Category Archives: Series Completed

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] [93/100]

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A show that masterfully created suspenseful drama. Productions were top notch–visuals by A-1 Pictures put this towards the top of my list as some of the best animation including its wonderful cinematography!  Yuki Kajiura scored a dramatic soundtrack and it pays off!  Especially with Kayo’s scenes between her mother and the incredible detail on object framing throughout the kids conversations at school!

We get a realistic perspective on how Satoru grows up through the eyes of a child.  If it weren’t for Satoru’s mother, Sachiko, being such a strong parental figure (supporting Satoru’s decision on not abandoning Kayo) in this series I would not have rated this in the 90’s.  It’s because of her we understand Akemi’s treatment of her own child, Kayo, and that Boku Machi is more than just a chilling murder mystery series.  It is clearly seen by the first half of this anime that the director chose to highlight the friendships (Kayo x Satoru) rather than focusing on Satoru finding out who killed his mom [until towards the end of the anime].  We get a concurring theme of murder mystery that helps him get closer to Kayo–the animation and cinematography were important in getting this across.  We see realistic scenes between the two of them from hand holding to birthday parties and while being in his 10-year old self it’s Satoru’s job to protect Kayo it also rewarding that he is learning new things about himself and why he couldn’t connect with his mom and friends before.  His revival ability gives him the chance at a “do-over” and it’s amazing to watch it pan out.  Offering us well-written inner dialogue scenes from heartfelt moments to comedic scenes.

Director Tomohiko Ito [Sword Art Online] cut out a lot from the manga and still managed to give us an ending that is satisfying.  The manga explains that Satoru can rerun moments of time backwards sometimes of his choosing.  In the anime, his ability is known as revival where it occurs through a situation that leads to tragedy.   In the manga, chapter 3 explores this in detail when Katagiri Airi and he discover a building getting torn down and Satoru has a rerun.  He knows something is off and discovers a child stuck in an elevator shaft.  After saving the child’s life he discovers that Katagiri’s first name is Airi and they call each other on a first name basis after the incident.  In the anime this entire scene is completely removed resulting in a lack of characterization for Airi. And still the anime captured even Airi’s moments nicely.  Using her as Satoru’s push forward in the middle of this story worked–Satoru can lean on his friends for help.  IF it wasn’t for her punch scene with the manager and the entire fire sequence I don’t think Satoru would have leaned on his friends, especially Kenya, as much as he did in the second half of Boku Machi.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 93/100


 

On a side note I thought I’d share some upcoming events my anime club is having. If anyone is interested in helping out with my events please contact me.

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Subete ga F ni Naru [The Perfect Insider] [85/100]

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The [not quite] Perfect Insider

The Perfect Insider takes the classic locked room mystery and gives it an interesting twist, inserting digital technology and gendered elements… elements that don’t quite hold up under scrutiny, which may be a deal breaker for some.

Isaac Asimov in an introduction to his collected mystery short stories wrote that there were essentially two schools of whodunits. The first was of a logical puzzle sort that had to be deduced by the protagonist (and also, natch, the reader), with the locked room mystery being the ultimate example. The main pleasure to be derived in these sorts of stories was the logical coherence of the mystery and the way in which it could be solved as an exercise of the intellect. Asimov, as we might guess, wrote mysteries in this form.

The other sort of mystery, Asimov said, was the sort where the actual mystery was really second to the process of deduction – what might now be termed a police procedural. The main dividend  for the reader of these tales were the myriad amusing insights into human behavior, a sort of cynical morality play. Asimov gave Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe stories as the ultimate example of this school of mystery, adding, perhaps a bit ruefully, that they were really more shaggy dog stories than actual mysteries.

Having read every Philip Marlowe novel more than once, I can say that even now I don’t really remember what the mystery in any one story was exactly, or how it was even resolved. But the mystery was ancillary; an excuse for Marlowe to get involved with a colorful cast of characters, make clever remarks, and have adventures (a contemporary homage to this type of mystery is the Big Lebowski).

