A curious bit about Black Lagoon is, at this point, the play around with the female archtype. One person so far have found Levi identifiable with Faye Valentine. I am not so sure about the claim’s veracity, but nonetheless it goes to suggest, perhaps, a larger picture of uncertainty and confusion.
I’ve yet to laid eyes to the manga, so I can’t say if this was something originally a part of the show. Still, in painting a realistic approach to today’s open-sea piracy, snubbing character archtypes does go a long way. Just how hot can Tessa get while still being down with the gang without losing respect? Or a mofia boss?
It’s an escapist’s ideal for the hot anime babe who is also some kind of leader. It’s no surprise in Frank Miller’s Sin City (for example), that the same idea found itself well-rooted in the arts on this side of the Pacific. Is that it, though? I wanted to find out. But where should I start?
1. The ending sequence. The sorrowful instrumental score heaps in bringing out cheap emotional responses to a, so far, straight-up babes with guns kind of affair. But look at it closely, it really tries to go for something else. Where is Lavi hiding her shotgun? Is it a ploy? Just because a girl may be stripping down, it doesn’t mean she’s packed? “Look up?” It also triggered my memories about other anime ending sequences with a similar motif. Nudity is a common thing, so I probably won’t be surprised if others were expecting “more” from Lavi. Or less.
2. The in-show characterization of Lavi. It seems to be the centerpiece here. She doesn’t get the majority of screen time, lines, or attention from the narrative. She is centerpiece only when there’s action, and oddly enough, when it comes to Rock. Episode 3 dove into a bit of her backstory, but it wasn’t much you wouldn’t expect. I had a hard time all this time, however, taking my mind off of what’s front and center–her ridiculous outfit.
No, really, adding music the same way as Miyamoto Rebecca would, except in a different context–that’s just my kind of fanservice. But still, fanservice? Undeniable sex appeal was something else that’s loaded like Levi’s tools akimbo. She’s a girl with many guns, yes.
3. Which brings us to the OP. It’s to tease. It’s to please. It’s to take your bank account number and make the number it represent decrease. But she’s not like that at all in the show. A laid-back mercenary who knows what she’s good at and knows that’s a big part of what she does. She’s like just another guy. Actually, she’s like the archtypical annoying guy in the team.
Beating around the bush, ultimately, is the question of what exactly is the “babes with gun” archtype? Levi is too masculine to pass for Rally Vincent. Definitely not a Faye, as I presume (but I can see how that could happen). I guess what’s masculine about Rally is true for Levi, but what’s masculine for Levi isn’t what’s true about Rally, who’s actuall a rather through-and-through 80s archtype. The 90s wasn’t too kind to the masculine anime babe all in all. Perhaps we still have Priss, but she’s not really all that masculine IMO… more like Madoka.
I guess what bothers me in the end about Lavi is still just how she can straddle the line; having the appeal, be “dumb” enough to pass for another guy yet still have some of that cuteness showing. Should it even be like that? It’s inconsistent, no? Looking at probably a more well-rounded anime character like The Major, Levi just seems odd.
Odd enough to blog about, fo sure.