Cover of the first Japanese manga volume featuring Revy.
|Genre||Action, Crime drama, Black comedy|
|Written by||Rei Hiroe|
|Magazine||Monthly Sunday Gene-X|
|Original run||April 19, 2002 – January 19, 2014 (currently on hiatus)|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Sunao Katabuchi|
|Produced by||Jun Nishimura
|Written by||Sunao Katabuchi|
|Network||CTC, Tokyo MX, KBS, tvk, NBN, TVN, abn, GYT, ITV, TVS, GTV, OX, KBC, NCC, ITC, SUN|
|Original run||April 8, 2006 – June 24, 2006|
|Anime television series|
|Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage|
|Directed by||Sunao Katabuchi|
|Network||OX, KBC, SUN, KBS, tvk, NBN, abn, TVN, ITC, GYT, ITV, GTV, TVS, CTC, Tokyo MX, NCC|
|Original run||October 2, 2006 – December 18, 2006|
|Written by||Gen Urobuchi|
|Illustrated by||Rei Hiroe|
|Published||July 18, 2008|
|Original video animation|
|Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail|
|Directed by||Sunao Katabuchi|
|Released||July 17, 2010 – June 22, 2011|
|Runtime||35 minutes (each)|
Black Lagoon (Japanese: ブラック・ラグーン Hepburn: Burakku Ragūn?) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rei Hiroe. It has been published in Shogakukan's Monthly Sunday Gene-X since 2002, and ten collected volumes have been released so far. It was later adapted into an anime television series by Madhouse, that aired from April to June 2006 for twelve episodes. A second season, subtitled "The Second Barrage", ran for twelve weeks starting on October 2, 2006. A five volume original video animation series, titled Roberta's Blood Trail, was released from July 2010 to June 2011.
Viz Media began releasing an English translation of the manga in North America on August 12, 2008. Madman Entertainment licensed the anime in Australasia and the United Kingdom. The anime was dubbed and originally licensed in English by Geneon Entertainment in North America; it is now licensed by Funimation. Funimation later licensed the OVA, which also was licensed by Kazé in the UK, for release in spring 2013.
The story follows a team of pirate mercenaries known as Lagoon Company, that smuggles goods in and around the seas of Southeast Asia in the early to mid 1990s. Their base of operations is located in the fictional harbor city of Roanapur in southeast Thailand (somewhere in the Amphoe Mueang Trat district, likely on the mainland north/northeast of the Ko Chang island or on the island itself). The island is home to the Yakuza, the Triad, the Russian mafia, the Colombian and French cartels, and a wide assortment of pickpockets, thugs, mercenaries, thieves, prostitutes, assassins, and Gunmen of all sorts. They transport goods in the 80-foot (24 m) Elco-type PT boat Black Lagoon. Lagoon Company does business with various clients, but has a particularly friendly relationship with the Russian crime syndicate Hotel Moscow. The team takes on a variety of missions—which may involve violent firefights, hand-to-hand combat, and nautical battles—in various Southeast Asian locations, even going as far as Phu Quoc island of Vietnam and when not doing much, the members of the Lagoon Company spend much of their down time at The Yellow Flag, a bar in Roanapur which is often destroyed in firefights.
In an interview with Otaku USA, Rei Hiroe stated that Black Lagoon was inspired by James Ellroy, John Woo, Quentin Tarantino and Stephen King, as well as hearing about actual piracy cases in the East China Sea in the 1990s.
Black Lagoon includes a considerable amount of graphic violence, often involving violent gun fights and spectacular physical feats in battle. Many of the characters who are most skilled with weapons (mainly guns) are women, thereby bearing a similarity with "girls-with-guns" genre with the six strongest women in the series adhering to some type of stereotype (dragon lady, referring to Revy, maids, referring to Roberta and Fabiola, nuns, referring to Eda, etc.). Some of the scenes and dialogue are within the realm of dark comedy, as humorous moments occur or are mentioned during and after many violent battles.
The character concept, gritty atmosphere and violence blending with black comedy depicted in Black Lagoon pays a homage to the films by Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers. The Yellow Flag bar and Mexican standoff scenes in the series pays a tribute to spaghetti westerns; Tarantino is known for making references to spaghetti westerns in his films. It also make references to Tarantino's favorite films, such as The Wild Bunch poster (titled The Wild Punch) seen in Revy's bedroom in episode 11 of the anime and Revy mentioning My Bloody Valentine in episode 24.
The "Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise" arc showed that most of the characters throughout the series actually speak English, with the Japanese simply being done for the audience. While the English voice acting in the anime is heavy in Japanese pronunciation, nearly all occurrences of English lines in the manga are accurate. However, the instances of Cyrillic script tend to be less so.
Written and illustrated by Rei Hiroe, a pilot chapter of Black Lagoon was published in Monthly Sunday Gene-X's April 2001 issue and the main series premiered in the May 2002 issue. Chapters run monthly and are later collected into tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan. The first was released on December 12, 2002, and to date ten have been published, the last in 2014. The series has been on hiatus since mid-2010 with only two additional chapters released at random; one in 2013 and another in 2014. So far Rei has given no information as to when or even if he is going to continue the series.
The manga was licensed for an English-language release in North America by Viz Media. The first volume was released on August 12, 2008. Madman Entertainment distributes Viz's release of the series in the United Kingdom. Black Lagoon has also received domestic releases in many other countries; in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Mexico, Poland and Finland, by Kabuto, Carlsen, Jade Dynasty, Panini Comics, Chuang Yi, Haksan Publishing, Norma Editorial, Grupo Editorial Vid, Waneko and Punainen jättiläinen respectively.
