There was a post on Tumblr the other day expressing surprise on how small the fandom is for the anime Black Lagoon. I immediately realized there really is very little enduring interest for a show that’s as good and well regarded as Black Lagoon. To remedy that, here are five reasons people need to check it out:
One: The Wild Dark Style.
Black Lagoon is done in a bizarre combination of hyper-stylization and gritty, which is in the end Grindhouse. It was once described to me as “Tarantino meets Die Hard,” and that’s an accurate description of how watching it feels. Black Lagoon is full of dark, gritty urban backdrops and incredibly stylized, blood-filled fight scenes with excessive amount of gunfire and explosions and all this is interspersed, of course, with plenty of swearing for atmosphere. This style gives it a much more Western cinematic feel than most anime.
Two: Ethnically Diverse Cast
Not many TV series have a main cast as ethnically diverse as Black Lagoon. The main protagonist is Japanese; the group’s muscle is Chinese-American; the boss is a large African-American ex-marine wearing earrings; and the show have a Jewish-American hacker from Florida to round things off. Representatives from Columbian, Russian and Chinese organized crime also appear in the story. With the very strong yearning, especially recently, for ethically diverse films and TV, Black Lagoon should be recognized for doing just that.
Three: The Characters and Story Feel Real
Plenty of bad action films put the focus on style and explosions over character development and plot creation. Rei Hiroe, Black Lagoon’s creator, spent time and effort creating interesting characters with unique viewpoints and believable worldviews. The show focuses on its protagonist’s story and it’s characters’ relationships with each other. The mental states and philosophies of the main cast are valued more than the action scenes.
Four: It holds up
This year Black Lagoon celebrated the 10th anniversary of its premiere. It in truth, doesn’t feel that old. There are shows from that time period that don’t hold up nearly as well (Stargate Atlantis, Monk). This doesn’t just hold up; it has the power to continually hold up because the story is not dependent on period technology or American culture. You can watch it now. You can watch it five years from now it wouldn’t make a difference.
It’s about Pirates, which should be enough to sell it, but it’s about modern pirates. That’s not a topic that get’s a lot of screen time. There are plenty of crime shows floating around, but I can’t name another one that tackles 21st century piracy. It’s a great selling point and done in a believable fashion. Black Lagoon gives a compelling image of modern day pirates.