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BLACK LAGOON #1 - - Special Review

Expect the Hollywood remake in five years, hoss.

BLACK LAGOON's a show that’s been talked up to me for years, now.

You’ll love it, Tom! It’s really macho!” they say.

Well, it’s taken me this long to finally get around to it and, while I suppose the niceties of distribution deals could be to blame, I’ve suspected the difficulty's due to this show being on a special level of demand. Like, it’d probably be easy to go buy a copy somewhere, but it’s proven hard to legally watch it for free anywhere online - - much like EVANGELION, TRIGUN, YU YU HAKUSHO, et al. The rights holders know they’ve got something you want and, even now, they’re only offering a couple episodes on Hulu as a tease. That doesn't happen with less-than-popular shows.

This is all a drawn-out way of saying that I went into BLACK LAGOON with a fair amount of hype…

Now that the round’s been loaded and fired out the chamber, as it were, I’ll say that the production value here is rather boffo and the premise is pretty dynamite. A salary man pals around with the mercs who kidnapped him and (presumably) turns into a kickass merc himself in the process? That’s as easy a logline to sell as WANTED, for sure. Like I said with NATSUYUKI RENDEZVOUS… I really wouldn’t be surprised to see a Hollywood remake within five years or so.

The show was just as mean and brawny as I was told to expect, of course. It’s nice to see some fight scenes rendered by people who seem to realize that confrontations like these aren’t about “dancing” - - they’re about putting your opponent down for good.

However… I recall some of you lunatics saying that the dub offered a better experience than the sub, and I feel like this pilot didn't hit me as hard as it could for precisely that reason. Manly one-liners don’t quite make you want to thump your chest when you have to read them, you know?

Watch this episode, "The Black Lagoon” below and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

YotaruVegetaon Aug. 30, 2012 at 11:54 a.m.

The American adaptation? Well, that was basically supposed to be The Losers, but I didn't find that to be even close to as good as its source material.

Bubbameister33on Aug. 30, 2012 at 5:10 p.m.

You can watch Trigun on Netflix.

Marshal Victoryon Aug. 30, 2012 at 5:32 p.m.

Watched this subbed. .watched enuff of dubbed to recommend it to friend who hates subs.he owns season 1 an 2 now.An i cant afford to get them cause their out of print an way to expensive.Hope for a season 3 an reprints this fall.

Basically this is a anime version of Sin City.. with pt boats.Hype can kill tho.Would highly recommend subs in this case.Gawd i luvs this show.

Nightwolfon Aug. 30, 2012 at 5:43 p.m.

@YotaruVegeta: How is the Losers movie anything like Black Lagoon?

zaldaron Aug. 30, 2012 at 7:23 p.m.

This was like a hollywood action movie for sure a little to much like for my taste. I can see a remake though wouldn't be all that hard really. Honestly what I like about kung fu and sword fighting when done well it is like dancing..a dance of death certainly but still a dance.

The scene with the helicopter though...yeah that was boss

Darokion Aug. 30, 2012 at 8:53 p.m.

Didn't Funi grab this during the Geneon washout? I thought I heard something like that recently, and hopefully we'll see a more affordable version of this to remind someone in Hollywood that Revy and Gina Carano might be a good match so long as she can put some base in her voice.

sotyfan16on Aug. 31, 2012 at 1:34 a.m.

Tom, Black Lagoon first aired in 2006 and has been stateside since 2008. After releasing seasons 1 and 2 in a single boxset in 2009, FUNimation allowed it to disappear. A new DVD/BD set is coming later this year at a good price (on RightStuf at least). We can also expect the OVA sequel, Roberta's Blood Trail, to be coming soon as well.

But I agree there should be a live-action version of this series because it plays out like an 80s action movie (especially since the series is based in the early 90s).

The sub for this series is fine but you really are missing out by not watching the dub (even though it is not available for legal viewing). I mean, come on, the guy who voiced Light Yagami in Death Note voices Rock! Another thing, the anime follows the manga very well except for swapping a couple arcs and cutting out some nice conversations between some of the characters. The manga needs to come back from hiatus.

I'm going to do some self-promotion here and say that y'all should check out my Beginner's Guide to Black Lagoon on here.

@Daroki:

Maybe. FUNi has had the series since '08 or '09 and Geneon did the dub work.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Aug. 31, 2012 at 3:20 a.m.

