If I can describe Gangsta in one word it would be... disappointingpieceofshit.
A title that's so half-baked that it's truly deserving of a tailor-made portmanteau.
And if you're one of the fortunate individuals who hasn't watched Gangsta yet then HALT, do not pass go, do not collect $200, stay away! As for the rest of the poor souls that suffered through the pilgrimage viewing that is Gangsta, on with the review.
Gangsta, a title name that immediately invokes imagery of money, sex, power and violence, and as luck would have it, a very appropriate namesake as well, as we're given just that in spades. This is a
story that takes us to the deepest depths of society's bustling underbelly. Where law and order is traded in for carnage and mayhem. Where a wrong step can easily become your last. And where maturity is handled with as much subtlety as a Grand Theft Auto game. When it comes to try-hard entertainment, Gangsta has catapulted itself into another league but for all the wrong reasons. With content that can only be described as a pubescent teen's wet dream, it somehow managed something that's nigh impossible; taking a gratuitous amount of "adult" subject matter and making it all tepid in nature. A show stuffed from head to toe with lurid material yet invokes nothing, failing at even becoming lowbrow sleaze. For everything that Gangsta could have done it ended up doing nothing at all. Narratively, it also introduces a myriad of questions one after another but never once provides an answer for any of it, making this a double-edged sword of bad meets worse. With nothing to excite or stimulate you, this anime has mastered the art of blue balling.
The story follows the lives of three characters: handymen for hire, Worick and Nicolas, and former thottie, Alex, as they navigate their way through everyday life in the godforsaken hellhole of a city named Ergastulum that they call home, while also fighting off their own personal demons along the way. Because of Worick and Nicolas's line of work, they often find themselves caught in the cross-hairs of the city's perpetual battles to maintain power and balance. These inner-city civil wars are overseen by crime syndicates with the main source of conflict often tying back to a subgroup of humans named Twilights: people with genetically enhanced strength that could perform physical feats that far exceeds average humans while under the aid of certain drugs. They're basically pill poppin x-men. And as one would expect, due to these innate abilities, the Twilights are constant victims of societal discrimination while also serving as living weapons, which is an escalating issue just waiting to keel over.
With such a unique decrepit city serving as its setting and a premise that promises heavy-hitting content, you would think the creators would just run with it. But instead, what we get is a story that meanders around without any sort of uniformity behind its actions, effectively ending before it gets a chance to begin. It's like watching someone with ADD trying to multitask. Characters are constantly introduced only to be left hanging in the open with no explanation as to their overall involvement. Major events that develop in the backdrop would simply never exfoliate. Plot points are brought up to only come to a dead end with no resolution. And all of it leads towards an ending that can only be described as the biggest cock-tease of 2015. With its inability to finish anything, this anime is the spiritual embodiment of Finbarr Calamitous from Jimmy Neutron. It's incredibly half-assed.
And as if to add insult to injury, despite all the over-the-top fights and constant debauchery going on in the city, the show itself remains painfully dull and uneventful. There are long stretches of time where absolutely nothing of relevance would happen. There may be a plot point itself that's "grand" in scope, but the build-up for it is often nonexistent, making it the equivalency of watching paint dry, even if the "paint" looks exciting on paper. Sometimes, when nothing of importance is going on, we're given an introspective look into the lives of our main characters. These are some of Gangsta's better moments as they help to get the audience familiarized to the psyche of the leads, as well as showcasing how they may have landed in their current positions in life. And while these moments may help elevated our ragtag group beyond cardboard cutout status, it doesn't stop the narrative from operating on AOL dial-up speed. The pacing is simply sluggish, even when what's being displayed would have you think otherwise. Story advancement is treated like an afterthought, which doesn't bode well for those that have a genuine interest in where the show would go next.
Thankfully, Gangsta doesn't spread itself too thin when it came to the characters, as most of the content centered around our three main leads. Worick is the level-headed member of the group and also the one in charge of keeping things in order. His quick wit and chill demeanor made him instantly likable. We're given a lot in the way of his complicated backstory that he shares with Nicolas; a backstory that helps thread the duo's connection to each other. Alex, the former thottie, is an emotionally damaged person that spends a majority of the show opening up to her new lifestyle with her two new companions. Despite her previous profession and general skimpy appearance, she's a rather reserved individual that we only learn more about gradually as the show goes on. But possibly the most memorable of the three that chews up all the scenery he's in is Nicolas himself.
While not crucial to the overall material, one unique inclusion that Gangsta deserves credit for is giving us a main character that's Deaf. As of the time of this writing, there has never been a Deaf lead in an animated TV series before. For the most part, Deaf characters are usually reduced to taking up insignificant roles, like the brief uncredited scene in Mobile Police Patlabor: WXIII, or even worse, they're used in a way that screams tokenism, placed in the story to rack up sympathy points instead of being treated as just another person. This is the first time an anime has placed a Deaf character center-stage and treated them as a person, never once resorting to excessive victimizing. This can help open up dialogue for a better understanding of Deaf culture for those that were previously oblivious to it, making it a progressive move on Gangsta's part.
Having taken ASL (American Sign Language) for two years myself during high school, there are mannerisms and behavioral patterns that are commonly recognized among any Deaf community, regardless of if it's abroad or not. And I can say that Manglobe did a commendable job in portraying that (for the most part). Of course, there are limitations to what they could accomplish, due to the fact that it's an animated feature and not live-action. But with all things considered, the translation came out better than I would have expected.
And while Manglobe deserves respect on that front, it doesn't mean everything was smooth sailing for the presentation as a whole. If anyone has familiarized themselves with the studio's catalog, their creative output has always been plagued with inconsistencies. With many instances of distorted character models and janky choreography, Gangsta was far from anything you would call prim and proper. Where the show did shine was with its overall tone and atmosphere, the likes of which swept over every aspect of the audiovisual output, creating a sense of uniformity that melded the characters and narrative together. This wasn't much of a surprise given that director Shukō Murase was responsible for bringing it to life. His trademarked style, blending neo-gothic aesthetics and vogue-like character models to create a kind of occult aura—as prominently showcased with Ergo Proxy and Witch Hunter Robin—bled its way into Gangsta, if only to a lesser degree to adjust to the show's more "urban" outfitting. Murase brought his A-game once again, gifting Gangsta with a tone befitting its content. A directorial facelift that it desperately needed. While that didn't make the false sense of maturity that the show was hiding behind any better, it certainly made it more palatable as a viewing experience.
To help heighten the atmosphere even further, the music was brought to life by Tsutchie, who's famous for his work on Manglobe's fan-favorite, Samurai Champloo. Instead of drawing back to the Hip-Hop/Trip-Hop genre fusion of his work on Champloo, Tsutchie embarks down a sonic path that's more EDM inspired. Being nowhere as heavy-handed as Parasyte's take on the genre, Tsutchie took a far more stripped-down approach. Those that are fans of the more house/drum 'n' base aspects of EDM would find something to enjoy with Gangsta's musical choice. The opening theme "Renegade" by STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION was a nice J-pop/EDM track that kicked things into high gear for each new episode. Despite its niche sound, it's an opening that has easily received broad appeal due to its melody, glitch-pop flavoring, and midway breakdown. The ending, while also nice, was a more morbid song that wrapped up the episode nicely but didn't really serve as something you didn't want to skip after a few listens.
All in all, the music was a fine fit and worked a lot better than expected for a show that tried to have a more dreary depiction. But for the brief glimpses of actual merit that Gangsta may have had, it's immediately snuffed out when you begin to factor in the issues it was plagued with. No little amount of good it had could outweigh the ton of bad that saddled it down.
There's really no way around it; Gangsta was a flop. With each new episode, the show found itself struggling to stay afloat. What started out with audiences crossing their fingers for that eventual "Aha" moment to kick in, quickly fizzled away into disinterest as it slowly trudged towards the chopping block of its final episode. And with no solid conclusion in sight, Gangsta took what little potential it was holding onto and proceeded to run it into the ground, as it faded to black and people began moving on to the next best thing, erasing the thought of its existence from their memory.
I have a rather complicated relationship with studio Manglobe. On the one hand, they've created some of my most beloved shows (Ergo Proxy, Samurai Champloo and House of Five Leaves) but on the other, they're responsible for some of my most detested ones as well (Deadman Wonderland and Karneval). But instead of falling into either category, Gangsta lands somewhere in the middle ground for me, with the studio's other works like Samurai Flamenco, The World God Only Knows and The Sacred Blacksmith. Shows I don't quite like but don't hate either. They're simply titles that fell short of the mark for me. It's really aggravating seeing what Gangsta ultimately became, given all the untapped potential it was working with. But the overall lack of purpose in its plotting and the abrupt ending has assured that it'll be more loathed than remembered with fond memories. But perhaps the most disheartening thing about this show is that it serves as Manglobe's swan song since the studio went bankrupt and disbanded right after finishing this show. They were my personal favorite studio, so it's sad seeing them go out on such a sour note.
