Black Lagoon – episode 4

May 21, 2006 on 11:28 pm | In Black Lagoon | 3 Comments

“The Return of the Eagle”

Nazis, old and new! Plunder the old, destroy the new! That’s my motto.

Rock tells Dutch that he once went scuba diving, so Dutch accepts a job to recover a painting from a sunken Nazi submarine.

The episode travels back and forth from the Nazi ship circa 1945 to the modern day adventures, and it’s interesting to see the historical perspective provided.
There are two types of Nazis on board: those who can see that the war has been lost and who value their family more dearly than the fatherland, and those who can think of nothing but the greatness of the party and its message.
Naturally, this is a cause of conflict.

Most interesting is that I was reading an opinion about the representation of World War II in anime: that America and Japan are frequently seen as the good guy, with Germany and Russia as the unquestionably evil. This episode wants to tie in the idea of Japan, and so the Nazi ship was charged with the mission of delivering a Japanese officer to Batavia.
While the Japanese officer is ultimately inconsequential to the story at hand, it is nice to see a tacit acceptance of the fact that Japan and the Nazis were in league.

As for the Neo-Nazis: they have some sort of weird symbol that replaces the swastika, and I don’t know what it means. The recreation of Nazi-era anthems in their boat sounds accurate to my ear and, in a less subtle fashion, each Neo-Nazi is presented as a faceless drone of evil.
If you contrast these Neo-Nazis with the World War II era Nazis, you can take the stance that the Nazis of the forties were not necessarily all inhumane bastards: sometimes in war, compulsory service overrides ideology. The officer on board is one of the “bad” Nazis, but the rest seem to be caught up in their country’s efforts.
Neo-Nazis, on the other hand, have no excuse for their attitudes. They are not so much people as demons, and the creative staff can easily get away with such a suggestion as they would find few people who would disagree with them.

I’d apologise to all Neo-Nazis who like anime and read this site, except I don’t want to.

I look forward to the conclusion to this story, and will get to it soon.


  1. hey this is completely off the subject of black lagoon but ive noticed you havent got s-cry-ed in your archive so i figured you havent seen it so i thouhgt u might like to its a good series. but its relatively new i think but check it out k. thanks.

    Comment by Jake — May 22, 2006 #

  2. For a country that was bombed twice with nuclear weapons by the Americans, I think the portrayal of Americans in anime is fairly objective. They don’t show them as complete villains and they don’t portray them as pure heroes either. If anything, anime is notorious for promoting cross cultural relationships amongst different nationalities as illustrated by the multinational cast in this show, in Sakura Wars, in all Gundam shows, in Full Metal Panic, in Ai Yori Aoshi, in Plastic Little and in various other shows.

    On an interesting note, portraying Nazis as faceless drones of evil is exactly what was done about a decade ago in Nadia except Nazis were not mentioned explicitly in that show but were given a different name instead (Neo Atlantis). It doesn’t really matter since Nazi ideology is not something that only exists in Germany. It can be found all over the world but under different names. I should know since I come from a country that was ruled by a special form of the Nazi party.

    Black Lagoon continues to impress. Well done Madhouse.

    Comment by Mohammad — May 22, 2006 #

  3. Well, yes, screeds of hatred and genocidal intent are hardly unique to 1940s era Germany. The Nazis were a particularly memorable example of such an ideal, with their strong aesthetic and designs on the world.

    As for Nadia: you made me reconsider the irony of the end of Neo Atlantis. I’m almost willing to watch the series again.

    Comment by Alex — May 23, 2006 #

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