The thing you need to understand about the story of BLACK LAGOON is that this is a story about villains. There is really no real heroes in this story. Just degrees of villainy, and the story follows Rock as he is learning what kind of villain he's going to become.

People like to try and gush when MadHouse does all the western style anime (IRONMAN / X-MEN / DARK KNIGHT), but those pale in comparison to what this company can really do. BLACK LAGOON is one of the series I point people to for them to see really well produced anime action from MadHouse.

It's not that I don't like the dub cast. I really prefer the subtitles here. I like a lot of the cast. Even the voice of Benny is the actor who plays Sanji in ONE PIECE. It's also amazing when you look at the voice credits for Revy's actress. Either version gets weird when the plot goes to Japan and people are suddenly acting as if they don't speak Japanese. Rock is the only member of the cast that is Japanese. Revy is Chinese-American originally from New York.

The series was originally being released in the US by Geneon Entertainment, but they closed up their US distribution company just as the second season of this anime was due to be coming out. It had a lot of people wondering if it was ever going to be released officially. Though FUNimation bought the "distribution right". It's been hard as hell to find the DVDs. Hearing that they are planning to re-release the anime finally. It makes me wonder if they redubbed it the way they did with EVANGELION.

This series was coming out on DVD before Blu-ray was really a thing. In Japan, a few years ago they re-released the first two seasons on Blu-ray as a sort of collection.

There is a third anime season that covers the story of the manga's longest and most action packed story the"El Baile de La Muerte Arc". This series was released last year as a five part OVA. FUNimation announced they were going to release it last year, but it's been in a weird limbo. The production delay in Japan may have played a role. Though the first two seasons of BLACK LAGOON seem brutal. It's nothing compared to what happens in this OVA. The original series had to be shown on TV. Being direct to market sales meant they could be far more graphic. Anyone who knows this series understands that arc was very graphic.

The manga has been on a hiatus for a few years with no sign as to when it will return. It was in the middle of an arc, too. I follow the creator on Twitter hoping he may say something, but so far he hardly mentions the manga. He's not working on any other series that I can tell. Currently, there are as many volumes in the US as there is in Japan. I have a lot of problems with VIZ, but they did right by BLACK LAGOON.

DocHauson Aug. 31, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.

@YotaruVegeta: I saw the movie version of The Losers for free, and I still felt ripped off. The comic is nothing like Black Lagoon, but it is good.

As for an American Black Lagoon movie, I have this treatment here...

"The Rock" (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), a former US Delta Force member, is trying to retire in a quiet town off the coast of Indonesia called Roanapur, when one-time fling and ex-drug runner Rebecca Levy (Cote de Pablo) shows up on his doorstep with a map and a message that promises untold riches to whoever can decipher it and find the treasure. But there's one catch, they have to brave a mysterious swamp known only as "The Black Lagoon."

With the help of disavowed NSA cryptologist Benjamin "Benny" Leibowitz (Ron Perlman), the two manage to acquire an old PT boat, crewed by the quiet, dark-skinned mercenary "Dutch" (Michael Clarke Duncan). Then they set sail for The Black Lagoon, but the moment they arrive there, The Rock finds that a crew of evil Russian paratroopers are already trying to take their prize to restore the old Soviet Union. Will The Rock find the treasure before they do? Will he make it out with Rebecca? Find out in...The Black Lagoon

Hollywood, send me money and I will fucking write this script. Even if it causes thousands of anime fans and cinema-goers alike to convulse in pain, I could use the money and the credit as a stepping stone to writing bigger things.

YotaruVegetaon Aug. 31, 2012 at 6:14 a.m.

@Nightwolf: It's not, hence why I was disappointed in it. They are not the same, but the Losers comic book on which the movie is based is just as crazy and action-packed as Black Lagoon. That is how they resemble one another.

sotyfan16on Sept. 1, 2012 at 12:06 a.m.

@DocHaus:

Someone really came up with that? Sounds fun and all but I prefer the original storyline and would make some obvious casting changes (except Duncan as he is my first choice for Dutch). Really, one could take Roberta's Blood Trail and make it into a movie since the OVAs total the length of one and there is just a single arc.

Dig Deeper into Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon is an action series based on the original manga series of a group of criminal delivery men called the Lagoon Company.

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