Gangsta is yet another title from the 2015 summer season that had potential but quickly dissolved away into nothingness. With plot points that went nowhere and characters that were never given reason to exist whatsoever, Gangsta squandered its run-time with too many issues to get a pass. And when taking into consideration what could only be the biggest cock-tease ending in years, there's no solid defense that could protect Gangsta from getting the ax.
Gangsta is the type of show that sounds catchy as it gets. As the name implies, there are gangsters which means there’s crime. However, there are people who takes care of business these problems in the city of Ergastulum. Enter Nick and Worick, a pair of badass bishounen who takes cares of crime like another day in the park. As ordinary as the show sounds, it gets more complicated once they are assigned to a task that goes beyond their expectations. But for the audience, what should your expectations be for the show?
Based on the manga written by Kosuke, Gangsta is essentially a series of
crime fighting and classified as a more mature seinen. The urban city setting invites a lot of attention when it comes to violence such as prostitution, drug dealing, and other illegal activities. Luckily, we do have Nick and Worick to take care of the troubles. To make their task easier, we learn that Nick is a “Twilight”, the type of person who has heightened abilities enhanced by a special drug. While Worick doesn’t possesses heightened senses, he does make it up for his smooth way of talking and photographic memory. The two aren’t really alike as partners to kill crime. However at the end of the day, it’s hard not to feel attached to them with their roles in the story.
The pacing of the story is not hard to get comfortable with. The first few episodes quickly establishes the vulnerability of Ergastulum. Sometimes, it feels like a Gotham city where crime runs loose with Nick and Worick playing the roles of Batman and Robin. The mature style of the show can be quickly realized when they undertake an operation on screen in the first episode. The show isn’t shy about making the violence happen on screen because it needs to create a bit of realism. At the same time, Nick and Worick recuses a young woman named Alex, who plays many important roles in the story. As a show like Gangsta, we learn much more about the characters. And that’s a strong emphasis that needs to be realized because we want to learn more about the characters. They come from such different backgrounds and their lives are often at risk in such a dangerous environment. In Ergastulum, there are essentially no rules. It’s about making a living and surviving each day.
When it comes to characterization, I can safely say that Gangsta knows its characters quite well. We get background storytelling especially for Nick and Worick. In fact, we learn much about their past including the people Nick associated with and how he got involved as a member of Twilight. On the other hand, there’s also Worick who became his partner. The series reveals his true name and how he used to be neglected by his parents. A good amount of focus is the chemistry between the duo. It also takes elaborate time to detail how Twilight members are made and what their rules are. In the present, we can see how their past affected their relationship. As characters themselves, Nick is also unique as he suffers from a disability; he is deaf. At first, this may seem like a big problem as partners needs to coordinate well vocally. However, it’s quickly established that he and Worick can work well with sign language and seemingly instinct to trust one another. And that’s important development for the two. With such dangerous assignments each day, trust is a vital part between partners and the series does a good job to show their trustworthiness. On a comedic note, we also see what Worick does on his time off. The smooth antihero has a way to give ladies pleasure and his keen sense of photography plays important roles in breaking cases. Nick is more like a warrior – armed with a sword, ruthlessness, and self-sense. This is an antithesis compared to Alex, a frail girl who suffers from PTSD-like symptoms. As the story progresses on, we learn more about her as well that reveals the darker side of Gangsta.
Despite having some comedy here and there, the majority of the show has a mature feeling. Most of the characters are adults and in their mid-30s. The gangsters in the show are also prone to violence and some show how reckless they can be to accomplish their goals. Guns, swords, and bombs are no strangers to the series along with the fast paced action. With a setting that has a Mediterranean-like feeling, the show also seems like a social satire at time with its cultural themes. In particular, Nick and Worick are dressed with style while other characters such as Alex are portrayed with vulnerability. While it gets top and gory at times, the show is also something I’d describe as a smart flick. The themes of prostitution, child soldiers, and experimentations are an anti-establishment of what we try to make society as of today. Because in Gangsta, there’s all types of trouble running loose with gangs and the mafia. The underworld is nothing short of what we try to eliminate from today’s society. And in this show, that’s clearly an understatement.
In essence, artwork is crude for the show. By crude, I don’t mean it as sloppy but rather by the way society is depicted for its story. For its setting, the show does a clever job to make it seem like Ergastulum is a separate space from the outside world. The urban style combined with its classic atmospheric setting is very fitting for a show such as this. The characters are dressed neatly with the expensive suits and jewelry. However, it’s the way the violence that’s handled that gets cruel. Make no mistake. Gangsta is uncensored glory and enters a territory where cops cannot handle jobs on their own. That’s why we got people like Nick and Worick. Speaking of which, the duo can seem like an eye candy for the ladies. In particular, Worick has that womanizing like charm with the way he looks. And as stereotypical as it can be, the guys in the show are designed like bishounen with hardcore abs and well-built figures. The show also has fan service with sex, in particular involving Worick. That’s right. He’s a ladies man and the show doesn’t make us forget that.
It’s really hard to ignore the soundtrack. There’s no easy way to describe it but there’s a combination of upbeat, chilling, and jazz. It almost gives off a feeling of relaxation even during the most intense of scenes. Of course, action itself is also well coordinated with the OST. I’d also have to say that both the OP and ED theme song are very attractive. It has a stylistic way of portraying the themes of the show with a montage of the main characters. And speaking of the characters, a strong plus for the show is their character voice mannerisms. In particular, Nick is the one to take notice of because of his lack of hearing. When he does speak, his voice seems like it’s disconnected especially with the broken sentences. That’s what really makes him different from the other characters though as it also establishes a link between him and his past. But really, when it comes down to it, Gangsta’s music is bold and can be relentlessly appealing to the ears.
So what’s to say about Gangsta in the end? It’s a pretty much a badass show ran with its premise and knows what its intentions are. The cast of characters has an enthralling presence and throughout the story, we learn a great deal about the main protagonists. Sure, the show can seem a bit cruel at times but it’s important to realize its purpose. Gangsta is not a show with colorful rainbows and where happy endings happen. In fact, I would say that the ending of the show is a bit controversial in itself. Regardless though, it’s still a show that I’d recommend anyone to give it a try especially for fans interested in a mature action flick.
Despite a few extraordinary contributions, the pulp crime genre is one that anime does not do particularly well. I felt compelled to write this review of Gangsta because of the many unwarranted comparisons to Black Lagoon. Gangsta is nothing like Black Lagoon, and it will be especially disappointing to watch with such an expectation.
If you want to watch pulp crime involving heists, car chases, and briefcases full of guns, cash and drugs, well that's not this anime. Gangsta has no grounding in real world politics or criminal activity. In fact, the mob families seem uninterested in any actual criminal activity, outside
of episode 1, and some mobsters, like Miss Christiano (the Tohsaka Rin of mafia bosses), seems so goodhearted as to be a downright pillar of the community.
You may be disappointed to find that Gangsta has no relationship to reality at all, set in a fictional city with a past that does not fit into our real-world history. Many of the characters are superpowered humans called Twilights, and the story arcs are driven by the existence of Twilights and how humans interact with them - as opposed to something that is more grounded in real world situations and groups- like say, looting a Nazi submarine for fun and profit.
Gangsta is also not a fast-paced action-movie roller coaster, but rather has languid pacing. This could make for a fine noir tone, but except for Nico, Worrick and Alex's flashbacks, Gangsta has neither good writing nor execution.
The entire series felt disjointed and fragmented, with the characters aimlessly shuffling through one poorly animated, forgettable vignette to the next. Conflict built up from episodes 9 to 11 ends anticlimactically, with an final episode that fails to resolve the remaining plot threads.
It was very difficult to maintain any interest week by week, let alone care about minor characters that suddenly begin to "matter."
Gangsta has no soundtrack to speak of, which only makes the show an even more low-key affair and frankly, the OP is better than some episodes.
The artwork begins on the cheap side of average, with uninteresting backgrounds, and suffers increasingly egregious off-model shots in both fight scenes and dialogue (such as episodes 8 and 9). Poor art can be forgiven if other elements fall into place, but that is not the case here.
Gangsta has some clever moments, mostly Alex's character development, Nico's unique character and his past with Worrick. But the rest of the storylines unfold clumsily with no sense of urgency, drama or resolution.
A comparison between Gangsta's 12 episodes and Black Lagoon's first cour reveals the difference in quality. The last episodes of Black Lagoon's first cour tie into and build upon themes of belonging that are raised beginning with episode 3, and ends on a self-contained high note with arc resolution and character development for its female and male leads. All things considered, maybe it's lucky Manglobe's storyboarding team have just managed to stumble the show as far along as they have, unlike Bones and their handling of Blood Blockade Battlefront earlier this year.
