Difficult Lives:

It seems no one in Ergastulum has an easy life. It’s been a while since I’ve watch an anime like this – where the setting is so brutal and unforgiving, not some conjured up sci-fi utopia or unbelievable dystopia, or even just a plain Japanese high school. Not that I hate those settings, because I don’t, but Ergastulum feels like a truly dangerous place. The washed-out yellow and brown tones and shadowed alleys only help heighten the grimy atmosphere that the town has going for it. It would not be a nice place to live, that’s for sure. But it’s certainly a fascinating for us to watch.

Last week it was Alex’s unfortunate situation that was highlight, and this week it was that of Nina (Yuuki Aoi), a trainee nurse who regularly visits Nicolas and Worick. I did get a chuckle when she saw Alex at the front door, followed by a half-naked Worick. It’s easy to assume what they could be getting up to, but I think it’s pretty obvious that nothing sexual (or romantic) is occurring between these characters. If they were, I feel the story would make effort to make a point of it. For now, I think I prefer these characters to not be paired up with one another.

Alex mainly had a reactive role this episode – apart from her pretending to seduce the men outside, before Worick murdered them in cold blood. To me, it’s Alex’s point of view which is the most relatable and important. Clearly, she is not used to this way of life, and still doesn’t know all the history of Ergastulum. I imagine some people would complain that she isn’t as emotionally strong as her counterparts, but would you be so composed if you were unknowingly part of back alley murder attempts and had gone through all the horrible things she’s lived through. I feel immense sympathy for her, and hope that things get better for her as time goes on. But GANGSTA. doesn’t seem like it’s all too concerned with happy resolutions.

The Dog Tags:

The Dogtags – or Twilights – were touched upon here, and I knew we’d be diving into them eventually. It was clear that Nick’s dog tag was a reflection of some sort of power or status, and that’s pretty much confirmed with with Worick’s lecture to Alex. Still, it doesn’t feel like inserted exposition – it just feel like a conversation between two characters: one who knows this world all to well and has no qualms in partaking in its brutality, and another younger, unworldly woman who is yet to realise what’s going on around her. My prediction is that the Twilights are some sort of super powered individuals – possibly bred for power, hired by those who seek their deadly skills. But for now, I’m just as clueless as Alex.

Hints of the Past:

I’ve known that Nick and Worick have had two seiyuus since before the first episode came out, which pretty much confirms that we’re going to get some a look at their past together. I can’t wait see what made these two men who they are today, and by the wanted posters in the police station, it seems they were already getting into trouble by their teens. Nick is wearing his dog tag in his photo, and Worick has his eyepatch as well. Count me excited for the imminent flashback.

Overview – What’s Next?:

Dr. Theo (Mikami Satoshi) is another solid introduction. Seriously, every character we’ve seen so far seems so fitting to this world, young or old, brutal or innocent. Theo is clearly no ordinary doctor, and him lunging for Nick when his building was damaged was quite amusing. Overall, GANGSTA. is doing a great job introducing these characters, this town, and showing Nick and Worick in some thrilling action. It’s gripping to watch, even if the racist language was a little overboard in this episode. Believable, maybe, but still a little cringeworthy. I’m also interested as to what the meaning is behind Alex’s blank piece of paper? I’m sure what ever it is, it’s darker and harsher than we’re initially led to believe.

Full-length images: 02.


  1. It seems the ranks between the dogtags/twilights have a huge gap in power between them, you wouldnt think A rank Nico would be so far high and above a B rank, but he was.

    To compare it to another show, its like Nico is a SSJ3 compared to the poor B rank SSJ2, as strong as that guy was, he was nothing at all to Nico.

    It all makes me curious what kind of power those shadowy figures that hired him have.

    1. Tbh, even if were an A rank like Nicolas, if he’d be as stupid as to try to fight someone with a katana BARE HANDED(or with a ridiculous lamp post, lol), it would’ve probably ended the same way. Like, what did he expect, to block a sword with his hand? Muscles don’t work like armor 😛

  2. Also, with his sign language, his words do not need translations. a language everyone on the World understand, well its a Sign language, if you want to understand it, reverse the signs back into your own language, voila!!

    1. Right now Alex is a placeholder for us viewers. She is asking or slowing learning the deeps of this Anime. What are these Dog tags holders? How the World function in this City and such. Nice style of telling the Story, to inter web her, and explain us little for little the Story

      Dogtag = Hundemarke
      Dogtags = Hundemarken

    2. Eh? There are different sing languages, over 130, so yeah… Nicolas is using specifically the Japanese one but it could be because the manga/anime is for Japanese audience.

