When I first heard that the plans for a Gangsta (ギャングスタ) anime adaptation were confirmed, I was more than happy about it. After all, I was one of the first to pay attention to this story via the EG Scans mangazine. Well, after having watched these twelve episodes, I think I shouldn’t have been that happy.
Read below my review of Gangsta, the anime.
Warning: Spoilers await you.
Gangasta is a mafia-based story with many similarities to one relatively recent anime – Togainu no Chi. Since, I have already spoiled a lot of the story in my preview, I will now just discuss how good or bad the adaptation of the manga material was. While Togainu no Chi was an adaptation of a yaoi visual novel, the original material of Gangsta is a manga series. It is a work by Kohske. Another work by the same author is DOODLE (ドードル), which is rather recent.
So, the manga is at chapter 39 right now, with some three chapters having been published since episode one of the anime came out. As many of you know, this is not much of content for animating it, but it seems like Manglobe thought it will be the straw to save them from bankruptcy. Well, neither did they do a fine job, nor did it save them. Even though Gangsta was the most anticipated and positively welcomed show in Summer Anime Season 2015.
Even though, the studios working on the project managed to make such a mess, that episode 9.5 “Gangsta recap” has a higher score than the anime itself.
Where did the Gangsta anime go wrong?
Let me summarise what happened in Gangsta:
We meet two people. We get to know one is a tag. The other is a gigolo. Then we meet a third one. She’s a prostitute. One and three kill people. The second one doesn’t really kill much in the show. He’s deaf. One and Two knew each other since childhood. Childhood drama. Murdered parents. Drug addictions. Love affairs. Grandmas. Dead mafia boss. Four mafia families. Police. Pills addiction. The tags are not really the strongest, we meet tag Hunters who are stronger. We get to see backgrounds of three different people. One is kidnapped. We met a total of four mafia bosses and were shown their tasks in the city. We also saw one tag-hunting organisation, one tag organisation and the organisation our main trio is in. Also, the police.
We met nearly 40 characters and were shown the background stories of almost all of them in the form of a flashback or similar. All in all, a lot happened in those 12 episodes.
This is what disappointed me the most, but it was also very obvious once we got to know the number of episodes. Needlessly sped-up story and plot were combined with not the most exceptional of animation techniques. What we got is a third-grade (at best) anime which I personally was happy to see go. No wonder the studio filed for bankruptcy.
One thing that makes up is seeing the scenes many fans adored animated. Although they took several episodes less than the necessary time.
Things that are worth in Gangsta?
Definitely the opening and ending theme songs and the animation adjoining them. There is one OP and it is titled “Renegade” by STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION. The ED are two and they are “Yoru no Kuni (夜の国)”, performed by Annabel, and “With You Forever ALEX BENEDETTO” by Mamiko Noto.
Another thing that Gangsta will definitely do is add numbers to the non-moe, non-ecchi genres and give everyone who craves more of the kind another 12 episodes. Sadly, though, the story will probably let them wonder why had thy wasted their time with it.
The overall feeling left after having watched all episodes was “Why so fast? Slow down!”, something Black Lagoon or Gungrave never had. If done well, the Gangsta adaptation would have definitely climbed the steps of greatness. Could have been in the same list as those two titles without a problem. But sadly, maybe it will get a remake like Hellsing and Fullmetal Alchemist. We just need to wait for the original content to get completed by Kohske.
Anyway, I will not recommend the Gangsta anime and this is one of the very few titles which make me say this. However, I do hope at least 10 % of you, dear readers, will try out the manga and stick with the real Alex, Worick and Nic in Ergastulum.
Gangsta official anime website
Gangsta in The List
Images © kohske / shinchosha . gangsta. committee