Gangsta is probably better compared and contrasted with Darker than Black. Both Darker than Black and Gangsta feature superpowered humans that work in the criminal underworld as a result of their superpowers. Darker than Black offers noirish story arcs rather than action movie pacing. Ultimately, both Gangsta and Darker than Black are about pleas for acceptance of the different and marginalized (Darker than Black's "Contractors").
However, Darker than Black features clever writing and compact, film noir storylines while Gangsta does not. Darker than Black grounds its science fiction elements in real world politics, locations, and organizations, enough that character motivations and situations make sense despite the vague handwaving of how people acquired their powers. It's a much better execution of a similar sci-fi/crime hybrid concept.
In the Ergastulum justice system, breaking any of the three laws is considered especially heinous. In Ergastulum, the dedicated individuals who investigate these vicious felonies are members of the laid-back duo known as the Benriya. These are their stories.
In the city of Ergastulum, violence, narcotics, and sex run rampant. For a series named Gangsta, it comes as an expectation of sorts. For anime, as a medium, an excess of violence, drugs, and real world sexual themes (doping prostitutes and pimping, which is far different than ecchi) are rarely put in place as a combination to form the core of a series. Gangsta utilizes this fact
and diligently puts it to use, allowing it to lure in those who are curious. In more ways than one, Gangsta comes off as a flashier mobster film equivalent from Western media.
The narrative of Gangsta follows the life of three main characters: Worick, Nicolas, and Alex. As Benriya (the Handymen), Worick and Nicolas are depicted as hired muscle doing odd jobs around the city, mainly for the big organized crime families — of which they are very acquainted with — and the police. The duo supposedly walk the line of neutrality, but it is seemingly a farce, given how deep they are affiliated with the powerful figures that run the city. The overall story of the series revolves around Twilights, people with enhanced, drug-induced capabilities which exceeds that of a normal person's by varying amounts. Their strength, or combat capabilities rather, are ranked from D to S, the latter being the highest. Like the case with all differences, being a Twilight brings upon discrimination. This acts as the main strife in the series, as increasing tensions build up around the city.
While the environment of Ergastulum is eventful and entertaining, the direction that Gangsta moves towards often strays from a decisive path. This is one of the biggest issues that Gangsta has: the sub-plots are shallow and detract from the story as a whole. As one goes progresses through the series, countless characters come and go. New characters seem to pop up every couple of episodes, but you can never be sure if they're actually going to be anyone that's relevant; usually they aren't. Because of the amount of characters and their individual problems, there's simply too much information and too little time to present it. The series only just begins to get into the big conflict during the last third of the show but, even then, it ends abruptly at a cliffhanger.
Another aspect of the series that seemed very dull and recycled, to me at least, was the rankings of tags that the Twilights possess. To put it in honest terms, it's really just power-levels renamed. I'm personally not a big fan of power-levels being ranked; it takes a lot away from the potential of fights in a series since you already know who's stronger and projected to win. With that being said, the violence in Gangsta is probably still a great selling point for many. The fights aren't bad, but they leave something to be desired.
As previously mentioned, the amount of characters that Gangsta introduces in such a short amount of time is seriously astounding. We get enough backstory about Worick and Nicolas, obviously because they are the main duo, but there's not much regarding any of the supporting cast affiliated with the big families, the hunters, or the guild. Ginger? Gina Paulklee? Literally who? As one of the main characters, I was expecting a bit more out of Alex. Besides recovering from her destructive lifestyle as a prostitute, she doesn't do much else other than house sitting the Benriya bachelor pad. I understand the purpose behind Alex's character, but she feels a bit out of place and useless as a main character. Her struggles with coming clean adds a light element of a feel-good story, but she could have easily been just a supporting character and not much would have changed. From how the series portrays her, she appears to only serve as a staple that showcases how Worick and Nicolas are good guys. Oh, and fan service.
In terms of visual quality, I thought that Manglobe did pretty well. Visually, the show appears to be a good adaptation of the manga. In terms of audio, Renegade, by the Stereo Dive Foundation, is memorable. The overall OST is also pretty good.
Whether or not Gangsta can actually be considered good is up for debate and what you come to expect when defining something as actually good. In comparison to the rest of the Summer '15 season, it was certainly one of the better shows that aired, but that's simply because the season as a whole was quite barren. Ultimately, Gangsta had a lot of interesting ideas, and even potentially interesting characters, but none of that matters if it is not utilized.
"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a Gangster." - Henry Hill (Goodfellas)
When Gangsta first rolled up onto the scene in its '64 Impala, I thought to myself- wow, this show is going to be great. It wowed us with some cool characters who weren't schoolkids, a gritty underworld type setting, and some ultraviolence not seen in a long time. Surely, this show had the makings of being the new Black Lagoon- an anime held in high esteem by many viewers for its portrayal of a true crime drama and high action blockbuster feel.
Well, let's find out.
and Animation: 6
Gangsta is Manglobe's long awaited return to prominence after a run of relative quietness, and they're back with a bang. At times, Gangsta looks absolutely fantastic, with some awesome cityscape drops and dirty, grungy looking streets full of seedy activity. The city of Ergastulum really feels like a haven for criminal activity- and the subdued color mood of the show, lots of greys and browns lend to this atmosphere. The character designs are quite nice as well, no ridiculous spider people like in Code Geass, nor any stupidly disproportionate females. In other words, they manage to make people look like people without breaking the laws of physics.
The other side of the coin is that at times it feels really low budget. Certain areas are reused fairly often, and the character detail level is inconsistent throughout, but overall good.
Sound and Voice Acting: 9
Enter the first anime character I've ever seen with a disability that affects their communication with others. I have to hand it to Kenjirou Tsuda and Brandon Potter for the portrayal of the deaf Nicolas Brown. Ian Sinclair's performance is also top notch with the suave, smooth talking Worick. The rest of the characters are voiced appropriately- crooked cops, menacing sounding thugs, gangsters, and other criminals.
Gangsta definitely puts two interesting characters in the driver's seat- Nick and Worick. Nick, as mentioned above- is deaf. He communicates mostly with his fists, but also sign language in some more tender moments. We're shown that he actually can speak, but he's been deaf for so long that it's affected his speech, leading to this very slurred manner of speaking. Nick's fighting skills are nearly unparalleled in the city of Ergastulum, and as a member of a group known as "(dog)tags" or "twilights", he's a very respected fighter among them.
Worick, on the other hand, is much more of the cool man, and much more thoughtful and less impulsive than Nick, making them excellent partners. Worick handles the business deals of their illicit activities and keeps up appearances with mafia bosses and persons of influence- all while making a few bucks on the side with some bedside business. He also keeps Nick in check when tensions run high, and others get higher.
One issue that I do have with Gangsta regarding characters though is the introduction of lots of new characters right before the ending of the show. Over the course of 12 episodes, it had picked up a lot as it were, with multiple crime families, factions, and other random people, but the ending is just silly with new characters that I don't have time to care about, let alone know their names.
Gangsta started off as a gritty tale of a pair of criminals who would do dirty jobs that even the crooked cops wouldn't touch. Doing jobs for friends, mafia bosses for that almighty petty cash, anything goes in the underworld. Murder, sex, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, It's all there. We really get a feel for how seedy this city is- glorifying violence and just how much money really talks. Where it started strong, giving us a very detailed background on the city and how each other players in it came to be, once again, approaching the end it all started coming unraveled. Take Black Lagoon, for example. It manages to introduce multiple mafia factions and bosses, interesting/nasty arc-based villains, a lot of side characters, and kept them relevant to the plot throughout the entire show. Everything was tied back to these characters who managed to survive.
In Gangsta, there are a ton of loose ends left just because they tried to shove so many different characters in to make the story stretch out just a little further. When a show gets so convoluted that I lose track of who was with what group and what was happening- then you have a problem. I take shows like Serial Experiments Lain and Ergo Proxy as examples here: they're intentionally made to be complex and intricate.
Gangsta gets needlessly complicated at the end, for no real reason. As the great Mr Plinkett once said: "You're not making "The Usual Suspects" here, so keep it nice and simple!" With a lot of good violence and characterization with characters we already had, there was no need to cram 10 more in there behind them for some semblance of depth.
Even after the ending, I still don't remember which of the myriad of characters were associated with what faction and trying to defend this or that, or who were important twilights, or what their ranks were or if any of that even mattered!
I don't see why it couldn't have just stayed a core group of individuals involved in an arc based, or even one single cohesive conflict. Instead, we get an anime that has no story direction. I don't know what the conflict in Gangsta really was, because violence against Twilights was always there. It didn't just start in the course of the show.
