Black Lagoon - Series 1 & 2 Collection DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 9.0
Video 9.5
Audio 9.0
Special Features   2.0
Audio 9.0
Distributor: Madman
Running Time: 600
Classification:
 MA15+
Reviewer: Simon Black

9.0


Black Lagoon - Series 1 & 2 Collection

Whilst on a business trip in South East Asia, unobtrusive salaryman Rokuru Okajima is accosted by a group of mercenaries known as Lagoon Company, who steal a disc full of confidential files Okajima was carrying for his boss and kidnap him for ransom.  The intended buyer is a member of the Russian Mafia, though the disc contains information that has piqued the interest of numerous other crime lords.  Many a John Woo style fight sequence ensues in the battle between Lagoon and a variety of nefarious cartels, and the subsequent action spans several continents and contains more shootouts and explosions than you can shake an AK-47 at. 

Big on attitude, gunplay and graphic violence, this is one series that makes its intentions clear from the outset.  ‘I say we kneecap this pussy’ declares gun-toting, tattooed female assassin Revy of the hapless Rokuru in the first minute of the first scene.  An unrelenting barrage of Tarantino-esque ass-kickery, Black Lagoon is quite simply one of the most adrenaline-packed and blackly humorous animes ever to hit local shores.  Madman’s release is a great-looking 6-disc set that contains all 24 episodes of the first two seasons in a suitably lascivious collector’s slipcase complete with reversible slicks, and the series is a visual treat from start to finish.   

The project was in good hands from the get-go; the aptly named Studio Madman has previously helmed such standouts as Perfect Blue, Death Note and Ninja Scroll, and director and screenwriter Sunao Katabuchi spent several years under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed animator Hayao Miyakazi (Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away).  The attention to detail and impressive pedigree have paid off, and the end result is an effective, nuanced and uncompromising viewing experience.   

Audio & Video

Contrary to the box cover which states only two-channel audio options are on offer (as was the case in the US) the set comes with a Japanese 2.0 and a markedly superior English 5.1.  The US voice cast do an excellent job, the metal-laden soundtrack is appropriately boisterous and picture quality is faultless too, with a bold, vivid and defect-free 16:9 widescreen transfer more than getting the job done. 

Special Features

A couple of extras from the Region 1 edition, such as an interview with director Katabuchi, seem to have gone astray, but there’s still some well-chosen bonus features to lend cache to the local release.  In addition to the usual clean openings and closings are a 15-minute Making-Of feature, several music and promotional videos and a brief Japanese CD commercial for the theme song’s single release.






 
 



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