Welcome to Anime Rants, my friends. Black Lagoon is a thrilling, thought-provoking, and entertaining anime series I recommend to every adult anime fan. For this post, I will look at the heated argument between Revy and Rock at the outdoor restaurant in episode 7. First, some background information will be revealed. Then, the events and main points of the altercation will be explained. Finally, we’ll examine the meaning and significance of this exchange to the characters and to the series. Here goes.
For context, Rock is young man who only very recently joined the mercenary group Black Lagoon. He’s more rational, cautious, and soft-hearted than the others on the team. In contrast, Revy is violent, short-tempered, and bossy. Rock is able to make a fine contribution to Black Lagoon’s interests and supplies by negotiating smoothly in episode 7. The dealer whom he spoke to was impressed by his wits and logic, and she told Revy to learn from him.
This did not sit well with Revy. She feels she needs to be dominant over Rock. In addition, she and Rock already had an argument in an earlier episode where Revy was enraged by Rock acting uppity and daring to express his country’s traditional respect for the dead. Revy also had a “weak” moment where she revealed that she killed a corrupt policeman who beat and raped her.This event made Revy numb to having to kill, and careless about corpses. She threatened to kill Rock if he ever brought this up again.
So then, here are Rock and Revy sitting outdoors at a restaurant for a meal. While Rock seems satisfied, and even confident, Revy refuses to eat. She tells Rock that he needs to quit the company because he’s not cut out for it. She keeps up insulting and demeaning him until Rock says that he no longer intends to apologize to Revy as he has in the past. When Revy dares him to speak up again, Rock stands up, raises his voice, and restates his position very clearly. He will not keep bowing his head to Revy.
Revy responds by deciding to kill Rock, pointing a gun at his head. She fires, but not before Rock grabbed the gun and jerked it enough to point upwards. He won’t let go of it now, either. Rock says this is something that can’t be solved with a gun. He manages to wrench the gun away and it flies over onto the ground. Rock proceeds to grab Revy by the collars and shout and shout at her. Revy is so shocked she isn’t able to fight back effectively. She glares hatefully as Rock does his fair share of insulting the woman for being opportunistic, violent, arrogant, and having no pride.
Once she manages to yank herself out of Rock’s grasp, Revy argues that there’s no way a sheltered boy like Rock could understand her. She justifies herself using the argument that she has suffered like Rock never has (and that is certainly true, but not an excuse for attempted murder). Countering, Rock says everyone encounters suffering in their lives, and Revy is a coward if she cannot acknowledge it. Revy can’t answer, so she goes back to the issue of having or not having “honorable” pride. There is no need for honor or greater values in a world so dark and corrupt. Such is Revy’s view. She states that there is no Robin Hood in a world like this.
Rock then says, “If there is no Robin Hood, then become Robin Hood. It’s a better way of life than crying and bitching.” Revy has no clue how to handle someone arguing back against her and suggesting other ways to live. Rock states that killing him now would only prove his point about violence. So Revy punches the man and says that she doesn’t know what else to do. While holding back her fist, Rock lowers his voice but not its ferocity. He explains that he also suffered in his life in Japan, forced to obey corrupt bosses and grovel for them. The one who taught Rock to think for himself and stop submitting, in the first place, was Revy.
Hearing this, Revy finally begins to simmer down somewhat. The murderous light in her eyes is gone as she calls Rock an idiot and enters a brief, childish argument with him over who is the idiot. This is Revy’s way of diffusing the situation. At that moment, the two are interrupted by police, who were called to the scene by frightened customers. On the way to the police station in the back of the car, Revy asks a question. She says she won’t ever give Rock more trouble if he can answer. The inquiry is “What side do you want to be on?”
The meaning of this question and its answer will be discussed soon. Rock replies, “I am where I am standing. Nowhere else.” After this, Revy asks Rock to light her cigarette using the one he’s already smoking. They have a brief moment as their faces are close, and it solidifies that things are now alright between them. I think it symbolizes that they are now equals. This is where the episode ends. I already shared some of my thoughts on the argument, so it shouldn’t take too long to uncover the rest of its meaning and importance. Let’s see now.
This interaction tells us a lot about the characters, although some of it was obvious in previous episodes. Revy’s insecurities and refusal to take criticism make her want to assert dominance over Rock. As for the young man, he is now confident enough to speak his mind with Revy. We see that he is more rational than Revy as well. The show does a good job using this scene to contrast the two characters. However, it also compares them. They have both led hard lives where they were miserable. When Revy calls him an idiot, Rock says, “We’re both suffering idiots.” Further, both are independent and cannot be happy simply taking orders.
