Black Lagoon, a seinen action manga series created by Rei Hiroe (which received an anime adaptation courtesy of Madhouse), starts by introducing the audience to Rokuro Okajima: after barely graduating from a Japanese community college and landing a job as an underpaid salaryman in the shipping and handling department of Asahi Industries, Rokuro seems destined to live a life of abused mediocrity as a small cog in a large corporate machine.Rokuro's life changes forever when the company asks him to deliver a data diskette to a customer in the South China Sea — his ship comes under attack by pirates with a torpedo boat, who nab the disc and bring Rokuro with them as a hostage for ransom. Twenty-four hours later — after a series of events that include being nearly shot by his captors, surviving a bar shootout, being chased by a gunship helicopter, and being declared legally dead by his own company — Rokuro (now rechristened with the nickname "Rock") joins up with the pirates, who run a small boat courier service known as the Lagoon Delivery Company.Rock's compatriots in the Lagoon crew include:
The crew makes their living out of the fictional Thai city of Roanapur by "acquiring" goods (legal or otherwise) and delivering them, no questions asked, on behalf of the various criminal elements who effectively run the city — and at times, the crew has to "persuade" the owners to hand over the goods...Do not confuse this series with Creature from the Black Lagoon.After a three year hiatus from June 2010 to March 2013, the series has finally gotten a new chapter.
Black Lagoon provides examples of the following tropes:
A-Team Firing: When two main characters are fighting. The most egregious example is Revy vs. Roberta.
Not to mention whenever mobs of enemies try to shoot major characters. Mister Chang stands in place without being hit while enough bullets are fired at him to completely destroy his car.
Action Girl: Fabiola. The other female warriors are considerably darker about their action.
Action Girlfriend: Revy most assuredly counts. Rokuro was a normal salaryman with a dead-end job and there's nothing special about him aside from being pretty smart. Then she kidnapped him and tries to sell him for a ransom. The girlfriend part isn't confirmed yet, but the hints are there on both sides.
Adaptation Expansion: The anime version adds more characterization and mood-setting moments to the story compared to the more action-oriented manga version.
Affably Evil: Most of the main and supporting cast have rather pleasant and upbeat personalities to go with all the nasty things they do for a living.
Later used completely straight in the "Baile de la Muerte" arc. Most, or all of the Black Ops unit are wearing ballistic vests, most likely with trauma plates. Not one of them manages to stop the black powder sabot flechette rounds fired from a musket by Roberta.
Bear in mind, though, that 90-plus percent of Roberta's shots were fired at close range and that it is also likely that tubes carry a large amount of propellant proportionate to their size. Seeing as they are entirely self-contained, it's also possible that they are reinforced to accommodate nitrocellulose instead of black powder.
Also, while not as a drastic change as the above, Roberta hair grows at an incredibly fast speed, from chest height to waist height in her introductory arc.
Garcia's hit puberty in "El Baile de la Muerte," but is obviously a tad older when in the boat with the Gray Foxes. Compare when he tried to kill Caxton earlier.
Artistic License - Gun Safety: By now, Revy should have her eardrums blown and her hands arthritic. Courtesy of excessive recoils from dual-wielding 9mms and prolonged gunfights in close quarters. But hey, Rule Of Cool.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Balalaika and Mr. Chang are the heads of their groups, and among the most lethal people in the series, and Dutch is shown to kick much ass in his own time. Also subverted, in that Roberta and Ginji are even deadlier than just about anyone else in the series...and have jobs as a maid and a manservant street vendor respectively. Also subverted in the case of the bosses of Colombian Cartel and Sicilian Mafia, who end up as mere Mooks compared to the protagonists or major villains, though they don't have very much authority to begin with.
Ax Crazy: Hansel and Gretel, as well as Revy herself when the "Whitman Fever" takes hold in the Nazi arc. Roberta, during the course of the El Baile de la Muerte arc.
It should be noted that Hansel is literally axe-crazy. He kills people with a battle axe almost as big as he is.
Back-to-Back Badasses: Revy and Chang blasting a way out of the Lagoon Company's office past Ibraha's goons.
Badass: Let's play it safe and go with everyone that has dialogue, barring mooks and other cannon fodder. This even includes the pacifist Rock, who is able to argue with some of the most psychotically violent characters on the show, and not get killed. Sometimes he even wins.
In episode 2 he comes up with the idea of launching a boat into the air and firing a torpedo at an attack helicopter. More importantly, it works.
He negotiates his way through Sister Yolanda while Revy and Eda are pointing guns at each other, without looking up from his tea. He's an intelligentBad Ass.
Late in the series, while Roanapur is going to hell in a hand basket, Dutch and Benny are relaxing inside the Lagoon office. At one point, they comment about the craziness going on outside their front door and each one agrees that it would be much worse if Rock actually learned how to shoot a gun.
He's also the only character to cross Balalaika and live to talk about it.
Roberta has recently joined him on that very short list, but are you really surprised?
How about actually snatching Revy's gun from in front of his face before she can pull the trigger? Admittedly she hesitated and may have only pulled the trigger because the gun jerked in her hand, but it still takes balls of titanium to attempt it with Revy's gun in your face to begin with.
Subverted with Rotton the Wizard. While he has all elements that'd point that'd he'd be the coolest badass ever, he ends up being a Joke Character. To his credit, he's one Crazy-Prepared man, and spends a lot of his free time with Sawyer and Shenshua, and the very fact he's survived this long seems that there's more in his head than long-winded speeches.
Badass Army: Balalaika's Vysotniki. Justified as they are all former Russian Special Forces. Through all the story arc's they've been in, we've seen a total of two fatalities. Two. And boy did Hansel suffer for killing them.
There's Caxton's Gray Fox Unit. They survived a few dozen hired mercenaries (albeit mook-level ones), contact with the elite FARC soldiers, disarm Revy and Shenhua rather easily, as well as close contact and a gunfight with Roberta. Thrice. Especially when they were funneled into several situations that should have killed them. Eda even tells Chang that if he pursues them into the jungle, he and his men are as good as dead. Their established badassery only shows further how dangerous Roberta is when she kills a good deal of them. And even then, they're under orders not to kill her by that point.