The final strike against the story, though is that nothing is resolved at the end. It loses a lot of focus around episode 10, and ends in a very unraveled set of threads. I don't know if it's a setup for a second season that's not been greenlit, but it's got a total non ending. Not even an open ending, just a non.
As I said above, Gangsta started out very strongly, and I was really into it. I liked the action, how it didn't pull any punches with ultraviolence, and that it was gritty and unapologetic. I still like that about the show. However, what was a bit offputting to me was the inclusion of superpowers. In a gang based crime drama set on the mean streets of anywhere USA (or Japan, whatever) you generally (read never) have superpowers factor into the equation. The fact that characters in this show could take drugs and then turn into a super hero with Spiderman-like jumping, strength, and sensing abilities, and incredible, greater than human reflexes, it kind of killed suspense in several parts of the show. Then came the Tokyo Ghoul style one-upping of each character's power. "Oh this guy's a rank SuperUltraMetaOverkill?" "Well, this chick is a HyperUberMonsterBoss class!" and it just went on and on from there... totally ruining their hierarchy/scale of skill and abilities.
There's a lot to like about Gangsta though- it's a very serious show with no fanservice, no horrifiyingly bad dialogue, and a good basis for a tale, it's just a shame that it kind of wraps its 64' Impala around a telephone pole at the end. Oh well, like Eazy said- just say "oh brotha. Throw it in the gutta, and go buy another."
+ Good characters and a very cool setting
+ Good action and visual effects
+/- Pacing is iffy, and side characters appear once and sometimes never again, leaving a lot of side stories unfinished
- Non ending, show gets derailed and unfocused starting about episode 10
Yes, definitely a standout of the summer 2015 season, but not great enough to be a new Black Lagoon.
Were do I begin talking about this, At first I was a bit bored but then it picked up, This is more of an adults anime rather than a younger audience anime and you have to pay attention to detail or you can easily get confused.
I started liking this anime and it reminded me a lot like Black Lagoon in some ways as it was about gangs and guns, however as you carry on watching it it's actually very different. The plot is unique and strange, you have to understand it in order to like this anime, you have to
be able to get in the right mind or you won't like it. The plot is pretty simple, two handymen or 'assassin-like' people and a girl in the line of dirty work. The plot picks up at the end mainly where some 'strangers' come into the mix and everything goes mayhem.
The characters I personally liked, I found them very interesting to get to know, especially as it shows you their pasts bit by bit. I personally liked Alex as her past was hidden a lot until the end. I love the uniqueness that was given to each character. Some characters were shown as 'stronger' than others and this gave you the feeling of authority that was around the city. You could see who was the underlings and who was the boss, It was great that the anime didn't pay attention to just some characters but shown you a variety of them, and not all are gangsta bosses, they would be a simple 'cigarette seller' or 'doctor'.
The art was great for this sort of anime, it was in detail and you could keep up with the style. For the genre the anime is I thought that the art work was generally good and it kept me liking the anime more.
Honestly, some people hate this anime but for me I loved it, it had enjoyment from it. I admit some areas you got bored or had to rewind to understand what was going on but if you managed to keep up then it was a good anime. I am looking forward to more of this, I held of for a week because I didn't want it to end and now i know there more to come I'm happy and excited. If you like action, gang-violence and a rough style then I would recommend you give this a try.
basically only doing a review because of the lack of good reviews. This anime's only downside is that it ends without any real ending. Assuming there is more this is going to be an amazing series. I'm equating the bad reviews to them being done and found helpful by children who aren't yet capable enough of mind to understand what is going on in the show. That or they just can't handle mature themes. One of the "most helpful" reviews complained of the presence of prostitution and the even positive way that it is depicted. Yes this is a very progressive show and has many
viewpoints that might clash with the typical brainwashed sheep. They're probably voting for Trump. This show was incredibly deep and progressive in ways i've never seen in anime before. Prostitution was portrayed in a way that didn't shame the prostitutes. The leading character is a deaf man and spends the majority of the anime making you think he's the biggest strongest bad ass in town which may yet be true. It shows very realistic experiences of people living through traumatic events and perhaps the typical person can't relate to any true trauma. the way they show these victims such as the prostitutes being drugged and dependent on those abusing them despite the horror of it. One of the bad reviews complained of the ranking system of the tags like they have any sort of actual relevance. Once you've watched it through you see that these rankings represent very little and this is particularly true of the main cast of the show. This show has a depth of realities that i've never seen represented so well in what comes down to being simply a cartoon. To those submitting negative reviews, you'll understand when you're older.
When you look at this title, I wouldn't be surprised if you rolled your eyes. But if there was a show that came out this year that could have that title, it would be this one. This show is awesome. If Black Lagoon took this sort of premise and had the most fun with it, and Darker Than Black took this sort of premise and made it as intellectual as possible, Gangsta. is somewhere in the middle.
But more than any other, this show reminds me of Baccano!. While not as good (Baccano! is, in a way, untouchable), the things I loved about that show
are present here. The huge cast, the complex storyline, the great action.
Sadly, the only major flaw in this show is somewhat glaring. It's hard to follow. Baccano!, while just as complicated, was easier to keep track of. Who knows? Maybe Gangsta. would have been improved by a nonlinear format. But as it is it was still well worth watching.
DISCLAIMER: I did not read the manga. This review should be taken as an anime-only perspective. This WAS my most favorite anime last summer season until it showed its ugly head. What happened?!
Character Development: Great for the first eight episodes
The Hunters: Unnecessary addition which stagnated the show overall
Plot: Evenly paced but desperately needs a sequel
Ending: The most inconclusive ending this season
Artwork and Animation: Often passable but terrible at times
Gangsta. will always be a shining example of how terrible animation can destroy the mood of the show and why not to adapt a manga which is still on its world building phase.
honest, this has the most compelling premise and characters this season which was unfortunately given a very low budget for its own good. The staff has done a few tricks to cover that problem via zooming in and out some of the scenes and the use of still images but it shows its ugly head when the characters engage in action. Character expressions were awful and deformed during close ups and drawn poorly when distant. The fight scenes are dragging and the character movements are really stiff.
A viewer whose priority is the visual appeal will be turned off by how sluggish the animation could be and will find himself dropping this show once he reaches episode 9 which is really unfortunate for Gangsta because of its masterful storytelling for the first eight episodes. Exposition in particular can be a double edged sword as it ruined Fate Stay Night's great moments but this anime showed that it can be used to further enrich the plot while also entertaining the audience. In Gangsta's case, we were not spoonfed by dull narration but the staff decided to show us tidbits of their past and what drove them to what they are right now. Episodes six and seven in particular were the best episodes this summer season which explained what Alex, Worrick and Nicholas were like in the past and man, these are two episodes which seamed heartwarming and cold scenes seamlessly.
While not new in terms of plot, this was executed properly at least for the first eight episodes. The show excelled when it presents the character interaction between the leads and the intricacies of its story when taken to a larger picture. Moreover, Gangsta.'s ambitious when it comes to its world building since its premise was thoroughly explained, from Alex' reason to stay in town to the powers that be whose interaction was fragile enough to exude an uncomfortable feeling when we are watching this show. This however, faltered the show's quality because it has only an episode left to iron out multiple plot line and it failed to do so.
The character interaction is also excellent too. The Handymen plus Alex are quite a pleasure to watch. Their backgrounds were sufficiently provided and man, this is not your typical sad or bubbly flashback. Only a few anime series give detail to all other minor characters while not forgetting the main leads and Gangsta. is one of those. If we are to base Gangsta's merit for the first eight episodes, I have no reservation to say that it was the best anime last summer.
NOW WHAT WENT WRONG WITH GANGSTA?
Given that the artwork is a mess in Gangsta. (see episode 9), the story should at least be complete and compelling. The balance between action and character drama was stable until the end of episode eight then its ugly head showed afterwards.
The inclusion of the Hunters and the sudden shift to focus on the larger events in Ergastulum marred this already flawed show. The intimate relationship it built with its viewers were destroyed the moment we were presented the Hunter's psychotic demeanor and shounen like powers. Their motives for killing Twilights were never explained and they did not add anything to the complexities of Ergastulum. With the abrupt focus in the city and the addition of these characters, Gangsta. was reduced to your generic dark anime. Character interaction between the leads is now sporadic from episodes nine onwards to give way to new characters which we barely know. How can a viewer possibly care for dozens of new characters in a span of three episodes?
The soundtrack is mostly good in this show. However, there are moments when it is weirdly placed. Doug's death scene could be a compelling one due to all the direction the staff has given but was inserted with very upbeat tone which destroyed its poignancy. Another misstep is the sudden cut of the lovely piano piece at the end of episode 5 which is thankfully still an elegant episode by all means.
