"Rock, if you think about it, other than this, what do we really value in life? God? Love? Don't make me laugh. When I was a brat, crawling around in that shithole city, it seemed God and Love were always sold out when I went looking. Before I knew better, I clung to God and prayed to Him every single night — yeah, I believed in God right up until that night the cops beat the hell out of me for no reason at all. All they saw when they looked at me was another little ghetto rat. With no power and no God, what's left for a poor little Chinese bitch to rely on? It's money, of course, and guns. Fuckin' A. With these two things, the world's a great place."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 an almost-three-year hiatus
from June 2010 to March 2013, the series has finally
started releasing new chapters. But as of February 2014, there have been no new releases,
except for May 2014 when Volume 10 of the manga was released... which not-so-coincidentally covers up to all the currently released chapters (87 as of this writing).[adult swim]
block aired the original anime series in the spring and summer of 2014.
- 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.
- The Abridged Series:
- 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 Distillation: The OVA "Roberta's Blood Trail" had the tough task of adapting a manga story arc ("El Baile De La Muerte") that some of the fans say it went on too long and suffered from poor pacing. For reference, the OVA lasts about as long as the Japan arc from the second season, but has to adapt twice as many chapters. The OVA compresses the narrative, but also cut through the important information, changes the order of scenes for dramatic emphasis. Also, the OVA removed some scenes that were to explain things like Chang and Balalaika conversation about Grey Fox at the pier, and how Chang told Balalaika to avoid assault on them, but to provide cover so they can escape. She was indecisive at that point. This was not present in the OVA, but only few pictures through Rock's flashbacks. Which make no sense.
- Adaptation Expansion: The anime version remove characterization and change mood-setting moments to the story compared to the more psychological and action-oriented manga version. On the other hand, the anime added a lot more action scenes to the "Rasta Blasta" arc which introduced Roberta (for instance, the physics-defying car chase between her and Lagoon Company wasn't present in the manga).
- 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.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Hansel and Gretel in episode 15.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us/The Siege: The "Greenback Jane" arc.
Dutch: Somebody set my dock on fire! MOTHERFUCKER!!
- Anachronism Stew: Mild version. The series takes place in the early 1990s, but the computers they use are pretty darn 2000s-esque, and the Gray Foxes use EOTech sights (first introduced in the mid to late 1990s). A few weapons in Hotel Moscow's small arms arsenal are actually made in the late 1990s to the mid 2000s.
- And Your Little Dog Too: Balalaika states that she'll destroy people who cross her by targeting their friends, family and even their pet dog in the first episode of season 2.
- Anger Born of Worry: At the end of the "Goat, Jihad, and Rock and Roll" arc, Revy, having managed to save Rock from kidnappers with a mixture of her characteristic ultraviolence and uncharacteristic guile, rips strips off him for being stupid enough to be kidnapped. And then they go off together.
- In the Japan arc, after Rock gets into a confrontation with Balalaika that nearly leads to a gunfight between Balalaika, Boris and Revy, tears into Rock in a fury. "Over here, I'm your gun! I could keep you alive through Tarawa or the Alamo! But I can't save someone who's that anxious to die! If you weren't you, I'd have shot you myself for being so stupid!"
- Animated Actors: The setting of the author's Winter 2012 Comiket doujinshi. Benny is a Nice Character, Mean Actor, everyone else are in Mean Character, Nice Actor group, both of the twins are girls, and Revy is wearing a dominatrix suit.
- Anti-Hero/Nominal Hero/Villain Protagonist: They are pirates. And not fun Captain Jack Sparrow pirates either. Hell, they're introduced by having them hijack a boat...during which time Revy proposes that they execute Rock to tie up loose ends. On the other hand, Dutch insists on professionalism, meaning no indiscriminate slaughter. Just killing for money and/or to eliminate enemies.
- Armor Is Useless:
- Averted: In the "Greenback Jane" arc, the only hired gun to walk away from the warehouse siege under his own power was the one who thought to wear a bulletproof vest.
- 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.
- Art Evolution:
- At the start of the manga, Balalaika looks in her 20s, Revy has short hair and definitely looks Asian. Revy's hair gets longer and longer through the first arc (which takes place over a day or two) and slowly becomes less Asian-looking. Balalaika shows up in the second arc looking about 10 years older. The designs don't change much after that though.
- 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 out multiple times and permanent hearing loss.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 intelligent Bad 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 (aside from Roberta, but are you really surprised?) and live to talk about it.