An anime adaptation of Black Lagoon, produced by Madhouse, aired for the first time on Chiba TV from April 8, 2006 to June 24, 2006 (and later on 15 other terrestrial stations) for twelve episodes. A second season, labeled Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage and consisting of twelve more episodes, ran for the first time on Sendai Television from October 2, 2006 to December 18, 2006. The second season focuses less on character development than the first season and more on the jobs they do. A five volume original video animation titled Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail was released in July 2010.
The anime was licensed in the United Kingdom and Australasia by Madman Entertainment. On July 3, 2008, Geneon Entertainment and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America. While Geneon will still retain the license, Funimation will assume exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of select titles. Black Lagoon was one of several titles involved in the deal. Geneon's English dub premiered on G4 Canada on October 26, 2007 and Starz Edge began airing it on February 29, 2008 to American audiences. The series aired in Australia on the Sci Fi Channel.
The first season was released on three DVDs, each containing four episodes, between August and December 2006. The second season mirrored this, being released from January to June 2007. The Blu-ray Disc releases of the two seasons included a total of seven short omake specials, each no longer than five minutes, that depict the characters in various humorous situations. In 2010, the series was released in four, two for each season, boxsets from August to September.
Geneon's North American dub was released on three DVD compilations, each containing four episodes, between May 22 and September 18, 2007. After being released individually, with volume one having a limited edition version containing a steelbook box that comes with a bonus disc with slots for all 3 volumes, the boxset of the entire first season was released December 30, 2008. The fourth bonus disc, available in the season one box set or the volume one steelbook edition, has a 15-minute behind the scenes with the English crew and voice actors, the "Red Fraction" music video performed by Mell, promotional videos, the creditless opening and ending, and Japanese opening. The Second Barrage volumes were released in the same manner, with the box set released in North America on April 14, 2009, case with episodes 13–24 on three discs with English/Japanese audio and English subtitles. The box set/steelbook version bonus disc includes promotional videos and the creditless opening and ending. At Anime Expo 2010, Funimation announced their licensing of the Roberta's Blood Trail OVA, which was later released in 2013. The first and second seasons were re-released on Blu-ray Disc/DVD combo pack on December 4, 2012.
- "Don't Look Behind" by Edison
- "The World of Midnight" by Minako "mooki" Obata (Episode #15)
- "Preach Headz Addiction" by Breath Frequency (Episode #24)
- Original Soundtrack
- Red Fraction (Opening version) 1:32
- Tear Drops to Earth 1:26
- Asian Comfort 1:29
- Don't Stop! 4:25
- Samara Samanda 1:23
- A Cold Wind in My Mind 1:26
- Make a Bet 2:15
- El Sol se Recuesta 4:15
- Seasonal Wind 1:20
- 66 steps 2:25
- The World of Midnight 1:48
- Dark Side of the Moon 2:06
- Tadpole Dance 1:32
- Let Me Know Your Name 4:17
- After the Rain 1:27
- It's an Easy Afternoon 1:24
- Behind the Clouds 1:36
- The Anthem of the Aryan Socialist Union 1:32
- Melting Brain 3:24
- The Way to Last Night 1:44
- Peach Headz Addiction 3:14
- Don't Look Behind (Requiem version) 2:06
- Father's Chest 1:58
- Don't Let Me Join Now 2:02
- Foxy Doll 2:07
- Rock the Carnival 2:53
- Mad Club 1:27
- Don't Stop! (Guitar version) 3:41
- Don't Look Behind (Ending version) 1:39
The manga first 9 volumes have sold over 6 million copies in Japan. About.com's Deb Aoki listed Viz Media's English release of Black Lagoon as the best new seinen manga of 2008, along with Gantz. The anime series has received internationally positive reviews. With Chris Beveridge of Anime on DVD going so far as to say:
“To my surprise, knowing practically nothing about the show beyond a two minute clip at a convention, Black Lagoon manages to kick all kinds of ass. In English no less. The draw of a full bitrate 5.1 mix got me to watch it in English only to find that with most of the characters being western and in settings outside of Japan it works very well.”
Escapist Magazine contributor Tom Tonthat reviewed both seasons of Black Lagoon separately. Both seasons received a positive review with the stylized action scenes and the strong female characters being praised, while also criticizing the somewhat repetitive nature of the plot.
- In the El Baile de la Muerte arc, the tombstone of Diego Jose San Fernando Lovelace showed that he died in the year 1991, although the North American translation/publication showed that he died in 1996. Also, in the same arc, American soldiers are seen using EO Tech holographic weapons sights, which were not developed until the mid-to-late 1990s.
- Based on the map sen in episode 26, at 6:32 seconds in
- Otaku USA August 2011 Issue, Page 106.
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- Rob Lineberger (2007-06-04). "Black Lagoon: Volume 1". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
- Smith, David F. (May 2007). "Black Lagoon Volume 1". Newtype USA. Vol. 6 no. 5. p. 146. ISSN 1541-4817. Archived from the original on 13 August 2007.
- Douresseaux, Leroy (15 July 2010). "Black Lagoon: Volume 9". Comic Book Bin. Toon Doctor.
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- Sheehy, Tim (12 August 2013). "Review: Black Lagoon Roberta's Blood Trail". Japanator.