Manga Review: Black Lagoon Volume 10

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Black Lagoon Volume 10 is set in the early to mid-1990s and focuses on a team of pirate mercenaries known as the Lagoon Company. They smuggle goods in and around the seas of Southeast Asia. The crew is made up of the African-American leader who goes by Dutch, a Chinese-American female fighter who is known as Revy, a university dropout from Florida named Benny who serves as a mechanic, computer specialist, and researcher, and a former Japanese salaryman named Rokuro “Rock” Okajima, who ended up joining the Lagoon Company when he became mixed up with them during one of their operations.

Black Lagoon Volume 10
Written by: Rei Hiroe
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 21, 2015

Volume 10 focuses on introducing a new character named Li Xinlin, a hacker in the People’s Liberation Army. She’s given the assignment to infiltrate Greeback Jane’s group under the alias Feng Yifei. Jane, who is now Benny’s girlfriend, is aware of who Feng really is and ends up using her to tap into the PLA’s computers. Unfortunately for Li, the PLA now believes that she’s a traitor and put a contract on her life.

At first, the connection between Li and the Lagoon Company seems rather tenuous, since she’s brought into the story through Benny’s girlfriend. However, both Rokuro and Revy find themselves getting mixed into the situation when Li is trying to get revenge for what Jane did to her. At this exact same moment, some bounty hunters who are after Li see the three of them together and try to take them all out. This forces Rokuro and Revy to become involved with Li.

It’s interesting to see the parallels that exist between Rokuro and Li. They were both tossed out by their employers when their existence became a liability to them, and they both have to create new lives for themselves. I think Rokuro ultimately decides to try to help Li out because he sees enough of his situation with what’s going on with her. I think Hiroe may also be trying to potentially set up a love triangle. It’s already been hinted that Revy has feelings for Rokuro, and I get the impression that Li may also have her eye on him as well. I don’t expect a huge emphasis on a potential love triangle, though, since Black Lagoon is more of an action-oriented series.

Black Lagoon has been given a mature rating, and from what I saw in this volume, I would say this is due to the sheer amount of swearing and to the scenes with references to sex in them. While the series can be violent, it wasn’t depicted in a way to give it an “M” rating.

When it comes to Hiroe’s art, all of the characters have very distinct looks to them. But the biggest strength with the art in this series is in the depiction of the characters’ motion. Since Black Lagoon is such an action-oriented manga, this strength with motion works extremely well. Much of the art has a crisp look to it, which helps to add to the overall feel of the story being told in the Black Lagoon series.

Readers who have been following the series should enjoy what they read in Black Lagoon Volume 10. Li definitely adds an interesting new layer by the end of the volume, and there seems to be a lot of promise with her character going forward. The series as a whole should appeal to readers who enjoy manga with lots of action, a fair amount of violence, and don’t mind reading a lot of profanity in the dialogue.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Additional post about Black Lagoon:

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