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DVD Review

DVD cover

Black Lagoon
Barrage 2 - Volume 2


Starring (voice): Daisuke Namikawa, Megumi Toyoguchi, Hiroaki Hirata, Mami Koyama and Tsutomu Isobe
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 10 November 2008

The seas of Southeast Asia can be a perilous place, especially with the likes of the mercenary PT boat The Black Lagoon - manned by Dutch, Revy and Benny - roaming the high seas. The Lagoon Company are not the sort of people that you would want to mess with and certainly not the sort of people that meek and mild company man, Rokuro Okajima thought he would end up joining, but having been hunted by his employers Rok has no option except to join the privateers...

Black Lagoon: Barrage 2 - Volume 2 sees the second, and last, season of this testosterone pumped action show set in the south China seas. This disc holds episodes seventeen through twenty - which means, I guess, that there should only be one more release to complete the set. When we last saw the crew they had become involved with a fleeing counterfeiter called Jane, and it is here that we pick up our story. Basically the first two episodes finish off the Jane story arc before the show starts a new story involving the Japanese underworld. The basic elements of the show remain intact: swearing, ultra violence and skimpy clothing all wrapped up in a surprisingly effective thriller.

Episode seventeen: The Roanapur Freakshow Circus, and the gang decide to help Jane evade her attackers, which ends in a building being stormed whilst they are still inside. Things get out of hand with rocket launchers going off all over the place. Although the gang find refuge on the roof, their building is now on fire, ah toasty.

Episode Eighteen: Mr Benny’s Good Fortune, and the fight continues with Edna in the building while Rok and Jane are stuck on the burning roof. When all seems lost the Black Lagoon returns to harbour with Dutch and Benny. The episode has quite a surprise in its ending, which just confirms the quality of this show.

Episode nineteen: Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise, and we are into another story arc. Rok and Revy travel to Tokyo to help Balalaika set up a Russian arm of her military operation in Japan, a move that does not sit well with the Yakuza. With little compromise on either side it isn’t long before it becomes a shooting war.

Episode Twenty: The Succession, and Balalaika’s operations are on the increase; her ultimate plan is to abduct Mr Bando, the head of the rival operation.

The stories are not all violence, though there is a lot of that, the show also takes time for Rok to contemplate what has happened to his life in the year that he has been with the Black Lagoon, even Revy points out that he hasn’t killed anyone so that there is nothing stopping him now returning to his old life. Rok somehow seems reluctant, an aspect that I’m sure will be explored on the last disc.

The disc has a good picture, but then the show is not that old. Audio is English or Japanese (with subtitles) Dolby 2.0, which considering it's such an all out action show, it’s a real shame that a surround sound mix wasn't included. The 2.0 does an adequate job, but the show is just crying out for something more dynamic. Extras are only the original trailer and a bunch of other trailer, so nothing to write home about there.


Charles Packer

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