We can say. then, that The Perfect Insider represents a classic bait-and-switch: we are promised a cerebral locked-room mystery, and instead end up with an enjoyable character study and a somewhat disjointed adventure yarn. How annoyed the viewer is by the work’s admittedly unscrupulous deception depends on how amused they are in spite of it all.

Personally, I liked it so much that I now want to watch the live action adaptation.

The Perfect Insider opens with a simple confrontation between two young women, one of whom murdered her parents, and the other who had her parents taken from her in a tragic accident. From there begins an insightful, but also at times uneven, exploration of what it exactly means to be in control, and whether that is synonymous with freedom, a central theme that quietly flows beneath the surface of the work.

The next scene is takes up the rest of the first episode, and consists entirely of Moe Nishinosono, the young woman who lost her parents, talking with her professor.

If watching a cartoon about a professor’s office hours is something that intrigues you, then you will probably enjoy The Perfect Insider. For me, the episode was amazing. The professor,  Sohei Saikawa, is the series’ gumshoe stand-in, a haggard, unconventional chain smoker who can move effortlessly from  Zhuang Zhou to bootstrapping operating systems.  Moe Nishinosono falls into the Girl Friday role, but both characters color outside the lines enough that the conventional roles they play are more homage than hack work.

By episode 2 the duo find their way to a remote island, of course, where a storm cuts them off from the mainland, of course, and then a murder happens, of course. Thus, we finally arrive at the mystery, which involves the other young woman introduced in the first episode, the brilliant but deadly Shiki Magata. Again, the series’ charm lies in its spin on traditional elements of the mystery: the femme fatale, who in this instance never even meets the male protagonist; her seductive power for him lies totally in the realm of abstract thought.

A major plot point hinges on a real-life problem in programming, the overflow or wrap-around error, which I thought was a very clever and daring touch, given how unfamiliar and technical an issue it is, from the perspective of a general audience.

Of course, as I later had pointed out to me, while such an error is theoretically possible, it is highly improbable, even given the time period the source material was written in (the anime is based on a novel written in the early-mid 1990s). Essentially, the error involves an overflow on a 16-bit unsigned integer, which is a digitally stored whole number that has to be equal to or greater than zero, with no negative sign. However, by that period in time in Japan even video game systems had at least 32-bit CPUs, implying that the standard integer size on computers used in a state-of-the-art research laboratory would have to be at the very least twice the size of the one given in the story.

A detractor here would say that this is representative of the series’ general shortcomings; it’s only kissing to be clever, don’t think for a second that it’s going to go all the way, or that it even cares. I think this somewhat unfair, at least in this instance. It’s not something a casual viewer would ever catch, and even those people who sense it’s fibbing on a technicality would still be wiling to grant the artistic license and maintain the suspension of disbelief. Biologists and paleontologists are still able to enjoy Jurassic Park, right? Still…

In fact, what we can say is that the work as a mystery really, truly is sloppy. The mystery isn’t solved so much as it unravels in big heap in front of the viewer. By the final episode I was completely lost; not, I suspect, from a failure of intellect on my part, but because the story had so many loose ends you could make a mop out of it. At least, I hope that’s the case – FilmSnark has a much more detailed analysis of everything that didn’t add up (most of it).

And yet, after finishing it, I immediately wanted to watch it again. The main characters are a lot of fun, salient points are made regarding intelligence being used to excuse sociopathic behavior, and the soundtrack is awesome, like imagine if Phil Collins scored the original Lupin III series.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 85/100

GANGSTA [77/100]

*First two images are from the Blu-ray release.

If it wasn’t for that ending I would have rated this higher.  Throughout the course of this series animation production was mediocre at best with a tremendous amount of scenes being half-finished or poorly animated.  The voice acting is top notch as we’ve got Junichi Sawabe once again voicing a womanizing character just as he did with Space Dandy last year. Plus the performance by Kenjiro Tsuda was petrifying.  I loved how director Shuko Murase handled his dialogue scenes as well as his inner monologue.

