Gangsta. Episode 3 !!EXCLUSIVE!!
Gangsta sure is taking its time in building up the main conflict. The two previous episodes slowly peppered in information paired with new mysteries about the Handymen and Alex, but all this character building is starting to take a toll on the show\u2019s pacing. Episode 3 features more great information about the Handymen\u2019s past, but fumbles in clarifying the overarching issue of the show.
Gangsta. Episode 3
The opening scene of this episode depicts a mortified young Worick who finds Nicolas standing over his father\u2019s body. It\u2019s powerful, dark, and ultimately another mystery to write down in our books. How are these two friends if Nicolas slaughtered Worick\u2019s family? We learn a little more about the murder in a newspaper \u2014 which you can even pause and read \u2014 and flashbacks from Worick throughout the episode, but why they\u2019re still together is left as a puzzle that Alex is trying to figure out.
It\u2019s been established that Alex is having a difficult time settling into Ergastulum, especially in her new, violent life with the Handymen. She serves as a great representation of the viewer\u2019s perspective, and that gets fleshed out a little more in this episode. While Worick works his main job as a gigolo, a majority of this episode features Alex helping Nicolas deliver packages to various people in Ergastulum. Once again Alex is warned about hanging around the Handymen and the danger of Tags by one of the older clients. Then, while delivering one of their last packages to one of the mafia families, she witnesses a brutal slaying of two men. By the end of the episode Alex seems as though she\u2019s ready to take off, and Worick encourages her to escape the city.
There\u2019s some interesting parallels between Alex and Worick in this episode. Alex worked as a prostitute for the now-dead gang and had a terrible experience. However, we see Worick as a gigolo not only working independently, but also appearing to enjoy it. Worick entered the profession at a young age under the care of Big Mama, a woman who runs a brothel. It seems like this gave him a better start than Alex, but Alex asks him a great question: why? It\u2019s still a mystery as to why the Handymen ended up together in Ergastulum, but the Worick\u2019s last glance toward Nicolas reveals that he did it to take care of his friend.
Alex serves as a great reality check for the Handymen\u2019s work, but her fear of Nicolas and the city isn\u2019t a strong enough conflict to stand at the center of the series. And, though it\u2019s interesting, the way Gangsta builds the Handymen\u2019s past doesn\u2019t make it a very good conflict either. We\u2019ve seen weird things going on with the heads of the different mafia, but even those conflicts don\u2019t seem to be going anywhere. Hopefully the next episode does a better job of establishing the overarching goal of the show.
Overall, the soundtrack used in this episode set the mood perfectly. The Alex and Worwick scene in particular caught my attention. The uplifting music getting louder in the background as Worwick reaches out to Alex and eventually drowning out his rambling as the rain begins to clear.
Alex is the weakest link. So far she's less of a character and more of an audience surrogate, since it looks like a romantic relationship might be brewing between her and Nic. The narrative doesn't treat her badly as a woman or a prostitute, but I'd rather she do more than gawk at Nic. (That's my job.) Her best moment is in the first episode, when she discharges a full clip of bullets into her abuser's dead body once she's been liberated. Hopefully we'll see more of this version of the character going forward.
Honestly, if it weren't for the main dudes, I'd have trouble getting invested in this story. Gangsta. is weakly plotted. The second episode is redundant to the first in establishing Worick and Nic as badasses with not-so-secret teddy-bear hearts. The art design is middling. The character designs are distinctive and pleasant, but the show's backgrounds repel the eye. Most scenes take place in dirty brown hallways. C'mon guys, this is supposed to be atmospheric. Play up the European exoticism! The animation also has its rough points. While characters look nice up-close, distant shots are usually off-model. I can overlook sloppy animation if the story and art are decent, but there's not much slack for me to cut here. Something has to improve.
The series began airing in Japan on 1 July 2015, and was broadcast on Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Tokyo MX, TV Aichi, and BS11 in Japan, and was streamed on the Bandai Channel and Niconico. The anime is licensed by Funimation in North America, and was simulcast on their website as it aired in Japan. Funimation also streamed an English dub of the series. Crunchyroll licensed the series for simulcast in France and French speaking territories (Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, New Caledonia, and Quebec). AnimeLab licensed the series for simulcast streaming in Australia and New Zealand, and Anime Limited licensed the series for streaming on Viewster in the United Kingdom. The series switched from a Wednesday broadcast date to a Sunday one starting with the fifth episode.
The first two episodes were released on Blu-ray/DVD on 25 September 2015, with each further two episodes originally scheduled to be released once a month, followed by the complete box set on 24 February 2016. Starting with the third volume, however, the home video releases were delayed until further notice. The releases were finally resumed 16 months after the original delay, with the third volume released on 24 March 2017 and the sixth and final volume released simultaneously with the complete set on 23 June 2017.
Reviewing the first three episodes of the anime, Gabriella Ekens stated that it was "a languid execution of a promising story". She also criticized the series' musical score and animation. She stated, however, that she was looking forward to the show, and that "its flaws are as intriguing as its strengths."
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