Roberta’s blood trail ends in one final bloody stand deep in the golden triangle. With help from the team of American soliders, Garcia confronts his maid – riddled with bullet holes and almost entirely mad – and persuades her to stand down. Rock gets the ending he wanted, Revy is as angry and bitter as ever, and Roberta returns to Venezuela with her master and Fabiola, where the physical and emotional healing can begin.
I always assumed that Roberta’s story would end pretty much like Scarface’s…propped up by drugs but eventually without enough limbs attached to her or blood left in her veins to maintain life. That’s how this last womanhunt initially goes down, as the soldiers are able to take little bites out of her here and there in exchange for their lives. But it’s his lordship, Garcia Lovelace, who finally grows a pair and takes a gun – and matters – into his own hands. He doesn’t want revenge anymore…he just wants his maid back.
Due to the time between installments of this OVA, a lot of the stuff Rock was talking about and his bet with Chang escaped me, so I pretty much ignored his increasingly annoying ramblings (though I liked how both Revy and Fabiola got in his face about it). No, I focused on the excellent action, in which military discipline and precision clash against the wild animal that was Roberta, prior to being snapped out of it by Garcia. I’m pleased that a relatively happy ending was reached that didn’t feel like a cheat, without anyone major dying.
Things take a turn for the bloody(er), as Garcia and Fabiola – aided by Rock and Revy – finally catch up with Roberta. And as the title denotes, she has left quite the blood trail. Both FARC and US Army soldiers square off with her, but she won’t be killed, and she has no problems dispatching the vast majority of them. But what follows the multifaceted showdown proves that if she wasn’t mad before all this began, she is most definitely mad now, perhaps even irreversibly so.
Everything she is doing is in the name of Garcia Lovelace, but when he finally finds her, he crumbles from the spectacle before him. Roberta’s sensei (so to speak) manages to subdue her, but he lets his guard down when she offers her body to him. Her belt buckle is a gun (brilliant!) and he’s out for the count. Garcia hears and sees it all, including her extended stomping in of her enemy’s skull. When he begs her to stop, she loses it even more (as if that were possible).
This segment ends with a cliffhanger, as Roberta believes Garcia to be just another figment of her imagination, and pulls a gun on him. We hear a gunshot, but see nothing. Is the one person she swore to protect – the one person she would never hurt – now dead by her psycho hand? If not, after what Garcia has seen – and what Roberta has let him seen – can there be redemption? The meeting has occured; it would seem Lagoon’s job is done, but what is left for them to do? Rating: 3.5
This episode is little more than build-up. Roberta stays on the periphery once more, but she’s growing more and more insane as she downs bottle after bottle of mysterious meds. She also sees someone who isn’t there, evidently someone she killed in the past who torments her. Her few scenes demonstrate that despite her prowess taking lives, she isn’t a soulless monster – there’s a lot of pain built-up in that drug-laden body.
As for Lovelace asking for Black Lagoon’s help, Rock is the only one enthusiastic about helping them track down Roberta. This is exactly what Rock needs: a mystery to unlock by exploiting all of the informational channels of Roanapur (having Revy as his “gun” doesn’t hurt, either). I’m not quite sure what he wrote all over the wall or why, but he’s obviously figuring things out.
Plotwise, this episode isn’t much more than the investigating those who last Roberta and connecting the dots. It ends with the investigators finally determining who would be hiding her, and steaming off to go get her. But it also touches on Rock and Revy’s rather complex relationship. They’re not lovers, and they may not even be in love with one another, but they are a pair, to be sure. Rating: 3.5
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