Gangsta is one of the best anime series I’ve ever watched*.
With that said, let’s get into the review.
Gangsta is categorized as an dramatic, action anime and follows the story of the “Handymen” who live in Ergastulum; who service both the local police authority and the community (including the underworld). The Handymen worked with and outside of the law, a combination of enforcer and Judge Dredd.
And who are the Handymen?
Nicolas Brown aka Nic: Nicolas is an exceptional fighter with a bit of a secret; but who doesn’t have a secret in Ergastulum? Along with his abilities, Nic is also deaf and communicates using sign language – he can speak but exercises that ability very rarely.
Worwick Arcangelo met Nic when the later was hired to serve as his personal bodyguard. Young Worwick and Nicholas formed an unbreakable brotherhood as Worwick tried to bring Nic into the safety of his world and Nic tried to save Worwick from the realities of his.
Ergastulum is a safe haven for Twilights and members of the Underworld. The governing body, while part of a larger system is made up of three crime families and the guild. Why is a safe haven needed? RACISM – tuh.
Celebrer a drug- developed and use during the war, it upped user’s strength and fighting capabilities. The drug turned out to be so effective that even the descendants of soldiers during the war had were Twilights and were tagged as such at birth. Oh, and don’t even think about going cold turkey – you’ll die.
Society’s main issue is – (OG Maco Voice) You guessed it! – acceptance of Twilights and their right to lead normal lives.
Season 1 follows the Handymen on a “Job”, namely to commit a smidge of murder – but Nic and Worwick are men of principle so, nothing really could be that easy. The end result is a war within the families and the possible crumble of Ergastulum.
Outside of the impressive writing by Koshke, we must take a minute to acknowledge how amazing Gangsta’s soundtrack is! When I watched the first episode, I knew based on the theme alone that I was in for a good story – the quality of an anime directly correlates to how good the theme song is. (This is science) All the music really is superb and most importantly, it feels like an extension of the feelings that you have rather than an indicator for where they wanted your feelings to be. Props to Yukio Nagasaki who is the Sound Director on this project, Tustchie on Music; as well Stereo Drive Foundation for “Renegade” the opening theme and Annabel for “Country of the Night” the ending theme.
Gangsta is a well thought out story that’s a bit more adult in nature: actions have very direct and serious consequences in this world and some actions cause irreparable damage and features a colorful cast of supporting characters that do more than just take up space on the screen.
The idea of villain and hero are definitely live in a grey area in this show – there are characters that are “good” that must do bad things and vice versa; Gangsta does a good job of showing the humanity of all of the characters presented – whether it’s dialogue that uncovers a secret or a sex worker trying to get her life back together or Nic and Worwick expressing their love and affection for each other; it’s a wonderfully fun.
Gangsta was recommended to me via a follower on Twitter – I was adamant to get away from Shonen series (not that there’s anything wrong with Shonen), but shows like Naruto, Bleach and other Toonami titles were becoming painful with 10+ years of dedication to a series. I wanted fast hitting story, great development and characters that really grew in front of me – and I wanted it in 3 seasons.
Gangsta gave me everything I needed in 1.
*P.S. In case you’re one of these headass folks that like to argue, I said “One of the best series EYE’ve ever watched” I’d much rather you tell me which series made you feel this way and make a recommendation than argue my personal love of this show.
You can find Season 1 of Gangsta on: Hulu | Funimation | Your Preferred, Not so Legal Anime Streaming Site