      1. Uh, sorry for saw it so late. But i was thinking this Sign Picture Language are universal. Well, i pick this idea from ST:TNG. Where some Peace keeper use it to create “peace”

  3. Eh, why they didn’t show us Worrick’s job, which was and still is their main source of cash? It’s part of his identity too. And in an one of cut scenes it was a bonding point with Alex, actually. Maybe they add it later… I hope, because they cut a nice scene with her and Nicolas, when she had to run errands with him, when Worrick had the other job.
    Show Spoiler ▼

  4. S***, these two remind me of Black Lagoon‘s Hansel and Gretel. (Granted, the latter two are much more creepy, but still, I’m getting similar vibes…)

    Also, want to establish how wretched a hive Ergastulum is? Just add (imply) a thriving market for child prostitution. (The gang of the week threatened to do something like that to Nina… Damn. Just damn.) At least it makes Worwick’s “Boom Headshot” method of dealing with them much more satisfying to watch.

    Can’t wait to get into the mythos of the “Dogtags.”

  5. Well, this is how you do a second episode. Make the story flow faster than it did on episode one and pour action, craziness (without being campy) and little exposition then you get this. I am enjoying Gangsta so far.

    PS: Yay for some character development for our MCs there. 🙂

  6. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I live in a large urban environment that this world doesn’t really seem that dark and brutal to me. I mean it is, but it seems just like we’re watch the underbelly dealings of a city. While actually watching the sexual violence last week was a little more uncomfortable for me, nothing in this episode was really that bad.

    I am enjoying this series very much though. I love Nico, and Worik and Alex are pretty interesting characters too. I thought Nina was precious and the doc was just plain awesome.
    My guess is that the Dogtags/Twilights were living weapons fashioned to be stronger, faster, and more agile than a normal human, for a past government regime for war. However, later that regime fell, and the Dogtags, without a cause or use in the new government were pretty much abandoned and became pariahs of society. I noticed that when Worik was talking, the old posters behind him reminded me a little of Nazi soldiers, I’m wondering if that was a little foreshadow into what kind of government used to be in this area that gave way to the creation of the Dogtags.

  7. For some reason, I feel Nick is Moe. Just look at him, even Nina can help herself but stick around him. Those glimpses of his past and his gestures at ED makes it moreso.

    Or is it just me?

  8. Now I can see the Black Lagoon vibes many have been using as a point of reference. Similar atmosphere and characters, just lacking an innocent salesman and a group with a healthy desire for wads of cash, and maybe a crazed Russian merc and Latina maid. Wasn’t convinced after the first episode, but this one has locked me in to watch the show for the duration.

    Especially loved the resident doctor, the whole fight scene was hilarious.

  9. What’s also interesting about this picture is that under “Criminal A” it says “twilights-C/O” which to me looks like the dogtag “ranking system” shown in this episode. However, it was also found that Nicolas had an A/O on his tags and now I can’t help but wonder what caused this change and I’m hoping it will have relevance in the future.

  10. Dr Theo has 2 fingers missing on his left hand, I wonder how many people noticed that.

    The first few episodes are pretty much setup/introductions, if you read the manga, they have the same buildup as well. It’s hard not to spoil anything at the moment, so a lot of things seem confusing.

    P.S – Dr Theo is one of the individuals that Nic actually fears in the whole series 8D

  11. GANGSTA. is pretty much a serious nitty gritty and/or pushing the boundaries for shock value or to distance itself from the rest of the cookie cutter “acceptable” shows, but for the past 2 episodes, the reviewer felt too afraid of said content and always tries to interject it despite being something obvious for the genre.

  12. I, for one enjoy the show in its full entirety. To me, if you are going to use sexual violence, then it needs to have a point. Using it just to titillate is detrimental to this type of story telling; it should be reserved for hentai and other mediums that cater specifically to fetishes. I can see the ties people make to Black Lagoon, but I feel that its a more down to earth realistic version compared to the more bombastic style Black Lagoon does. I absolutely loved Black Lagoon, but after watching this, I can say I would lean toward this style more. The “Dog Tags” are an interesting element to the story. I can’t say for sure if they are varying degrees of meta-human or if they will be your standard fare of people in anime with abilities. For example, would pulling up sign posts and nearly kicking over cars be approaching the upper limit of their abilities? Or, would they be able to tie sign posts into knots and throw police cars one handed if they decided to “let loose a little”. Or, would it be something a bit like Pumpkin Scissors, where people specialize in specific areas like strength, agility, etc. I too am interested in the blank piece of paper that was handed to Alex and I am also glad that the good doc is no push over either. The way he gave that injection looked like he has a strong grasp of martial arts.

    The Walker
  13. The scene where Nic using his katana to deal critical damage to his enemy in midair reminds me of Himura Kenshin’s Ryu-tsui-sen (Rurouni Kenshin). Too bad it wasn’t shown in the pictures. This anime is so bad-ass that warrants recognition this year its been a while since the likes of Jormungand and Black Lagoon or even Samurai Shamploo, Samurai X(Rurouni Kenshin)

    Loli in this series needs to be protected at all cost.


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