In the anime adaptation, the battle is less one-sided, as Gray Fox cripple Roberta for life as she tries killing them. By the time Garcia manages to put his plan into action, it's ambiguous whether he's saving Gray Fox from Roberta, or Roberta from Gray Fox.
Balalaika even goes as far as to call the Vysotniki Gray Fox's dark reflection.
Stanford: Are you afraid?! There's no way you're not! Now witness the awesome power of— *BANG* Revy: Shut the fuck up.
Eda's retort to Chang in chapter 56:
"And another thing, smack talk has no effect on those stronger than you. You and your men have the power to bring men and whole companies to your heels, but we have the power to bring entire nations to our heels, if not to ruin."
Badass Longcoat: Hilariously subverted with Rotton the Wizard. While he does carry a Cool Gun (a Mauser C96), Cool Shades and wears a Badass Longcoat, his first appearance in an action scene ended with him being shot off of a rooftop before he could finish his In the Name of the Moon speech (the Longcoat did work in that it hid his bulletproof vest, though, so at least he was able to walk away from it...). It hasn't really gotten any better for him since.
Meanwhile, played straight with Balalaika, Mr. Chang and Ginji.
Bad Guy Bar: The Yellowflag, exploded on a seemingly weekly basis. The bartender has armored the bar to survive inevitable shootouts. It never helps.
Actually, it does. He armored the actual bar, not the establishment, and he survives catastrophes by hiding behind it and shooting troublemakers with a shotgun.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: During Balalaika's retelling of Hansel and Gretel's past this trope is in effect at one point. Black Lagoon being the kind of show that it is, this scene may or may not be a example of this trope at all, but the alternative would be much, much worse.
Averted in season 3; Roberta's nipples are clearly visible when she is in the shower mourning the loss of her master. As are Revy's later on. Same in the manga.
Revy: It's like you gathered together all the "ifs" in the world for this lame-ass plan. Eda: Hey, this has worked four of the last seven times I tried it!
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted completely. Any female who gets in a fight will not get out unblemished, even in the face.
The Bechdel Test: Roanapoor isn't exactly the place to worry about how to get a man to love you if you're a woman. Thus, most conversations between the Badass chicks of the series are about anything BUT men and romance, barred very few exceptions.
Berserk Button: Just about every character has at least one of these. Harm one of Balalaika's men, question Revy's cynicism, hurt Rock in front of Revy, harm someone Rock's trying to protect, shoot at the Rip-Off Church, do anything even remotely unpleasant to Garcia, and you might as well call your undertaker now to save time.
Revy: In prison... I've won over some sex-starved dykes by playing the man's role. And... after that, their fingers just weren't enough for them ever again.
Notable for being a deliberate invocation of Depraved Bisexual, as Revy was saying that as a threat.
Also somewhat evident in "Calm Down, Two Men" (anime episode 7, manga chapter 9), where Revy seems very interested in the porn that Balalaika's editing.
Revy: Hold on a sec...Is she taking it up the ass?! Balalaika, in not merely a deadpan voice, but sounding downright bored: Sure is.
She can be seen, at one point in the manga, looking at a porn magazine with a naked woman on it.
Black and Grey Morality: The Lagoon Company is not really "evil" per se, they're just Hired Guns who often do morally questionable things for money. Just about the worst thing they've done so far was to unintentionally help kidnap a child (Garcia) and plan to sell him off for money. With few extraordinary exceptions, most characters in the series don't go out of their way to be particularly nasty, but the trades they're involved in are unquestionably immoral.
Blah Blah Blah: When Jane tries explaining her counterfeiting techniques to Yolanda, Eda, and Revy. Its obvious none of them seem to understand what she's saying, nor do they seem to care too much, and finally Revy and Eda shut her up. Jane then gives them a real hundred dollar bill, and a fake one, and asks them to spot the fake. Revy chooses one, and Jane tells her that she'd be going to jail shortly afterwards for using a counterfeit bill.
Bland Name Product: The Lagoon Company's beer of choice is "Heireken", complete with green-and-white cans. Odd, since they explicitly mention other name brands, such as Bacardi rum and Beretta pistols.
Don't forget the use of American Spirit cigarettes. Benny acts as if they're low-grade cigs, however.
Bleached Underpants: Rei Hiroe has released doujinshi under the pen-name TEX-MEX, some of which feature characters from the show.
It should be noted that while he releases mainly hentai-doujinshis under that name, the one based on his Black Lagoon characters are actually quite tame, being two artbooks featuring designs of the characters, with short explanations on how he designed them and one swimsuit special showing the characters in bathing clothes (albeit skimpy in some cases).
It also features an obviously embarrassed Revy, Balalaika, and Roberta in cosplay clothes at an anime convention, and a parody of Yuri.
Bling Bling Bang: The head nun of the Rip-Off Church sports a golden pistol. Not any gold-plated pistol, a gold-plated Desert Eagle. The Captain of the Neo-Nazis himself had a gold-plated long-barreled Luger (for all the good that did him). Revy and Mr. Chang both have custom engraving on their guns; Revy's "Sword Cutlass" Beretta 92Fs are further customized as well.
Bloodstained Glass Windows: Parodied in the Greenback Jane arc. In Heroic Bloodshed movies, the church is usually there to be a cool and somber shootout spot, and not so much for its ability to sport gunslinging nuns who blow the ever-loving crap out of the invaders. Like this.
Bottomless Magazines: Made particularly obvious when Gretel unloads a seemingly endless wave of bullets from her BAR without reloading once. The number of shell casings easily exceeds the magazine's capacity by degrees of magnitude.
Inversely played for drama: The more Revy has to reload, the more serious the scene is.
A practically literal example occurs with both Fabiola and Roberta, who borrow a few select pieces from the Lovelace family's private collection whenever they go to the city.
