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|“||Justice... I can't think of another word more loved by the people. It does have a nice ring to it. However... Without ever exercising your own strength, you seek the death of others at the hands of someone else. Huh, well... The justice you refer to smells pretty rotten to me. The stench of a blood-bath. Wouldn't you agree?||„|
Balalaika (バラライカ, Bararaika) is a villain in the anime series Black Lagoon and the boss of Hotel Moscow. Her real name is Sofiya Pavlovena, but that name is not used in her presence. She was brought up by her grandfather, the high-ranking military head of the USSR. Balalaika's father, presumably, has been condemned by or has fled the USSR.
She is voiced by Mami Koyama in the Japanese version of the anime and Patricia Drake in the English version.
Before joining the mafia, Balalika was a captain in the Soviet Army, Vozdushno-Desantnye Vojska paratrooper and a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. A fine marksman and sniper, she received the nickname ("balalaika" — one of Soviet army's slang terms for the Dragunov sniper rifle).
Balalaika can be easily identified by the burn marks which scar most of the right side of her face, neck, chest and leg which she sustained in Afghanistan, earning her the nickname "Fry-Face".
She is usually shown smoking a cigar, in contrast with the other characters who smoke cigarettes. In view of her participation in the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the missed possibility to take part in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, it is possible to define her age between 31 and 35 years.
She and Integra Hellsing from Hellsing are very similar, Not only in their looks, but also personality, and both of them have an important organisation at their command.
Balalaika arrived in Roanupur in 1993, which lead to a large-scale conflict with the already-established Triads under Chang's leadership. Rather than destroy the city, a peace was brokered between the rival criminal organizations by Dutch.
When conducting foreign operations from Thai soil, she uses the Russian cargo ship Maria Zeleska as a legal cover from the police and various law enforcement agencies.
In Japan, she uses the pseudonym Vladilena N. Vasilinov to waltz audiciously through a law enforcement barricade by claiming to be covered by diplomatic immunity in the Fugiyama Gangsta Paradise story arc. She also gives her name as Jane Doe to Caxton in El Baile de la Muerte.
Due to Balalaika's leadership during the hellish fighting in Afghanistan, her men look up to her as their superior and will do just about anything upon her orders. As a combat officer, she is a skilled strategist and well-rounded fighter, capable of taking care of herself despite the fact that all of her troopers, including Boris, often worry for her. Although she has shown herself to be rather cynical on occasion, she is also a pragmatic and professional businesswoman. She frequently employs Dutch and the Lagoon Company, apparently because they share a mutual respect.
Balalaika regards herself and her men as soldiers who missed their chance to die in Afghanistan. While some of her actions can be interpreted as attempts to pursue an honorable death in combat for her men, Balalaika's status as a military figure is tempered by her role in the criminal underground. She agreed to a pact with Chang's Triads in 1993 and backed away from engaging Caxton's American soldiers in combat after Chang reminded her of their unconcluded fight. Presumably, Balalaika opted for a future battle with Chang over a present opportunity to engage the American unit, which she regards as a foil to her own disgraced Soviet unit.
Although she is the leader of her faction of the organization Hotel Moscow, Balalaika is not above menial jobs. She is shown editing hours of hardcore porn and complaining of boredom.
Balalaika is also one of the few people to earn the respect of Revy, who calls her "Sis". In turn, Balalaika also seems to hold Rock in high regard, sometimes relying on his knowledge and business skills as well as hiring him as a translator. It is very unclear what her relationship with Rock at this point is.