What it’s about: Rokuro “Rock” Okajima was your average Japanese salaryman, buttoned down and sucking up. Until an assignment to the South China Sea sees his boat hijacked by the mercenary Lagoon Company, and he’s taken hostage. Maybe it’s just Stockholm Syndrome, but there’s something unmistakably alluring about the freedom of the lives of his captors, and it’s not long before he throws in his lot with the pirates.
Why you should watch it: It’s a straight-up, balls-to-the-wall action series. It’s absolutely unapologetic about its grittiness, violence, and obscene language. At the same time, the characters are fascinating and the story lends itself well to the self-contained arc format that makes up the majority of the run. Black Lagoon is also famous for having a particularly accomplished English dub. Even if you generally prefer subtitles, I’d urge you to give this one a try in English. The voice actors knock it out of the park, and it honestly seems more authentic to listen to the American accents than the originals.
Caveats: Not many, really. If you’re easily offended by swearing, avoid the show like the plague. Other than that, it’s really quite solid. Bear in mind that it’s more of a collection of loosely-connected adventure arcs, rather than one large coherent storyline.
Themes: Moving on from one’s past. Making decisions and living with the consequences; in particular, it disparages those who would sit on the fence without committing to one course of action through sheer indecision.