Break the Cutie: Balalaika. For proof, see these◊ two◊ pictures of her before and after the war. Not to mention Hansel and Gretel. Oh God, were they ever broken. Yukio gets her mind snapped due to the pressure of being forced to lead a Yakuza clan as well as getting kidnapped, beaten up, and molested. Garcia, who has it broken several times during the El Baile de la Muerte arc.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Most of the Roanapur gangster community, in one way or another. For example, Sawyer. A Cute Mute goth who specializes in corpse disposal and uses a chainsaw in combat. She's rather sociable when able to communicate with others, but becomes downright catatonic when she can't.
Butt Monkey: Bao might qualify—his bar been shot up at least fifteen times, nearly destroyed six times, and utterly demolished once as of "Roberta's Blood Trail, Part 1."
The Cartel: One of the four main power factions in Roanapur.
Carnival of Killers: In the "Greenback Jane" arc, we have an obese pyromaniac who is always smiling, a chainsaw-wielding "cleaner" goth lady with an artificial voicebox, a flamboyant gunslinger calling himself "Rotton the Wizard," a cowboy, and a Chinese knife fighter hired to hunt down and kill the eponymous Jane.
In fact, one of the episodes that features them is titled "The Roanapur Freakshow Circus."
Mr. Chang: Affably Evil —> Faux Affably Evil Rock (and probably most readers) saw Chang as the Only Sane Man in Roanapur, until his Breaking Speech in El Baile de la Muerte. His rationality is more intact than most of Roanapur's crime bosses but he's revealed that being the friendliest of that bunch means nothing.
Charles Atlas Superpower: The series is set in 1990's Thailand, but with characters like Sawyer (who can deflect bullets with a chainsaw), Shenhua (who takes out military vehicles with knives), and especially Roberta (who has enough muscle strength to bite through metal, and just generally seems invulnerable) this trope comes up a lot.
Taken to Up to Eleven levels with Shenhua, whose favorite weapons are twin kukris. On chains. That she is able to throw and whirl with impressive accuracy. Kukris are not throwing weapons—they're closer to a axe/machete hybrid.
Chekhov's Gun: The pistol Balalaika used to slay Boss Kousa and then threw into the ornamental pool is clearly shown to have a fingerprint on it, presumably Rock's from when she handed it to him. It's likely this will bite Rock later on in the series.
Its true meaning is to show that Rock can never return to his home country, because now he is a prime suspect in the murder of a Yakuza boss.
Child Soldiers: It is mentioned that Balalaika and at least some of her men fought them in Afghanistan.
The Chessmaster: Balalaika usually plays this, Rock becomes one in Baile de los Muertos, yet he is defeated by Eda and the CIA.
And since this dub uses The Ocean Group, a VA company that dubs many anime and Western children's cartoons, hearing these voice actors dropping F-bombs and S-bombs all over the place is pretty surreal. Case in point: Revy's VA voices one of the sisters in Johnny Test for crying out loud!
The funny bit? Pay attention: Revy is a minimum of half of the "fucks" spoken. Everyone else Cluster-Bombs. She Carpet-Bombs.
Cool Boat: The Lagoon, a WWII-vintage PT boat, retrofitted with metal armor plates and having had its deck guns removed.
The Lagoon operates as a courier, so having the guns on deck probably doesn't bode well when dealing with authorities (those they can't bribe anyway). They can probably pass the torpedo tubes as either ship weight, empty, or just too big to detach.
Cool Car: Lagoon Company's main mode of transportation on land is a sexy and rare 1965 Pontiac GTO.
Corrupt Church/Church Militant: The Rip-Off Church; it's uncertain if it is an actual church, a Catholic-flavored gun cartel, or something more complicated. Volume 7 of the manga shows that the Rip-Off Church is involved with information brokering as well as gun-running, with Eda working as a Deep Cover Agent for the CIA. The head nun, Sister Yolanda, appears to have an Intelligence background herself, as her offhand comment naming Eda's boss indicates.
Crapsack World: Boy is it ever! To give an example: during the Hansel and Gretel arc, Balalaika, having received the vital clue that the mysterious psychos attacking her organisation are twin children who speak Romanian, calls in the main pornographic distributor in Roanapur asking him to supply her with every child porno and/or child snuff film featuring Romanian twins. She promptly gets over 250 videos.
Creepy Child/Creepy Twins: Hansel and Gretel take these tropes to a whole new level, the second to the point that they were put in our pantheon (the family one).
Creepy Children Singing: "My mother has killed me. My father is eating me. My brothers and sisters sit under the table, picking up my bones! They'll bury them under the cold—"
Curb-Stomp Battle: After holding off droves of pissed gunmen and FARC troops, Gray Fox are summarily slaughtered by Roberta.
They put up a much better fight in the anime, by operating under a looser definition of "alive".
Deadpan Snarker: Mostly Dutch, but everyone seems to swing by it at some point.
Death Glare: Much is made of the "Mad Dog" eyes of Roberta. Most other badass characters in the series have this as well, combined with a Slasher Smile.
Defeat Means Friendship: Balalaika and Chang, sort of. More like Shooting Each Other In The Guts Means Grudging Respect With A Hint Of Sexual Tension.
Dirty Cop: The entire Roanapur police force. Mr. Chang was likely one too, before he became a full Triad member.
Discriminate And Switch: Maybe? Greenback Jane takes to calling Feng Yifei (a Chinese hacker) things like "Miss Fu Manchu" and "Miss Peking Duck," but this might only be because she was spying for the PRC.
Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Revy's follow-up to the page quote, including a threat that she'll shoot Rock if he ever tries to bring it up again.
Downer Ending: The Hansel and Gretel Arc. It's not entirely their fault that they're psychopathic murderers but it's explicitly stated that all they will do is kill people, so they both are killed. The same can be said about the final Yakuza arc.
Lampshaded by Benny, "Stories like this don't have happy endings."
