Black Lagoon volume 4 was illustrated be Reu Hiroe and was published on the 19th of July, 2005. This volume features the next nine chapters in the series (21-29), read the review for the third volume here. In a dramatic change of scenery, Rock and Revy travel to winterised Japan. Balalaika has hired Rock to be her interpolator for an enterprising collaboration with the Washimine-gumi, a Yakuza family who’s on its last legs. However, its doesn’t last long as Hotel Moscow gets up to its usual business and starts dominating everyone in their way. This time period takes a heavy emotional toll on Rock as he comes to terms with the fact that there is nothing left of his former life. Revy also meets her match on the battlefield when she faces Washimine’s top dog enforcer.
My Review: This volume starts off with the final chapter of the Goat, Jihad, Rock ‘n’ Roal arc. However, I found it to be somewhat anti-climatic. For all the action it starts off with the end result was less than spectacular. It did seem to leave the option open for a return of the main villain, however, I fell that it should have perhaps just ended, no loose ends about it. Then we launch right off into the longest arc yet, with only a minimal appearance of Dutch and Benny this arc is jet set to be another Rock and Revy show. But in this case, it would seem that Balalaika plays a much larger role than ever before. On top of that, the other present party shows up a lot more and we as readers get to see a great deal more of their side of the story, dramatically increasing the connection we have to them. Somewhat of a dull volume but I sense that it is leading up to something big.
Black Lagoon volume 3 was illustrated be Reu Hiroe and was published on the 19th of April, 2004. This volume features the next eight chapters (13-20), read the review for the second volume here. Roanapur turns into an all out war zone when Hotel Moscow join forces with the Triad to hunt down and kill the psychotic Romanian assassin twins, Hansel and Gretel. The twins come to a harsh bloody end, this leaves a bitter taste in Rocks mouth. However, he doesn’t have much time to come to terms with this scaring reality. A terrorist organization makes a move against the Triad, they hire the Black Lagoon to take and deliver some crucial documents to US operatives. However, they may be getting more than they bargained for as this terrorist group seems to be better equipped and headed that the Lagoon Traders could have imagined.
My Review: Wow, this volume was quite an exciting ride. We get to see the dramatic ending to the terror of the twins. I though the end was done perfectly, it was quite depressing but seem entirely appropriate for the characters in question. Unlike the previous volume, we get jumped right into the next arc within which we see the return of the Triad gang (from the previous arc). And it is not long until we are introduced to a few new characters, Shenhua, a devilish Chinese assassin who specializes in lethal throwing daggers, and Leigharch a cowardice druggy whose vices get the better of him at an inopportune time. I gotta say, Shenhua is a pretty cool character, I hope that she becomes a regular character, (similar to Eda, the “nun”) and doesn’t only make a one-off appearance. However, I can’t say that Leigharch interests me to any extent.
I rate this manga 3.5/5.
Black Lagoon volume 2 was illustrated be Reu Hiroe and was published on 19th of July, 2003. This volume features the next eight chapters (05-12), read the review for the first volume here. In this volume, we see Rock settling into his new life as a pirate and his role in the crew of the Black Lagoon. However, he quickly learns that sometimes things are not as easy as they want them to be. During a mission to salvage an artifact from a sunken U-Boat, the crew ends up in a full out firefight with a gang of Neo-Nazis. During this time Rock learns about the secret behind Revy’s past and this puts her in quite a sour mood. Dutch takes up issue with her temper and this leads to a public confrontation between Revy and Rock. Not long after this a pair of psychotic assassin twins show up on the scene and start killing gang members nearly bringing about an all-out gang war.
My Review: Well this volume starts off with a real kicker of an arc, it starts off kind of slow with minimal action but as the story progresses it really kicks it up a gear, especially after Revy gets into her bad mood. I thought it was good to see that Benny got a bit bigger role in this volume, I also really like to see Dutch strut his stuff towards the end of the first arc. The second arc seems like somewhat of a filler however it did introduce some new characters and fleshed out the world. The final two chapters are only part of a longer arc but the twins do seem like they will be really cool characters and I can’t wait to learn more about them.
I rate this manga 3/5.
Black Lagoon volume 1 was illustrated be Reu Hiroe and was published on 12th of December, 2002. This volume contains the first five chapters (00-04). In this volume, we are introduced to Rokuro Okajima, your typical everyday salaryman living the boring everyday life. Then, one day whilst out on an assignment for the company he works under, his ship is boarded by pirates and he is taken hostage the crew of the black lagoon. The crew consists of Dutch, the boss, Benny, the mechanic and Revy Two Hand. Upon his capture, Rokuro finds himself reluctantly being thrown headlong into the bowels of society, A world of degenerates, violence, drugs and money. Rokuro will have to adapt quickly if he is ever to survive his new life in the underbelly of society.
My Review: Black Lagoon was an anime that iv had on my radar so when I came across the entire set of manga I knew I just had to pick it up and give it a read. So far I’m really enjoying it. All the characters are brilliantly unique and each has a great personality (except for Benny who seems boring at the moment, due to lack of development). There is quite a lot of really cool action in the gun fights although it seems that quite often there is so much happening in each panel that it can get a bit confusing of what’s actually going on. I can’t really say too much about the plot as of yet considering that it is really just starting out, but from what I can tell I’m quite excited for reading future volumes especially if they keep the same vibe and energy.
I rate this manga 3.5/5.