However, this is not the biggest flaw of the anime adaptation of Gangsta. If we are going to base the quality of each episode, I still think it is a fine show. It seemed like the staff and the publisher forgot that the manga is still on its early phase but still decided to animate the show. The series ended right in the middle of the large war it created and it caught up with the manga. New characters are barely introduced, the main leads' resolve are nowhere to be seen and the Hunters continue to ruin the show with their shonen-esque attributes. There is no resolution and we were given a finale which is a good episode in its own but a letdown as a series ender.
Will we be able to see the next season? No. It was a shame that this anime was adapted a season too early so we will never be able to see the end of the current arc. The staff could've done an anime original ending but they still stick to adapt this one faithfully until the end which really backfired. Ugh.
An Ergastulum was a building in ancient Rome, they were designed as prisons to hold in chains dangerous slaves, or punish them. They were essentially subsurface pits built deeply into the ground—large enough to allow the slaves to work within it and containing narrow spaces in which they slept. Must’ve been one hell of a place to survive in. Based on Kohske’s manga, Gangsta shows you a different Ergastulum, it’s the name of an actual city, one devoid of law. The mafia runs the city with an iron fist, it’s a dog eat dog world, a city where the living and death interact and sex,
money, drugs and violence are the necessary evils to survive. Its survival of the fittest and while not exactly a prison, it might as well be with the philosophical governing to the likes of the movie, ‘I-Robot’. It’s gritty, ugly, rough, graphic in detail and downright bleak and it's fascinating to watch all those who thrive within.
Gangsta tells the complex and grief-filled story of gangsters, or rather, the ‘Handymen’, two men-for-hire who take on various jobs from citizens and criminal organisations in the fictional city of Ergastulum, like body-guarding, money-collection and home repairs. The city takes a close representation of Italy during the mafia era, except it is governed in the background by the ‘Four Fathers’—3 mafia families and a mercenary guild. Thieves, drugs, prostitutes, shady doctors and corrupted cops are plot essentials and as the series unfolds, so does the mystery that surrounds the creation of Ergastulum. Our main protagonists, Worick Arcangelo and Nicolas Brown are neutral contractors who stay out of underworld politics so they can be called upon by anyone who can pay. While seemingly amoral, the pair saves a prostitute named Alex Benedetto from her abusive pimp and give her a place to stay, and as an outsider, Alex acts as the audience’s fresh perspective into the Handymen’s grim and terrifying day-to-day lives, where murder is graphically and unapologetically portrayed.
After an unspecified war in the early 20th century, many soldiers came back to Ergastulum dependent on a weaponised drug called ‘Celebrer’ and their children were born with its debilitating effects. They were given the label ‘Twilights’, these offspring are capable of superhuman strength and are exploited by criminal gangs as slaves, who openly fight and kill each other in the back streets without fear of prosecution. Twilights are heavily discriminated against, so they are tagged by the government to keep track of them to keep them in line. Many ‘Tags’ opt to work for Ergastulum’s mafia families regardless and as a result, the show features some bloody massacres by criminal Twilights who carry out hits against ‘Normals’ and often times have high-intensity battles against their own, sizing each other up based on the rank displayed on the tags they wear which are based on strength. Many are essentially slaves, unable to escape the city, its crime or its vices. However, the balance is upheld by the Four Fathers and the 3 laws are imposed on the Twilights—Never take action against a Normal, obey your master and defend yourself if it does not conflict with the first two rules. With such a show which depicts superhuman abilities, the effects of evolution would eventually come into play. Those that use Celebrer have a shortened lifespan to compensate for their abilities.
While Gangsta mostly focuses on the day-to-day lives and the pasts of our main protagonists, each episode gradually explores the underlying tension between the four criminal families of Ergastulum and the Twilights which eventually culminates in an all-out gang war with Nick and Worick caught in the middle of it. While Alex is first terrified of her saviours, we get to see the terrible ordeals both Handymen went through and how their work ultimately aims to rid the city of its worst so the few good souls they care about can live without fear. Thankfully, while mostly a serious show, there is a splash of humour and light-hearted moments every so often which makes the cast more endearing, although in saying that, these moments never betray the dark and gritty atmosphere. Gangsta’s mystery surrounding its characters is built up slowly to give enough time for each character’s pasts to be explored and explained. Worick is the face of the Handymen and the most visible protagonist; a smooth-talking one-eyed businessman with an easy-going nature that masks his darker tendencies, and his immunity to violence ends up a lot more understandable once the audience gets to learn his past as an abused illegitimate mafia child.
Alex is a sweet young woman seemingly caught up in trafficking exploitation and trapped in Ergastulum who becomes a whole lot more saddening once her withdrawals are exposed. Nicolas is a silent and menacing Tag who also happens to be deaf and Celebrer-dependent, acting as the muscle but gradually revealed to be far more than just another soulless murderer. Nick is easily the highlight of the show and it is rare to see a character in anime with a disability (deaf), yet the writing and voice actors (both sub and dub) do a great job of treating it with respect while making it an integral part of his character, rather than a gimmick existing solely for spectacle. Much of the narrative in Gangsta is conveyed via out-of-order flashbacks which require your full attention to get the most out of it and understand the underworld politics engulfing their city. You’ll be treated to some of the most satisfying fight scenes and faction face-offs in recent years, thanks to the violence-laden nature of Ergastulum and its sick past. Nicolas is featured in the majority of these combat scenes as a troubled Twilight himself, though thanks to his deafness and continued abuse of Celebrer to numb his pain, is relatively unique in his menace as most other Tags and Normals don’t know what to do with him.
The art and animation in Gangsta which is done by Manglobe are spectacular! Character designs of our featured trio are very distinctive, they look like people who have gone through a lot of life’s darkest paths. Also liked how they have different clothes for different episodes, it’s always a welcomed concept. The colour palette is dark, drab and shadowy with muted hues of the sprawling Ergastulum, allowing the copious amounts of crimson blood and rare instances of colour shown to stand out fantastically in action sequences—which are fast and furious with amazing choreography. Very fluid with the great use of camera angles and Matrix-like slo-mo bullet time effects. The moody soundtrack was done by Tsutchie (Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop), whether it’s a quiet conversation or tense stand-off, also fit the gritty tone of the show perfectly. A mixture of sorts with techno, drum ‘n’ bass and jazzy beats. Voice acting has solid performances all around. Opening and Ending are incredibly great with "Renegade" by STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION, is an epic upbeat dubstep track while, Yoru no Kuni by Annabel, is an emotional ballad about hope and looking towards the future. Both feel interconnected, and the lyrics fit very well to the storyline.
Gangsta is raw in all its depiction, realistically showing you the underbelly of the criminal world and a dysfunctional society. It handles most themes successfully by tackling these societal problems in a mature way, giving you a different perspective from the victim’s point of view. We all understand that the actions shown throughout the series are looked down upon, but yet, when it confronts us upfront, emotions are left stirred and disrupted in an uncomfortable manner and it's relentlessly brutal in its attack on your moral compass. It’s a great action seinen that evokes plenty of emotion. It’s a character-driven story with an equally compelling plot that has high style and great substance moulded together, although it is held back from being one of the greats by an abrupt ending. During production, Manglobe filed for bankruptcy which sucks. Because of this unfortunate event, there isn’t a true ending and we can only hope that one day we can see a continuation from a different studio. It deserves a much better legacy.
Gangsta, spelled that way because proper spelling wouldn't be extreme enough, is an ongoing manga created by Kohske that started in 2011. In 2015, Manglobe did an anime adaptation, finishing it slightly before the studio declared bankruptcy. This is their last work to be released right now. There's a film, Genocidal Organ, that was supposed to open shortly after this series ended but, given the situation, it's uncertain when it will open at this time. So, how is Gangsta as the Studio's last series, possibly ever?
Nicolas and Worick are Handymen, which is the term used for mercenaries in this series. Because calling them mercs wouldn't
be special enough. In the crime-filled city of Ergastulum, they take jobs that no one else will. We get to see the two of them work for the police, Mafia and back alley doctors. During a mission for the police, the two exterminate an upstart gang of thugs and take in a prostitute, Alex, as their assistant. Offering her a new life. But everything isn't kosher in Ergastulum. Someone's encroaching on the city and breaking its rules, which could result in problems for everybody.
The biggest issue with the series is the ending. Like Code Geass, Gangster doesn't feature any kind of resolution. Rather, it ends on a bombastic note with everything seemingly going wrong and a lot of cliff hangers. The big difference between this and Code Geass is that Sunrise was stable when they released the first series of that and Manglobe... well, who even knows at this juncture if they'll be able to continue in the wake of their bankruptcy. Putting that aside, there's also an issue with the world building, mainly the overuse of exposition and flashbacks. The series expends a lot of time on discussing their people with superhuman abilities, how the city's rules work and a lot of it is done through clunky exposition or overly long flashbacks.
