Manga of the Month
Dragon Eye by Kairi Fujiyama
Leila is a brand new recruit to VIUS, a large organization of people combating the mysterious D-Virus. Both the organization and the virus itself, which turns the infected into blood thirsty, destructive “Dracules,” we know little about. Through a series of events, some quite amusing, she ends up in the hands of Issa, Captain of Squad Zero. Issa is seemingly lackadaisical, which is probably why the squad only includes himself and now Leila. But he is probably brilliant and you soon learn that his past is filled with holes. The glimpses of his former life bring a lot of much needed tension to the story. This becomes of serious importance as the Dracules begin to move as an organized group rather than a bunch of unthinking monsters. His relationships with some characters are strained while others truly believe in him, as it becomes more clear that some know a bit more about him than others. The cast changes somewhat from story to story as Squad Zero is always borrowing help, this peppers the story with some fun team-ups. The art is well done and the weaponry and equipment is cool which adds to the well done fights. Dragon Eye is a shonen adventure series, but it uses its formula well and creates characters you wish to see through to the end.
Anime of the Month
Black Lagoon by Madhouse Studios
Normally we showcase less known series in the Anime and Manga of the Month but I decided to throw up a better know. title that is in an odd predicament. Geneon went under and so far no one has saved the license. The dub for both seasons is done because they played them both on Canadian Tech TV. I really want someone to pick up the second season there in the states. I think it’s a guaranteed seller with legs.
Black Lagoon is about being awesome and having Revy, the duel pistol wielding awesome goddess incarnate. Black Lagoon is essentially an animated action movie. The story revolves around Rokuro Okajima who gets kidnapped by the pirates of the Lagoon Company but ends up as part of the crew. The Lagoon Company crew is as follows. Rock whose role is to be the fish out of water who has some invaluable negation skill from his days as a salary man. Revy is the muscle. Dutch being the muscular African-American seems like he would be the tough of the group but he is the companies leader and tactician. Benny rounds out the group as the hacker.
The intensity of the series is always turned up to 11. Even in the quieter moments the show have an underlying ferocity. There is also a tendency to throw out realism in favor of style. Revy duel wields pistols not because it’s practical but because it looks awesome. PT boats take on helicopters with mini-guns. People fight with chainsaws, flamethrowers, or throwing knives on chains because it looks freaking awesome. Also the characters are almost always a mixture of fascinating and frightening. Roanapur is an amoral city in which only the crafty and strong make it through the day. Black Lagoon is a fun, gritty, action anime. Viz is going to start publishing the manga soon and I really hope someone will step up to the plate and re-license this series.