Black Lagoon (S2)
Author: Kendrick Gerf
Let's get this out of the way now, Black Lagoon second season rocks, but not for the reasons that you think. Many have complained that Black Lagoon 2nd Barrage lacks the character development and depth of the first season, instead focusing on action (Great, hot, bad-ass, feisty action!). But I'm here to tell you that while Black Lagoon 2nd Barrage does indeed lack depth (but only lacks a little) it makes up for it by having good character development, atmosphere, an amazing performance from the entire cast of voice actors, subtlety, and some of the best action scenes this side of Calamity Jane walking into High Noon Saloon(I messed that up on purpose).
The story of Black Lagoon 2nd Barrage is a simple continuation of the first season with the same players involved. The story is mostly contained in each of the Black Lagoon company's missions. Without spoiling anything it mainly revolves around counterfeit bills, Yakuza facing off with Hotel Moscow and oh, crazy inessential vampire twins(For those who follow the manga, its Bloodsport Fairytale, Greeenback Jane, and Fujiyama Gangster Paradise arcs in that order). Yep it gets pretty crazy.
The characters are where Black Lagoon shines. Rock and Revy still carry the load for most interesting characters, but Balalaika and Eda gets a lot of development too. Characters like Chang, Dutch, and Benny get small time roles but have their moments. We finally see a little bit into Eda and Balalaika's past but only Eda's past serves to move the plot forward later. While Black Lagoon confirmed that Revy is one vicious chick, its brought home in this season. You get to see Revy for what she truly is in this season. Rock still has his fish out water aura around him, but there is flashes of Rock truly settling into his environment of the criminal ridden Roanapur, with him coming full circle into the decision he made to join the Lagoon company. But the show stealer of 2nd barrage is without a doubt Balalaika. She exudes final boss. Note, not bad-ass but final boss. From the way she handles her troops to how she joyfully seeks out war are quite the things to see and every time she is on screen she steals it bar-none.
The sound of Black Lagoon in the show is mostly forgettable. Its not bad and does its job of adding more atmosphere to the scene and building tension. But that's all its does. It serves its purpose. There aren't any tracks that are noteworthy save for one, which would be "The World of Midnight" by Minako "mooki" Obata. Now the opening theme song (Red Fraction) by Mell is amazing and gets you more the pumped for the show. The ending theme song "Don't Look Behind" by Edison is bittersweet and fits all to well with the show's undertone of morals. Everyone on the dub does their character proud with Brad Swalie and Maryke Hendrikse putting in noteworthy performances. Special attention should be paid to Patricia Drake as Balalaika as she does an amazing job. Only Drake could make a voice that sounds sexy and murderous at the same time.
The animation on Black Lagoon is smooth and fluid most of time and just "good" other times. The fight scenes are top notch and are worth the price of admission alone. I mean they are really good. The attention to detail is noticeable as you'll see bullet casings flying out of the gun and smoke looming from the barrel. By no means is this animation crisp but its smooth and doesn't cut too many corners. Overall its nice.
Black Lagoon 2nd Barrage is a roaring good anime. It has INCREDIBLY interesting characters, an AMAZING dub, and all the high class action you can take. What I wasn't able to touch on was the writing and how it able to make you laugh in the midst of the heavy shit that goes down in the season. The subtleties of Dutch's intelligence or Revy's relationship with Rock. Another thought is the ending to 2nd barrage feels like a copout for Rock's character.This is fixed in the sequel of 2nd Barrage with Roberta's Blood Trail a.k.a. Black Lagoon Season 3. But as it stand now by itself its a little backtracking and contradictory. Its not bad mind you, but if you were paying attention to all that's been said and done it may bother you.
My final verdict for Black Lagoon is
It rewatchabilty is high as its highly entertaining and easy to slip into it. I highly recommend this anime to anyone and everyone who watches Anime or has a set of male genitalia.