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    In General 

Former Soviet Special forces soldiers and veterans of the Afghanistan War. Their country turned its back on them and they followed their commander into a life of crime.


  • From Camouflage to Criminal: They were all former Special Forces from the Soviet Union. As criminals they're a very tight nit professionally run gang.
  • The Mafiya: The Russian faction of the Roanapur gangs. Their soldiers are derisively called Ivans.
  • Men of Sherwood: With their military training and experience several characters note that they're the deadliest faction in Roanapur in terms of number and skill. Though Hansel and Gretel could pick off individuals and pairs, when the whole group organized against them the duo were forced into a retreat; Hansel even complained that they were too quick and heavily armed for him to kill any.
  • Undying Loyalty: What keeps much of the group together isn't simply money or power but a huge sense of loyalty to each other and their Kapitan.
  • When She Smiles: They're all fairly stoic and professional so smiles are rare. But when they do smile there's a level of sincerity to them. Balalaika is perhaps the most notable because of her significance, but Sakharov and Menshov are seen grinning happily at her in a flashback during the war, further highlighting their innocence.
  • Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: They were abandoned by their country to save face which didn't matter as much because the Soviet Union dissolved shortly after. Most fell into poverty afterwards and because of that followed their CO into the mob.
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    Sofiya "Balalaika" Pavlovna 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/balalaika_black_lagoon.jpg
Voiced by: Mami Koyama (JP), Patricia Drake (EN)

"Hotel Moscow will show no mercy to anything in its way. We will reject it and annihilate it. Family, friends, even the pet dog if necessary."

A former Soviet VDV special forces commander turned mafia queen; member (along with Mr. Chang and two others) of the four-person commission that regulates crime in Roanapur. Her real name is Sofiya Irininskaya Pavlovna.