The argument scene also reveals that Revy is surprisingly insecure and, in some ways, helpless. Because of her background and experiences, Revy is used to using intimidation and violence to solve issues or get what is needed. She has survival skills and fighting prowess. However, that can only take her so far. Revy has no idea how to interact normally with anyone. Processing emotions and thinking about values and respect for others simply isn’t possible for her at this point. It may never be. One must wonder if she is able to find any enjoyment in life outside of danger and battles. This is what I meant by Revy being helpless.
In her line of work, Revy’s toughness, physical skills, and quickness to action are needed. But violence can’t solve everything. This became clear when she failed to win the dealers over with her fighting. Meanwhile, Rock made a wonderful deal in a peaceable way. So, Revy is having to face the fact that in some ways she is incompetent. In some ways, Rock is better than her. This causes fear and rage, which spurs Revy on to try to bully Rock around at the restaurant. The Lagoon company is her shelter and the place where she belongs. She always performs excellently for the team. But now, Rock has found an area in which he can outdo her. As you can see, Revy is quite insecure.
We’ll come back to Revy and her issues in a bit. There’s something else this scene discusses that I feel is highly significant: the Robin Hood references. Revy and those at the Lagoon company are outlaws and thieves, similar to Robin Hood and his Merry Men. But Robin Hood had a certain kind of personal honor. His purpose was to rob the rich to feed the poor. So, he was a noble outlaw. Revy views the world as beyond any hope or redemption. There aren’t principled or altruistic people in her life, and there never have been. So although she may have hoped, deep down, to meet a Robin Hood, Revy could find none in all her life.
Imagine how it must have shocked this young woman to hear Rock’s words. “If there is no Robin Hood, then become Robin Hood.” This essentially shut down Revy’s rage at the restaurant. As should be clear, Revy isn’t the most introspective or insightful person. She’s a doer and not a thinker. Still, the “no Robin Hood” dilemma could have been an exception: something deep and personal. It was likely something that distressed her on the rare occasions when she slowed down to think. Rock had no problem presenting a possible solution to the supposedly hopeless dilemma. I believe this thinking ability of his renewed Revy’s interest in him.
If she was going to keep him alive and work with him, then Revy would have to start treating Rock with more respect. After getting most of the fury out of her system, she was willing to try this out. But first, you’ll remember, she asked him to answer just one cryptic question. She was looking for his honest response. Whose side do you want to be on?
What does this question mean? The honest answer is that I don’t know. I have an answer, but limited certainty. It’s always subject to change as I try to better understand Revy’s character and hints I might be missing from other episodes. That being said, I think the core of the issue is that Revy has a very binary, black-and-white view of things. There must always be two sides. Dichotomy and nuances are not easy to grasp for some people. Revy fashions herself as a villainous outlaw, embracing her “badness.” Rock is from another world, though. He uses logic, reasoning, and a fair amount of ethics to function. He is what Revy would call a “Good-guy.”
However, now Rock is interested in and committed to his work as a mercenary at the Lagoon company. He is independent and has as much self-interest as the next person. Where does that put him? Is he a good-guy or a bad-guy, a hero or a villain? Another option is that Revy was referring to the Robin Hood story again. Having once been one of the rich, and now being an outlaw, where does Rock want to be? Would he rather live a life following the rules, or make his own rules? Either way, there are only two sides. Revy needs to know who Rock stands with.
Rock once again shatters Revy’s line of thinking by refusing to adhere to a binary view. I am where I am standing. Nowhere else. In other words, it doesn’t all have to be black-and-white. Rock is a shade of grey, somewhere in between opportunistic and honorable, selfish and altruistic, tough and sheltered. That’s how I interpret Rock’s answer. One may alternatively see it as a statement of friendship and closeness with Revy. Since he is “standing” near Revy, he is on her side. I think this view is problematic, however, and not quite fitting with the characters.
In summary, this scene in Black Lagoon is immensely important to the characters and the themes of the show. It provides new insights about the mindstates and personalities of Rock and Revy. It also raises interesting questions and topics, such as individual worldviews, personal honor, the usefulness of violence, the usefulness of logic, human emotional fragility, and more. Thank you so much for reading my work today. I hope you found some things to think about or ponder as you read. Come back and visit soon! Sayonara for now!
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