19 June 2019There are countless Japanese titles that are forced to suffer delays or real interruptions during publication, either because of the author's health problems or editorial choices. And when the titles are successful (see Berserk, Hunter x Hunter, Highschool of the Dead to name a few of the most well-known), their failure to release always creates different bad moods. This list also includes Black Lagoon, the Rei Hiroe's action and fighting manga that has had a great response from the public, even transposing it into two television series and 5 OAVs.
The story tells the adventures of the Lagoon Company, a group of mercenaries from the Thai town of Ruanapur where a bunch criminals and mafia’s gangs reside. Lagoon mainly deals with delivering the most disparate goods (including human beings) and is in business with all the criminal groups of the city. The plot closely follows the adventures of "Rock", the latest member join the Lagoon, originally Rokuro Okajima, a simple Japanese employee who unknowingly ended up in the shady business of the company where he works and from which he is discarded and considered dead. The other members of the Lagoon are: Dutch the leader, a black-skinned man of unspecified origin, ruthless when it comes to money but who always manages to keep control of the situation, Benny, the computer expert and the gunslinger Revy, co-protagonist of the history together with Rock, grown between violence and abuse, is a Chinese girl with a strong and proud character. Unscrupulous and cynical, he does not hesitate to kill in cold blood anyone who gets in front of him and repeatedly is about to kill even Rock, who is his opposite and always prefers the diplomatic way to violence.
The strong point of the manga is represented by the excellent characterization of the various characters that interact each other with their own nuances. The quarrels between Rock and Revy are always on fire as well as the Dutch jokes and the various references to other manga or international films.
Each chapter quickly slips away without ever getting bored in a continuous combination of action, suspense and a few more reflective moments thanks to the "normality" of Rock that often, in the most inconvenient situations, brings a light of humanity to the group and even touch ruthless murderers like Revy.
Despite this the stories of secondary characters like Balalaika, the leader of the Hotel Moscow, the improbable nuns of the Church of Violence, the mastiff of Florencia, the twins Hansel and Gretel, and a series of mafia and crime victims who have been abused and violence interacts with main plot. In a blind and unscrupulous world, every time the gentle and calm character of Rock appears, in constant confrontation with the harsh reality.
The lineament of Rei Hiroe are very energetic, ideal to represent the harshness and angularity of the themes treated. The scenes of violence are present and well-illustrated, always to emphasize the atmosphere of the story but never result in splatter exaggerations that can be found in other titles of the genre.
The original edition began serialization in 2002 and good news are coming from Japan which indicating in September the official resume in Shogakukan's Monthly Sunday GX magazine along with other dedicated projects.
So anyone who wish to start reading this action manga has plenty of time to recover!
You may be interested in...
After long years of waiting here is the cinematographic transposition strongly desired by James Cameron of the popular Yukito Kishiro manga of 1990.
Among the masterpieces of Kyoto Animation the story of a woman soldier who, after the end of war, accepts to write letters for others in search of herself and her past.
Set in an alternative Italy plagued by terrorist attacks, a dramatic story of young girls rescued from abuse and reused in a special police department.
A review on the Academy of heroes, one the best contemporary mainstream shonen, recently landed on Italian television in Mediaset channels.
Some considerations about the quality of japanese animation of the last years.