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.