The worst part is that there are several hints that Benny is wrong, and Gretel could have been redeemed. Maybe she'd never be normal, but perhaps she could have learned to be selective about her killing such that a place like Roanapur could tolerate her.
Earn Your Title: Oh so many. Revy is known as Two-Hands for her style of fighting. Roberta is known as the Bloodhound of Florencia because once she has a target there is no stopping her and presumably also was earned for what she does when she catches her target. These are just for starters.
Elite Mooks: Balalaika's enforcers are former Russian Special Forces called Visotoniki (who fought with her in Afghanistan), and the name is, surprisingly, not just for show.
The male version of this trope is in effect as well, as the commanding officer (the Major) of the US Special Forces team is fully willing to sacrifice himself if it means that the rest of his team will survive.
Dutch often falls into this trope as well, doing a lot of things for the members of his crew, such as when he rushed back to help Revy, Rock and Eda to help Jane escape.
Finger in the Mail: Balalaika has a yakuza boss who betrayed her killed and (offscreen) cut into pieces. She then sends a box containing some of the pieces back to his organization as a reminder that she's not to be trifled with.
On the rare occassions that anyone in Lagoon antagonizes Balalaika she's usually rather nonchalant about it. Takenaka embodies this trope.
During the "Greenback Jane" arc, Revy and Shenhua seem to accept that they're against one another, even to the death. They even have a bit of small talk in between shooting.
Before that, they continued to threaten each with death all the while when they went to save Rock after he got kidnapped. They even fought over who got to take on the enemy first (with rock/paper/scissors).
Fridge Brilliance: Some shotguns from the 70's and 80's were less unlikely to jam when reloaded sideways since the cartridge could leave the gun more easily. This does not justify actually firing it sideways, but then again it's a shotgun...
Geeky Turn-On: The one thing to cause a positive reaction from Jane? Benny's hacking skills.
When Roberta blows up the bar and the whole thing is up in flames (with her still in it):
Rock: I shouldn't be able to hear anything, but I can feel it; her footsteps getting closer and closer. And I could swear that any minute now, her black maid's outfit will appear from that fiery exit.
Guess what happens right after they drive away. (Although under the circumstances it could be a case of unintentionally Genre Savvy.)
Girls with Guns: Nearly all of the major female characters have picked up a gun at some point, and for the ones who haven't, it's only because they're too busy playing with knives and/or chainsaws, or are just schoolgirls.
Good Feels Good: Invoked by Rock when Balalaika has him at gunpoint. He explains that just because he does good things, he isn't looking down on her, it's just a hobby like any other.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: For a given value of 'good'. Balalaika sports a nasty burn on the side of her face. Call her "Fry Face" at your peril. Sawyer has a nasty scar on her throat from where it was apparently cut, explaining why she needs the voice synthesizer.
Hiroe's Black Lagoon swimsuit special reveals that Sawyer also has multiple scars on her wrists.
Gorn: In the "Roberta's Blood Trail" OVAs, you get to see what happens when a chainsaw meets a human chest among other things.
Gratuitous English: And Russian, and Spanish, and German... But especially the English. Not Thai, surprisingly (written script, anyway). In the English dub, Gratuitous Japanese turns up in the 'translation' scene during the last arc. The Yakuza uses his Japanese seiyuu for the scene, while Rock gets Brad Swaile trying to speak Japanese.
Just what is a "Mass import of ammunition and economic reality"?
The opening song is chock-full of this trope.
Guns Akimbo: Revy and Mr. Chang. Possibly Rotton as well, if he'd ever last long enough to actually shoot.
Roberta and Fabiola have been known to dual-wield firearms on occasion too - it's not really their signature fighting style, though.
Oddly enough, while both Revy and Chang are veritable destroyers of worlds with their style of dual-wielding, it's also noted that becoming as good as they are was incredibly hard and just as rare. Even similarly powerful pistol-users like Eda or the Texan mercenary only use a single gun. And Rotton's Mausers are fully automatic, which leads one to assume that his doubling up is meant for, beyond looking cool, increasing his spray.
And look what happened with Garcia when he found his head maid doing... that. She engages in a rather animalistic seduction of a FARC leader before shooting him with a gun hidden in her belt buckle and beating his head to a pulp with her bare fists just offscreen, while shouting about how she was doing everything for Garcia.
He's further in shock in the manga, displaying Tranquil Fury and wishing for people to go to Hell, especially the Black Ops commander.
Heroic Bloodshed: Playing most cynical subtropes straight and demolishing the idealistic ones.
He Will Not Cry, so I Cry for Him: Rock, the only truly decent human being one from just of handful of genuinely good people (and the only one optimistic enough to believe in redemption) in the Crapsack World of Black Lagoon, listens with sadness and horror rather than disgust at the coldly delivered Breaking Speech of Gretel, a little girl so traumatized by rape and torture with her twin brother Hansel back in Romania that murder has become the sole source of joy for them. He holds her in a tight embrace and weeps, begging her to accept the possibility that there is hope, and still a possibility of a new and happy life for a little girl like her. This act of sincere kindness, so alien to Gretel, was enough to move even a mass murderer like her to blush like a real little girl for the briefest of moments... Cue one of the few SquickyTear Jerkers in existence with how she tried tothank him: lifting her skirt and giving him a show.
Hidden Badass: The Texan mercenary from the Greenback Jane arc. He's the butt of many a joke (given his unfamiliarity with the pecking order of Roanapour), and relentlessly mocked by the more 'experienced' mercenaries. Then he gets into a gunfight with Eda...alone. He matches her shot-for-shot for quite some time, and with a revolver, no less. It's probably no coincidence that Eda's male counterpart in one of the extras looks eerily like him, albeit in a priest's smock.
Humans Are Bastards: Due to the nature of this show, humans can be pretty sadistic bastards, such as what happened to Hansel and Gretel. That said, not everyone is a jack ass all the time, such as Hotel Russia often pulling strings to help out the Lagoon company in a pinch.
