The StoryRokuro Okajima, a Japanese businessman, doing a job for his company transporting a disc with confidential information. His troubles begin when Lagoon Company is hired to steal the disc and decides to take him hostage. After events transpire he takes on the nickname Rock and joins the scrappy and wild Lagoon Company. Lagoon Company is seen as being modern day pirates but primarily will take on any job as long as it pays good (be it legal or not). The bulk of the story takes place in modern times in Southeast Asia with their headquarters being in the city of Roanapur, Thailand. Roanapur was founded by Southern Vietnamese soldiers who survived the Vietnam War and grew from taking in fugitive soldiers to drawing in drug dealers, hookers, mercenaries, hitmen, gangs, and the like to become what could easily be stated as the worst damn place in the world. Cops are bought off and everybody's either got a gun or a disease. Black Lagoon is a very violent, but not over-the-top and mostly realistic, tale of crooked deals and trying to survive to see another day.
Rokuro Okajima is a simple, easy-going Japanese businessman. He doesn't like confrontation but it was his choice to join Lagoon Company. Rock doesn't carry a gun so he uses his education to get the job done as his experience in business proves to be handy for Lagoon Company. He constantly wonders where his life will go and just what to do.
Revy aka Two Hands is the main gunner of Black Lagoon. She's of Chinese descent and grew up on the streets of New York City where she had to kill to live. Growing up on the streets provides why Revy isn't too keen on feelings, has a foul mouth, a short temper, and likes to drink. She wields two 9 MM Beretta 92Fs with deadly accuracy and won't think twice about putting a bullet between your eyes just to shut you up. But at least she isn't bad on the eyes with Daisy Duke shorts, a tattoo, and a short top.
Dutch is the main man of Lagoon Company. Nobody knows much about this burly African-American man besides him being cunning, never losing his glasses, bearing a large revolver, and driving the torpedo boat Black Lagoon.
Benny is the fourth member of Lagoon Company. Benny is a Jewish-American tech guy who always drives the land-based (getaway) cars. Like Rock he doesn't use a gun and was saved by Revy when he pissed off the FBI and Mafia while attending college in Florida.
Balalaika is the leader of Hotel Moscow, a section of the Russian Mafia and a heavy hitter in concerns of control of Roanapur. She's also more dangerous than Revy on many levels. She is Russian and served as a Captain in the Soviet Army during the Soviet War in Afghanistan. She smokes cigars, is covered in scars, commands her war comrades (who are said to have the experience to fight and win World War 3), and is wanted by Interpol. Balalaika's battle experience and education are put to use as Hotel Moscow operates on a large underground scale. She frequently employs Lagoon Company for odd and dangerous jobs.
Roberta is the Lovelace family's maid and resident assassin-trying-to-do-good. Roberta is also known as the Bloodhound of Florencia for her work as a FARC guerilla in Cuba that made her internationally wanted. She wears a conservative maid outfit and glasses but don't let that fool you as she carries an arsenal of weapons and has formidable hand-to-hand combat abilities. Roberta is Revy's rival and Revy refers to her in many not nice terms.
Yukio Washimine is a Japanese high school girl who becomes the head of the Washimine Clan of the Yakuza. She is headstrong and does not always think things through as she puts herself and her men in danger. Her dealings with Rock result in harsh emotional blows.
Simply put, Black Lagoon is a down-to-Earth anime. There is lots of action but nothing too over-the-top and unrealistic except for a few instances. While Black Lagoon includes tons of swearing, violence, smoking, and drinking the series delves into characters facing personal and ethical dilemmas while providing adventure. Relationships are slow to grow and the anime has some ups and downs but the cast is very interesting and often complementary. Plus, who can forget all the badass chicks?! This is an adult anime and surprisingly rated at 16+ and not TV-MA. The animation is also well done while being mostly dark but also colorful when needed. As for whether to watch the subbed or dubbed version that is up to you, the viewer. The Japanese cast is full of well-known voice actors and actresses that are sure to be pleasing to fans of subs. The dub cast is scattered between notables and non-notables but the highlight has to be Brad Swaile (known for his dub role as Light Yagami) as Rock.
VerdictBlack Lagoon is an entertaining series to sit and watch with its variety of characters and different story. It has its own special place in an anime fan's collection. If anything else the series can fulfill the need for rotten fun with some comedy, more violence then you can shake a stick at, gratuitous language, and plenty of booze to wash it all down.
* This guide was written by Anime Vice member sotyfan16 *