GANGSTA (ギャングスタ) Anime Review: Too Fast. Not Furious Enough.

Gangsta animeWhen 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.


nicolas brown gangsta
Tag ranks are seemingly explained in the show, but for many viewers they are still an unknown element of the story. Interesting fact is the status of Nic, whose rank is supposedly much lower than A/0. Whoever understood this from the show – raise your voice in the comments below!

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.

gangsta anime worick arcangelo
Worick has the capability to remember many things in a short period of time. It’s the combined force of visual, auditory and who-knows-what memory. A bit of overwhelming study work by the original mangaka. A rare case, but one of the things the anime portrayed okay.

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:

gangsta anime pauklee
Gina Paulklee’s tag guild is one of the organisations in the show.

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.

gangsta anime mafia
Corsica, Cristiano, Monroe and Paulklee – the four families that rule over Ergastulum. Each with their own views and tasks in keeping the town “safe”.

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.

alex gangsta
Early in the series, Alex Benedetto is portrayed as a fragile, overused prostitute who shoots the supposedly dead body of her former pimp. Then, she ends-up being an addict, a sister, a lover and a good friend.

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.

gangsta anime violence
A gigolo and a member of the Benriya duo, Worick is the illegitimate child of a very important person. His childhood was full of suffering and pain. His current life – of action, blood and caring for his tagged “friend”.

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.


worick gangsta anime
A promise from episode 2. Well, she did wear a nice shirt in the following episodes only to end-up wearing the same bold, cheap and prostitute-like clothes for the entire second part of the story.

Gangsta official anime website

Gangsta in The List

Images © kohske / shinchosha . gangsta. committee

7 thoughts on “GANGSTA (ギャングスタ) Anime Review: Too Fast. Not Furious Enough.

  1. While I appreciate the quality of the review, especially after having seen several episodes of the anime, I would like to ask a question:

    I am not some feminist extremist, but would someone who is reading the manga advise on whether there are any strong female characters? I realise the story will be focused on Nick and Worick, but still I am so tired of the whiny females that I won’t be able to stomach another one, even if a secondary character…

  2. If the only thing you can point out as an advantage of this anime is the soundtrack, I can very well grasp the level of nasty this show has reached. ;) To be honest, I have been reading the manga and cannot believe how bad they did with adapting it. I have only seen a couple of episodes, but I don’t think I will be seeing more.

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