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Black Lagoon Volume 2

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Black Lagoon Volume 2 by Rei Hiroe, a seinen manga series published by VIZ Media Manga

Black Lagoon Volume 2

© Rei Hiroe

The Bottom Line

Ex-salaryman Rock has left his 9-to-5 grind behind, and his new job finds him diving in the Southeast Asian sea to retrieve a painting from a Nazi sub and negotiating with a group of gun-running nuns. Just another day at the office for the crew of the Black Lagoon.

Compared to Volume 1, Black Lagoon Volume 2 tones down the gunplay and focuses on character development, especially the growing friction between short-tempered Revy and rational Rock. Hiroe has a great cast of smart, sexy and deadly female characters, but could up the ante if didn't settle for this volume's pack of one-dimensional villains.

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Pros

  • Showcases interesting female characters who earn and get respect for their strength and smarts
  • Delves deeper into Revy's past life and inner turmoil behind her hair-trigger temper
  • Rock shows that he's no pushover, as he trades barbs and blows with Revy
  • Goofy bonus chapter cheerfully skewers the magical girl theme, Black Lagoon style

Cons

  • Nazi villains are predictable, one-dimensional caricatures
  • The vaguely incestuous Romanian twins are cold-blooded and creepy
  • Includes more graphic violence and sexual-themed content than Volume 1

Description

  • Original Title: Burakku Raguun (Black Lagoon) (Japan)
  • Author & Artist: Rei Hiroe
  • Publishers:
  • ISBN: 978-1421518916
  • Cover Price: $12.99 US / $15.00 CANADA
  • Age Rating: M – Mature, Age 18+ for violent gunplay and sexual innuendo
    More about content ratings.
  • Manga Genres:
  • US Publication Date: October 2008
    Japan Publication Date: July 2003
  • Book Description: 210 pages, black and white illustrations

Guide Review - Black Lagoon Volume 2

Now that Rock is a full-fledged crew member of the Black Lagoon, he accompanies Revy on a undersea mission to retrieve a painting from a Nazi sub. While this mission follows a predictable Nazis are bad (and delusional) formula, it does introduce a new twist to Revy and Rock's relationship.

When Rock questions Revy's impulse to steal relics from the dead sailors' remains and asks her if she's strictly in it for the money, his questions get under Revy's skin, and sparks fly. Hiroe hints at Revy's tragic past that led to her evolution as a fearless gun for hire, but leaves the details for a future tale.

It's nice to see that Hiroe is as interested in developing his characters' personalities as he is with depicting guns and munitions with technical accuracy. Each member of Lagoon Trading has secrets and past lives, which all offer intriguing possibilities for stories to come. But truth be told, part of me missed Revy's 'shoot first, ask questions later' killing spree glee that made Black Lagoon Volume 1 such a wild ride.

One of the best things about Black Lagoon is its focus on whip-smart, sexy and confident women. Not girls, but real women who can blow up enemies without blinking an eye or breaking a nail. While there's lots of hand-wringing anytime a female candidate enters the political arena in America, in the fantasy world of Black Lagoon, fierce femmes command and receive respect.

After creating several intriguing adult characters, Hiroe's introduction of two siblings with angel faces but the hearts of cold-blooded killers strikes a sour note. It reeks of Loli-con fanservice that is frankly kind of creepy.

While not as raucous as Volume 1, Black Lagoon Volume 2 still has a hearty dose of Hiroe's winning mix of guns, gals and international intrigue that makes it one of the most entertaining seinen manga titles around.

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