  • Affably Evil: Balalaika is generally calm, collected, funny, will occasionally spare people's lives on the grounds that they amuse her, is usually willing to negotiate before resorting to violence, and has only lost her temper once in the entire series. However, if negotiations don't go her way, she won't even blink before casually gunning down everyone in the room.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Inverted when Balalaika finds herself alone with Psycho for Hire Hansel. The inversion is that Balalaika quite easily has him killed.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Balalaika reminds the leaders of the other criminal organisations that her organisation will destroy anyone who gets in their way, and their families, and even their pet dog, if necessary.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The name "Sofiya Irininskaya Pavlovna" is a typical case of klukvanote . The order of names is totally wrong (it should be "Sofiya Pavlovna Irininskaya"), and the last name sounds really fake to real Russians.
  • Asexuality: Even though she can get flirtatious with guys like Rock or Mr. Chang, she finds sex boring and uninteresting, and has no real sex life to speak of. There's also her completely bored-to-death look when she edits porn videos (although anyone who edits videos for a living can tell you that after the first 30 minutes even porn gets boring when you're editing them).
    • She does seem turned on by Rock's capacity for manipulation during the Yakuza arc, as well as Revy mentioning she'd give up sex for more war, implying she does have some interest in sex, just not as much as she craves violence and domination. Not to mention she remarks her bell hop in the Tokyo hotel is "adorable."
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Is the head of Hotel Moscow, and is certainly in the upper echelons of the series lethality tier.
  • Badass Army: The Vysotoniki were all former Soviet commandos with the Spetsnaz and the VDV and they all had combat experience in Afghanistan against the Mujahideen.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Her normal wear is a red business top with a long skirt bottom.
  • Bait the Dog: She is a mob boss, but throughout most of the first two seasons she's so stylish and badass that it's hard not to like her. Then the Yakuza Arc comes, and she ruthlessly destroys not only the entire Washimine clan but the relatively fresh-faced young woman, Yukio Washimine, who found herself their unwilling heir, just because they were weak and she could, before sending Rock a picture of Yukio's face with a giant red X over it, and we realize that no, Balalaika is not a good person or a hero, not by any stretch of the imagination.
  • The Baroness: She's a blend of both types with her statuesque build and her massively scarred body and face. She is described by the main characters as one of the scariest women on Earth...and they aren't exaggerating. Head of the Roanapur chapter of Hotel Moscow, ex-Soviet Afghanistan veteran, and Olympic-level marksman (if the Soviet Union hadn't boycotted the Olympics that she was planning to participate in). Only two people in the entire series have crossed her/gotten on her bad side and walked away with everything still intact.
  • Beauty Mark: To side of her left eye.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Averted. While her famous scars are the result of being captured and tortured in Afghanistan, what really set the Kapitan down that road was her country's "thanks" for their soldiers' service.
  • Big Good: To the main characters and anyone she looks after and/or gives jobs to. She treats them well and usually comes to lend a hand dealing with competing evils. Of course, this is only provided there's something in it for her and they don't get on her bad side; her true loyalty only lies with her war comrades. Case in point; though she's amused by Rock's Adorkable nature and takes a liking to him, the one time he pushes her too far with accusations and demands, she doesn't hesitate to flip him on the roof of a car and put a gun to his head.
  • Blood Knight:
    • According to Revy she'd rather give up sex than pass up a chance to wage war.
    • In the light novel, she welcomed an old subordinate who'd found himself on the opposite side refusing the olive branch because it meant that he, like herself, meant to continue fighting to the bitter end.
  • Break the Cutie: In the anime, we see her as an innocent young girl who wanted to join the Olympic biathalon team. Then the Afghan War happened and she got completely trashed.
  • Broken Bird: Thanks to the Afghan War and the subsequent collapse of her country, the cute teenager who wanted to become an Olympic marksman and make her family proud ended up as a cynical, scarred, and stylishly brutal Mafia queen.
  • The Captain: "Kapitan."
  • The Chessmaster: In the old tradition of "game of kings", she crushes the opposition with superior tactics. The Washimine family didn't know what hit them. Most of them were dead before they realized she was moving against them.
  • Cigar Chomper: She is frequently seen smoking cigars whenever she is attending business meetings or just having a calm moment.
  • Coat Cape: She wears her Soviet military coat like this.
  • Combat Pragmatist: On a large scale, as she fights her mob wars like military operations. Her men smashed the Washimine Group special forces-style, complete with snipers, frag grenades, flash-bangs, explosives and whatnot and suffered no casualties; the only loss from Hotel Moscow is the ex-KGB and his men, who are not part of Balalaika's ex-airborne troops and who she never liked anyway.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Revy, anyway, who even refers to her as "Anego" which means "Sister". Though Revy isn't above calling Balalaika a bitch when she pulls a gun on Rock or has her men shoot Revy and Shenhua in the arms.
  • Covered with Scars: She has burn scars all over her body, ending at her thighs.
  • Dark Action Girl: Before she graduated to The Baroness she was a sinister soldier sniper.
