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Black Lagoon: Complete Set Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Unrated
  • Runtime: 600 Mins.
  • Discs: 7 (3 x Blu-ray + 4 x DVD)
  • Studio: Funimation Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 4, 2012
  • List Price: $54.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4/5]

Black Lagoon is a fast-paced anime series that follows the exploits of Okajima “Rock” Rokuro, a salaryman for a Japanese corporation who ends up part of the crew of a group of mercenaries/pirates when they kidnap him for ransom and his company abandons him. Settling in to the crew basically as an ideas man with a more idealistic view of the world than the rest of his mates, he comes into conflict most often with the crew’s sole female member, “Two Hands” Revy, a volatile, violent woman of Chinese descent who grew up on the mean streets of New York, has a mysterious past, and provides the muscle for the Lagoon Company. The two other members are the owner and captain of Lagoon Company’s torpedo boat, Dutch, is an African American, ex-Marine who is a Vietnam Vet, and Benny, a Jewish collage grad who acts as the crew’s mechanic. The story is set in South East Asia, and is made up mainly of a series of contracts the Lagoon Company takes on, acquiring and transporting various items of dubious legality, particularly for Russian mafia organization Hotel Moscow. There isn’t much in the way of character development across its two seasons, other than Rock grows more confident in his role from the beginning of the series to the end, and Revy, the series’ most magnetic and terrifying character is revealed to have a more complex past that contributes to her nearly lustful indulgence in all things violent. And while Revy and Rock to seem to grow slightly less antagonistic toward each other, the creators maintain a great level of tension, sexual and otherwise, between the two characters that makes the series more interesting than it otherwise would be. Also helpful is that Black Lagoon breaks out of the homogenous box that most anime productions are often locked into, by throwing together a group of multi-ethnic, non-Japanese protagonists as the main focus – it’s refreshing to see a black male character like Dutch, white, Chinese, and Japanese members in a South East Asian setting. There are even Latino, Russian, and other ethnicities making frequent appearances, while the language in which they all relate to each other isn’t kept “PC” by any means. Mostly though, it is the magnificent action and the thrill of violence that makes Black Lagoon really click beyond its relatively simple plots. That, combined with the fantastic animation work makes it an A-grade series.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

A solid AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer of both seasons of Black Lagoon is provided on Blu-ray by Funimation. With only some minor appearances of color banding and low-level compression noise, the image is a satisfying one that offers detailed line art, no real issues with motion artifacts, and no apparent stairstepping.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The audio tracks are more than serviceable as well. They are rather unusually provided in two different lossless codecs, for the original Japanese and English dub. Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/24-bit) and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) are the options. Obviously the 5.1 mix will be the clear winner in providing a more spacious and engulfing mix, but it is far from the most top-level reference material I have ever heard for an anime series. It also suffers from having an English translation that is, to put it bluntly, far removed from the literal translation that can be found using the English subtitles with the original Japanese track. The language is coarser, with a lot more F-bombs, B-words, and other sprinklings of “curse” words that don’t appear anywhere in the original dialogue. I’m no prude, but I at least want the translation to resemble the original script.

The Japanese 2.0 mix is more than enjoyable, despite its channel limitation. It does sound a bit more closed-in, but everything is clean and there are a good bit of dynamics.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

All the supplements provided on disc have simply been ported over from DVD and are offered up in standard definition, except the clean opening and closings, and Japanese openings, which are in HD. A fairly interesting behind-the-scenes featurette with the English cast and crew is provided.

The supplements:

  • “The Crew” Behind the Scenes of English Version Production (1.33:1; SD; 00:15:36)
  • CD Commercial (Japan Only) (1.33:1; SD; 00:00:16)
  • Promotional Video 1 (1.33:1; SD; 00:01:55)
  • Promotional Video 2 (1.33:1; SD; 00:01:19)
  • Second Season Promotion Video (1.33:1; SD; 00:01:19)
  • Japanese Opening (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:31)
  • Japanese Opening, Second Barrage (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:31)
  • Textless Closing Song
  • Textless Closing Song – Episode 15
  • Textless Closing Song – Episode 24
  • Funimation Trailers:
    • Deadman Wonderland
    • Level E
    • Serial Experiments Lain
    • Soul Eater
    • C-Control
    • Fafner
    • Ga-Rei-Zero
    • Funimation.com

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Blood, bullets, fast pacing, and visually stunning animation with an international, multi-ethnic flare make Black Lagoon and Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage fantastic animated entertainment. This set from Funimation is a must for fans who want the series in HD.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Black Lagoon: The Complete Set on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B008YRL7JE[/amazon-product]

Purchase Black Lagoon: The Complete Set on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]


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1 COMMENT

  1. Could Rei
    Hiroe(he’s the creator of Black Lagoon)explain us what exactly happened to Rock’s parents? Are they alive,or something horrible has happened to them?Their absence gives me
    the odd feeling that Kageyama might have orderd their murder,and that should
    look as “accident” just for a cover-up.Whatever happened we have to
    know,if the latter did will Rock find the truth?Will Revy stay on his side
    cementing and admitting her love for
    him?I want nice developments between Revy and Rock.

    Revy and Rock!I love them.
    Questions we ought to think,and Hiroe has to
    answer for:Were the Okajima’s told their son “was dead”?If so what was their
    reaction?Did they demand explanations about Rock’s “death”,and compensations as well?About how much far would the unscrupulous (and maybe trickster!)Kageyama go just to ensure the dirty deals and cover ups of Asahi industries?!Even ordering a murder that would seem as
    “accident”?! When we study carefully episodes 19,23,24 we see that Rock never really has seen his parents.Rock still thinks he knows how they’re
    going!But actually he doesn’t know anything!Then who knows?Will
    Hiroe ever reveal us…?
    Hm,will the Iranians enter Roanapur?I don’t think Balalaika would be pleased to
    encounter Qassem Suleimani.He’s so Tough,so tricky!The VEVAK Agency..

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