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Black Lagoon, vol. 2 & 3
A dual UK region 2 DVD review by Gazz
 

If you have not seen or heard of Black Lagoon, check the previous review available here.

Disk 2 continues where Disk 3 left off, with Revy and Rock deep under the ocean searching a submarine for the last known painting created by Hitler known as Brunhilda. The show flies straight into action, just as you would expect from this series, with a high-speed battle between Dutch's boat and a group of Nazi's looking for the Brunhilda painting while a few divers manage to swim down to the sunken submarine, where more gunfights take place.

This is the first major look into Revy's past and why she behaves the way that she does. Through Revy opening to Rock, a bond starts to form which grows through the rest of the series, and while in the submarine Rock shows his sentimental side to Revy when discussing a photograph of the captain of the ship, which leads into a defining moment where Revy tries to explain to Rock why they are so different. She holds a skull in one hand and a silver cross in the other, while asking Rock what he sees in her hands and then proceeds to describe that, to her, these objects are money and death, nothing fancy. Once these differences have been revealed, this helps them open up to one another, growing their bond.

New characters are presented that pop up several more times through the series and into the Second Barrage (Second Season, Eps 13-24). Sister Yolanda and Sister Eda are two nuns that run an undercover smuggling operation, using their church and religious status to get through border patrols. Rock shows his worth in a discussion between himself and Yolanda, where Revy and Sister Eda almost start a gun battle between one another. It is obvious there is a past issue between the two women when tensions run high, but no details are revealed to show what their issue is with one another and it is also clear that they are very similar in personality and skills which might be the reason for their mutual distrust.

Shortly after the meeting in the church, there is an argument between Revy and Rock that at first splits them, but then brings them together with a stronger friendship when Rock stands up to Revy and shows his strength of conviction where sensible people would cower before her. Towards the end of the second DVD, the group take on a controversial cargo that leads to dispute between Rock and the team on how it should be handled. Dutch cools the situation and manages to find a fair medium in the end but external factors lead to more issues that are resolved during the third DVD.

The third disk in the collection starts with another shootout in the Yellow Flag bar, that centres on the cargo that had been transported during the last few episodes and ends with a crazy car chase through Roanpour that is very exciting to watch. A few other new characters are presented that make more of an impact through the Second Barrage that aid Revy and Rock for mutual benefit.

Due to the depth of the storyline, growing from the second disk into the third, it is hard to keep track of all the intricacies unless watching the show. If you have the first and second DVD's, be sure to finish at least the first season by purchasing the third as it wraps up previous storylines and contains as much action as shown in the previous disks.

Overall, 3 disks to cover the first season of a quality anime is good value for money and if the pace continues, the 24 episode collection will be complete with 6 DVD's in total. Black Lagoon is one of the best animes to have been released in recent times so try the first few episodes before writing off the show completely.

sound and vision

As with volume 1, the NTSC to PAL transfer here is a good one, scoring on sharpness, contrast and colour but with the occasional conversion giveaway in the shape of ghosting on fast moving objects. As these things go, though, a good job.

The choice between Japanese stereo 2.0 and English 5.1 surround is, as ever, going to be down to personal preference – we prefer the Japanese for the dialogue and characters, but the English 5.1 track is sonically superior, having excellent clarity and making great use of the surrounds in the action scenes and to enhance location atmospherics.

extra features

There arent many noticeable extras on disk 2, only a Japanese music CD advert for the intro music of the anime (which is awesome by the way!) and the Japanese intro sequence, which uses Kanji instead of English for the credits.

As with disk 2, on disk 3 there is the clean ending sequence, which is pretty mundane compared to the action packed intro, and a couple of promo videos from the Japanese launch that play out as anime music videos.

Both disks have the usual trailers.

Black Lagoon: Barrage 1,
Vol. 2 / Vol. 3
Burakku ragûn

Japan 2006
96 mins each volume
director
Sunao Katabuchi

DVD details
region 2
video
16:9 anamorphic
sound
Dolby 2.0 stereo
Dolby 5.1 surround
languages
Japanese
English
subtitles
English
English signs only
extras
CD advert
Japanese intro sequence
Promo videos
Trailers
distributor
MVM
release dates
26 May 2008 (V2)
7 July 2008 (V3)
review posted
2 July 2008