  • Death Seeker: Balalaika confesses to Chang that her driving motivation is to "meet that one fated person in that one fated battle" and die remembering who she once was.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Nothing says "I love my job" like grinning while snapping a Yakuza leader's neck, stopping to engage in a philosophic debate about the nature of the human condition with a would-be assassin whom she has just had shot or politely apologizing to Lagoon Company for any inconvenience they may have experienced during their last mission which ends with some unlucky bastard's apartment exploding.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Given what she saw in Afghanistan, it's not a shock she has this.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Balalaika (and a large portion of her men) served as Spetznaz during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; their tactics and training are used with brutal efficiency in their criminal operations.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: The only one who "gets" to call Chang "Babe" to his face. Naturally, he (and everyone else who dares) responds with "Fry Face".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She runs a tight ship with Hotel Moscow. Even as a criminal there's a lot of honor and security in working for her so long as one stays in line. Dutch makes it clear that this is why he sees her as a reliable employer in contrast to the likes of Chen.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Her real name is Sofiya Pavlovna. She is rarely addressed by that.
  • Evil Laugh: Her reaction to Rock trying to talk her down near the end of the Yakuza arc is sinister amusement.
  • Eviler Than Thou:
    • Her confrontation with Hansel she proves that she is both more ruthless and more cruel.
    • The yakuza, especially Yukio, learn that they are not nearly pragmatic enough to match her in mob warfare.
    • In the light novel, she out-eviled Mr. Chang of all people, laughing in his face when he offered to take out her rebellious subordinate so she wouldn't have to kill one of her own.
  • Femme Fatalons: She has long pink talons.
  • Former Regime Personnel: She's ex-Soviet military. She also came from a rather high-ranking family.
  • Friendly Sniper: She was considered a better shot than any of her men in Afghanistan, not to mention much more approachable before things went to shit for them.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Her Start of Darkness episode "Little Soldier Girls" reveals that she wore her hair like this prior to enlisting in the Soviet Special Forces. This serves to highlight the contrast between the innocent girl that she was, and the nihilistic Blood Knight that she becomes.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Subverted. While she has the long, flowing hair you'd expect from a heroine, she's not a good person.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Balalaika has a large part of one side of her face and much of her torso scarred as a result of the war (from being captured and tortured by mujahideen). She's sometimes called "Fry Face" because of it. She still manages to look attractive regardless.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Follows the crime lord tradition of smoking cigars.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: It's like staring into a Siberian river in the winter; you'll get hypothermia and die.
  • In-Series Nickname: Besides her pseudonym Balalaika, some of the other crime syndicates in Roanapur have been known to call her "Fry Face" because of her burn scars.
  • Iron Lady: The no-nonsense leader of a gang of Russian commandos-turned-hitmen and the scariest member of their outfit by far.
  • It's Raining Men: Former VDV Airborne Troops captain.
  • Kick the Dog: Sending Rock a picture of Yukio, whom he inadvertently drove to suicide, with a big red "x" over it after the ordeal in Japan. Considering her general attitude towards him, it could be considered more of a morbid joke, but she did kick several other dogs in that arc, such as slaughtering an already weakened Washimine clan just because she could.
  • Lady of War: She was the captain of a Russian army squadron with enough manpower to potentially fight and hold on their own should World War III occur, and she hardly ever swears or raises her voice, maintaining a distinct air of grace and respect when speaking or being spoken to, and would probably shoot you without hesitation.
  • The Mafiya: Unlike most other women pertaining to a Mafia-like organization, she's in charge instead of being just a regular Mafia Princess. If anything, she's more of a Mafia Queen. She's too experienced and too powerful to be a mere "princess".
  • Mama Bear: You hurt her subordinates, you will be dead soon. And. VERY. Messily. Hansel and Gretel didn't pay attention to this.
  • Meaningful Name: Or nickname rather. Russian soldiers sometimes called their Dragunovs (or less commonly Mosin Nagants) "balalaikas"note  due to the distinctive sound they make when they fire. In the Afghan War, she was regarded as the ace sniper in her unit - if not one of the best in the USSR - and thus the nickname for her rifle stuck to her.
  • A Mother to Her Men: Balalaika's concern for her subordinates are her a large source of her Pet the Dog moments. If you attack any of her men, you will DIE. Note this extends to her part-time employees as well, most notably the Lagoon Company. She might be utterly ruthless, but her recurring trait is her unswerving loyalty to her comrades, regardless of duration.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: During the Soviet-Afghan War, she went out of her way to save a child. However, she was photographed doing so, which caused an international incident since her unit wasn't where it should've been officially. As a result, she was discharged from the military.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Her real name is only known via promotional materials.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In the English Dub version of episode 3, when she is threatening Chen, she briefly slips into a thick Russian accent. Granted, she is Russian, but this is the only time she ever does it in the series. Maybe Patricia Drake just threw it in and nobody bothered to change it.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: She is not a nice or good person, but most of her on-screen kills in the series are of people who really deserve it.