- 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 Lotton 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 Shenhua, and the very fact he's survived this long seems that there's more in his head than long-winded speeches.
- Honestly, every recurring character in the series can be considered a badass just for the fact that they live in a place like Roanapur and manage to survive for more than five minutes.
- 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.
- Badass Boast:
Stanford: Are you afraid?! There's no way you're not! Now witness the awesome power of—
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:
- Subverted with Lotton 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 Yellow Flag, exploded on a seemingly weekly basis. The bartender has armored the bar to survive inevitable shootouts.
- 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 the manga; 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 OVA.
- Batman Gambit: Eda's bushwhacking of Jane, although it has elements of Gambit Roulette.
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.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Rock and Revy.
- 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.
- Between My Legs:
- Beware the Nice Ones: Rock, Garcia. Holy shit, Garcia.
- Lotton the Wizard, to an extent. He basically exists just to look cool and talk fancy. Revy even asks him if he's a man whore.
- Though still more of a cute kid, Garcia's beginning to grow into a handsome young man.
- Hansel also shows signs of this. Unfortunately he didn't live long enough to grow into the adult version.
- In one Omake, Boris from Hotel Moscow, who, before his training, looked straight out of a generic 80s shoujo manga, complete with sparkles, permanent blush, and thin eyes. Balalaika, Revy, and Rock beg him not to go to training.
- Bilingual Bonus: In Episode 6 (in the dub), the old Nazi who hired the Black Lagoon company calls Dutch a "Schwarzen"note , which offends the latter. Anybody who knows German can tell you that it means "black man" in a derogatory sense.
- In the original sound track and manga, the old Nazi called Dutch "Jungle Bunny-kun".
- Bi the Way/Situational Sexuality:
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.
- Black and Gray 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 try 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.
- Cars on the other hand, surprisingly do not get this treatment.
- 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.
- A recent doujin reimagined the cast as Animated Actors of a ten-season, live-action TV show shot in the Phillipines with Revy's "actress" as a Hong Kong starlet Playing Against Type who likes kids, Rock's as a bespectacled third-gen Japanese-American TV drama actor who learned the language for the role, Dutch as a photogenic Captain Ersatz for Taye Diggs, Benny as another Playing Against Type actor... this time, a bad boy sort constantly getting into trouble and showing up too often in tabloids, Balalaika as a Russian-American who arrives early for the burn scar makeup, Chang as a soft-spoken Hong Kong star, the Vampire Twins Hansel and Gretel being a pair of twin girls who are all grown up from their appearance in Season 3 and an overall massive case of Mean Character, Nice Actor.
- Weirdly, Hansel and Gretel's genders are flip-flopped. In the swimsuit doujin, there's a clear boy and girl, yet the above claims them both to be girls.
- Then again, if it's supposed to be an in-character photoshoot, photoshop can do wonders.
- 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.
- Blown Across the Room: And oddly enough, also lampshaded in a 'that's not how things work' way. Once.
- 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.
- Bowdlerize: The "Goat, Jihad, & Rock n' Roll" arc was heavily edited for the anime. The manga explicitly named the Islamic terrorists as being part of Hezbollah, but the anime used a fictional name for their group. In addition, the manga's drawings of the terrorists had them wearing keffiyehs, including Ibraha, but the anime changed it to ski masks and left Ibraha bare-headed. Coincidentally, these episodes originally aired in the summer of 2006. A few weeks later, Israel and Hezbollah went to war. Again.
- When the anime aired on Toonami, edits had to be made for language and some of the more gory scenes. Though to be fair, even with said edits, Black Lagoon was still pushing the limits of what Toonami could air at the time.
- Braids of Action: Roberta, the killer maid, has braids.
- Bring My Brown Pants: When Balalaika describes how she discovered the identities of the killers in the Hansel & Gretel arc by having her soldiers bring her the city's main porn distributor, she mentions that "his pants will never be the same."
- Broken Bird:
- Revy is a particularly dark and violent version. Balalaika as well. Sawyer too.
- And then there's Roberta, who was broken, reassembled, and broken a second time. The results aren't pretty.
- Break Out the Museum Piece:
- The Lagoon Company's Elco PT boat. Keep in mind most of these were destroyed after WWII as well.
- 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.
