“Gangsta” Life

This is a gritty crime drama, set out in a town that is ruled by crime lords, so everyone is miserable all the time. It emotionally rains every day and life is very cheap. Welcome to “Gangsta” (“Gyangusuta”).

We are in the town of Ergastulum. It is not truly identified as such, but it had a Mediterranean feel to it, almost Italian. We follow the lives of two ‘handymen’, Nicolas Brown (far left) and Worick Arcangelo (right next to him). Many years ago, Worick had Nic as a personal bodyguard, but when Worick’s father stubbed out a lit cigarette in his eye (you did notice the eye patch, right?), Nic dispatched the family and they both went underground. You see, Nic is ‘special’.

He is known as a ‘Twilight’, a person with superhuman abilities, gained from the drug Celebrer. He is deaf and uses sign language to communicate, but reads lips well. They are dispatched to clean up the dirty jobs that a lot of the other crime families won’t even touch. The two ladies? At the far end is Alex Benedetto (Ally) who was working as a prostitute, but is saved by the two guys (she plied her trade in the alley just across from their office/apartment) not only from her life, but from her abusive pimp. The little girl is Nina and works for Dr. Theo, one of those back-alley doctors who patches up people after the rather numerous battles and helps get the Twilights their Celebrer.

The series details their lives in this gritty town and the machinations in place that seem bent on eliminating all the Twilights.

Despite all the violence (and there are tons of it), everything is muted and dulled, much like everyone’s existence in this barfy burg. You may have even forgotten why you do what you do, so it is more reflexive. Stimulus, response; stimulus, response. We certainly learn most, if not all, of the backstories of the main folks and the rather delicate relationships all have. The cops do just enough, but do not go too far in investigating. The Crime Lords ply their trade, but try not to step on toes or take more than they should. When someone comes in to upset that balance, then all hell breaks loose.

This show reminded me of “Black Lagoon” in the moral depravity of all involved. You do what you must to survive, but understand that a price will be paid at the end and it’s going to be a big tab. Everyone is trapped and there is seemingly no way out, except feet first. I enjoyed the relations between Nic and Worick, as they are less friends and more survivors, relying on each other’s strengths when things get too tough and that line gets crossed numerous times.

A lot of times in action anime, the lion’s share of the action is done to show it can be done; there is never a reason behind it. I found the acts and actions taken were measured and deliberate for this show and never gratuitous. And when people got their just desserts, they got it. None of this ‘I’ll be back’ junk. The sad part of this show is that none of these people will reach retirement age. All are doomed to a bloody demise.

I recommend this show highly. With the first season over (things haven’t come to a conclusion, so there should be something more out there), you can string it together for some binge watching. It might get too grim for your tastes to take it all in at once, but the show and its tales would flow better for you, especially with the cabaret fight in the middle of the run. There is a 9.5 Recap Episode, but you can avoid that. You already know what’s going on, anyway.

On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork           8 (Grim and gritty)
Plot                  8 (Solid crime tale with a twist)
Pacing              8 (Moves much like life on the edge)
Effectiveness   7 (Some parts of the story not fully related to us)
Conclusion      6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service     2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)

Overall            8 (On the treadmill to oblivion)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Don’t overdose on that stuff!

About The Droid

It took me about 40 years and seven valiant attempts to finally enjoy anime. Whether I grew into it or the stories got better, things have been percolating along since 2004.

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