The age old debate between ninjas and pirates ends with Black Lagoon. Maid wins.
Words were barely sufficient to describe how it feel to watch Desperado or Terminator 2 the first time for me. Little more can be said about this masterpiece of an episode that is Black Lagoon episode 9. I really had little to share aside from awe and “I wanna … watch this again and again and again!” It’s all I can do to keep that image of Roberta’s humble-looking shoes rotating counterclockwise along with the regular-pattern lace trims of her uniform from replaying itself to burnout in my brain. Oh, it would also fast forward to the rotating umbrella and when she does a “peek-a-boom!” Or I could replay, in my head, how she forms into a rigid, flat-fisted running style while whipping out that combat knife. Well, actually what I did immediately was make Terminator 2 jokes first, then to relish the goodness that was this piece of animation.
You can feel the love brimming from this episode. The people who worked on those scenes must have loved what they were doing. It is the only logical explanation.
To be fair, I was seriously bugged about Roberta at first. I read the manga for Black Lagoon after realizing I would be digging this show seriously. I stopped at volume one because I get the feeling that this manga is going to do what I thought it’s going to do exactly, for better or worse. Sure, the series is about outrageous mercenary action with a bent towards a realistic-feeling grittiness. Thematically it deals with the scummy real life of criminals versus the somewhat crummy real life that we know. It does escapism well; the action scenes are smart but unfortunately the manga falls to mediocrity when it tries too hard to pander to conventions (maybe on purpose).
Remember Noir? I’m one of those people who thought that he liked what he saw in Noir, only to be totally bugged by the fact that it turns into this weird lesiban slide show with secret societies. To be honest, it could have worked out if not for Chloe. Roberta, as a result, reminded me of Chloe–both in their outlandishness but also, heh, they are SOLDATS! Oh, of course, they’re both badasses in a fight.
Hmm. Noir would have been a better show if Chloe was a maid, don’t you think? Thankfully we wouldn’t have to ask the same about Black Lagoon. It’s Maid to win.
Actually, there’s also a part-2 to this entry… It started with Gunslinger Girls.
There’s nothing wrong with killer maids, nor is it such a novel concept. The dichotomy was probably best explored in an anime context through GSG, so it’s no surprise Roberta reminded me of it. But in light of our other girls in Black Lagoon, what sort of concoction would Roberta be? Just another daily special at the Yellowflag?
Certainly if Rebecca was Suzumiya Haruhi, Balalaika would act a bit like Nagato Yuki and stop and save…Rock (and Dutch and Benny) from their certain death? It explains why I rather was taken by Asakura Ryoko.