N.B. Before I begin, I only watched the first season for this review. I’ll probably spend this weekend marathonning the second.
Black Lagoon was great. Really good show. And yet, Black Lagoon left me disappointed, because it revealed to me just how much was wrong with Jormungand, probably my favourite show from last season. It was obvious to all that Jormungand owed a lot to Black Lagoon, but it pales in comparison to its spiritual predecessor. Black Lagoon is a tighter production; the main gang of characters numbers only four, whereas Jormungand had a grand total of ten. This means that there is sufficient time to get to know all main characters – I have no problem naming all the Black Lagoon gang, whereas I can barely name a couple of Koko’s bodyguards. Character development is plentiful (I hear the second season is more focussed on their business – a good move, since there doesn’t seem to be a great deal more development to recount), whereas Jormungand shoehorns the development in where it has no place. Black Lagoon is ultimately a more rounded show. If it had come after Jormungand then it would feel like a refinement of the theory, but as it is Jormungand is a step backwards.
I don’t want to keep harping on about Jormungand, so let’s discuss the English dub. This is how I watched Black Lagoon, as I’d downloaded a dual audio version by chance. It’s very good. Some of the accents are a bit suspect – the stunningly racist Chinese accent (think Full Metal Jacket, “me love you long time”) and hilariously bad Irish accent (“ballacks!”) in the last episode for example – but otherwise the work is top notch. It makes sense to watch the dub too, since three of the main four are at least part-American and Rock is a fluent linguist anyway. Plus, Dutch sounds like a badass – like how I wanted Garterbelt to sound in the dub of Panty & Stocking.
For Sam’s next show, I rolled another 5 – another wildcard. Because I’m a nice friend, I’m going to pick something good. Something amazing, in fact. Something in English dub. Golden Boy. No subs allowed, no Japanese audio. You won’t regret it.