OP: 「Red Fraction IO Drive mix」 by MELL
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After a nearly four year hiatus, we get the glorious return of Black Lagoon with this OVA series, titled “Roberta’s Blood Trail”. Even though I say it’s an OVA, this is in fact the third season of the series, which is indicated further by the episode itself being counted as #25 of the anime. With the lack of material from the manga to base a complete season off of, MADHOUSE decided to use the recently completed “El Baile se La Muerte” arc, compile it into a 5 episode long OVA, and label it as the third season of the anime. Obviously, taking this approach is a bit controversial. On one hand, we can’t enjoy the nail biting, stomach churning story of Black Lagoon on a weekly basis, but on the other hand the budget obviously prospers from this format, and it shows in the action sequences and lighting effects. Compared to the first two seasons, this OVA is like night and day as far as art and animation are concerned. Taking into account the quality benefits that the OVA format awards to anime, I don’t mind waiting a month between episodes if I get to enjoy this type of quality consistently this season. Speaking of that, it’s great to see our favorite characters like Rock (Namikawa Daisuke) and Revy (Toyoguchi Megumi) sporting 2010 quality, which is only augmented by the glorious Blu-ray HD the episodes are released in.
It seems fitting that the third season focus on Roberta (Tomizawa Michie) and her Young Master, Garcia Lovelace (Ikura Kazue), as we haven’t seen the pair since episode 10 and yet the battle maid probably left one of the biggest impressions on the fanbase in the series. Certainly on Revy at least, considering the beating she gave her is pretty hard to forget, I’d imagine. This time around, it appears Roberta’s become even more insane after watching Garcia’s father and her employer/protector, Diego Jose San Fernando Lovelace (yes, that’s his name), be blown up right in front of her. This event causes her to take up her old “Bloodhound” persona again and go on a hunt to find her benefactor’s killers. If nothing else, she proves very successful in this endeavor, tracking down, maiming, and torturing her pray in order to fulfill her lust for vengeance. I definitely got a chill down my spine watching Roberta twist her face into that shit eating grin that you would expect to see out of a psychopath, and yet I also found it strangely sexy. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind being the poor bastard chained to a boiling pot if it meant being raped by THAT. I mean, who could honestly resist that? Anyway, her streak of terror doesn’t appear to be ending soon, with her entering Bao’s (Saitou Shirou) now totaled bar and demanding a location where she can purchase all the tools necessary for war. Yes, my first thoughts were also “Holy shit”. I can’t begin to fathom exactly what kind of horror Roberta is planning to bring down onto Roanapur’s unsuspecting villains, but whatever it is it’s guaranteed to bring hell with it.
Over on Lagoon Company’s side, Rock is still trying to get over the unfortunate fate of Washimine Yukio, which he was a direct witness of. It’s nice to see they pick up right where season 2 left off, despite it being aired almost four years ago. It’s unrealistic to think Rock could just get over something like that easily, and it’s obvious the ordeal scarred him significantly. Of course, life goes on in Roanapur and there is work to be done for Lagoon Company, and as long as there is money to be had personal conflicts come second. Although, just as quick as life moves, it ends in this city of thugs and warlords. As Rock and Revy arrive at Bao’s bar and begin to exchange information with Dago, we’re introduced to yet another battle maid (this time of the loli persuasion) in the form of Fabiola Iglesias (Yukino Satsuki). This one’s definitely a bad bitch, kicking thugs in the nuts with hidden shoe knives (cue every man’s reaction) and laying waste yet again to Bao’s beloved bar. Her action sequence was a great showcase of the improved budget and quality in this third season, with the movements being more fluid, the guns being far more detailed, and even the gunfire looking that much more realistic. I got goosebumps watching that little girl take on an army of men by herself and then blow the bar and a mini van sky high with a concealed rocket luncher. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she’s even better than Roberta. Of course, all that fire power can’t save her from looking a child in the face of the Chang (Morikawa Toshiyuki) (a.k.a. Neo). As you would expect, Fabiola is one of the Lovelaces’ maids and was sent to track down Lagoon Company to request their assistance in tracking down Roberta. In particular, they want the kind-hearted Rock’s help, who they believe will offer it without requiring money be paid for services. It’s quite obvious Rock will accept their plea, but whether or not he can actually save anyone remains to be seen, as he hasn’t been exactly good at that since arriving in Roanapur.