"... Goddammit. I can't tell if these people are stupid or professionals." -Dutch, after finding the Lagoon's bridge destroyed
by the Ninja
left behind by the pirates
being led by a gangster
- Butt Monkey:
- Bao. 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.
- Lotton is another example, but given his crazy preparedness, that might point at something else.
- Car Fu: See "Goat, Rock, and Jihad."
- 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 "Lotton 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."
- Casual Danger Dialog: Happens quite a bit, rather justified given the nature of the series.
- Especially note Revy and Shenhua having a friendly chat while trying to kill each other.
- Not to mention Revy's tendency to sing along to her Walkman while getting in shoot outs early in the manga.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Season One definitely had some dark themes, but Season Two was really dark.
- Character Development: Takes a while but it happens.
- Revy: Straw Nihilist—> Defrosting Ice Queen Its a race to see if she becomes an honest to God human being before Roanapur completely destroys Rock. Revy's starting to realize this. If her behavior toward Fabiola at the end of El Baile de la Muerte is any indication, she is not happy.
- Rock: Naïve Newcomer —> Action Survivor —> And now seems to be on track to becoming a Magnificent Bastard.
- Roberta: Call to Agriculture —> Ax-Crazy She Who Fights Monsters Roberta would've been content to stay with the Lovelaces as their maid for the rest of time, but when her master was killed in Roberta's Blood Trail, she sets off down an ultimately self-destructive path of vengeance.
- 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. 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.
- Cluster F-Bomb:
- The English dub, as evident by Black Lagoon: The Fucking Short Version. The original Japanese is not lacking in English profanity, either.
- 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.
- The Toonami broadcast tries to get away with as much as it can in terms of language, but ultimately still censors out any instances of the F-bomb, effectively turning the show into a Cluster Bleep Bomb.
- Conspicuous CG: The vehicles, which can get pretty obvious at times. But can get especially noticeable during the chase scenes.
- 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 1968 Plymouth Road Runner, and later a 1965 Pontiac GTO.
- Cool Guns: Rei Hiroe (the mangaka) appears to be a gun enthusiast, given the sheer number of appropriate firearms used by the various factions. For the interested, a complete list has been compiled at the Internet Movie Firearms Database.
- Cool Shades:
- Dutch, Mr. Chang, and Eda. Lotton subverts it.
- Hell, at certain angles, Eda's shades bear a striking resemblance to Kamina's.
- And Lotton is still pretty cool. Just not as cool as anyone else in the cast.
- 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.
- Covers Always Lie: See those cute kids on the fourth dvd cover?◊ They're not as harmless as they look.
- 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.
- Crazy-Prepared: Rock during the El Baile de la Muerte arc. He almost exactly predicts what various people and groups were going to do, to the point of being Dangerously Genre Savvy.
- 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—". It appears to be slightly changed version of a song from Grimms' fairy tale "The Juniper Tree".
- Crossover: With Jormungand, funnily enough. Not surprisingly, Koko wraps herself around Revy's leg before getting her to buy a crapton of extra stuff on top of the Lagoon Company's weapons order. note
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- After holding off droves of pissed gunmen and FARC troops, Gray Fox are summarily slaughtered by Roberta because they're under orders to bring her back alive.
- They put up a much better fight in the anime, by operating under a looser definition of "alive". Roberta killed about half of them, but doing so left her crippled for life. Her right leg and left arm needed to be amputated, she only had three fingers left on her remaining hand, and her right eye had been shot out. She'd taken so many game-breaking injuries that she would never fight again.
- Made of Iron: Most of the recurring characters ignore or survive attacks that would cripple or kill any real person. And then there's Roberta, who is in a category of her own.
- The Mafia: The Verocchio family.
- The Mafiya: Balalaika's branch of Hotel Moscow.
- Master of the Mixed Message: Somehow, the show does this to the audience. Are Rock and Revy a couple or not? Is Rock attracted to Revy? Is Revy attracted to Rock? Or does she just see him as something akin to a little brother or close friend who needs protection? To the frustration of many viewers, neither the manga nor the anime have given a definite answer.
- 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.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: It's a thinly-veiled action movie parody, what do you expect? However, it's interesting to note that there aren't that many female antogonists in the show. Sure the ladies will threaten and battle each other seriously but, so far, none of them ever killed another female on-screen.
- 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).
- Miss Kitty: Madame Flora
- Mistress and Servant Boy: Revy and Rock, to a degree.