On the positive side, the series features a lot of interesting conflicts with some strong sources of tension. In spite of the somewhat sloppy execution, I will also credit the world building for having some good ideas that may very well have developed into something really good. I also appreciate that the missions get a lot of variation and the back story for how Nicolas and Worick partnered up has some really strong elements to it.
This series has a really strong cast of characters. Both the major and minor characters have a lot going for them, even with a lot of the minor characters having fairly minimal use. There are great interactions with these characters as well. Worick and Nicolas have a great dynamic. I also really like the scenes with Nicolas and Nina. They're actually really sweet.
The artwork in this is quite good. The character designs are well done. The action sequences are strong and there are a lot of really good details. It's definitely up to Manglobe's usual standards.
There are some really good performances in this. Tsuda Kenjirou does a really good job providing the voice for our deaf protagonist. It definitely has that quality that you get when an actual deaf person speaks where they can approximate the sounds but they aren't sure what the words actually sound like so it's a bit off. Suwabe Junichi, Noto Mamiko & Yuuki Aoi all give strong performances as well. There aren't any bad performances, but those four are the ones who really stood out. The music is more mediocre. It isn't bad but it's not good either. It's there and it's serviceable.
There's a scene where two of the minor female characters are shown in bed together in a way that illustrates quite strongly that they are, at the very least, having sex but it's late in the series and they aren't characters we spend a lot of time with, so the extent of their relationship beyond that is unclear. Alex also gets groped by another woman at one point, but the woman in question is shown as being in a relationship with a man and the scene is just kind of odd and out of place. So, it's probably safe to say it's not important.
Gangster is a pretty enjoyable series. It has some solid ideas, good tension, some really strong characters, solid art and strong voice acting. It is, however, weakened by an ending that resolves nothing, bland music and a general abuse of exposition & flashback scenes. Overall, I give it a 7/10. If the premise sounds interesting to you, give it a go. Next week I'm looking at Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan- Tsuiokuhen.
Gangsta had a phenomenal beginning but unfortunately, quickly fell into a tedium which then deteriorated into a poor plot with little explanation.
Unfortunately, gangsta did not live up to its initial hype. While the first episode was amazing as it provided a well balance between action and exposition which established to the audience as to what to expect: ultra violence and shady dealings. However, several episodes later, it still could not establish a plot and it really just became a “Gangsta no nichijou” or “The everyday lives of gangsta” at that point. When it does finally introduce a plot of some degree it’s so poorly
executed and explained that it may as well have been written by a primary schooler. Basically the plot becomes: a new organisation wants to overthrow the established powers. And the reason why this plot is poorly executed is that very little is explained to the audience and all we’re given is just a bunch of fight scenes between Twilights. So basically at this point it’s like watching two idiots slugging it at each other and waiting to see who falls down first.
The other problem is that, with whatever time it has left, it is spent explaining backstories of its characters. Not that there’s anything wrong with backstories, but having no developing plot means that I may as well be reading LoL character pages. In fact, reading LoL character pages is probably more enjoyable than watching several episodes of backstories. And lastly, the show fails to give any actual conclusion and everything is just left open, so open that that the audience is unable to imagine a conclusion because there isn't enough information.
All in all, the lack of an actual, gripping story which it tries to fill in with violence was what made this show become as disappointing as it did.
The character designs are alright, but the backgrounds really helped develop the mood and feel of the setting. The faded out, dull backgrounds helped establish a slum-like feel.
The OP is exceptional, both visually and musically, the ED is alright but not as good as the OP. The BGM is nothing memorable and is often just forgotten in lieu of focusing on the fighting scenes.
Probably the forte of gangsta. Gangsta has been able to develop their characters quite well through dialogue and interaction scenes. We even get a good sense of support characters due to their characters actually being explored, as well as how they relate to both the main characters and other supports. However, one thing I cannot get over is Alex’s character. Her existence is utterly contrived and she adds very little to the story and even development of the main characters, even though she’s literally next to them most of the time. She seems to be some kind of emotion device in that we’re supposed to feel sorrow/empathy for her at certain scenes but it comes out so forced that they may as well have put a ‘feel sad here’ textbox in her stead.
If I had to rate the first episode alone, I’d have given it an 8. But as the series stretched on, it became clearer and clearer that it would be a mindlessly, nonsensically violent show that would rely more or less on its action scenes. The fights between twilight and gun users became stale after a few scenes as the gun users posed no threat. Twilights appear to move faster than bullets while the gun users seem to contain one of two traits: they either can’t aim or they take several decades to pull the trigger which allows the Twilight to throw stuff at them or just run up and slash them.
I was really hoping that this would be an anime that would redeem this season’s collection of lacklustre titles. Unfortunately, the overreliance of blood and gore to excite viewers quickly wears off and the poorly contrived plot makes this show dismissable.
This review's gonna be totally in Russian, 'cause, although nobody's going to read it for not understanding a word out of it, this is how I want it to be.
Что ж, ввиду того, что мангу читать мне так и не доводилось, ибо соблазн изначально прильнуть к самодвижущимся кадрам аниме был чрезмерен, а превозмочь себя я ни в каких силах. Это наверно и послужило тому, что рваное и фрагментарное повествование не дало возможности целиком и полностью понять всех деталей и сути истории. Это ладно, можно свести на мой косяк, но оттого не могу я отметить этот момент.
Перейдем к тому, что действительно меня погрузило с
головой в быт и жизнь этих людей. Характеры однозначно есть. Впервые за долгое время я запомнил имена - Воллес (в простонародье еще и Ворриком величающийся) и Николас. Вау, до сих пор в шоке с себя. Я реально запомнил их имена. Приемлемое поведение в плане внешнего проявления (никаких не суто японских междометий по крайней мере со стороны этой парочки), бесспорная харизма и вообще человеческий презентабельный вид аниме (мое субъективное восприятие и мнение, с которым обязан считаться никто).
Музыка - это просто огонь. Это пиздец какой огонь. На часах было 3-4 часа ночи/утра, а я все судорожно, отлепливая свои веки, жал на кнопку продолжения просмотра - и так до самой 12 серии.
Абсолютно мне все равно, что сюжет тут ни к селу, ни к городу, что воззрения некоторых персонажей мне довольно-таки чужды (как в плане покорности некоторых определенных групп лиц, так и образа жизни главных героев как таковых - не почему они такие плохие и злые и т.д., а что с такими мозгами вполне можно было бы зажить беззаботно, прибегая в дальнейшем к девиантному погрому лишь ради дозы адреналинового счастья), но это все я оставлю при себе. Ради приятного графона, музыки и достоинству главных героев (на ментальном, глубинном уровне) готов наплевать на все остальное на свете без всяких задних мыслей.
Оценку ставить не буду, ибо нехер.
ps as it goes, rules require me writing some more words, as of because it seems to this website my review was quite short. Well, okay, let's give it a try.
And there I was hoping not to write anything in English here. Well, now I'm sorta forced to do so. Anyway, let's get started.
Not to offend anyone, but I don't understand people's complains about this anime "being a total disaster" or whatsoever. To me, it was pretty good. I would dare say awesome, actually. Donno what everyone expected to see, hear, but you can't deny the artwork, the sounds, the characters. I myself don't like protagonists in any way, considering I hate it when a smart (to be more precise, a genius) guy lets himself into a situation and the lifestyle of doormat & homeless stray - JUST DON'T GET IT. But hey, that's just me. I don't care why the characters act the way I would never, because that's none of my business.
The plot. The story. Didn't get it quite clear. That's why I should probably stick to the manga some time soon.
As I mentioned before (or didn't I?), the visual part and the music. Oh holy dear neurons of head of mine. It was nighttime, nothing made a sound, earphones were on my head, and the brightening of laptop's LCD. My words look like something went wrong with me right now, and that might be true. Just a glimpse of recalling the night I watched this anime already makes me feel like a teenage underpuberty girl, who stands close to her idol Santa Clause or smth. Yeah, right, that's totally an exaggeration, but I'm telling you. The meal was good, I enjoyed it.
Don't pay any mind to any of the other clearly-misguided reviews on this particular anime that are ranking it so low. The only thing, and I mean ONLY thing wrong with this anime is the length and where it abruptly ends. It was quite clear the company ran out of money by the last couple of episodes. This is potentially a story that could have gone on as long as Monster or Rurouni Kenshin and still stayed interesting, but it didn't.
Both of the main characters are older, neither of them having internal psychological wars with themselves as to whether or not they
should do what they're going to do. They both have a general sense of purpose that is completely lacking in so many typical Shounen animes of today. The main characters are clearly friends, with deep backstories and a believable friendship that makes itself persistently obvious over the course of 12 episodes.