Hypocritical Humor: "It's dangerous to [answer the phone] while driving, so let's do it at the hotel," Benny says. He says this while driving a car and having sex at the same time.
I Call It Vera: Revy's twin custom Beretta 92FS, the "Praiyachat Sword Cutlass Special".
Intoxication Ensues: At one point Revy gives Rock a cigarette(really a joint) to calm him down.
Rock: What a strange taste this cig has. What brand is this?
Israelis with Infrared Missiles: Ibraha's son was killed during the invasion of Lebanon by "Those monsters from Jerusalem!". We don't get to see them, though.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: It seems that every enemy or otherwise non-primary characters (and even primary characters if they get in a fight with each other) seem to have come from this academy.
John Woo: If he ain't a Trope all by himself, he should be. The series as a whole owes so much of its action to him. The anime sports many of his film stylings, even having a character (Mr. Chang) based off his movies. There's even a Shout Out from his American film Face/Off, when Chang pulls his guns out from behind his back, from the same midback, mirror-holster that Nicolas Cage had.
Killed Mid-Sentence: Revy is especially fond of doing this. The musclebound Neo-Nazi was arguably the best; she not only shot him down mid-sentence, she lazily reloads her gun and THEN kills him. Later during the Greenback Jane arc, she tries to do the same to Rotton, who is saved only by his bulletproof vest.
The latter case is not so much a matter of "trying" as "Rotton being an idiot and standing on a rooftop silhouetted against the moon". She shot him out of reflex.
Kneel Before Zod: Balalaika does this to one of the Creepy Twins near the end of the Vampire Twins arc. With a sniper. Demonstrating once again why you never want to piss her or the Russians off. The scene is even better in the dub:
Leave Behind a Pistol: Played with at the end of the Neo-Nazi arc. Revy gives the Neo-Nazi commander a gun, and tells him do to what he wants with it. She then makes a bet with Dutch, and says "black", but he says it's not really much of a bet and places "black" as well. The commander at first points the gun to his head, as if to utilize this trope, but then tries to shoot Dutch instead. Turns out she gave him an empty pistol, and the bet was who was going to get shot first, with "black" being Dutch. They both then finish him off.
Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: For at least a couple of organizations in the city, if not all of them. The worst offender is the Rip-Off Church, which doesn't seem to do anything remotely religious at all.
Likes Older Women: Garcia concerning Roberta (as of the end of El Baile de la Muerte).
Menacing Stroll: Seen in the Final Battle between Revy and Ginji. Yakuza enforcer Ginji walks upright and straight-shouldered, as befitting someone who uses their height and reputation to intimidate people. The diminutive Revy is slack-eyed and hunched over, creating an appearance of weakness but conserving her strength for the eruption of violence to come.
Mexican Standoff: Between Revy and Dutch during the Nazi arc following the "Whitman Fever" incident, and between Revy and Roberta in episode 10. Again in the Yakuza arc, between Revy, Balalaika, Boris, and Rock (though Rock wasn't armed).
Naïve Newcomer: Always a source of entertainment in Roanapur. It's hard to decide which is funnier—the ones shooting at the Church of Violence and then hiring Roanapur's Freak Show for only a grand each, or the ones trying to pit Hotel Moscow and the Triad against each other.
Never a Self-Made Woman: Averted so far. Save for Fabiola and Roberta who were taken in by a wealthy widower, no female character ever mentions a relationship to a man to justify their success, line of work or skills. Their positions in the story were hard-earned and based on their own abilities.
Nice Hat: In at least one flashback, Balalaika and some of her comrades are shown wearing spiffy sky-blue berets that mark them as members of the Russian Airborne Troops, while Gretel sports a nice black sunhat with cloth rose when she disembarks from the Black Lagoon.
Ninja: In the light novels, one of the Lagoon's clients dresses and acts like the stereotypical ninja, and nobody wants to talk to the perceived loonie. Yes, he is indeed a ninja.
No Export for You: The light novels, which can only be ordered from Japan, in Japanese. Some bloggers have published translations, though.
Not Distracted by the Sexy: Rock doesn't even seem to notice Revy's stripperiffic outfit. She doesn't seem to care all that much about how much of her he sees either, since he had to wake her up when she had no pants on at one point.
Also discussed between several characters, like between Fabiola and Revy, Garcia's opinion about Caxton and Roberta. Also Gretel's opinion about Revy and herself.
Played with by Gray Fox and the Vysotniki:
Balalaika: Though our allegiance and the places we've fought differ... My unit has seen the same things as yours, and fought the same battles. But tell me, Major... How... How did we end up... so different from you?
Also, Balalaika reveals that although her discharge was medical, and on-request, she was unofficially dishonored because she saved a child from a refugee camp, mirroring Caxton stopping his superior officer in 'Nam from leading the unit to rape a young village girl.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Eda, though she hasn't even revealed exactly how far this goes. As example, during Greenback Jane arc, the usually happy-go-lucky Eda getting serious for once when one American gangster identified her as CIA agent, and shut his mouth for his trouble.. And guess who provides our Termi-Maid with Foxes' information? She really hates NSA, that's for sure.
She's also one of the only people to make Chang lose his cool, so much so that he smashes the phone they were speaking on. After all, she did basically call him an insect compared to the might of the United States.
And she told Roberta to "shut the fuck up and listen", after physically restraining her arm.
Manzai: Yukio and her kohai try to get into the manzai business... but no one in her yakuza gang gets this "slapstick" thing, or if there's any such thing as moderation. Knuckle dusters get involved.
Maternally Challenged: Balalaika trying to raise Hansel and Gretel, who enjoy everyday childhood activities like constructing pipe bombs and skinning cats. Featuring Dutch as a school principal, Garcia as a highly unfortunate babysitter, and Mr. Chang as the father.
Summer ghost stories omake, everyone trying to scare each other. The winner is... Rock. The loser... Balalaika, who demands that Boris escort her for bathroom breaks in the middle of the night.
