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Wednesday, November 2

At least 5 dead, 2 wounded in nightclub shooting
Gunshots Echo Through The [???]
A Fierce Four-Hour Gun Battle—A Bar Burnt And Destroyed

What is Black Lagoon?

The Cast of Black Lagoon
Dutch, Revy, Rock, and Benny.

Black Lagoon was a 24-episode anime series shown on Japanese television in the year 2006. The first season ran from April 8th to June 24th, while the second season (a.k.a. "The Second Barrage") ran from October 2nd to December 18th. It is based on the manga series of the same name, created by Rei Hiroe, which currently numbers 6 volumes. I find the show is notable for its lack of major Japanese characters (except for the main character—Rock), as well as the large number of Americans (and other foreigners), most of who are portrayed as "regular" people, and not the stereotypes one sometimes sees in many anime. There's also a surprising amount of American pop-culture references in the series, and Rei Hiroe even goes so far as to credit several people for assistance with the foreign dialogue, which is apparently pretty much spot on throughout the manga (the anime less so). Black Lagoon the anime is also notable for its pacing. Many stories form multi-episode arcs and almost none of them are resolved in a mere 25 minutes, instead taking (on average) three episodes to play out.

Due to the level of violence in Black Lagoon, I can only presume it, like many similar series, was shown very late at night on Japanese television. Curiously, Cowboy Bebop was yanked for being too violent a series, which makes me wonder how Black Lagoon was received. If Black Lagoon was a Hollywood movie, it would receive an "R" rating for sure. That said, one shouldn't dismiss the series as just a string of chases, gunfights, and explosions—there's a plot under it all, as well as some rather interesting characterization and character development.

Finally, Black Lagoon makes for some excellent Dark Champions source material,with plot ideas, NPCs, organizations, and even an entire city (Roanapura) just waiting to be added to your campaign. Of course, anyone watching the series needs to accept the scene in the second episode where a PT Boat brings down a helicopter with a torpedo (launching the boat off of a semi-submerged wreck helps, but...). Of course, since a certain American action film features someone dropping a submachine gun down a stairwell and having the weapon fire at—and hit—everyone on the way down... I figure we're even.

MURDER: A daily occurrence here in Roanapura.

The Black Lagoon Universe

The anime never actually says when the series takes place. It seems to be set in the present day, and might actually be occurring in the same time period as when it was broadcast (i.e. 2006), or a little before. However, a distinct lack of references to specific current events (such as the 9/11 attacks) makes it hard to tell. On the other hand, it certainly takes place after the break up of the Soviet Union. The manga, meeanwhile, looks to be set in the late 1990s. Revy listens to the song Electric Head Part 1 (from the album Astro Creep 2000) which was released in 1995. In addition, Benny's computers show what is quite obviously either Apple Macintosh Operating System 8 (or 9), which was released in July of 1997. Eda also makes mention of Greenbay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who started his career in 1991. Wikipedia claims the action starts in 1995. If this is the case, then the anime occurs from (roughly)December of 1995 to January of 1997 (based on certain events and the weather).


For all intents and purposes the history of the Black Lagoon universe is the same as our own (i.e. the "real world"). Dutch, for example, mentions the Vietnam Battle of Khe Sanh (which happened in 1968), while Hotel Moscow boss Balalaika is a veteran of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1979-1989). Dutch also states that the Roanapura bar "Yellow Flag" was founded by the "losers of the Vietnam War," taking in deserters, hookers, junkies, mercenaries, and killers. This would seem to indicate that Roanapura itself didn't become a notorious haven for crime and criminals until the late 1960s.

A Rough Black Lagoon Timeline

This timeline is based on comments made in the course of the series' 24 episodes. I am going to presume the start date for Black Lagoon is 1995, at least for this timeline.

1945—March 25, U-1234 is sunk off of the Nicobar Islands.
1968—The Battle of Khe Sanh.
1975—The Fall of Saigon. Dutch goes AWOL and leaves Vietnam.
1976—A young Balalaika is told to try for the Olympics to regain her family's honor.
1987—Balalaika serves as a First Lieutenant in Afghanistan.
1991—Roberta leaves the FARC and joins the Loveless family.
1992—Balalaika has been stripped of her military rank, doesn't yet have a facial scar.
1993—Benny joins Lagoon Couriers/Company
1995—Black Lagoon Episodes 1-18
1996—Black Lagoon Episodes 19-24
Roanapura is the shady worlds of crime and drugs.


For the most part, Black Lagoon takes place in one location—the city of Roanapura (or Roanapur, the former spelling is used in the anime credits).

Roanapura: The most important location in Black Lagoon is the fictional Thai city of Roanapura. It is located on the coast of an unnamed island, with a semicircular bay. Near the mouth of the bay is an island upon which stands a huge statue of the Buddha. The face of the Buddha has been shattered from gunfire, rendering it effectively "blind." There is apparently only one major highway into the city, that reaches Roanapura via a bridge over a river. There is always a noose (or two) hanging from the crossbars of the bridge—a silent reminder of what awaits the unwary in this most dangerous of cities.

Places In Roanapura

U-BOAT 1324 Found In Deep Sea: Lagoon Company to undertake salvage operations.


Virtually everything seen in Black Lagoon can be found in the real world, with only a few exceptions (such as Claude Torchweaver's Bic-sized flamethrower). For the most part, anyone wishing to use Black Lagoon in their campaign just needs to get a copy of Dark Champions (for the gun lists) and you're all set (although the HERO System Vehicle Sourcebook wouldn't hurt either). I also recommend The Ultimate Skill for its notes on Computer Programming and Systems Operation (among other pertinent skills used in the course of the Black Lagoon anime).

Activities Of Hotel Moscow

Important Organizations

Revy arrested for murder and attempted murder

Important and/or Notable People

As with any other 24-26 episode anime series, Black Lagoon has a variety of one-shot and recurring characters. The following list gives most of the major characters as well as many who are mentioned only by name. As with my character sheets for Cowboy Bebop, I used the "Competent Normal" on page 224 of the HERO System 5th Edition Rulebook as a starting-point. I've made most of the characters 100-point base, and have purchased their primary weaponry for them (even though you technically don't need to do that at the Heroic level. I also built many of the characters around the Package Deals given in Dark Champions.

Author's Note: Much of the background information for these characters was taken from the Wikipedia entry for Black Lagoon, which itself seems to have been taken from material presented in the manga, as it is far more in-depth than what is shown in the anime series.


Murder? That's an [???]

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