There’s a lot to enjoy from this anime a gritty story about crooked cops, prostitutes, mature character designs and a killer soundtrack by Tsutchie.  I really want to see the band compose a score for a horror series someday.  That’d be unique.

As for the story one of the issues I have is character development.  I wish they could have fleshed out the rest of the cast as our attention is more focused on the Handymen rather than the four mafia groups as a whole.  This brought about a huge problem for the so-called ending.  Side-characters.  They were the primary focus for about three episodes between introducing the Esminets and Paula’s group.  Perhaps that year off for MANGLOBE hurt them in the end after all.  This series’ animation was all over the place, it’s thick and mature, which I typically enjoy but due to the series sudden finale and second rate key animation it isn’t a series that’s lasting in my book.  As far as the Blu-ray releases go however, it’s raising the bar much higher for me, I’m curious how they will look if the company ever gets around to releasing them in single sets or one boxset.

As far as MANGLOBE goes, GANGSTA was their last mark on Japanese animation and it’s a a bit unsettiling.  They were a fantastic studio that made strives in delivering original works.  One of my favorite studios for that matter.  If anything is learned by this show it’s that studios need to give more heart to their work.  Being risky and ambitious can only go so far, sometimes to make cash for your employees you’ve got to put the talent where you are guaranteed it’ll work.  Also make an anime that is going to be a money-maker.  Light novels are always a good place to make anime works from.  As much as I hate to say that but these studios do have to cater to the mass otaku every once in a while.  Look at BONES and One Punch Man for example.  They run on a very tight very low budget with high performance by their animators each episode resulting in high reward.  Someone’s doing something right with that series.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: [77/100]

GANGSTA Episode 12

Episode Director: 

  • Yukihiko Asaki (Episode Director for GANGSTA episode 1, 2, 8 and 12)
  • Yusuke Onoda ( Episode Director for No-Rin episode 2 / Episode Director for Baby Steps episode 7 and 16 / Episode Director for Ixion Saga DT episode 13)

Storyboards: 

  • Yoshimitsu Shashi ( Storyboard Writer and Episode Director for PlanetES episodes 2, 7, 11, 17, 23 and 26 / Storyboard Writer for Samurai Champloo episode 10 / Storyboard Writer and Episode Director for Michiko e Hatchin episodes 11, 16 and 20 / Key Animator for Michiko e Hatchin episodes 14, 16 and 20 / Storyboard Writer for Haikyuu!! episode 10)
  • Hatsumi Koichi (Storyboards and Episode Director for Le Chevalier D’Eon episodes 3, 11 and 22 / Storyboards for Shingeki no Bahamut: GENESIS episode 4)
  • Akira Sato (Key Animator for Michiko e Hatchin episodes 2, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22 / Animation Supervisor for Michiko e Hatchin episode 19 and 22)

Script: Shin’ichi Inotsume (Script Writer for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure episodes 11, 18, 19 and 22 / Script Writer for Akatsuki no Yona episodes 1, 2 and 9 / Script Writer for Shokugeki no Soma episodes 6 and 7)


 

This is just one big tease to go buy the manga.  If MANGLOBE had made it past the financial rut that led them into bankcrupcy I bet they would have done another cour of this.  This wasn’t much of a finale and going by the way the creators decided to accelerate these past three episodes it’s not a huge surprise.  There’s a lot of questions left to be answered–Connie is still be held hostage by the Esminets, then there’s Alex left at the Benriya shop, not to mention Worwick’s fall from the window.  It’s tragic that this series may never get completed.  Even the author, Kohske has been ill for months and has her work on hiatus.

The animation was pretty shoddy here.  Tons of big hands looked super-deformed especially where Worwick is lying in the grass during the final scene. The scene with Cristiano family was poorly animated featuring lots of out of focus shots.

Even though this finale isn’t really a finale it doesn’t stop me from enjoying this series.  Character designs are fantastic, direction is solid straight through and the music is superb.