- Mook Horror Show: Revy vs. the Neo-Nazis in the "Moonlight Hunting Grounds" episode.
- Mooks: You better start praying if you aren't a main character. If you're really lucky you might come out of it as lucky as Bao.
- Moe: Invoked with Hansel and Gretel, who deliberately invoke this to fool their enemies.
- More Dakka: The Rip-Off Church responds to a stray shot denting their door by bringing out an M-60.
- My Kung Fu Is Stronger: Quoted almost verbatim by Benny during the Greenback Jane arc.
- Musicalis Interruptus: Gretel's song is interrupted by gangsters walking in on a not so pretty sight.
- 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.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Many. Revy Two Hand, Manslayer Ginji, Ronny the Jaws, the Bloodhound of Florencia...
- Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters: The Washimine group. The rest, not so much.
- Never a Self-Made Woman:
- Averted with most of the females. 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. Fabiola and Roberta were taken in by a wealthy widower, but Roberta averts the trope as the reason why she had to turn to said widower for help was because she already had a reputation as a stone-cold killer and all-around Badass who needed some help evading her enemies. Fabiola learned how to fight thanks to growing up in the slums of Venezuela and Roberta was the one who trained her on how to handle a gun. The one example that probably plays this straight is Yukio, and that did not end well at all.
- Balalaika was implied to have been trained to shoot by her father (in preparation for the 1984 Olympics) but her actions in Afghanistan were what really made her the woman she is.
- 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.
- The Nineties: The time its set in. The OVA gives us the exact month of October 1995 as when Diego Lovelace was assassinated, and the rest of the OVA takes place at least two months later.
- 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.
- Non-Action Guy: Rock and Benny.
- Non Sequitur Thud: Leigarch is made of these when on coke (manga) or pot (anime). To whit:
- (When Revy kicks him in the head to get him moving) "I forgot! We have to go to Liverpool! Jimi Hendrix is calling for me! To defeat the Klingon-alien!"
- (When the car gets shot up) "Barbarella is holding an anti-war sign in the nude!"
- "Playmates! There are exactly one hundred playmates! Starting from the nineties! It's attack of the Playmate Army!"
- "WHAT? My application to the Black Panthers was denied AGAIN?!"
- No Swastikas: The Neo-Nazi group that the cast fights against for two whole episodes is using the old SA logo, possibly a reference to Neo-Nazi groups evading the Swastika ban by using other symbols in real life. Their employer wears an SS wing, and in flashbacks to the event that launched the arc — the last trip of a German submarine after the war — some swastika flags are seen.
- 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.
- Averted in the OVA. When Revy gets out of the shower, she's got nothing but a towel to (barely) cover her chest and a pair of panties. Rock can be seen rapidly and deliberately blinking his eyes in the background.
- Not Hyperbole: Benny notes that violent jokes in Roanapur are often more than jokes. A minute or so later, Revy says "You're a rocket man, baby!" to a guy before igniting his flamethrower tank.
- Not So Different:
- Heroic version, Balalaika and Rock.
- 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.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Roberta. Who would believe that the clumsy housemaid who just burned dinner is actually the "Bloodhound of Florencia"?
- Official Couple: Rock/Revy, as well as Hansel/Gretel, Benny/Jane, and Garcia/Roberta.
- Oh, Crap:
- A common expression worn by anyone unlucky enough to stand in the way of one of the badasses in Roanapur. And there's a lot of them.
- The entire city of Roanapur does this when they hear Roberta is coming back. Badder, angrier and crazier than ever.
- From the light novels, to the fine crew of the Black Lagoon: You know that tanker you just helped your client assault team get aboard? Yeah, it's owned by the Triad. Mr. Chang's on board.
- Omake: The manga regularly features these; most of them are varieties of Bizarro Episodes, like:
- Fountain of Youth: Fun fact: Balalaika's Dragon Boris used to be a scrawny Bishōnen before he joined the Russian Army. Who's gonna think that a cute 9-year-old girl who always listens to mommy and daddy can grow up into the ruthless leader of a group composed entirely of ex-Soviet paratroopers.?
- Gender Flip: Rock-chan as an Office Lady; Revy's surprisingly unchanged - at first.
- High School A.U.: Balalaika as the most badass homeroom teacher ever. Roberta, Uncanny Valley Girl. (And Benny's a Trolling Hikikomori.)
- Magical Girls: Magical Maid Roberta-chan and Ragical Girl Revy-chan.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians: Fryface-sama ga Miteru?
