Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail 1

So yeah, it’s been a while since this first episode of Roberta’s Blood Trail aired – I had actually learned about it from a billboard in Akibahara more than a month earlier. I knew another Black Lagoon was forthcoming; I just didn’t know it would take the form of an series of OVAs and not a third 12-episode anime. That said, I just haven’t gotten to it until now. The fact that many anime on this winter’s list are being delayed for obvious reasons means now I’ve gotten to it…and I liked it.

Black Lagoon’s two seasons were always good for some ridiculous bloody action, and made for really quality underground crime action, as long as the characters laid off the Engrish. Roanapur is a thick, rich, and highly-seasoned setting, and it’s great to return there. It’s like Durarara’s Ikebukuro, only far seedier and more dangerous. One reason I hadn’t gotten to this was, I was never a huge fan of Roberta. I liked it more when the episodes focused on Revy, Rock, Dutch and Benny. Roberta is kind of a one-dimensional monster. Yes, she’s a great fighter (and the various standoffs and fights are a key part of why I enjoy Black Lagoon), but there’s just not much else there.

Fortunately, this first installment has her only on the fringes of the frame, where she’s most interesting. She’s hardly in the half-hour at all, rather her fellow maid Fabiola Iglesias has a prominent role, serving as her master, Garcia Lovelace’s messenger. They’re looking for Roberta, whose revenge against those who killed her Master, Diego, is leading to the titular blood trail. They seem to think Rock can find her. Of course, she’s already in Roanapur. Rating: 3.5

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 23

The war for Academy City apparently experienced a false start, as Kazakiri’s angel transformation is halted and the Right Hand of God temporarily withdraws. No sooner does Accelerator regain consciousness is he recruited by some prettyboy in suit who apparently has a fake name and face.

There are brief moments with Index, Last Order and Misaka, but the majority of the episode is one last taste of school slice-of-life before the war starts in earnest. Touma has lunch with Hinamori, who starts to choke on a potato. When he rubs her back, it breaks her bra. Then Fukiyose takes her place, and before you know it, the entire class elects to hit up a sukiyaki joint. I have to say, after so much needlessly convoluted intrigue and saber-rattling between the magical and scientific factions in this impending war, this kind of calming episode suits me at this time.

While this isn’t a complete break from all of the political shit, it’s enough of one. I also didn’t mind Awaki Musujime returning, if only briefly. Still, I’m wondering if the climactic battle will make any sense, or the layers of muddled intrigue will collapse like a kind of anime souffle. One thing’s for sure: Touma will be punching a few more baddies before all’s said and done. Rating: 3

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Postponement Update

“Due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the broadcast of episodes 11 and 12 have been postponed, though [a producer] mentioned the delay will allow extra time for the animation studio to improve the drawings for both episodes, with the staff aiming to have the final episode released by the middle of April 2011.”