One of the longest one is during the Toyko arc and from Yukio Washimine after she was saved in the bowling alley. The camera stares at her panties while she is yelling at Rock. It's disturbing on so many levels.
At least one shot of Revy in her panties when Rock's trying to wake her up to get out of bed. Considering how little clothing she wears normally, she doesn't really care that he sees her in her underwear, and for that matter, neither does Rock.
Pretty Little Headshots: Used AND averted. Gretel had a (most likely large) head wound conveniently covered by his/her wig. Ginji had a significantly larger response when shot by Revy at the end of Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise.
For a "little wound" Gretel sure did have blood coming down over a large part of her face.
In the anime, Ginji takes the bullet in the throat rather than the forehead.
Psycho for Hire: Quite a lot of people; Hansel and Gretel are the most overtly so. Most of the city of Roanapur. Look no further than "Greenback Jane". And that started as just $1000 a head.
Punch Clock Villain: Everyone in this city, at one point or another, has tried to kill each other, if for no other reason than they either had conflicting interests at the time or they were employed by a party who wanted the other dead. Hardly anyone takes this personally, and it is not uncommon to watch most of the same parties who tried to kill each other hang out together later.
First off, we have Eda's gun: a Glock 17L. The interesting thing here is that although the Glock 17L is a rare gun today, it had just been introduced around the time that the series takes place (early-to-mid 1990's)
Then there's the Luger used by one of the Neo-Nazis. Its modifications already make it rather unique, but what truly makes it a rare gun is that it's an Artillery model Luger, which are uncommon among the few thousand or so Lugers currently in circulation.
Roberta has a SPAS-12, which she conceals in a parasol.
Revy uses an APS Assault Rifle during the Neo-Nazi arc. This is a gun designed to shoot underwater, and was given to her as a gift from Balalaika. Needless to say, they're pretty hard to get ahold of, as it's strictly special issue by the Russian government. Its use is justified though, what with her and Rock going diving. It isn't that surprising that Balalaika can get her hands on one when you know she has the clout to get diplomatic immunity despite being a gang leader.
Yolanda's gold-plated Desert Eagle has been previously mentioned, and it should be noted that while a regular Desert Eagle can cost over a thousand dollars new, a custom job with some sort of decoration or modification can cost several times more than that.
Actually, a 24k gold plated Desert Eagle only costs about eight hundred dollars more than a standard black one at $2,200 versus about $1,600. One of the reasons that handgun has so much market appeal is the wide variety of "factory custom" finishes available.
Fabiola uses a China Lake grenade launcher in the bar room shoot-out. At this point in time, there are only four examples in existence, with only one open to the public and the remainder locked up in private collections or armouries.
Rated M for Manly: Or M for Macho, anyway. Most of the ass-kickers may happen to be female but the trope still applies.
Reflective Eyes: Gretel's eyes reflect the beautiful blue sky above her after she is shot in the head
Refuge in Audacity: In the final episode of season two, Balalaika arrives at the home of an influential Yakuza leader where she shoots him with his own gun and massacres his staff. She then proceeds bluff her way past a police barricade by impersonating an ambassador, casually walk to her fancy limousine and drive away, all before anyone has had a chance to figure out what just happened.
This could also be considered a Gaijin Smash (the act for which the blog is named.)
Retired Monster: A retired SS officer turns out to be the one behind the plot where both Lagoon Company and some neo-Nazis were going after the same treasure. Setting them up to fight each other was his way of testing the neo-Nazis. Since they all died, they don't get a passing grade.
Retroactive Wish: Revy jokes that the Lovelace family maid will come to rescue Garcia, who the Company has just taken custody of. Funny that should Revy should mention that, since that's exactly what happens. And boy howdy does it make their lives a nightmare.
It's more that she laughs when Garcia says that the maid will be his rescuer.
Revolvers Are Just Better: Dutch uses one of these. So does Chaka, which Revy takes as another sign that he's a poser and a show-off. Also, one of Florida gangsters uses one with surprising competence, and probably could have survived... if he had shut his big mouth regarding Eda's identity.
Roaring Rampageof Revenge: The Lovelace family maids are prone to these. Revy could also have been said to indulge in them in Japan and on the Nazi vessel, except that her anger wasn't directed at the people she was killing.
Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Strongly romanticist from art style and shot composition to character motivations to the heavy Rule Of Cool in action scenes. Balalaika's rationalist ideology and fighting style, Enlightenment, make her that much more intimidating as a result.
Rule Of Cool: And how! Season 3 might be a "Quentin Tarantino Presents" feature.
Rotton doesn't seem to quite get it though. He fulfills everything needed aesthetically, but his only mentionable talent seems to be not dying. Granted, given that he spends a lot of time posing dramatically in the middle of gunfights full of ultra-violent psychos...
And if his only real talent is not dying, he's still better than most male secondary characters in the series, especially when he takes countless hits that would have killed almost anyone else.
Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: Hotel Moscow plays this straight in the Yakuza arc when they make a landing on Japan. Usually, though, the trope is subverted, as Roanapur is too much a Wretched Hive for any one gang to control, and both the Italian mafia, the Columbian cartels and the Florida mafia finds that out the hard way — the latter being the prime examples as their group is treated as Naive Newcomers by the hardened resident gangster community.
Sanity Has Advantages: Mostly played straight, occasionally averted. Hansel is led into a trap that Balailaka notes no one who was sane and not blinded by bloodlust would have fallen for. Sawyer collapses into catatonic depression when her audiovox is lost (though she gets better). On the other side, Roberta, in her second appearance is clearly cuckoo for coco puffs, but remains a devastatingly effective combatant, with complicated strategies and maneuvers other insane characters have lacked. In fact, Roberta becomes far more powerful when she loses it.
Inverted with Eda, who's at her most intense and intimidating when the glasses stop hiding her eyes.
Scenery Porn: The anime is full of gorgeous scenes of the South Pacific, and for all the shithole it is, Roanapur is certainly a lavishly detailed shithole.