- 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.
- Outlaw Town: Roanapur
- Out of Focus: Dutch and Benny during the last arc of Season 2 in the anime. They only get a few brief scenes while the focus is on Rock, Revy, and Balalaika during their trip in Japan.
- Out of the Inferno: Roberta. It's even Lampshaded.
- Pair the Smart Ones: Benny and Greenback Jane.
- Panty Shot:
- Greenback Jane, especially in the anime. And again with Yukio's kohai Maki. Apparently not for titillation.
- 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.
- Roberta also provides a nice one in chapter 75.
- Papa Wolf:
- Ginji. Lay one finger on Yukio and he will deliver a horrible Karmic Death to you.
- Also, Rock. Harm or threaten a child that Rock is trying to protect, and you'll see quickly why he's a member of the Black Lagoon crew.
- Parasol of Pain: Roberta's umbrella is made of Kevlar and has a built in shotgun. And that's just one of her many pain-inducing items.
- Perma Stubble: Benny, though it's not very Bad Ass Perma Stubble.
- Pet the Dog:
- Revy showing a group of kids what gunplay's really about — using their popguns. We even get a Luminescent Blush after she sees Rock was watching!
- Later on, she and Rock meet the same kids, and Revy blasts the same set up of cans she did the first time...with her Cutlass.
- A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: In the novel Shaitan Baidi, one of the people the Lagoon is transporting is a woman who is, or believes herself to be, a direct descendant of the infamous Captain Morgan...and dresses the part.
- Pirates: The Lagoon Company, as well as several of their opposition.
- Police Are Useless:
- The Roanapur police. Totally corrupt and impotent to the point that they can't stop crime at all, and so turn a blind eye to practically everything while taking bribes.
- The Japanese police aren't exactly useless and are competent, but they're pretty ineffective at dealing with the sudden rash of explosions and massacres that occur during the Tokyo arc.
- P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: Rock is the "average" protagonist, but Revy is the main fighter, and primary muscle of the Lagoon Company.
- Precision F-Strike: Despite the company he keeps, when Rock swears at you, you know he is very angry!
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Revy is very fond of these.
- 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.
- Punished for Sympathy: In the "Baile de la Muerte" arc Balalaika, a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, reveals that although her discharge was officially 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.
- Quick Draw: Chaka challenges Revy to a quick draw contest, with them drawing when the soda can he's holding hits the floor. But Revy has such contempt for him she charges at Chaka and knocks him down with a kick to the face. She then leads him to Ginji, who challenges Chaka to his own quick draw contest, with Ginji only armed with a samurai sword. Ginji wins!
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The bounty hunters in the "Greenback Jane" arc.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits:
- Several groups have popped up (mostly out of convenience), but Lagoon traders is easily the most prominent with the nigh unflappable Bald Black Leader Guy, a laid-back hacker in a Hawaiian shirt, gunslinger gal prone to Whitman Fever, and a Japanese salaryman. Still, they work.
- The most absurd group yet showed up in the first light novel: a heroin-drained sniper, a Morgan-wannabe pirate and her entourage, an insufferable "gangsta", and a Ninja. Yes, he's a ninja. No, none of the Lagoon company are happy to have them aboard.
- Rape as Backstory: Episode 5 of El Baile De La Muerta shows a flashback of a corrupt cop beating and then raping a young Revy.
- Rape Discretion Shot: The OVA has a flashback of Revy's Prison Rape, which shows everything but the actual act.
- Rare Guns: Let's see...
- 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 a regular Desert Eagle has a price tag of close to $1,600 (as of 2013) when new. A custom job with gold plating and engraving could push the price tag up to twice that amount.
- 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.
- On that note, the MAG-7 shotguns she uses in that same fight? Very rare South African weapons. Even moreso considering they were first produced in 1995, which is the same year that the El Baile arc takes place. The Lovelace family must be extremely well-connected for her to have what would have been state-of-the-art guns fresh off the assembly line...
- Rated M for Manly: The villainous version, likely. Most of the ass-kickers do happen to be female but the trope still applies.
- Reality Ensues: What happens when a Charles Atlas Super Power human goes up against an extremely well trained special forces? She. Gets. Wrecked. Also what happens when untrained and undisciplined Cartels go up against the same special forces? They get introduced to the Curbstomp Battle, with none of them landing any shots on their more skilled and disciplined opponents.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Balalaika and Chang.
