Continuing (so to speak) where the last season left off, we find that we now have only three story arcs to decipher. Is that such a bad thing with only 12 episodes? On the contrary, I find it to be quite splendid- if they were to try and spread these stories any thinner than they already did, it'd probably be unwatchable, or worse. Basic breakdown of the stories is as follows (I don't remember the exact titles of the arcs, so bear with me):
First arc- The Twins
Someone has targeted Hotel Moscow for slow elimination, and no one's sure of who it is, or if any of the organizations can fully trust each other, since members from each group are being killed in groups of three or four at a time! Who is or are the assassins, who hired them, and above all- WHY?
Second arc- Greenback Jane
Jane is just a normal girl- one who is gifted in the talent of counterfeiting money for a shady group. Now she's on the run and a rather large band of mercenaries is on her tail! Things really start to heat up (quite literally, in a couple of cases) when she decides to hide amongst the members of the 'Black Lagoon' crew!
Third (and last) arc- Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise
Fir the first time in nearly a year, Rock is back in Japan. But this isn't a vacation- he's acting as the personal translator for Balalaika as she negotiates a deal with the Washimine group of Yakuza to deal with their rivals- the Kosa council. Meanwhile, the council is in a bit of a crisis. Not only do they have to deal with the Washimine group, but they also have to deal with their new leader- the daughter of the former head, Yukio. Let the coming-of-age drama and body count begin!
Now, I know that they have purposely altered up the order of the stories from the manga to better fit the flow of the anime. Why? Here's yet another allusion to an American work- Quentin Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction'. If the stories in there were presented in chronological order, the movie wouldn't make much sense, and it would just... suck, for lack of a better term. Same thing here- if the anime were presented in the order that the manga chapters first came out, then it wouldn't be quite as enjoyable as it already is. Another item of note- the thematic material here is a good chunk darker, messed up and depressing in tone than in the previous season. Of course, if you had to go through what these story-specific characters had to, then you'd be all the above as well, wouldn't you? If you were heavily into the first season and wanted to continue on, then look no further than 'The Second Barrage'!