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DVD Review

DVD cover

Black Lagoon
Roberta's Blood Trial OVA


Starring: Daisuke Namikawa, Megumi Toyoguchi, Hiroaki Hirata and Jun Karasawa
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 18 November 2013

When the head of the Lovelace family is assassinated in South America, his maid and one time bloodhound assassin, Roberta, goes on a voyage of vengeance which takes her back to Roanapur. Her presence and the presence of her quarry in the city sets the criminal underworld on edge and The Lagoon Company find that, against their best judgement, they get pulled into the conflagration...

Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail OVA (2010) is a new five episode extension to the show. Each episode is a little over half an hour in length. Although the show was released as a series of OVAs they have kept the numbering from season two, which explains why the first part has ‘25’ in its title.

The show was always designed for adults, but in this new story the creators are trying to give Tarantino a run for his money. Annoyingly the disc opens up with two adverts, something which was normally touted as an extra, now every time you want to watch the show you have to skip over these unwelcome intrusions. My feeling is that if you’ve forked out your hard earn cash you should at least get the option to avoid the adverts.

The Tarantino feel extends to much of the story, there is a parallel between the cities underworld looking for the maid with the hunt for The Bride. This darker turn in the story works very well, giving the episodes a rich cinematic feel.

The once ‘Bloodhound’ goes after the U.S. operatives which killed her former employer, Garcia sends his new maid, Fabiola. to find Rock to ask for his help. As he is mostly divorced from the underground of the city he is able to move around unmolested.

In order to find Roberta the increasingly dark Rock must walk through some of the most dangerous places that the city has to offer. As Rock still has some of his idealism left he cannot refuse the chance to save Roberta. The story gives the show a chance to expand the background of the city, bringing a greater depth to the story.

Graphically the show is in line with the previous two series, but as these looked fantastic, it would be hard for Madhouse to improve. Both the Japanese original vocal acting and the English Dub, by The Ocean Group, are impressive. The English dub gets either a 2.0 or 5.1 audio track and only a fool would play the stereo track if the option is available. The 5.1 showcases the show's many explosions and gun battles.

The OVAs are spread across two DVDs with the first 3 episodes on disc one, the remainder on disc two. Irritatingly disc two also starts with the same two adverts. Surprisingly there are no extras on either disc.

The show is a great noir story, a tale of madness and revenge, a must for fans of the show and well worth checking out. Just remember that, with the sex, language and violence the show is aimed at adults.


Charles Packer

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