Is it truly impossible to redeem someone if they have killed? At what point does killing create it’s own cycle of vengeance? Is this world really just a dark and worthless hell? Black Lagoon ask’s these questions in it’s own way at the end of this powerful three-part arc. It ends how it must: with the twins dead, Balalaika’s revenge satisfied, and Rock once again seeing the horror’s of the world. Cinematically this was a powerful piece of animation. The first half’s focus was on Balalaika and her calmness in battle. We hardly even see any action, only hear of it through Balalaika’s men. When Hansel does confront her it doesn’t last long. After a couple of taunts he’s quickly shot down and left to bleed to death, right after revealing the nature of the twins “immortatility”. Tellingly all Balalaika can say in the end is that she feels “tired”. Clearly the circle of violence is starting to wear on her as she get’s older.
The cycle of violence appears again in the second half as we shift focus to Gretel, who has mananged to charter Black Lagoon as an escape route. Once again Rock acts as the people person and talks with her. Here we gain an understanding of the twin’s thought processes. After a childhood of being beaten and raped they eventually realized that killing other’s pleased their adults, leading them to only enjoy killing. This of course disgust’s Rock, who goes on to comfort her that there is goodness and kindness in the world. Gretel is moved by this, but sadly can only offer herself for sex as gratitude, so far has her mind degraded. Later Benny talks with Rock and can only say that it’s best to avert one’s eyes in this world. In normal Black Lagoon way it answers it’s questions pessimistically: yes this world is dark and the only thing you can do is avert your eyes.
Still there is some good news in the Black Lagoon universe. Even though Gretel is killed at the end by her handler, there is still the promise that she is with her brother now in peace. In the black lagoon world peace it seems can only come in death, but still it is a kind of peace that the living can’t enjoy. To this Balalaika starts acting as a foil, clearly a part of her beginning to want peace. And so the narrative cycle comes to a close. The main use of this arc was not for Revy and crew (well maybe Rock’s in it) but for fleshing out Balalaika, her motives, and the philosophy that governs this world.
Well that’s enough of my odd philosophy. I really enjoyed all of this, especially the english song that was put in. It was a terribly poignant and melancholy song, perfect for the twins. Gretel’s death at the end, with blood streaming her face and her staring at the sky, brought me to tears. That’s why I stick with anime right there. A question though. Was the Gretel at the end physically Hansel? That would make sense since Rock was so repulsed when she offered herself. Kind of hard to tell since they both wear wigs. Next ep. seems to be lighter fair, with a female counterfeiter and more Eda goodness. Too bad she’s hanged up the whore clothes ;).