- 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.
- 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. And he also had fond, first hand memories of the Wannsee Conference (meeting of various administrative leaders of Nazi Germany to implement the Final Solution) and is still an extreme racist.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Ibraha and the ex-JRA member from "Lock And Load Revolution."
- 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 Rampage of 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:
- 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.
- Running Gag: The Yellow Flag being destroyed whenever a fight starts there.
- 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.
- Ruthless Modern Pirates: The eponymous Black Lagoon company.
- 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.
- Scary Shiny Glasses:
- Roberta, as well as Dutch during episode 3.
- 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 that it's a corrupt shithole, Roanapur is certainly a lavishly detailed corrupt 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.
- Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: The ending credits sequence concludes with Revy whipping out a shotgun and pointing it at the camera.
- Second Face Smoke: In the Yakuza arc, Revy does this to Chaka in response to his talk about having a gunfight with her.
- See You in Hell:
- Yukio's last words in the manga.
- Also Balalika's words to Tsugio Bandou before she kills him.
"I'm only interested in how much I can dance in the pit of hell when it's all over. See you there some day." (Neck Snap
- Seppuku: The Japanese officer in the German sub does this with the sword he brought once he's told that they will run out of oxygen in a short time. In a later arc, Yukio does the same thing, or more technically jigai, the female version.
- Settle It Without Weapons: How Revy and Roberta settle their score the first time they meet.
- Ship Tease:
- Remember that odd cigarette lighting scene at the end of episode 7 that was a hell of a lot like a kiss?
- Chapter 76: Garcia/Roberta at the conclusion of El Baile de la Muerte.
- Somebody on the OVA's animation team seems to be a fan of Garcia/Fabiola...
- Shoot the Dangerous Minion: Kind of twisted example. A Magnificent Bastard Nazi Aristocrat tires of the incompetence of his Neo-Nazi followers, so he sends them on an assignment which leads to their coming in conflict with the protagonists. After the Neo-Nazis are all killed by the protagonists (well, mainly Revy and Dutch), the leader congratulates Dutch and tells him You Are a Credit to Your Race. He wasn't necessarily planning on their deaths, but more as a test, which if they didn't succeed, they weren't worth keeping alive.
- One of the more obscure ones was Sawyer the Cleaner's rendition of Leatherface's rage dance from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
- A less obscure one would be towards the end of Season 1 Episode 12 where it's mentioned that Revy's still wanted in New York's 27th precinct.
- One of Revy's gunfights in the 2nd season looks an awful lot like a Grammaton Cleric in action, considerably more than usual.
- Roberta the unstoppable maid in anime episodes 8-10.
- The whole Roberta sequence is a huge and lampshaded shout-out to the Terminator films.
- Roberta and Revy run towards each other shooting their pistols and end up on the ground with their guns pointed at each other's heads in a Mexican Standoff, just like Neo and Agent Smith in their subway battle in The Matrix.
- 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).
- From the first light novel: "Never speak of the turtles!!" (It Makes (just a bit more) Sense In Context)
- The omake where Balalaika raises Hansel and Gretel as her kids is titled The Melancholy of Balalaika in Japanese.
- In Chapter 55, Fabiola and Revy have to talk to a heroin/speed addict who's convinced they're Martian death squad scouts. Fabiola gets him to calm down by telling him she's a "good alien" from the Cylon Empire.
- Episode 13 has a shout out to The Punisher, it's a bit vaguer in the dub however.
- The end of the second season could be one to Cowboy Bebop.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!:
- The Anime. So much so that this entire franchise seems to be an Author Tract of "It's pointless to even try to be a decent human being in the real world. Fight, Fuck, Kill, Don't Care About Anybody and Be Content."
- 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.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: The second half of episode 7 is a drawn-out Slap Slap Indirect Kiss for Rock and Revy.
- Slasher Smile:
- Revy and Hansel/Gretel are fond of these, as well as Roberta during her Ax-Crazy phase.
- Balalaika has a truly frightening one that mainly sees use during the Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise arc.
- This is actually one of two signs that a person is an incredible badass, with the other being a Death Glare. If one has the glare, but no smile, chances are they're holding back.
- As of El Baile De La Muerte, Rock's Grins of Audacity are beginning to cross over into this territory, and are enough to even unnerve Revy.