The dub is great, one of the main characters is deaf but it is voiced so extremely well that I REALLY liked this difference in the overall cast setup. For once the characters are actually older than me too, in their mid+ 30s. Their friendship is organic and believable, the terms of their coming together is both rich and deep. Very easy to sympathize and see why they became friends over the course of watching the first season.
The feminazis might have an issue with this show, as it starts out with the classic stereotypically fan-service stacked females, one of which is saved from a life of prostitution and rescued by these darker 'knights in shining armor'. It develops quickly though. Everyone's a jiggalo, not just the females, which I think serves to even the Feminist playing field. The chick still gets stuck with the role of helpless secretary / nanny (she gets stuck with taking care of a baby in one episode).
The story is your classic "born a certain power-level, get stronger and push your power level higher by defeating stronger foes and/or overdosing on a drug". It's still quite good and fits with the overall atmosphere. The backstory is great, from what I got of the first season, but incomplete. A lot of unanswered questions / content for at least one extra future season. Hopefully they'll bring it back. I'll give it a 7.5 until then, although with another season this show could easily be another Cowboy Beebop.. with much less digression from the overall storyline.
Overall 9/10 - I do recommend. It's like samurai x meets DBZ meets something dark with medium-strong sexual undertones.
Plot and Story Line
The whole Gangsta story is set in a small town named Ergastulum. When it comes to the city, it is a very dark, shady ville full of thieves, whores, corrupt cops and gangs. I think you all can imagine it in one way. In the heart of the story we have the two main characters: Worick and Nicolas. Two partners that do all kinds of odd jobs that nobody else wants to do. Now the thing that makes Gangsta different from other shows are Twilights. Twilights posses enchanted abilities due to their predecessors' use of Celebrer (some kind of drug). They are
noted for being incredibly violent and destructive and as such mostly hired for killing jobs. One of the Twilights in this anime is also Nick.
In the show, a new character is introduced right in the beginning. A prostitute called Alex. She meets after Worick and Nick were assigned to kill Alex's boss. In the end Alex ends up as the one killing her boss, and kinda teaming up with Worick and Nick.
I know you might be asking "Is that it?", and yeah that's basically it. That's the whole plot, but it is not a bad one. Here's why.
The plot and story line are really slow. It is a step by step, firstly character introduction, then a "setting introduction" and at some points a flash-back story. The story gets all interesting in the ninth episode when so called "Anti-Twilights" appear. A battle between them starts and is still ongoing but the first season ended today. There are still no information about season two, but have hope, because the anime is actually manga based. We don't know for sure, but I think that season two will be aired because of the huge popularity that this anime has. "Fingers crossed".
Now the main thing that kept me watching Gangsta. The flashbacks and backstories. The story about Worick and Nick and how they meet is outstanding. I loved it and it really gets emotional in some parts. It's a story about friendship, humanity and family relations, so I recommend you not to miss it. There are also two more backstories that have my attention. The first one is the backstory of Delico (Twilight) and his sibling sister Erica (Anti-twilight). I just think that for now the anime didn't give them the limelight they deserve. One more is also a sibling story, but now of Alex and her brother Emilio. These two backgroundstories have on thing in common (except the sibling part). They are still unfinished and left some questions in the first season, and that's exactly why I think that we can hope for a second season to air.
Also an important thing that has to be mentioned is that this anime is perfect for all you action lovers out there. Epic and interesting fights. Guns, axes, swords...There are all kinds of weapons. It has some bloodshed, but hey, as if you are not used to it.
The characters in Gangsta are just a bunch of badass gangsters, killer machines and ordinary characters that are there "just because". Some of them develop in one or the other way, and some of them are interesting due to their past, Delico for instance. Now here for you our two main guys, and my personal favorite in the show.
Worick Arcangelo is a damn clever and brilliant person. In his cruel childhood he escaped his horrible reality trough books. Now he possesses the ability to read incredibly fast and the ability of photographic memory. Although being rich and having everything "served on a silver-plate" he just wanted a place to belong to. He finds a place next to Nick, or so he thinks. But does he really belongs in the world of Twilights by pretending or acting like one?
NIckolas (Nick) Brown. This guy is a Twilight. He is an incredible fighter and a killer machine, but he has a huge heart. A very considerate and nice person but not looking like one. The most interesting thing about Nick is his inability to talk. The way he uses sing language to communicate and how others interact with him is awesome. He is a "Fake", meaning he reaches his tag of A/0 by overdosing. He is actually ranked as B/5. Still his swordsman skills are outstanding. I loved seeing him fight.
Doug looks like a 14-year-old kid, but is actually a grown up. Looking innocent but actually wearing an A/0 Tag. Quite dangerous. Doug is a side-character in Gangsta but I loved him because he looks so cute but is a killer machine in the same time. I have the feeling that I just want to squeeze his cheeks and say: "You little devil, stop killing people". I just wish we could have seen more of him in Gangsta.
Animation and Style
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to 2015. You can clearly see the difference, or easier said, the better animation in the anime of 2014/2015. Gangsta is one of those. Awesome animation. Smooth, good contrast, clear, good colors and outline. In short, I loved it.
The style is also from a new generation. The high contrast shadows gave it a good taste and the good work with details made it incredible.
Now one more thing that has to be mentioned is definitely the music. It is epic. For example the opening. It is catchy and the only anime-opening I didn't skip while watching.
Conclusions were always my favorite part of every speech, essay and review because I put all my thoughts in a few sentences and as if you will remember everything you read above.
Now to conclude, Gangsta is a dark anime that tells a story about friendship and humanity. It is realistic in some parts but becomes an "anime" after some time. Full of action, heart breaking stories and interesting characters. I rate it as a 8.45, minus points for the slow story development, but on the whole definitely worth watching it. I'd give it a try!
It’s not often you see an anime putting its setting into uncharted territory. It is a welcoming addition to the constant routine of anime studios just churning out shows that present a Japanese environment so that a Japanese audience can be easily engaged. With a unique setting backed by an equally unique title, Gangsta, that will at least be an excellent first impression going into it. What came through my mind when Gangsta was over was how much of a great thrill ride it was, except for the bumpy journey that was part of it.
Gangsta‘s setting is not the only thing that makes it unique.
The characters and subject matter the writers created and produced had a stark, gritty tone to them that was interesting enough to keep me hooked. This type of direction they chose is honestly one of the stronger feats to Gangsta. Another anime that delved into this similar atmosphere was Black Lagoon, however, the way Gangsta and Black Lagoon treated their atmosphere are entirely different. Black Lagoon was trying to invoke black comedy in its story and characters, while Gangsta’s felt more serious and focused less on humor. I can appreciate both of these types of atmospheres equally if the writers can add substance to them that make them engaging. It’s just unfortunate that Gangsta can’t seem to figure this point out when trying to make a cohesive narrative to complement its atmosphere.
In the beginning, I was hooked by the story and how well they introduced the characters. The build-up was great by the first half of Gangsta to let us get to know our three main protagonists at first so that they can establish a kinship against various mob groups. All of that was nicely handled; until it introduced even more characters. You can say that Gangsta has the big issue of having a story that is the equivalent of a 24 episode anime length, and squeezing it into 12 episodes. It is evident by the halfway point since we’re introduced to too many plot points that are not expanded upon very well and make the process of figuring it all out frustrating. Characters that are a part of the Twilights, except for Nicolas, are incredibly forgettable and bland from how little of an impression they make besides the intense action sequences they take part in.
The parts where the plot does work are the flashback sequences of Nicolas and Worwick. They give a nicely made, depressing picture of our two tortured henchmen that adds a nice layer of depth to make us feel sympathetic to the paths that they, unfortunately, had to take to survive. There is not any similar treatment for our main female protagonist, Alex. Nevertheless, a torturous backstory for her was not needed since we get a nicely directed psychological distress from her that let us understand the trauma she was/is going through from her past life as a prostitute. Her growth from being in that abusive world to being on stage singing a tearful song to people was impressive to see. Still, with all the positives for the development of our three main characters, that’s all the plot has going for it. What is left is a bunch of half-baked supporting characters and a plot that does not know where its focus is once it reaches the halfway point. Eventually, it leads up to an ending that feels like a cheap cliffhanger that makes us wait for a sequel to happen.
Besides their development, the main cast is in-of-themselves relatively charming and great to see. Nicolas being deaf offers an interesting character arc that adds to the unique nature of Gangsta. His banter with Worwick using his sign language feels natural and humorous in many scenarios that are involved with it. Not only with Worwick, but also Alex who tries her best to form a connection with him despite not knowing sign language. My only major concern was how little they expanded upon Alex trying to learn sign language to deepen her relationship with Nicolas, but that could be for the sequel’s job to make that a reality. Besides his chemistry, Nicolas comes across as mysterious but likable in how he treats the people who are close to him.