    • Killing Chen by tying him up in his own apartment and blowing him up for attempting to kill the Lagoon company.
    • Killing Hansel to avenge her subordinates by having a sniper shoot him in both legs and sitting there smoking while he bleeds out.
  • Pet the Dog: Many, mostly concerning her relation with both her henchmen and Lagoon Company.
    • The smile she gives to Rock at the end of the Yakuza arc, which is one of the few times she gives an honest smile instead of Technically a Smile.
    • The revelation of why she was discharged, mainly, due to an international incident when she was photographed by media somewhere her unit shouldn't have officially been, is a pet the dog moment for her since the reason she got photographed was because she went out of her way to save a child.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Quotes an 80's song while delivering one of her most brutal The Reason You Suck Speeches.
  • Power Hair: Inverted. She is powerful, feared and a strategist but she has Rapunzel Hair instead of short hair.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Nice commie ones like "Comrades, raise your fists!" or "Cock your hammers!"
  • Proper Tights with a Skirt: "Professional" would be a better word but she wears black tights under her long business skirt.
  • Psychotic Smirk: A common expression of her's as she's about to kill someone.
  • Rapunzel Hair: She has hip-length hair.
  • Renegade Russian: It's The '90s, she is a former Soviet VDV special forces commander and now a mafia queen.
  • Rousing Speech: Gives one of these to her Vysotniki before leading them to avenge their comrades' deaths.
  • Scars Are Forever: Justified, given their severity. Her face and body were badly burned during the Afghan War.
  • She's Got Legs: Wears black tights with her business suit, and there's several shots that emphasize them.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Done to Hansel, with a sniper rifle. She gives three words and a sound effect to deal with one of the creepiest little psychos you'll ever meet.
    Balalaika: "I said KNEEL!" *BANG*
  • Slasher Smile: When she's enjoying herself she sports a wide and scary grin.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Usually has a nice big cigar on hand. She also smokes Parliaments from time to time.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She is on the taller side of the character spectrum, and has a very toned physique underneath her business suit.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Continues to wear a Soviet military coat over her shoulders even after joining the mafia. She and her men also wear their old uniforms, as well.
  • The Stoic: Keeps her cool even as Hansel tells her how one of her men died an agonizing death, screaming out to her.
  • The Strategist: She's the brains of her personal army.
  • Straw Nihilist:
    Balalaika: In the grand scheme of things, our lives are meaningless. They're light as air… like a candy wrapper.
  • Technically a Smile: If Balalaika ever smiles at you, it's recommended that you make sure your last will and testament is up to date. She even used to provide the page image.
  • Touché: She admitted that Yukio's van trick was an "effective counter-measure" which means Yukio had to be crushed absolutely.
  • Tranquil Fury: Even when she's in the depths of teeth-gnashing, blood-boiling rage, Balalaika tends to speak like a patient mother scolding her children. She raises her voice in anger exactly twice. Both times are among the tensest points in the series.
  • The Unfought: Why she sends the Vysotniki to help cover the Grey Fox unit's escape when Roberta comes after them in Roanapur. According to her speech to their commander, she views American special forces as the Worthy Opponent she never had the opportunity to fight, so the least she can do is give them a hand.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Heavy emphasis on the used to be part; "Little Soldier Girls" showed that she used to be much brighter before she went to war.
  • Warrior Poet: Sometimes lapses into how War Is Glorious.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: As a young girl she takes on the challenge of becoming an Olympic shooter as her success would restore her father's honor, though it's not said what he did wrong (given the Communist-era setting, it's possible he was disgraced for political unreliability).
  • Would Hurt a Child: Zig-zagged. Like Mr. Chang, under certain circumstances she has no compunctions about hurting children physically and very violently. Even though she did not do it directly, Hansel and Gretel got no special treatment for being children, and the fact that they killed some of her men no doubt helped, and it's heavily implied that she would have done it herself if given a chance. And in the anime, a flashback to the Afghan War shows her shifting her sniper fire away from a child running towards its mother, but presumably she'd have no qualms about killing a Child Soldier, and does mention that her men had to fight some in Afghanistan.
  • Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: She is a disillusioned former Soviet Special Forces commander who turned to a life of crime after being screwed over by the government in the wake of the war.
  • Young and in Charge: During the series she is around her mid-thirties, which implies she became a lieutenant and later kapitan in her twenties during the Afghan War.
  • Younger Than They Look: It says a lot about what life's done to her that people keep trying to add the "Silver Fox" trope to a character canonically in her late thirties.