- In the Red Card arc, Sheng gives one when she's telling Rock how exciting it is that all that's left is to decide how she dies. Rock gives one back when he agrees with her.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism:
- Far, far on the cynical end. Except for Rock. But that appears to be changing, much to Revy's dismay (at times).
- 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.
- Spared by the Adaptation: The Grey Fox Unit in the Roberta's Blood trail OVA. Sure they still suffered casualties when they fought Roberta, but instead of her killing all but maybe three of them (one of whom was later killed anyway), she's shown killing no more than eight of them. It crosses into Adaptational Badass a bit as well; even though the Grey Foxes were badass in the Manga, they take the level much higher when they use vicious and extremely effective tactics on Roberta (an example that comes to mind is hitting her with an M18 Claymore Anti-Personnel Mine at point blank range) to even the fight.
- 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.
- Stab the Scorpion: First, after a heated argument, it looked, as if Revy and Dutch're gonna shoot each other (including to them both), but they shot the Nazis standing behind the other one instead.
- 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.
- El Baile de la Muerte includes one for Rock.
- Stealth Parody: Black Lagoon is either a Stealth Parody of the action movie genre, or just turned Up to Eleven. 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, 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, but they seldom influence each other.
- Surprisingly Good English: The anime did a good job when Rock was translating for Balalaika during the yakuza meeting. Also, when Revy was talking to Ginji during the same arc.
- Surreal Theme Tune:
- The theme song contains Gratuitous English that puts such gems as "YOU WA SHOCK!" to shame. It still sounds rather threatening, however, being almost an Image Song of Revy. There isn't a single word of Japanese in there.
- The World of Midnight in relation to the Twins. Deeply beautiful, haunting lyrics, and disturbingly fitting for two of the most fucked-up characters in the entire series.
- "World Of Midnight" can also be heard playing in the background of some of the young Balalaika flashbacks.
- After some episodes the beautiful instrumental ending theme becomes really haunting.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Rock gets into this quite a bit.
- 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.
- Testosterone Poisoning: ...Estrogen Poisoning? If testosterone is the poison, estrogen is the cure.
- 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.
- Took a Level in Badass: Rock, definitely. Garcia, by the end of El Baile de la Muerte. And in one of the Omakes. we see that Sgt. Boris of the Vysotniki used to be a scrawny, girlish-looking boy...until he joined the Soviet Army.
- 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.
- Two Shots from Behind the Bar: The owner of the Yellowflag keeps a shotgun behind the bar handy for inevitable shootouts. It doesn't hurt that the bar itself is fully armored to withstand shots.
- 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.
- Threshold Guardians: Yukio to Rock. Subverted when he decides to Take a Third Option.
- "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.
- The Triads and the Tongs: Mr. Chang and his Sun Yee On syndicate.
- 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.
it's only a fuckin' Taurus
- 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.
- Token Good Teammate: Rock for the Lagoon company; Lotton the Wizard for the Carnival of Killers and later Sawyer and Shenhua's Power Trio.
- 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.
- Some cases are very annoying, usually among mooks. For example: while Roberta is standing in the middle of the Yellow Flag, pointing her gun at the Lagoon Crew, a random thug of the Colombian Cartel hops out of cover BEHIND her, takes aim at her, and then, instead of just giving her a headshot, completely wrecks any advantage of suprise he had by yelling "We're not done with you yet, you fucking bitch!" and then not shooting, but charging towards her. Cue the guy getting Blown Across the Room via Offhand Backhand.
- 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.
- Subverted with Lotton 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.
- Trespassing to Talk: Chang at the El Baile de la Muerte arc when he waits for the arrival of the Lagoon crew and Fabiola alongside Garcia. This led to a tense standoff before Chang grappled with Fabiola to disarm her.
- Trigger Happy: Revy. A lot of other characters too, but mostly Revy.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior:
- Hansel and Gretel. Also, Revy.
- Though not displaying the same maladjustment, Fabiola and eventually Garcia get in on this as well.
- True Companions: The Lagoon Company and Hotel Moscow, both to themselves and each other. The reason why the Hotel Moscow unit under Balalaika act the way they do is because they used to be a unit of the Soviet Army, and so therefore their bond is that of soldiers. However, Balalaika's relationship to the Lagoon Company, a band of mercenaries that are not always on the same side as her, but who she is quite friendly to, is a good example of true companionship.
- Twelve-Episode Anime: The first two series.