Scheherezade Gambit: Balalaika puts a gun to Rock's head and tells them the way to increase your chances of surviving such a situation like the one Rock is in is to entertain the person with the gun and give them a good reason not to kill you.
Second Face Smoke: In the Yakuza arc, Revy does this to Chaka in response to his talk about having a gunfight with her.
The U.S. Army squad in El Baile is called the Gray Fox unit. And features one guy with a bandana.
Madame Flora, the mistress/pimp who runs the whorehouse upstairs in the Yellow Flag, is based off Divine.
The flashback scenes to the German submarine in episode 4 are rife with references to Das Boot. The submarine even ends up stranded on the sea bottom like the U-96, although it, unlike the U-96, doesn't manage to escape.
The Vampire Twins arc has a few The Shining references, one of which was exclusively manga, in which Gretel sings a song from the shining (in the anime she has a song written for her).
Alternatively, the story can be about how wallowing in nihilism and cynicism makes you a pathetic wreck of a human being. As Revy so aptly puts it, Roanapur is the city of the walking dead; nobody there is happy or content, they just exist and let their nihilism control them.
Sitcom Archnemesis: Revy and Eda towards each other. At times they seem to be at each others throats; yet at others they're both working and/or drinking together.
Revy herself seemed to be picking up some of Rock's idealism... And she and Fabiola had one last talk at the end of El Baile de la Muerte.
Small Girl, Big Gun: Gretel with her BAR (which is drawn much larger than it is in real life). There's also Fabiola and her EX-41 China Lake grenade launcher.
Smoking Is Cool: To an extent that the entire show could be considered one giant cigarette commercial.
Spell My Name with an S: Revy had a few problems with this in fan translations, being called Levi instead until her first name was revealed as Rebecca.
Start of Darkness: Episode 21, "Little Soldier Girls", which details Balalaika's transformation from idealistic little girl to disillusioned war veteran to the nihilistic Magnificent Bitch we see in the series.
More acurately, most of the characters outside of our "heroes" are Captain Ersatz of notable action characters/movies. Hansel and Gretel are Gunslinger Girl (with bits of Hellsing due to them being from Romania (A.K.A.: Dracula's homeland) and being called the "Vampire Twins") dialed to 13, Greenback Jane looks and acts (down to the above-noted pantyshots) like she came over from Gunsmith Cats. "Babe" is Chow Yun Fat, etc..
An amusing note to make is that most of the focus characters and factions are essentially classic 80's and 90's villain archetypes from action movies of the era, such as post-Soviet Russian crime lords, triads, mercenaries, and a veritable cornucopia of gimmicky minions.
Story Arc: With few exceptions, Black Lagoon contains nothing but self-supporting arcs describing the crew's current job. They will reference past events, however.
Talk to the Fist: Revy's response to blowhards who shoot off their mouths is often to shoot them mid-sentence.
Tempting Fate: Revy laughs when Garcia says the Lovelace family maid will show up to rescue him. You'd think this trope would be reason enough for her to keep her mouth shut.
Poor old Bao has his in spades, too. Virtually every time he said something along the lines of "As long as my bar doesn't get shot up, I don't care about it", you could bet that either in the current episode or arc the Yellow Flag would end up in ruins.
Terrorists Without a Cause: Masahiro Takenaka. Having long since outgrown all ideals about perpetuating a worldwide communist revolution through his actions, he now considers his acts of terror to be his purpose in themself.
Theme Music Power-Up: Revy invokes this trope in episode 3 when she plays a heavy rock song on her CD Player and proceeds to destroy 5 PT boats that were attacking the Black Lagoon. Single-handedly, using only a grenade launcher and a sub-machine gun; oh and she manages to blow up the last one when they try desperately to escape with their lives. The same song ("Peach Headz Addiction") also plays when Revy lapses into Whitman Fever in the Nazi arc.
Tsundere: Revy qualifies as a terrifyingly psychotic Type A. When she's being angry and confrontational she's bad enough, but when she lapses into Whitman Fever during the Nazi arc, she's even worse. She has even tried to shoot Rock on two different occasions during the first season, with her "dere-dere" side surfacing during the "Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise" arc from the second season (though there was that time she saved Rock at the end of the first season, something she swore she would never do). Other dere-dere moments include: inviting Rock to join the Lagoon Company at the end of Episode Two, the infamous "Cigarette Kiss" in Episode Seven, threatening to kill Gretel if she ever fucks with Rock again (Hey, we did mention that Revy was psychotic?), and trying to stop Rock from watching Yukio's suicide. She also smiles several times at Rock during the Yakuza Arc.
Traitor Shot: An extremely subtle one in the conclusion of the "Freakshow Circus" arc. A minor mob boss, out of his element in the pirate city of Roanapur, is spazzing out that he needs the mob in Florida to send him more men after he got all his own men killed by Lagoon Company and other Roanapur denizens. The local expert on Roanapur keeps trying to tell him that things just don't work the same here and that it's not their turf, but the minor boss won't listen to reason. The advisor leaves the room, sighs, and as he leans we see a concealed gun in his coat. Another character strongly implies later that the advisor is probably just going to shoot the minor boss to clean up the mess rather than let him create a bigger one.
Translation Convention: English is the universal language used when most of the characters communicate, although the mafia and yakuza gangs presumably speak their native languages internally. For easiness' sake this trope is in effect, with the exception of scenes where people who don't speak each others' languages appear.
Which gets kind of weird in the Japanese audio, because characters who have been heard in Japanese are revealed to have been speaking in English all along, and thus have to speak Gratuitous English when in-universe Japanese characters are around.
Gets even weirder in the English dub: When Revy gets pissed at a street vendor and starts yelling at him, he yells right back at her, but in the Japanese audio he clearly didn't understand her and was snapping at Revy to speak Japanese. Also, since Ginji magically speaks English now, his dialogues with Revy are rewritten so that they actually understand each other instead of talking past one another in the original Japanese.
