Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Manga review: "Black Lagoon"

Last week I've been reading "Black Lagoon" manga. I quite liked first two season of the anime when I watched it few years ago. And I liked "Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail" few months ago. It was then when I decided to read manga.

"Black Lagoon" is a girls-with-guns action manga, one of the popular ones. Its main characters are the crew of small boat named "Black Lagoon" stationed in Roanapur - imagined city in south-east Asia, a criminal den full of criminal organizations, prostitutes, where everybody carries a gun. Despite all this violence, Roanapur has some romantic appeal, mostly thanks to the feeling the nevertheless how low all these people are, there are some things that are just not done. You know, honor between thieves (and murderers, torturers, terrorists...) - even though this notion will be broken from time to time. Crew is led by Dutch, an ex-soldier that is respected for his cool head. Benny is their specialist for hacking, communication, technical stuff and so on. And then there is Revy "Two Hands", hot-headed girls with two guns and knowledge how to use them. After some problems with their last job (they do mostly courier jobs for other organizations), they are joined by Rock (main characters), an average Japanese salary-man that gets abandoned by his company in tough situation.

The plot consists of episodes that last several chapters (or episodes in the anime adaptation), and it deal mostly with members of different organizations in Roanapur: Hotel Moscow (Russian ex-soldiers), Triads, Mafia, Church of Violence, South-American Cartels, etc. Or with their targets and enemies. Of course, dynamic between crew members plays a lot of importance in this series, and especially between Revy and Rock.

This is a seinen manga with shounen realization. Meaning that while action and desing and abilities of characters are typically shounen (gunfights that destroy building, killers with chainsaws, unstoppable killer-maids...), plot and characters are seinen. There is lots of angst and emotional pain with these people. I wouldn't say that plot is very complex, but it has some clever tricks and occasional surprises that reveal nicely developed setting. The atmosphere is quite dark and there is a lot violence - quite appalling violence, sometimes.

The above description can be applied on both manga and anime. But while I really like anime, reading manga was a mistake. Not that manga is bad, but it has no advantage over anime. Anime was kept completely accurate to the manga, so there was nothing new for me to find out. What worse, I somehow mistakenly understood that manga continues the story after anime, which was not true - at this point there are only few chapters that happen after the events in anime. And anime looks 10 times better because it adds colors. The art in manga was OK, but nothing impressive, which cannot be said for anime. Also, the audio side in anime was done perfectly.

Also, the scanlations I have read were not very good - I often found the conversation confusing.

Up till now, every time I've read manga that the anime I already watched ("Berserk", "Claymore", "Gantz", "Shigurui", "Hellsing"...) was adapted from, I enjoyed it. This time this wasn't the case. So, my recommendation is that if you want to familiarize to "Black Lagoon", you should better skip the manga and go straight for anime. Anime I would recommend to everybody who likes seinen action anime, especially to those who like it dark and violent. If you watched it already, there is no reason for you to read manga.

1 comment:

  1. I kind of disagree with you:Because in the anime,in the OVA too,they've made additions and revisions,in a degree,where you if you're at least suspicious you misstranslate some Great things.
    So the manga is Very Good,I prefer it.