- Understatement: "Rock, could you take over babysitting? As you can see, not a lot of maternal instinct there." Dutch, in response to Revy opening fire on an unarmed child hostage.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Revy and Rock, we think.
- Unstoppable Rage: Roberta, in El Baile de la Muerte. Oh, so very, very much.
- Up to Eleven: Where to start.
- Villainous Crossdresser: Hansel and Gretel OH SO MUCH! They are very good at swapping genders, and more disturbingly personalities, to the point that there is literally no way to tell what their true genders are. All we really know is that the "Gretel" carries the Browning Machine Gun and Hansel carries the Axe.
- Villainous Incest: Hansel and Gretel.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Revy. Hurt Rock in any way, and Revy will either beat you up or kill you.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Revy and Eda.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Rock in volume 1.
- War Is Hell: The Roberta's Blood Trail OVA dips heavily into this motif, showing how utterly self-destructive Roberta's "war" is and how messed up Roberta, Caxton and Balalaika are from their respective wars and the treatment they engendered after returning 'home' (Roberta was a FARC guerilla, Caxton fought in Vietnam and Balalaika in Afghanistan). To drive the motif home the OVA uses the tune to "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"/"Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye" as an ending melody, both songs about veterans come home from their war. The latter one of the two turns out to be Foreshadowing to Roberta's fate.
- Warrior Poet: Revy and Balalaika occasionally fall into this. Ginji even more so. And especially Dutch.
- Watching Troy Burn: The Greenback Jane arc, when the Lagoon's dock and offices are destroyed during a firefight.
- Western Terrorists: FARC from Colombia.
- What Have I Done: Roberta, after she blasts GARCIA, of all people,
in a fit of murderous rage in an instinctive trigger-pull near the end of El Baile de la Muerte.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Fabiola to Revy after the latter summarily executes a wounded FARC fighter who they told that they would take to the hospital if he gave them information.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Rock insists on saving people and getting paid. 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.
- A less fortunate example were the Neo-Nazi crew from the U-boat arc, who seemed to have very little comprehension of how the world really worked.
- With Friends Like These...: Revy and Eda, again.
- World of Action Girls: Black Lagoon is 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.
- World of Badass: If you live in Roanapur and you have a name, you are a survivor. Even if your name is Lotton.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Delivered by Rock at the conclusion of the penultimate episode of the second season.
- 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.
- Chaka tries this on Ginji re Yukio, but he knows Chaka would never kill his valuable hostage, so isn't impressed by the blatant lie.
- Wretched Hive: Roanapur.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Several "outsiders" who visit Roanapur would be pretty clever anywhere else, but don't seem to understand the rules of the city; There's Hansel and Gretel, who think they can murder just any Russian gangsters and run without consequence from Balalaika; Gus Russell, who thinks assembling a group of assassins is enough to stop the notoriously tough One Woman Army Revy; And then there's Janet Bhai, who's a pretty smart girl to latch onto the Lagoon Company for protection, but she first trusts the words of a stranger (one of the easiest ways to die) and then gets too comfortable with Lagoon and toys with Revy about Rock (an even easier ways to die, if you're not Eda).
- Lotton the Wizard probably takes the cake with this one though. With his dramatic theatrics, long flowing white hair, and ridiculous "wizard" epithet, he seems to come straight out of a shonen manga. And like a shonen hero, he thinks he can deliver a speech (with catchphrases) to his enemies in the middle of a battle, and he gets a bullet in the gut from Revy for his troubles (luckily, he wore a vest).
- Xanatos Gambit: Rock during the El Baile de la Muerte arc. Perhaps due to his failure in the Yakuza arc, where he failed to save Yukio, Rock formulates a plan that would save some people while still getting paid for it, and possibly as a "screw you" to Chang after the latter called him to say he failed his mission.The results were mixed. Although he saved Garcia and Roberta, and the Americans captured a drug cartel lord, it's still largely business as usual in Roanapur.
- The entire neo-nazis arc turns out to be a gambit orchestrated by an old exile from Nazi Germany who wanted the painting back and used getting it as a pretext to test the neo-nazis' skill and commitment. The Lagoon Company become his instrument when he hires them for the same job through a shell company.
- Yakuza: A war between two rival yakuza groups makes up the final arc of the second series.
- Played for Laughs in the Manzai omake, wherein Yukio takes a slap from her kohai very seriously. And then prepares to punch her lights out as part of some friendly slapstick.
- 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!