A side-note, the first two DVD/Blu-ray volumes were heavily edited including touchups on just about every scene in the first four episodes.  I hadn’t noticed how many mistakes were made between hand gestures and eye movements these are completely overhauled in these retail releases.  Can’t wait to see which studio will finish handling final production before giving it over to Emotion for retail product designs like English subtitling and extras.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 4/10

 

GANGSTA Episode 11

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Episode Director: Akira Sato & Hideki Katayama [Katayama is Dragonar‘s director / GANGSTA episodes 3 and 5.]

Storyboards: Akira Satou [Blood the Last Vampire executive producer/ Heroman In-Between Animator ]

Script: Noboru Kimura [Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom screenplay writer / Solty Rei script writer]


I might have mentioned this before but I will say it again.  GANGSTA is one big tease.  The animation is thick, facial expressions often times are very inconsistent and yet the overall style remains extremely mature.  A relaxing soundtrack, strong episode direction goes to show how this advertises Koshke’s manga.

We’re introduced to the group behind the Tag killings–Tretiy Esminets. With only one episode left I’m worried we won’t be getting a good chapter to end this season on.  There hasn’t been a lot of action and it’s displeasing to me that this episode leaves Worwick and Nicholas completely out of the story only to shine the spotlight on newly introduced Tags and Normals.  Typically I’m all for minor characters achieving development but this was bad.  Too late in the game.

What’s even worse is that Alex is shown only for a few minutes–with her memories of her childhood flooding back to her without any room for her brother Emilio’s appearance to back it up.  Given what happens in the manga, I feel that the creators could get to their reunion [only by rushing the story a bit] or completely leave it out.  This penultimate episode might not have been the strongest in the series but it does do justice in establishing how the four families are going to get toppled off their reign.  While Doug’s death represents the strength these outsiders have how the pacing is handled with only one more episode left gives an impression that GANGSTA will end on poor note.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 4/10

GANGSTA Episode 10

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Episode Director: Suzuki Kaoru [Episode director of Psycho-Pass episode 5, and season 2’s Episode 3]

Storyboards: Suzuki Kaoru

Script: Inotsume Shin’ichi [Eureka Seven AO episodes 5,6,15,16 and 21, JoJo’s Bizarre AdventureAkatsuki no Yona]


The animation had very detailed character designs this time around and yet MANGLOBE still couldn’t keep it consistent.  The production studio must have gotten a lot of new animators in their offices because of how on/off this show has looked since it premiered.  There’s a few shots of Alex and those kids that were too jagged looking and not rounded off in the characters’ faces like before.  Perhaps I’m being too picky on this show.  On a positive note, it doesn’t completely detract away from the grittiness and maturity that the anime is trying to get across.

After having a two-week break of new material in the GANGSTA anime this show is back!  All the chaos back at Bastard this episode achieves what it does best.  Being smooth.   The soundtrack points this out wonderfully.  For the majority of this episode we learn a lot about the Handymen having zero connection with the four families.  Nice to see that they aren’t the only ones in the same boat too!  What’s explored here is that the families particularly the Monroe family know these two men are extremely dangerous to keep in their pockets.  Worwick is dangerous for his memory–and could quite possibly tear down Ergastulum with it’s secrets hidden between the alleyways. Nicholas’ behavior says everything to them–they can’t have a Tag that doesn’t fully obey orders even when it’s at times where he doesn’t even listen to Worwick, his holder.

It doesn’t stop there–and I think this is where its gets very exciting.  Now that we’ve seen the main casts backstories, this episode rehashes a ton of old wounds and introduces us to some new ones.  Alex still finding her place in the group, trying to get an even better understanding how their relationship with the doctor Theo is.  Nina’s a bright aura that this show has needed since the start–she accepts Theo’s quirks and makes the best out of any situation with a smile.  I’ve said before the directing is top notch and so it makes the characterization extremely smooth and realistic.  Nina’s still a child–her innocence shows up quite a bit in then beginning of this episode!  Fantastic!

If I hadn’t been reading the manga I would have been jaw-droppingly surprised that there’s romance between Constance and Marco.  Very strong dialogue during that sequence by its two seiyuu!  That scene didn’t hit the ground until Theo and Galahad mention it being a curse or a cure.  Hearty moments right after grittiness action is one aspect that makes this anime special.