Worwick’s troubled life as a gigolo, a male prostitute, is interesting in one episode where they go to a brothel that makes him a vulnerable person than what most people perceive him to be. Despite this, he often comes across as strong-minded and fair in how he deals with various situations that arise. With his sarcastic tongue and the deafness of our other male hero, they form a fascinating duo that can be described as opposites working together as friends from their childhood upbringings. Nevertheless, out of the three lead roles, my favorite would have to Alex. Not just from her beautiful looks, but how she tries to deal with her trauma after being saved from that tormented life had me hooked to her from beginning to end. Her fascinating growth from the bottom to the top was both engaging and tragically moving to see.
Gangsta’s character designs bear a resemblance to Michiko no Hatchin since they are both animated by the same studio, Manglobe. In keeping its tradition of stellar character designs, Gangsta is another winner in how distinct the characters look from most anime. The skin tone and facial features give all the characters their unique look. Animation, while cutting corners here and there, is serviceable to the action sequences and momentary talking scenes. What is breathtaking is the art design of the world itself. It adds to the raucous atmosphere it perpetuates from the bright red blood to the dark, dank alleyways scattered throughout the city.
Gangsta was only a partial disappointment for me. Of course, most of the problems I have could be amended with a sequel, or, god help me, ”read the manga if it does not sell enough BDs.” As it stands on its own, this season did not deliver on its story halfway through as much as its technical and main characters had to offer. Despite my grievances with it, the effects of my positives outweigh my perception of Gangsta. I grew attached to the main characters in more ways than one that saved Gangsta for me. When you still want a sequel to an anime to see more of the characters despite not liking the plot, that at least can be something to admire for it.
Gangsta. is an anime that could have been godlike but instead it was 'fine'. A show to pass the time.
There are "Twilights" and "normals" -> Twilights are stronger than normals, to the point that they can dodge bullets and kill you with their bare hands. But Twilights need a drug called "Celebrer" to survive, a drug that normals fabricate (couldn't twilights learn how to fabricate some nice drugs? Really?).
Lots of normals hate twilights and some use 'em as slaves (despite twilights are so bloody strong they could put humanity at their feet), some kill 'em, very few actually help 'em. That's the context
where our protagonists (one twilight, one normal) try to survive doing whatever they can.
The plot is well paced and quite intriguing in the first 8 episodes, then it is so rushed and so bad developed that it left a bad taste in my mouth. In addition, the end has a lot of plot holes that makes you wish for a second season, but it will never come since Manglobe (the studio that produced the show) filed for bankruptcy.
I really liked a lot the art and it fits in a satisfactory way, but the animation was... well, a little bit disappointing.
Every character had its right seiyuu. I did not found any character with a voice not fitting with his/her personality.
The OST is fine; nothing memorable except Alex performance in chapter 8. That song suited very nice with the chapter events.
Nico is a (lil' bit) captivating character with a dark past. Same as Worrick, despite he is not captivating, but rather "the guy that acts cool". Alex is a hot gyal that used to be a prostitute and her development was well done. These three are the main protagonists of the show and their personalities are well developed. Not as the other. There are intriguing characters, each with a story to tell, like Marco, Paulklee, Dany,... but due to lack of money (what means lack of episodes, A LOT OF EPISODES) we got a show with enormous plot holes for almost every character.
I did enjoy the show besides its end.
Gangsta. had a huge potential to be a great show, sadly it is not.
I liked this anime. Then I didn't quite like it. It didn't complete the story and literally leaves you hanging on a thread with a plot you feel deserves another 5 episodes to fully complete. To get what I was missing I went to the manga. Sure it continues the plot to an extent, THEN IT STOPS. I feel Gangsta could be much more but then it leaves you hanging. Almost like hunter x hunter with the incomplete plot. It's a great anime to watch.
Now I have been praising the anime a lot, but there's more to it. The background story behind characters isn't so
good. There will be some character that has been in the anime that you will barely notice because of how little attention they give to them and then BOOM all of a sudden the character is very relevant to the plot. And I don''t mean relevant in a they affect the main character for a while then fade away just to add spice to the story. I mean plot-altering relevant.
If you can get past the little character background( this is most likely because of the small amount of episodes) and just watch the anime with a simple mind you might enjoy it.
I'll start this off by saying, the show is far from flawless, in fact, it may have just as many cons as it does pros, innuendo puns intended, but it was still worth a watch in my opinion. The show starts off a bit muddled, the setting is somewhat confused as it seems to be some version of Italy, yet people speak with poor New York accents and I sort of wish they had just gone with one of the two instead of a hodgepodge of both so they could throw in all the mobster stereotypes they could. The two main leads
start out, in all honesty, as frankly detestable, though as you learn of their origins and the mythos of the world, their plight does become more understandable and they start to grow on you.
The action is fun, as is the gritty, X-Men-esque genetically enhanced super human discrimination premise. The bond between the two leads and the woman they try to protect from falling into their world of violence and crime is endearing and has a genuine sense of care and comradery, but the villains do come off as more than a bit cartoonish, even if it does make them all the more hateable for it. Overall, I was heavily hooked by the end, but the end came so abruptly and without a sequel, so much remains unanswered. I think it would have fared much better as a 24 or so episode series instead of 12 episodes with a next part that may never come. In the end, I enjoyed the time spent with the tortured team of badass anti-heroes, but the reasons above keep GANGSTA. at a slightly above average 7 out of 10 for me.
The story for Gangsta is good mix of Gang related crews and supernatural scientifically enhanced humans this is what makes it different. I've already read the manga and I'm caught up so as a manga reader watching this anime adaptation nothing surprised me, it was more a refresher to the story and if Manglobe is staying accurate the the original source material and as far as it looks they quite a good job but the I do think they shouldn't have ended the season right were they did a little bit further where u know who dies in the manga
and you know who get's reveal as a bad guy is where I think they should have ended it, yes that would be a cliff hanger ending but what they gave us instead is a cliff hanger of an ending also, at least where I want them to end it would have made a season finale look more reasonable. To not spoil anymore this anime ends on chapter 28 of the manga when I feel it should have ended on chapter like 33. But I guess they chose 28 because that's the end of a volume and they felt it was a good stopping point which is fair enough.
Art and Animation (7/10) Good
More Specifically (7.25/10)
The Art in the anime was definitely more weird at times than normal. The art style for this anime on down times and the high points definitely looked way better in the manga and that's not usually the case these days so I'm disappointed that it ended up looking like how it did. The animation was ok also it was fine but I've seen better from Manglobe (Deadman Wonderland for example) so I'm also disappointed that it could be as good as their previous work.
Sound (9/10) Great
The sound is obviously the best thing for the anime. The anime opening is one of my favorites this anime season, the BGM is probably the best the anime season, the voice actors during dramatic scenes did an outstanding job (JP VA) and the sound effects for the sword play and gun play sound authentic.
Characters (8/10) Very Good
The characters in Gangsta are all really great, if you get to know their back story because there is a lot of characters in the series and with the amount of episodes they have not every single character gets enough screen time for the viewer to know them by name instantly when seen. But I can assure you that they are all great characters even if this anime couldn't go into the amount of detail I think they deserved in order for all viewers to see what I see in them you kind of have to read the manga unfortunately to get a full understanding of them all. But as far as what we get from the main group I do think a little bit too much screen time went to Alex personally. Also one certain thing they completely removed from the manga that was the fact that Worick would kind around with Alex and grab her butt and boobs as a joke and then Alex would hit him, he did this multiple times in the manga and it was funny but it doesn't even exist in the anime version I have no reasonable clue why they would take it out of it's a seinen anime at the end of the day stay authentic.
Enjoyment (8/10) Very Good
I damn near kept up with Gangsta every week ready and excited to watch an episode especially have the bomb ass opening how can you not be hyped to watch the episode have listening to that opening!? Anyway I forgot how much dialogue was in the series vs actually physical conflict and fight scenes. So there were quite a few episodes of just characters just talking the entire episode and since I've already read the manga and as I said before the art style was better in the manga these scenes definitely got a bit boring to me which is why enjoyment only gets up to an 8.
Overall (7/10) Good
More Specifically (7.95/10) Good+
The adaptation of Gangsta is a good one, could they have done better in the art style and animation department? FUCK YES, but as far as an adaptation this still very good. They obviously didn't try to wrap it up and do an anime original ending leaving us on a cliffhanger of a season finale which would make you assume a season 2 was at least taken into consideration. But knowing where the manga stands season 2 isn't coming anytime soon people as this is the Attack on Titan effect we are dealing with here.. a monthly manga. Anyway getting back to this season it was very good nothing more or less to say about it!