Gangsta is a new show this season based on Kohske’s manga of the same name. The series stars Nicolas Brown and Worick Arcangelo, two “handymen” who do special (usually violent) jobs that the local police and mobs can’t easily handle.
I have to say, this show has style. Two things struck me very quickly: the design of the environment and the music. The architecture of the city Gangsta takes place in is distinctly Italian, which is something that isn’t seen often in anime. The city is unbelievably enjoyable to look at. The artists obviously put a lot of care into the scenery and it really does a huge part in crafting a unique identity for the show. The music follows that cue and uses a mixture of hip-hop and jazz that really makes this feel like a classic gangster movie brought into the 21st century. The backgrounds and music work together to form an atmosphere more immersive than anything I’ve seen in a long time.
This show reminds me a lot of Black Lagoon. The fictional city of Ergastulum is a crime-infested hellhole that gave me flashbacks to the setting of Roanapur. They’re both cities at the end of the Earth where only tough people with hard lives go when they have no other options. The half-legitimate/half-criminal nature of Nicolas and Worick’s handymen work made me think they’d fit right in as employees of the Black Lagoon Trading Company.
So far there’s a good amount of action in every episode of this show, but it doesn’t seem like the main focus. Most of the time has been spent on worldbuilding and getting to know the two main characters. But when the action does happen it’s really well done. The show hasn’t revealed much about this yet, but Nicolas is some kind of superhuman being coming from a class of mercenaries. The direction of the action scenes really makes it clear just how Nicolas is leagues ahead of his opponents.
Gangsta has had a solid first three episodes. It did a really good job of introducing us to a new world and characters. It feeds the audience a steady amount of information about both that’s just enough that we’re learning more but makes us clamor to know more.
Norbert Daniels Jr. is a freelance writer. Listen to his podcast about appreciating cartoons at SaturdayMorningBlockParty.com.
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