All in all, it’s just good to see Black Lagoon back after four years and looking better than ever. I sorely missed the gun fights and raunchy atmosphere that no other anime seemed to be able to mimic. This story is most certainly not your usual light hearted anime with unbelievably uplifting outcomes and unrealistically optimistic and idealistic characters. This story is built off of the idea that all humans are scum on the inside and can only go deeper into the gutter once they’ve stepped in it; a psychological analysis of what makes “villains” tick through the eyes of a “normal” person looking in from the “twilight”. No doubt this season will be a sobering experience just like past seasons of Lagoon; I don’t expect to come out feeling good about the world or the possibilities of the future after watching this, but I’m sticking with it until the end. Will you?
ED: 「When Johnny Comes Marching Home」 by EDISON
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We need more animes like Black Lagoon, less school romance-comedies, more action/gangster animes.
This arc is a good one, a lot of good scenes, and a very cool finish I believe.
This, for the love of god this!
Schoolgirls and slice-of-life have their place, and can really hit the spot if it’s what you’re looking for.
But I am never NOT in the mood for action, gunplay, and explosions.
I think what action fans want is a good mix of anime, there is certainly a place for slice of life, school dramas, Rom-Coms, but it’s more that it seems like there is very rarely a show like Black Lagoon out there, even when there is a action anime, a lot of times it involves some sort of bishi like factor to it, or it’s HOTD and basically a near hentai like show. When it comes down to it I get the feeling that the international audience would enjoy more BL type of animes, but the Japanese just love their moe enough that there isn’t a market for more action like animes.
Personally, I want to be surprised by an anime’s plot and characters once in a while(not by something totally random though; that’s too easy). The hero for instance does not end up with the first girl depicted in the show, wanting to win for the right reasons does not win battles, sexy scenes have their place in the plot. I don’t want to know the anime’s plot by knowing its genre in short.
’bout time 🙂
Full body Roberta shot.
Cool, More Lagoon
Although it was a little different from the manga, such as the removal of the Chibi maid’s candy and scooby doo lunch box, it was probally better that way, since it ruined the serious atmosphere. Those maid’s never cease to surprise me, they’re practically the female athletic version of Code Geass Suzaku, minus the strong morals of course. I would want to see the next episode of this.
haha saw this at AX this year… it was amazing (and wonderfully loud)… but ya… for those who dont know the story I won’t say anything more then you guys are in for a ride… this is a freakenly amazingly awesome arc… (not like all Black Lagoon arcs are amazing pfft [yes being sarcastic since they are all amazing lol])
but no seriously… it really is… just… or not even just… it’s amazing… lol hard to describe… also… if there were any anime or manga that you felt you needed to buy instead of just stream or download… I really suggest buying Black Lagoon… just do it… im serious… go do it now… just… oh my god just go…
Was waiting for this for a long time.
About Rock,beware of him.I myself believe he is the biggest bad-ass of them all.He just has not started showing his true color at all like Mikado from Durarara!!.
Probably the weakest arc of the manga. Yeah yeah, there’s a lot of angry faces and shootouts, but not many actually die, especially those who are deserving of killing (i.e. USian soldiers). The end of an arc is a complete disappointment on many levels. When i was reading it for the first time i expected Roberta to murder and dismember a corpse of US president, minimum, boy was i wrong…apparently mangaka doesnt want to hurt the sales in USia, suckup.
Black Lagoon has never been a series that was shy to kill characters off, so I’m sure if Roberta doesn’t end up taking out an entire army there was some deeper meaning behind it.
Anyway, be sure to put your post in spoilers if you’re going to talk about the manga.
”Even though I say it’s an OVA, this is in fact the third season of the series, which is indicated further by the episode itself being counted as #25 of the anime.”
And yet you still numbered it as 01 😛
But yeah, even though this is an OVA, the actual animation had been less than what I expected …
BTW are you going to do these backlog reviews often? I really like them so I hope you do continue with them.
Haha, I just labeled it as 01 since it’s still the first episode of this season. If I had been around to blog Second Barrage back in the day I would’ve also labeled its first episode 01 even though it’s counted as #13.
And I’m glad you like them, since I plan on going way, WAY back with some of my reviews/impressions soon.
