Region: 2 - UK
Length: 125 minutes
Japanese 4.0 Surround
All five episodes from the OVA series of the Japanese anime following the adventures of pirates and smugglers known as the Lagoon Company. In this collection of episodes, Roberta (voice of Michie Tomizawa) is on the warpath, wreaking a bloody trail of vengeance through the harbour in Roanapur. Can the Lagoon Company face up to her formidable combat skills and stop her before she causes irreparable damage? The episodes are: 'Collateral Massacre', 'An Office Man's Tactics', 'Angels in the Crosshairs', 'Oversaturation Kill Box' and 'Codename Paradise, Status MIA'.
Black Lagoon boasts a great number of memorable characters but perhaps one of the most iconic adversaries is the "Bloodhound of Florencia" mad-dog maid Roberta. In her return, Roberta's savagery is unleashed as her master is murdered in a terrorist attack, leaving behind his young son in her charge. Unhinged and unbound by her domestic service to the Lovelace family, Roberta seeks to lay to waste anyone who stands in the path of revenge.
Roberta is a fascinating character, a ferocious killer with an animalistic nature. She is partially domesticated by her life as a maid but as soon as the happy home dynamic is destroyed she reverts to the wild and the five part OVA focuses on this aspect of her identity, the hardcore terrorist who will stop at nothing to meet her mark.
For anyone who misses the militant maid motif, Fabiola Iglesias, the Lovelace's junior maid, steps in to help the young master locate Roberta. She comes equipped with her own bag of tricks and is master of capoeira. Young Master Garcia Lovelace is given a second opportunity to rise beyond his childhood and sheltered upbringing as he is now the head of the family and seeks to retrieve Roberta before she loses her mind or her life completely.
Rock and Revy get involved in the chase and soon many other characters come out of the woodwork to claim the bounty on Roberta's head.
Roberta's Blood Trail is exciting and sees some significant development of both minor and major characters. There are some great revelations about Rock's nature that make this OVA an essential extension for viewers of the original TV series.
There are some surprising things to note, however, about the OVA. For one thing, the animation is not as tight or as beautiful in the original TV series. Both the animation and the integrity of the character designs are off in places and this is rather disappointing, especially as OVA productions are usually higher grade than their TV counterparts. As the Black Lagoon TV series was impeccably produced the bar was set high and this level is simply not met in Roberta's Blood Trail.
The OVA is also no more graphic or violent than the TV series. While this is not a criticism as such, again it is unusual for an OVA to hold back when it is not subjected to the scrutiny of TV censors.
These observations aside, it is great to see characters such as Shen Hua and Wizard return to take part in the chase for the Bloodhound. Taking the story straight from the pages of Hiroe Rei's manga, it is an excellent arc of the story and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to anyone who loved the original series. The voice acting is phenomenal and the action is incredible.
If you didn't catch the TV series or read the manga, I urge that you do so before dipping into the Blood Trail. If you love anti-heroines with attitude and your anime full of action you should get yourself started on this wild ride.