I’m not the biggest fan of Black Lagoon, but when people say that, they mean to say that they don’t like the subject; I actually mean I’m a fan of Black Lagoon. I just acknowledge that there are certainly bigger fans of the franchise than me out there.
Being such a fan, I’ve been waiting for this OVA for some time now, and now that it’s here I’m filled with much excitement. In this post I’ll share the context by which I watch the shows of this franchise. You may be surprised.
As far as the plot and details of this particular installment, I leave you in the capable hands of Hanners, who covers what I feel are the important bits of the episode. An excerpt:
[…] the title of this OVA tells you everything you need to know – The crazed yet loyal maid-cum-killer Roberta we last saw in this franchise’s first season is at large once again. The reason for this is that her master, and the father of the boy she protects so dearly, is killed in a “terrorist” incident in his native Venezuela – An incident which clearly runs far deeper than that, taking us all the way to to the top in form of America’s CIA and beyond.
Needless to say, Roberta is going to allow this incident to pass her by, and so she goes on a predictable rampage of murder and torture in the name of vengeance as she hunts own those responsible for her master’s death. So, how does the Lagoon Company get involved in all of this? In short, this occurs via Roberta’s beloved “young master”, who is hunting for the wayward Roberta himself as the new head of the Lovelace family, complete with his own decidedly lethal maid at his service. So, the scene is set for the usual blend of violence and insanity which has become the hallmark ofBlack Lagoon, with Rock seemingly set to take centre stage in this particular operation.
I think the show upped the fanservice with the introduction of Fabiola, the disciple of Roberta – as if Roberta wasn’t already a particularly formidable warship of fanservice already. Fabiola covers the Azuma databases with her ‘genki’ demeanor, her diminutiveness, and earnest but naive mien. But yes, she’s a girl in a French maid costume that has impossibly big guns, a specialization in shotguns that she can wield like pistols, and impossibly acrobatic gunplay.
I took note of a comment on Hanners’ post:
I had a similar reaction.
My problem with this – and with the other Maid episodes in the TV series – is that Roberta (and her co-maid) are just too ove the top.
Revi’s gunfighting is (marginally) believable, like a Hong Kong heroic bloodshed movie. Both of the maid’s fighting styles are not believable at all. Couple that with the maid element, and the somewhat gritty, vaguely realistic (by anime standards)Black Lagoon drifts off into superhero land. This lends any Roberta episode an air of unreality, and the addition of a second combat maid, who can virtually hover in mid air while firing, sends things off into la-la land… As a result, elements like Rock and Revy musing over people they’ve lost or their effed-up lives lose their weight.
I agree that the over-the-top elements of the battle-maids, particularly Fabiola’s aerial gunplay does detract from the possible gravitas of the show. I’m not certain as to how serious Black Lagoon wants to take itself, but my very good friend is a big fan of the manga and he takes it very seriously. He does feel that Fabiola’s aerial stunts at least, do take away from the experience of the show.
Black Lagoon is fun. Personally, it doesn’t bother me so much; I am not as big a fan of the series to be disappointed by something like this. I do value Black Lagoon in that it is one of the three series that I’ve seen that have both breathtaking gunplay, and adult characters and stories. To tier them, I’ll put Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Cowboy Bebop on the top tier, then Black Lagoon below it.
Characters are adults, smoke cigarettes, presumably actually have sex, and kill people without having overwrought angst about it. Cowboy Bebop functions better as a comedy with its outright zany episodes. While the Ghost in the Shell manga is quite irreverently comedic, Stand Alone Complex limits its overt comedy to the Tachikoma, making it the most serious of the three.
In the end, I put it in good company, and I look forward to the next episodes with bated breath.