    Boris 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/_boris_6317.jpg
Voiced by: Taiten Kusunoki (JP), Mark Acheson (EN)

Balalaika's former platoon sergeant during the Soviet-Afghan war, Boris is utterly loyal and devoted to her and is almost always at his Kapitan's side.


  • Affably Evil: His stoicism also comes with a sense of gentlemanly professionalism. He is always respectful to everyone he deals with.
  • Bishounen: According to one of the omakes, he used to be a scrawny and incredibly androgynous-looking boy in his teenage years (the Shout-Out to The Rose of Versailles is very obvious), so to fix this, he joined the Army and took 20 levels in badass. Even more hilarious is that everyone, even Balalaika, told him he was an idiot for doing such a thing.
  • Consummate Professional: Boris always remains formal, civil, and businessman like. His interactions with the Lagoon company are always polite and while Balalaika can sometimes indulge in the dramatic, Boris remains quiet and professional. During the Yakuza arc he hides his bloodlust much better than Balalaika does but still casually opines that he wishes they could just kill them all and be done with it. When things get heated with Rock, Boris doesn't hesitate to pull a gun on Revy business relations or no.
  • The Dragon: We can safely assume he is this to Balalaika, despite not having seen him do much so far. It's implied he was her platoon sergeant make in the formal military and he is always at her side speaking with her or delivering orders to the rank-and-file.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Admits to Balalaika that taking out Hansel's leg and hand with a sniper rifle and letting him slowly bleed to death gave him the chills. Though he may have been talking about how he was letting one of the only people to kill a member of the Vysotniki in-series within twenty feet of her.
  • Former Regime Personnel: The Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore.
  • Hunk: He is very muscular with wide set shoulders.
  • Mauve Shirt: The most prominent in the series. Boris is Balalaika's Number Two and always prominent in crowd shots when Hotel Moscow moves into the picture. He receives the most character out of Balalaika's soldiers and has takes on a major supporting role whenever their group receives focus.
  • Not So Stoic: Hansel's slow death rattled him to his core.
  • Renegade Russian: Ex-Soviet military, just like his boss.
  • Rugged Scar: The large scar across his face is his most distinguishing feature. Like Balalaika he presumably acquired it during the Soviet-Afghan War. Presumably a knife wound.
  • Sergeant Rock: The fact that she addresses him as "sergeant" rather than by name suggests that he's her former platoon sergeant.
  • The Stoic: One of the least emotive characters in the series.
  • Pet the Dog: Like Balalaika, he too has a bit of a soft spot for Rock and values his assistance in high regard.
  • Terse Talker: Speaks in short, clipped sentences.
  • The Watson: As Balalaika's main lieutenant he serves as someone she can exposit to when the protagonists aren't around. She explains portions of Roberta's history to him during her debut arc.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Though it's something he's not happy about, he and Balalaika did kill children during the Afghan war. Later he orders Hansel shot.

    Menshov 
Voiced by: Kenta Miyake (JP), Richard Newman (EN)

A Corporal and ember of the Vysotniki


  • Adaptational Early Appearance: He only shows up to die in the manga but the anime debuts him in episode 9 during Roberta's arc. He reports in on the destruction of Bao's bar as well as revealing to the audience that Bao survived.
  • Friendly Target: The reason he was introduced. Although his death doesn't seem like it was intended to make the audience sad, just horrified.
  • Human Pincushion: Hansel and Gretel tortured him to death by driving nails into his body, most prominently his head. They mention his body was still twitching even after he'd died.
  • Knee-capping: Gretel riddled his legs with bullets so he lost more than just his kneecaps.

    Sakharov 

He is a Private and member of the Vysotniki.


  • Friendly Target: The reason he was introduced. Seriously, he didn't even survive the episode he was introduced in. Although his death doesn't seem like it was intended to make the audience sad.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: His introduction to the show is brutally cut short to show that Hansel and Gretel are Dead Serious.
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: His death was what triggers Hotel Moscow's revenge on Hansel and Gretel.

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