world of Black Lagoon, a gritty anime series that knows no bounds. Our protagonist, Rokuro Okajima, is an mild-mannered, unsuspecting Japanese businessman who finds his life turned upside down when he’s unexpectedly thrust into Roanapur’s seedy underbelly.
After his coworkers abandon him during a botched delivery gone awry, Rokuro — now named “Rock” — is taken captive by the Lagoon Company. However, over time, he becomes an integral part of the team and the narrative follows the misadventures of Rock, alongside badass mercenary Revy, ex-spetsnaz man-mountain Benny, and the tech-whiz Dutch, as they navigate their chaotic lives interspersed with sporadic moments of reflection and revelation.
Cinematic and Visual Experience:
The visuals of Black Lagoon are a sight to behold. Effortlessly combining movie-esque cinematography with a noir art style, it paints the grim reality of Roanapur in striking, contrasting strokes. The animation quality is consistently top-notch and maintains a prominent, grimy aesthetic that amplifies the narrative’s overall tension.
Storyline and Characters:
The real gem of Black Lagoon is in its expertly woven narrative and diverse, deeply-engaging characters. Each episode provides a new chapter of their grim reality with a perfect blend of action, drama, and sardonic humor. The viewer experiences a true sense of the character continuum – the stark transformation of Rock from a timid businessman to a morally ambiguous rogue is a compelling arc within the series.
Music and Sound:
Septic tank rock. It’s probably the most accurate way to describe Black Lagoon’s rock-and-roll soundtrack. It perfectly complements the action-driven scenes, enhancing the tone and intensity. Character voices are uniquely-casted and in-sync, with the English dub often viewed as one of the best in anime due to the fitting, gruff-edged tones.
Level of Enjoyment and Final Thoughts:
In a nutshell, Black Lagoon is an adrenaline-pumped ride that you wouldn’t want to miss. It’s a stark narrative that doesn’t shy away from portraying the raw, unabashed hedonism that typifies its lawless world. It’s an exploration into human nature via a thrilling, action-packed storyline that hooks the viewer right from the first episode.
For the willing viewer, ready to dive into the murky waters of Roanapur, Black Lagoon is an absolute must-watch. Whether it’s to rent, buy, or stream, it provides great value, a wild ride, and a thought-provoking experience that’s rare in the anime domain.
So, dive in and enjoy the ride. After all, in the words of Revy, “There’s no such thing as a dirty fight.”
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