|Roberta Returns with a Vengeance!!||5 out of 6 users found this review helpful.|
Episode No.: 5
Episode Length: 33 min.
The Thailand city of Roanapur has exploded as Roberta makes her return in a fury seeking vengeance. Diego Lovelace has been caught up in a political assassination by a United States Black-Ops team called Grey Fox on a mission from the NSA. Following her is Garcia, who wants Rock to help him find and stop the Killer Maid before her own demons consume her. Also trying to halt Roberta are the various criminal syndicates. If word reaches the U.S. that any American military blood is spilled on their streets. It could be the end of this gangster's paradise.
The Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail anime is a five episode OVA that's based on Rei Hiroe's original manga, and each episode is on average of 33 minutes. As of this review, this series is only out in Japan, but FUNimation has announced that they plan to release this series in English sometime in 2011. This is a mature series that very much earns it's MA Rating. The entire five episodes embodies the whole of the the El Baile de la Muerte story arc that was told in Black Lagoon Volumes 6-9, the longest story arc in the manga's history. This series is all about the villains. There are no heroes as much as there are just degrees of villainy.
Roberta is one of my favorite characters in the Black Lagoon series, and it's great that they decided to animate this particular story arc. Her level of strength among all these humans is so great that it's almost insane, but that's what makes her so cool. If I was to try and explain her to the uninitiated to the series. Watching her fight in this season kept making me think of, "What if Wonder Woman had gone crazy with rage and used guns.". Though Rock puts it best in her first appearance when he described her as being like a killer-robot form the future.
If you are looking for a wild and violent action in an anime series, you really have no further to look. Though, this can be very graphic and mature. There is murder, gore, nudity, drug use, and tons of blood. More so than in the original two series. Knowing the content of this story ahead of time, I can understand why they went with the direct to market OVAs. This made it so they wouldn't have to hold back on the story content.
The first episode sets up the scene and we are introduced to another fighting maid named Fabiola Iglesias. She provided the only real action scene of the episode and the Yellow Flag Bar continues to suffer. Episode two feels slow in pace of what is to come. Though, the characters are fascinating enough to keep you riveted. It's in this episode that we learn that Roberta's drug use has started to effect her mind and she's being haunted by the hallucination of the ghost of one of her earliest victims as a killer for the FARC. From episode three on is some of the wildest action you will see in an anime. They don't shy away from the little details as she shreds through various soldiers as in the way of her fox hunt. The antagonist Alberto Camarasa may not talk much, but you are going to get to know what's inside his head.......literally. (I think I saw he has a cavity)
The production by MADHouse is top notch work and it looks beautiful from episode one to the very end. The action and drama of the story is really intriguing. You are going to be up and down as the story moves forward and has an appropriate amount of comedy. That kiss in episode five is quite the shocker. It's amazing how this sort of moment in any other series would be strange, but here it manages to be rather romantic. These are the kind of series that you're never really sure that you will get a happy ending, but that's what makes these kind so fascinating to watch. This is also an important evolution of Rock as you watch him truly adapting to the world of Roanapur.
Being an adaptation of a manga it's not surprising that this doesn't follow every tiny detail of the pages. That said, I see mixed results in where they decided to cut and where they decided to add. Adding to Roberta's fights, awesome. That scene of Revy's childhood, that was never in the manga, was more disturbing and didn't really feel needed. Watching it makes me think that they don't plan on making any more Black Lagoon animes for a very long time, but felt they needed to clear up what they had been teasing in the previous seasons.
The final fate of Roberta at the very end of this season was very confusing, more so if you followed the manga. Without spoiling the end. The level in which they so thoroughly defanged one of the most powerful women in this series is over-the-top and almost obscene. You can just be assured that this is only an adaptation and not the canon end. I would also not be the slightest disappointed if I heard they would reanimate that bit when it gets released in the U.S., though highly unlikely that may be.
I can certainly recommend this series to anyone who can get through the level of violence in your average Tarantino flick, but this has a far better story behind it. Still, my thinking is that the whole reason this series even got made has to do with the popularity of Roberta and this story arc. They couldn't can't make a whole twelve episode season given the pace of the manga, but knew they had to get this story out as soon as possible. I'm happy that this got made, but I'm also happy in knowing that this end isn't the real one for my lovely Roberta.
Favorite Moment: Ep. 4 - Jaws of Steel