Manga Review: Black Lagoon Vol. 1

Black Lagoon: Vol. 1
Art and Story by Rei Hiroe
Published by Viz Media
ISBN10: 142151382x
ISBN13: 9781421513829

Review by Linda Yau

Rokuro Okajima is an ordinary Japanese salaryman, with an ordinary life. He certainly didn’t expect to be held hostage by three mercenaries. Still it was this experience that led him to joining the ship of Black Lagoon. The purpose of Black Lagoon is to deliver cargo for the Russian Mafia group, Hotel Moscow. This had led them to be at odds with the other crime factors in the Southeast Asian seas. Follow the beginning of this exciting series with equally violent gunfights and physical action.

There are panels filled with onomatopoeic effects, and pretty gory violent scenes, the rating for this book is M for mature, so I assume this means that 18+ should be reading this type of graphic novel. So, parents or teachers be forewarned, there is plenty of vulgar language or scenes in this book. Not a problem for me, since this manga inspired one of my favorite anime series in 2006, so you can imagine how excited I was when I learned that Viz was going to translate the manga series, and to actually review this, it just made my day.

There are also funny parts in the graphic novel, such as the mini story at the end, featuring the characters of Black Lagoon in a high school setting, or the various reactions of specific characters in this obvious dark anti-hero series.

Without getting too much into gushing about the animation series of this graphic novel. This book is sure to please fans for any of John Woo’s movies or fans of action packed stories, filled with the reminiscence feel of unspoken people who survive on the fringes of society. Existentialism is a recurring theme in this series. There are currently in Japan eight volumes of this series that is still ongoing. There are two animation series, and a third series planned. Funimation is going to be responsible for releasing the animation series in the U.S. For more information for this series, people can check out the Wikipedia page. Hope that this review did the book justice – since the graphic novel covered a large portion of the first series.