Tag Archives: Seinen

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]

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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

GANGSTA Episode 6

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Director of this episode, Shinpei Nagai might have landed his best work out of his entire career.  Having worked on a huge list of ecchi romance works including the infamous episode 18 of Psycho-Pass he’s sort of a mixed bag in the industry.  If any recall the Psycho-Pass series director [Naoyoshi Shiotani] apologized on his twitter about the animation being poorly done.  A lot of issues with the animation being outsourced, and with Nagai in charge of that department I’m sure some of the heat landed on him.  Anyway, Nagai shouldn’t be a full-fledged director–Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken is proof of that.  Nor should he even be key animating shows–Psycho-Pass‘ episode 18 was awful.  One of his highlights, however, that was messy and paid off nicely was Michiko e Hatchin‘s episode 19.  It featured a train sequence that had very gritty and messed up animation that for some reason flowed together nicely with the large amounts of movement and intriguing camera angles it contained.  Reminds me of the work Eunyoung Choi does for Masaaki Yuasa.  Nagai’s directing on single episodes are good–Samurai Flamenco‘s premiere was very strong.

I’ve neglected to mention who worked on the opening in my previous posts.  The opening sequence is directed by Pyeon-Gang Ho.  Episode director of episode 7’s Zankyou no Terror and at least two episodes that I know of from Baby Steps.  One of the best openings of the season!

Nicholas and Worwick’s pasts bears a lot on their current situation as Twilight and holder.  As it was revealed previously we learn that there are Normals that maintain control over their Twilight slaves.  The Arcangelo parents death that has been quickly shown in flashbacks pays a heavy weight on Worwick and his relationship with Nicholas.  It’s interesting how he wants to forget he even owns Nicholas.  His phrase where he says “you’ll stick with me partner” alludes to this.

The vocal piece that is played during  the middle of this episode was fantastic.  It draws in the reality Worwick saw as a child and the abuse he experienced from his father.  Their relationship also pays a heavy price on the mysterious Veronica they took care.  I have to wonder how far this 1-cour show will go in developing that.  With all the action from previous episodes it is nice to have a breather episode with Nicholas recovering from the downers Paulina shot at him.

As for Alex’s disappearance in the ending of the last episode this episode provides the backbone to Worwick becoming Alex’s saving grace.  Along with Nicholas, he’s one of her guardian angels that’s pulled her out of the hell Barry put her through.  That kiss and her attempt at giving in to old desires emphasize’s Theo’s analysis of a woman caught up in a submissive lifestyle and how she can overcome it with even the smallest bits of kindness.  A roof under her head, some medical treatment and people to converse with.

That piano piece at the end was incredible and illustrates, musically, the idea that there is some kind of hope in this rotten city.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

GANGSTA Episode 5

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Directed by  in-between animator Kaori Suzuki.  Must have gotten a promotion in the past few years because that’s all Kaori had ever been commissioned for until this episode of GANGSTA.  Most notably known for working on Matoko Shinkai’s Hoshi wo Ou Kokomo.  This was by far the best episode of GANGSTA to date.  The music pulled together the Nicholas and Doug fight nicely. The overhead shot of the twilight duel was animated by none other than Shinya Takahashi.  The same key animator of Blood-C and Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru‘s opening sequences.  Animation was directed by freelance animator and one of the founders of JAniCA, Japan Animation Creators Association.  Most of his work stems from the Lupin III series and Hajime no Ippo.  The other animation director is from Studio TRIGGER’s team Kotaro Nakamori.  He’s mostly worked on 2013’s Kill la Kill and Anime Mirai 2014’s Harmonie piece that was produced by Ultra Super Pictures.  Now onto GANGSTA.

The fight was just icing on the cake as we finally get a good view of how the Twilights are treated in Ergastulum.  The three laws separates the humans of this series [called Normals] and the Twilights as Doug decides to go after Monroe from an illegally operated union.  It’s briefly shown in a televised broadcast towards the beginning.  Genius!  As loose as the narrative has been in adapting the manga the creators took a lot of attention to tell it hearty.  I’m glad to see these laws aren’t a quick plot device.  This gives a solid introduction to the Paulklee guild and its members.

Ginger is very nervous especially when handling Nicholas.  There’s an obvious gap between them–good thing this wasn’t shown off right away until her boss Gina Paulklee arrives to swiftly assess and correct the situation between the Twilights.  Doug should be more of the wildcard as given how he’s taken out Monroe’s men–a mafia leader protected by the three laws.

This is the first time we’re seeing more strength in its female characters.  GANGSTA contains a masculine quality to it–we saw that with the sex segments in the first episode and action scenes.  However this episode lifts the lid on that perspective a little and gives some fortitude to women.  Alex has been beaten physically and psychologically by Barry Abott and this episode fuels that even further.  It shows that those earlier scenes in this show are intentional in creating lasting consequences on her personality.  She may have been freed by the two hitmen but her battle to overcome her fears trapped in her mind are far from over.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10