GANGSTA‘s episode here gave me the impression that the Handymen were creating their own small family with the scenes in Theo’s office and the rooftop.  It wasn’t all smiles though–Worwick discloses to Delico that his twin was there and I like how Worwick’s powerful memorization abilities trace back to when Nicholas and he were a little younger and first met Delico.  Great to see Worwick being of use outside of the fighting back and forth in this episode!  If this series had been 2-cour and they went for split-cour airing, MANGLOBE and series director Koichi Hatsumi could very well had chosen this episode to end the first half.  Nicely done!  Ivan leading the new Twilight hunters with Emilio a part of the group should give a solid dramatic turn for the better in these final two episodes!  Hopefully they don’t do something crazy like an anime original ending because so far this has been a solid adaptation.

It’s also good to see that the Handymen have hidden Miss Cristiano at their place.  Even if these families have to keep the Handymen at a distance far away from their business dealings they can always rely on them to protect their comrades.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

GANGSTA Episode 9.5

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Recap Planning and Organization: Bandai Visual

Narrator: Hashizume Tomohisa [Delico’s seiyu]


I am not a fan of recaps unless they are treated like Garo handled it last year.  This doesn’t make sense at all.  First, there’s a recap episode here and secondly, the creators decide to take a week break to air episode 10.  Now I’d understand splitting up a two-cour series or even long-running series like Naruto but GANGSTA is 1-cour.  Clocking in at around 12 episodes–having a recap is a waste of time and money for both MANGLOBE and Bandai Visual.  Not to mention the broadcasting networks like TV Tokyo and ABC.  The only thing I can think of is they didn’t get enough time to animate episode 10 for its scheduled airing.  I sure hope the creators announce some kind of sequel to this.  They need to animate more of Kohske’s manga!  With only 3 episodes left, you have to wonder how much left they can adapt.  I’m betting on them getting up to at least chapter 38.

Regardless, this is a decent primer for first-time viewers.  Getting  lot of the important scenes displayed from episodes 1 through 8.  I’m not sure why episode 9 wasn’t covered since this recap is 9.5, but oh well.  The transitions weren’t tied together very well but this did have one amazing re-edited opening sequence using Stereo Dive Foundation’s “Renegade” theme.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 2/10

GANGSTA Episode 9

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Episode Director: Yusuke Onoda [Naruto Shippuuden episode director, Fairy Tale episode director]

Storyboards: Ohashi Yoshimitsu [PlanETES, Key Animator for Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood episodes and storyboarded OP 4]

Script: Takagi Seiko [Samurai ChamplooOre Monogatari!!Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii]


GANGSTA‘s story is slowly tying itself together.  Picking up from last episode just after Alex’s singing performance the situation goes from bad outside to even worse inside the club Bastard.  Sudden violence breaks out of control giving this episode a fairly solid beginning.  The young leader of Corsica, Loretta being the target builds up the tension between her bodyguards and Marco’s entry into the fray surprisingly well.  I say this because I feel GANGSTA‘s been focusing a bit too much on the trio (Nicholas, Worwick and Alex) way too much instead of developing smaller self-contained stories around them.  Boss Monroe is just another guy the Handymen meet in the back alleys of Ergastulum–instead of spending more than 10 minutes on backstories of the main cast the creators (and even its author Koshke) should have written these minor characters in a bit more strongly.  Just for episodes like this one.  Its as if this show is forgetting what ground to stand on?  Is this show about Worwick and Nicholas specifically or people trying to survive in a rotten city?