A shortcoming of the English dub is that in the Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise arc, Laptev and Balalaika's lines in Russian (present only in the Japanese audio) are omitted and simply replaced with the English equivalent.
That Makes Me Feel Angry: Gretel states she feels a little bad about killing a couple of orphans so they could used as decoys.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lots of people give them in this series, especially Revy and Balalaika, but one that's of special note is Eda explaining to Mr. Chang why the Triad is nothing but street trash compared to the might of the United States, which is probably the first time in the entire series that anything made him lose his cool.
Rock gives Revy some harsh criticism in episode 7. She nearly killed him for it, were it not for the fact that he finally showed some backbone, refusing to back down, and pointing out that she's the reason that he feels like he's making something of himself for a change (after having lived his life sucking up to his bosses prior to joining the Lagoon company). She does change her attitude slightly towards him afterwards however.
Those Wacky Nazis: The neo-Nazi group from episodes 4-6. The actual forces of Nazi Germany seen in the flashback however were portrayed as more affable and humane (save one).
Mostly because they were only German soldiers, and not actual Party Members. The one exception is an SS Officer, who is played as a fanatical Jerk Ass.
Throw Away Guns: In a gunfight on the Cool Boat Revy throws a gun at a mook when it run out of ammo. Eda lampshades this by asking if Revy is made of money. Both the mook and the gun probably end up in the ocean.
Together in Death: Hansel and Gretel, as shown in the ending of episode 15. Ditto Yukio and Ginji.
Garcia claims this at the end of El Baile De La Muerte (Translated from Spanish: "The Dance of Death"), the Major, and Roberta. Although it is more psychological death. Maybe they died for real it was not very clear.
I think it's safe to assume that they didn't all die in some sort of unseen Reservoir Dogs moment. The death's were purely metaphorical: Garcia essentially lost his innocence and his childhood, Roberta lost a bit more of whatever was left of her humanity and also lost her original image in Garcia's eyes, while Caxton...well, he'd actually come to terms very well with the moral ambiguity of what he did. Although most of his team was killed by Roberta, so that might as well count as his "death," seeing as he's shown many a time to be willing to put himself in harm's way for their sake.
The magazine edition of Chapter 76 cut out almost 15 pages. Read the actual Volume 9 version of Chapter 76, it ends the arc in a much more satisfying manner.
Too Dumb to Live: This one sees heavy use throughout the series. There's the crew of a pair of gunboats that don't think to stagger their positions before shooting at a target between them. An oversized and loudmouthed Neo-Nazi captain goes on and on about how astounding his personal sidearm is, and Revy finally tires of it and shoots him. A Chinese mafioso sets a trap for the Lagoon crew, who were currently Balalaika's favorite workers, and then brags all around town about how clever he was.
Chaka. At the same time you're seething with loathing for him, you're also shaking your head in disbelief at just how incredibly dumb he is. Revy and Genji are more than happy to point this out to him. invoked
Subverted with Rotton the Wizard. When he goes face to face with Revy and company, he starts off on a spiel about how their doom has come and he will bring them down...and Revy interrupts him with a bullet. However, he was the only person out of the band of mercenaries hired that thought to wear Kevlar, so he actually survives the ordeal.
Tranquil Fury: Several characters seem to exhibit this trope from time to time.
Balalaika seems eerily calm when Hansel approaches her in the park. Even though she's extremely pissed at him for killing her men, she never loses her cool even after she has the upper hand.
Revy can sometimes seem strangely calm when shooting. The dead look in her face makes it creepier.
Roberta shows this trope when she's facing off against a group of mafia men trying to kill her. And even when she's chasing the Lagoon company, she never seems to change her facial expression. She only averts this trope when she first scared Garcia after exhibiting her Blood Knight side, and when fist fighting with Revy.
Tragic Dropout: The Mafia Princess Yukio Washimine was forced to drop out of high school to take over her late father's Yakuza group. Needless to say, she wants nothing to do with her father's business and just wants a normal school life, but the family honor compels her to take control of the gang.
Trigger Happy: Revy. A lot of other characters too, but mostly Revy.
That's not saying much. Barely anyone is "completely" jaded. Revy is protective of Rock, even when she shouts for him not to watch Yukio's suicide, fearing that it would harden him, Balalaika is completely devoted to looking after her men, and the list goes on. It's all shades of gray... albeit often very, very dark shades of gray.
In the epilogue of El Baile de la Muerte, Rock laments that he may have acted like a crook, even if his goal was to save everyone. Then again, what caused Fabiola to call him out on it was his belief that survival and being "saved" went hand in hand.
World of Action Girls: Black Lagoon is pretty much the poster for this trope. While Mr. Chang and Dutch certainly are no slouches, compared to Revy, Balalaika, Roberta, Eda, Fabiola, Sawyer, Shenhua, and others, they might as well just toss their guns up and kick back.
Worst Aid: After the final fight of the Tokyo story arc, Revy's leg is impaled all the way through by Ginji's sword. Rock, coming to her aid, proceeds to rip the blade out; que massive blood gushing and screaming. He's lucky Revy didn't bleed to death right then and there!
Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Hansel does this with Balalaika, describing in detail how one of her comrades refused to give up and kept calling out to her and how interestingly he died. It doesn't end well for him.
Revy has started acting this way about Rock, if her little speech to Jane is any indication.
You Have Failed Me: What sets off the Greenback Jane arc. The boss of the counterfeiting ring decides to do this to motivate everyone else. Problem is he killed the only person who could access the servers that had the patterns, wrecking the entire operation.
You Monster!: Greenback Jane is running away from gangsters, while Sister Eda is driving next to her in a car.
Sister Eda: Do you want us to save you? Think hard. If you don't want to hand over the plates, I guess we don't have a choice. You'd better run to a mosque next time. What do you think? [snip] Greenback Jane: 30,000 dollars! Sister Eda: Rock, it's almost my bedtime. I'm going back to the church. Greenback Jane: You monster! 100,000!