Here’s a general review of Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail right after I confessed that writing general reviews was my weakest skill! But, my efforts to write an article about the references to St. Mary in Roberta’s Blood Trail felt rather contrived. And so, writing a review piece on this splendid OVA seems best.
By the end of the OVA, I was ready to give it five stars, but the excessive gore convinced me to dock it half a star. Otherwise, the action was thrilling, even if somewhat unrealistic; but, without this suspension of reality, we would never see things like Roberta shooting a .50 caliber from the hip and taking out a handful of FARC spraying fully automatic fire at her from 20 yards. The plot of trying to save Roberta from her self-destructive course, on which she propelled herself with hatred, anti-depressants, and alcohol, could move a heart of stone. Might I add that the magnanimity of the American soldiers Roberta is trying to kill plays a key role in the good guys’ fight to save her? The NSA gets a bad rap (as it probably deserves), but one enjoys seeing a positive portrayal of American soldiers in anime.
Anyway, the events of the OVA are brought about through the NSA assassinating the head of the Lovelace family. This ignites Roberta’s, aka Terminator Maid’s, decision to take up the Lovelace family’s flintlock heirloom in order to seek vengeance. (Using a customized flintlock against modern weapons exuded more than a little panache.) Her quest leads her back to Roanapur in order to take the last of the ringleaders’ heads. The young Garcia Lovelace travels there with his maid Fabiola in the hope of obtaining Rock’s help in convincing Roberta to return home. Rock’s past disappointments in trying to help the people who’ve attached themselves to him renders him a little diffident before he at last agrees to help them. Along with the action, the manipulation and scheming Rock employs to offer the best chances for Roberta to bring Roberta back home keep the viewers on the edges of their seats. But, will Black Lagoon‘s predilection for tragedy allow for the good luck Rock hopes for come to pass?
While I would argue that the original Black Lagoon is essentially religious with its focus on light vs. darkness, the fallen nature of mankind, and the ardent desire of many characters for salvation, Roberta’s Blood Trail focuses on these themes much more minutely. The series uses the Problem of Evil to build a case for atheism and people’s inner hunger for goodness, purity, or justice to argue for the existence of Providence. It is also interesting that three of the characters try to find God inside people: Revy in Rock and Roberta and Fabiola in Garcia. Roberta is simultaneously the most damaged and most religious character in the show, as we see her engaging in lengthy prayer and invoking St. Mary before initiating battle. So, is the luck which Rock hopes for the Providence Roberta places her trust in?
The animation of the Blu-ray disc is spectacular! I watched the sub, and the voice actors deliver a marvelous performance, especially Megumi Toyoguchi as Revy. I love the inclusion of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” as an ending song, because that song describes the main hope of the series. But, the main pleasure of watching the OVA is seeing the Black Lagoon team back together. Definitely something one must see!