“There’s a difference between criminals and crooks. Crooks steal. Criminals blow some guy’s brain’s out. I’m a crook.” – Ronald Biggs
Released on Blu-ray at the same time as the first season, The Second Barrage of Black Lagoon, does not differ that much from the first dozen episodes.
Once again, Rock, Revy, Dutch and Benny are delivering not-too-innocent goods, cargo, and people to all sorts of unsavoury characters. The main difference between the two seasons is that there are no side stories in this collection. Instead there are three different story lines, the first two being three episodes long, and the third taking over the remaining six.
In the first, the crime-ridden city of Roanapur is struck by a pair of psychopathic serial killers, who happen to be kids, by which I mean a somewhat vampiric/lolita Romanian twin brother and sister. Later on, Rock, Revy and not-so-nice nun Eda help a forger (who is being hunted down by a vast team of assassins) escape from the city. In the final section, Rock returns to Tokyo with Revy and the Russian mafia syndicate Hotel Moscow, where their leader Balalaika declares war on a local yakuza clan.
Like the first season, there is plenty of action and violence, so it’s not as if you will get bored easily. There are also some dark comedic lines. Such as when Balalaika, commenting on a pimp she has apprehended, says that he was so scared that there was, “Enough to create a masterpiece in his pants.”
One of the interesting things, especially in the later arc, is that for quite a bit of the time you do not really need subtitles, as Revy, who is Chinese-American, speaks English herself in some of the scenes. Annoyingly there are still some problems with the subtitles, but these are only minor.
Having seen both series, it is hard to say which is the better of the two. It all depends on the storylines. I personally think that the third story arc is a bit too long, but the other stories in the series push this one ahead of the first.