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Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage

A while back i made a review for Black Lagoon and have just finished the second season of Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage.

Having watched this second season of Black Lagoon, I cannot decide whether it is better than the first season. Rather than being a distinct sequel, The Second Barrage really is just a second half to Black Lagoon. The story here focuses more closely onto Rock, our former office worker lead, as he struggles to find his place among the pirate crew he’s taken up with.

We start beautifully, with the first mini-arc being a stunning, heartbreaking tale of a pair of child soldiers, managing to render them both thoroughly sympathetic and utterly terrifying. This is Black Lagoon at its very best, showing real human responses to a situation where there simply isn’t any good outcome available, only bad and worse ones. The series’ usual high quality, real-camera-style animation is maintained throughout, and while I’m usually in favour of more experimental styles, it does make a real aid to immersion.

This dramatic arc is then balanced by an even more action-focused one centred on a counterfeiter, but while this certainly provides enough fights and explosions to hold the eye, the lack of more emotional depth here is a disappointment. An attempt is made to pull some focus onto Benny, a borderline-main character and the ship’s hacker, but ultimately he simply isn’t interesting enough to talk about, and unlike with Rock and Revy’s excellent dynamic, there’s no other character he really plays off against.

But worse is to come as we come to the series’ second half, which is a single longer arc. One of Black Lagoon‘s big strengths was its international feel, with the Japanese Rock having to fit in with a more varied crew in a city very different from his homeland, but they couldn’t resist returning him to Japan for the finale. And while Rock falls deeply into angst over whether to return home, seemingly putting a lot more emotional weight on this than matters of life and death, the more physical plot dives straight into cliché. For its piece of awesome finale badassery, Black Lagoon gave us a guy who would jump his boat to torpedo a helicopter; The Second Barrage gives us a samurai who can cut bullets with his sword. The tale of clashing Yakuza families and the young not-quite-innocent girl drawn into acting as head of one of them isn’t badly told – in fact, as such things go it’s quite a good piece of storytelling – but it’s thoroughly trite.

The Animation was definitely one of the improved parts of this anime. Although I wouldn’t say the animation was bad at all in the first season, but this time around everything was more smooth. I think the fight scenes still need a bit of work though. Its fairly hard to get over some of the parts where the hero or herione’s aren’t moving too fast and still all the bullets miss them. I think if they speed up the movement it would look better and more believable. That being said they really put alot of effort in other aspects of the fights i.e. details of bullets and body parts being shot at or stabbed. I also found less distorted characters so all in all I was pleased with the quality.

The opening music was very good choice for the second season. It fits the hype, and get’s you ready for the action to come. and it undeniably fits this one. The ending music as well fits the anime, even the scenery of Revy walking as the clips fall, with the assist of that background music – it constantly reminds you of Revy’s character and why she is who she is.

Overall, I definitelly enjoyed this anime. And i cant wait for season 3 to finish. If you ahve not watched Black Lagoon season 1 and love action, got watch it and then watch The Second Barage.

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