Loretta is a shining example of bringing a character into an already focused story so well–with only two episodes of a real introduction to her.  She’s smart, she knows there is a coup d’etat somewhere within the families and she wants to understand exactly who is pulling the strings.  She’s also got guts.  Giving Alex a gun in order to protect herself illustrates how the femininity is strengthening in this series.  From the beginning the only female character we had seen was Alex–a washed out prostitute.  From her being able to meet and be saved by Worwick and Nicholas things have been looking up for her.  Dr. Theo’s assistant nurse, Nina doesn’t shy away from reality and is willing to help anyone in need.  We saw that firsthand in the second episode and even more recently.  Loretta is like her in she understands she needs to hold her own if she’s going to head the Cristiano family.  Thinking back on that scene where she tells Alex the gun is for self-defense peels off another layer of her character–she’s kind-hearted and doesn’t want any unwanted blood to be spilled because there’s a riff in the four families.

As for the other side, Mikhail and Erica are indeed the ones killing Twilights since episode 3.  Mikhail is a lot how Doug was when he fought Nicholas–he’s completely reckless.  Perhaps that’s to depict how a lot of these Tags are. It is interesting how Erica is Delico’s twin isn’t confirmed off the bat whether or not she’s a Twilight.  She’s fast, really fast and her being related to Delico does lean towards the idea she has Tags but the anime hasn’t confirmed it as of yet.  Good to see there is still some mystery left in GANGSTA‘s cast!  I’m glad Kohske took this detail to amp up Nicholas’ fighting spirit only to reveal he’s not the TAG he’s been shown off to be!

MANGLOBE what happened?  I’ve forgiven GANGSTA‘s first few episodes having a choppy animation style but this was bad.  The production of this episode was a bit off.  Between facial expressions and arm movements; felt very forced.  Animation wasn’t smooth, however, it sure had some unique camera angles during the fights.  This show as I’ve mentioned before is very clunky when the characters are moving around and this episode didn’t let go of that at all.  Not necessarily a good thing to have when the intention of this was to be highly action-packed.  What’s even weirder is the music production–this show isn’t going to have a large collection of songs for its soundtrack but Tsutchie needs to add some variety!  I like the chill mood each piece gives off but its more of the same!  Also want to point out some of the score was used at the wrong times especially during Nicholas’ fight!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 5/10

 

GANGSTA Episode 8

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Episode Director: Kudo Shun [Hajime no Ippo: Rising and Garo episode director and storyboard writer]

Storyboards: Oshio Manjiro [Witch Hunter Robin Episode 5 Storyboards/ Wolf’s Rain Episode 19 Storyboards]

Script: Kimura Noboru [script writer for Seikoku no Dragonar / Episodes 2, 5 and 8 of GANGSTA]


I’m trying something a bit different for posts from here on out.  I feel that I have been discussing more about the production of an episode rather than the stories themselves!  I will list a brief breakdown of production of individual episodes.  As for initial impressions I am going to give a breakdown of series director, series writer, conceptual design, animation studio and soundtrack composer.  Rather than discussing what these animators and directors have been doing it is going to be a lot more organized if I give a first-on introduction to them before diving into the episodes.  I’ll be putting up some of their most notably works (if any) out of their career.

I believe what makes this episode stand out is its music.  Instead of using the chill electronic hip-hop that Tsutchie helped write with the late Nujabes for Samurai Champloo‘s soundtrack; GANGSTA‘s score channels Tsutchie’s hip hop-infused style and modernizes it by using dubstep in its place.  This enhances the action sequences very strongly.  Speaking of dubstep, I believe this year we’ve got a few powerhouse composers working in this genre: Taku Iwasaki [if you haven’t heard the recently released Gatchaman Crowds Insight soundtrack I highly suggest you do!] and Ken Arai’s work on Kiseiju.

Prior to this episode we’ve been distracted by GANGSTA‘s timid violence. I’m curious how the Blu-rays will look uncensored, the added bonus is that the SINGLE volume releases will contain English subtitles.  There is also this anime’s sexual tones with Alex’s past and Worwick’s womanizing behavior and last but not least the rugged animation–sometimes its pretty and other times it feels stuck and out of place especially when characters are moving around the screen.  The character’s spacial area comes off very heavy–MANGLOBE really needs more talented animators and time to work on this show.

