Way back in 2006, Studio Madhouse wowed audiences with their adaptation for Rei Hiroe’s Black Lagoon. It was a match made in heaven, with Hiroe’s work seeming like early Madhouse fare, full of intense action and mayhem, that was seemingly influenced by 80’s and 90’s action films. With nods to John Woo’s The Killer, to Spaghetti Westerns, Black Lagoon was a series that was meant to be seen for an audience had reveled in the violence and carnage that anime was associated in the U.S. in the early 1990’s. A few years had passed and Madhouse had announced that they were doing an OVA follow up to the TV series, that continued one of the best story lines and followed an interesting character. The result is Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail, which turns out to be one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen in a long time, as well as a welcome return to the Black Lagoon universe.
As the title suggests, the OVA opens with a death of Diego Lovelace, head of the Lovelace mafia and Roberta’s master. With this man violently removed from her life, Roberta vows to get revenge on the men that killed him. Her quest leads her back to Roanapur, where the Black Lagoon company reside, along with plenty of other gangsters, mafioso’s and other hooligan’s that are looking to stay off the grid. In the midst of all of this, Fernando Lovelace, the youngest in the family and current head of the Lovelace mob, hires the Lagoon company, specifically Rock, in order to stop everything and get his friend back. Rock tries to track her whereabouts, along with the reason for the murder of Diego Lovelace and why these killers are hiding in Roanapur.
I haven’t seen this much violence and bloodshed in a series since I had seen Blood-C, which I also loved! Black Lagoon was one of my favorite shows of 2006 and was a series that I did my best to tell anyone and everyone about. While it had been a few years since I had seen the original series, it didn’t take long to get into Roberta’s Blood Trail, by continuing one of the best story lines from the original series and allowing me to wallow in the violent depths contained within. Roberta’s Blood Trail begins almost like a political thriller, where the head of the Lovelace family is murdered in a political rally and we’re left trying to figure out who did it and why. There’s a slow burn of a pace that leads Roberta back to Roanapur, that makes for some interesting tension between the awesome cast of characters that exist in the Black Lagoon universe.
When we finally do get to main selling point of this series, it really feels like a reward. Everything from close range shotgun blasts to the chest, to chainsaw wielding maniacs that manage to make up just a fraction of the insane action contained in this OVA follow up. I’m not sure if there’s any plans to follow up this series in another TV show, but I can honestly say that with Madhouse choosing the OVA format gave them the freedom to do this sequel right. With the amount of excessive violence and action, this isn’t for everyone, but for those that grew up watching things like Ninja Scroll, Cyber City Oedo 808 and other over the top anime from the old days, then you’ll have an absolute blast with this! If there was any real downside, it would have to be that the disc from Funimation is completely barebones. There’s no extras at all, but while this would be a problem for most other shows, Roberta’s Blood Trail is so entertaining, that you don’t even need extras to enjoy this disc.
This is a direct continuation from the original series, which Funimation rereleased not too long ago. If you haven’t seen the original, go see that first and then run off to go watch this, because its something that one should revel in all of its blood soaked glory! Highly Recommended!