YES. I was hoping someone would pick this one up. As far as this arc goes I think it ended a little weakly given that Roberta’s supposed to be a killing machine. I was hoping for heads to literally start rolling, or limbs to start flying all over the place.. oh well. I was waiting for some sort of continuation of the series back when season 2 finished, so even if I wasn’t a huge fan of this arc I’m still happy they picked it up. Happier now that someone’s blogging it~
Finally been waiting for this.
I would say Chang is more of a Chow Yun-Fat character from a John Woo movie, like Tequila from Hard-Boiled, rather than a Neo. It seems they cut a lot of dialogue from the manga though, especially when Diego draws his pistol on Fabiola’s back, and Revy stops him by drawing her gun as well. There was a lot more dialogue after this, rather than just Diego running off immediately after. Plus Fabiola was also carrying a briefcase in the manga that the goons in the bar opened, expecting an arsenal, and discovered it just contained candy.
That may be true, but the first character that came to my mind when I saw Chang leaning back in the seat coolly with his glasses and suit on was Neo. It just looked so much like him I couldn’t help but mention him in the post.
the sunglasses and the suit belong to ChowYunFat way before anyone else. Those were his gangster look form back in the 70s and 80s gangster movies.
This episode’s been out early summer, I gave up on RC picking it up. 🙂
And yes, Im tierd of school based stories now…the only school related anime I watched was HOTD for this year.
I love Black Lagoon; and I watched this episode – and I was happy to notice the animation quality was turned up. It’s refreshing to watch an anime that isn’t in the setting of high schoolers and robots. Great episode, great series.
I just finished of watching black lagoon, and the only thing i can say is that IT ROOKS! thank you^for posting it!
Ooh, you’re blogging Roberta’s Blood Trail? Can’t wait to see what kind of amazing Roberta action we’ll be getting next and what Rock will do. I admit I’m more of a fan of the English dub rather than the original Japanese (because I think the dub is better) but I just can’t wait to see the Black Lagoon crew back in action so I’m watching the OVA’s when they come out.
I’m glad you’re covering things from the past (like the Shana OVA’s). Divine usually has his hands full blogging currently airing anime so it’s nice to see a backtracking of series he didn’t blog sometimes.
Yes, the Dub is actually the better way to watch this series. I mean the characters are supposed to be talking in english, with an assortment of accents of course, but still english none the less, it helps that they don’t censor any of the language, in fact if anything they make it more mature rated.
Yay!!! Thank you so much for posting on this! Looks fantastic.
better late then never is what i always say!!!!! ep was cool and well executed, cant wait till roberta start popping pills!!! sure hope the OVA finishes this arc completely,and if they decide to make another season of lagoon they do away with some of the current chapters “boring computer hackers arc was a LETDOWN!”..AHAHAHAHAHAH or maybe I’m just pissed CUZ LATELY THERE HASN’T BEEN ENOUGH REVY!!!!!!!!!
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mmmm, i guess your right. so allow me to change that “was” to “is”. either way it feels nonexistent to me.
roberta is a totally batshit insane killing machine !!!…(well balalaika is more crazier though) dyamnnn i hope 3rd season is another series not like episode 25 and so on from 2nd season
This is the third season. And what you’re saying would be a spin-off, not a new season, if I’m understanding you correctly.
We need more Mr. Chang characters in anime, the Vongola family doesn’t even come close because they are a bunch of high-school bishies and not real mafia people.
Nice post, Suzuku. I’ve watched the first OVA a few weeks ago and am still waiting for the 2nd to be available. It is indeed a true pleasure to watch Revy, Rock and all the familiar faces in this episode. Just one episode reminded me how much Black Lagoon stands for one hell of a ride.
Roberta’s preys are going to be in one deadly surprise…And I’m pretty sure she was in mind when they brought the battle maids in Asobi ni iku yo.
Looks like MADHOUSE picked an OVA route anime again 😀 *cheers*
Read the manga and it was way too overextended for its own good. I’m glad that the ova has been cut to 5 episodes. And no… I don’t think anyone’s missing anything (except for boredom) on a compressed 5 ep. arc.
Rock is still lame in the manga and will not turn into a badass.
i like the line from the manga were Revy asks the new maid “what kind of place is the lovelace plantation. a place full of mega bad asses who can storm the Iranian embassy single handed.” after that she says no and that she and the head maid are the only ones that have combat skills to her knowledge –You do know that probably means that all of the other maids are in fact bad ass killing machines
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i thought there was only one maid in the lovelace family ?