Having all this information about contract holders [Worwick being one of them], the Handymen protected by the Monroe family and the Tags throughout the city ending up dead: there’s a lot to take in!  This episode does focus on one thing.  There is normalcy out of all the hell that’s going on around them.  Amidst the city being controlled by the four families–Monroe, Corsica, Paulklee and Cristiano their arguments over whose killing the Tags is a calm before the storm.

A very toned down episode here.  A breather episode is what we’re getting and as much as this was about Twilights being accepted into society it is more about Alex.  The Handymen fixing the Corsican shop gives the needed development for her since we’ve had a ton of backstory on Nicholas and Worwick recently.  Alex had suffered from abuse and illustrating that she hasn’t fully recovered is how she remembers that she has a brother.  Gradually, she’s becoming more of a member of the Handymen’s activities than ever before.  Her jobs might not be as dangerous as the two men but the small jobs she does take–the singing for instance–delivers on a social mediator between the families.

Loretta Cristiano is a young girl that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  She’s the most lively character of this entire episode.  She’s presented as very lady-like and yet her personality says differently–gives off some strong humorous moments with her crew and before the attacks on the Tags start occurring.

MANGLOBE’s animated efforts haven’t been the best in this show, however, what IS effective is the storytelling.  We’re learning about Alex’s brother just as she is and him hearing her singing able to recognize that it’s her is icing on the cake for us.  GANGSTA is finally coming together!  Alex enriches the Tags turmoil beautifully in this scene because she’s a woman that’s already been broken and trying to make a better life for herself.  It’s because of this that I feel she’s very tough to watch, in an unlovely sense.  The dress she’s wearing illustrates how she’s moving on from her past slowly but surely and that there can be peace found in this rotten city.

I also want to point out how amazing the directing is.  Every episode has flushed out the characters and the transitions between scenes have been perfect.  Loved the part where everything is calm at Bastard and the scene cuts straight into the action with the highly effective electronic song.  It adds mystery to what is going to happen next!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

GANGSTA Episode 7

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This episode strengthens and reinforces the bond the Handymen have with Alex quite a bit.  Plain and simple, they aren’t going to take advantage of her like what Barry had done.  They’re pulling her out of despair and give her a chance to start over–Nicholas did the same for Worwick when he took out his eye and murdered his family.  Before all this happened to him he taught Nicholas  how to read.  This is fundamental in how they respect one another.  Mr. Monroe is a very objective person–he’s not surprised by much of anything in the slightest.

This series is very masculine.  It’s realistic in depicting its characters’ relationships and their struggles.  It doesn’t shy away from  Worwick’s abuse from his father and Nicholas’ actions from his superiors act as the groundwork for how they want to treat Alex as theirs.  I believe this is one of the first times of many [hopefully in the future] that she takes charge.  She -worries about them especially Worwick’s pain in his eye without consideration for herself.  GANGSTA‘s director certainly took in to consideration where to place manga material in a 1-cour series.  I’ll be curious as to how they are going to end this show with the manga ongoing–will it be original?  Switching scenes around [and for the better] really adds edge to its main cast and how they interact with the side characters.  Nina’s innocence is shot down by the fact that she’s Dr. Theo’s nurse and she knows secrets behind the Twilights even about Nicholas.   Nicholas jumps from building to building with Nina in tow draws tranquility to its heavy atmosphere.  GANGSTA‘s charm lies in the gritty narrative design and being able to mix it in with heartfelt moments–most of which this episode consisted of.

At first, I wasn’t too thrilled in how these past scenes jump into between the present story but it works well when the creators are establishing the history of why Twilights stay in alleyways and curfews are popping up for certain situations.  Nicholas just like other twilights have an addiction to drugs–he relies heavily on the uppers to enhance his strength and strike fear in people wanting to mess up Ergastulum.  As it so happens the dead body cases aren’t from Doug but someone else.  1-cour airing is widely going to affect how these villains will be handled from here on out.  I applaud Kenjiro Tsuda in breathing life into Nicholas’ character.  Alex desperately wants to learn how to converse with him and it’s great to see that he at least get’s the feel for how she’s wanting to be accepted.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10