Past Trauma – Wallace meets Nicolas:
This was a seamless episode if I’ve ever seen one – perfectly interlaced with hints of the past that coincide with the brutal drama of the current timeline, all whilst balancing the trauma of our unfortunate trio. After much teasing, we’re diving into the past, getting a taste of what went down all those years ago. We’ve still got a fair bit to see, but having a young Worick (aka Wallace) meet his new bodyguard, Nicolas, was all we needed for now.
As we witness their first interactions, the contrast between now and then is apparent. Worick was the privileged son of what appear to be a very important a wealthy family, a smart smoker with plenty of playboy rumours following wherever her goes. In contrast, teenage Nicolas seems the exact opposite in every way. They’re an odd match from the get-go, but somehow when we cut back to what’s going on right now, they feel like the perfect duo. I’m definitely interested to see what happened to them. I imagine there’s some sort of attempted murder, followed by Nic taking bloody action, and cementing their bond as partners. We saw the beginnings of their friendship when Worick found out about his bodyguard’s deafness, before sharing that tender scene with him in his room.
Not only that, but we learned that Worick has eidetic memory, with some elements of fantasy added to it (his eye did change colour after all). The transition between him using his gift in the present, to using it for his studies in the past was the perfect way to start the flashback. Clearly, as real and gritty as GANGSTA. aims to be, there’s bound to be the occasional element of fantasy that will require some leeway. The mere existence of the Twilights was a hint of this a few episodes back, and since Worick’s family seemed to have something to do with training (or recruiting them), there may be some deeper connection between Worick and Nick that ties to their beyond-human abilities.
Present Drama – Seamless Exposition:
I was highly anticipating the flashback, but thankfully enough the present storyline is just as exciting – if not more so. We only saw a glimpse of Alex this week, but what a moment it was. She’s not left Ergastulum yet, and it doesn’t look like she will – she’s envisioning those who have used and abused her in the past, chaining herself to the place she so desperately needs to get away from. It was a such a powerful scene, as short as it may have been, and the instant switch back to normality dealt a heavy blow. I feel for this girl; she’s trapped between a rock a hard place, and her own demons are preventing her from freeing herself.
Not only was Worick and Nick’s new job enjoyable to watch unfold, but the seamless exposition and flashback cuts made the episode feel that much more packed. It was well-paced – slow enough to show the little hints, like Alex with a sign language book, or seeing Nick’s bruises from his physical abuse without actually seeing it happen to him. GANGSTA. isn’t shoving the facts in our faces, instead it’s proving a much more natural approach that can sometimes feel missing from anime: we’re being shown the exposition, not told it. It can be a hard thing to pull off, especially when we’re still left in mystery after four episodes. We know bits and pieces of the full puzzle, but finding out the little details is so much more rewarding than a lengthy info-dump to keep the audience up to date.
A/0 vs A/0:
The Monroe family are certainly a cruel, interesting bunch. I can’t quite make out how close Nick and Worick are< to them, but from this episode it seems like they’re allies against a common foe. Delico (Hashizume Tomohisa) is only a D/0 ranked twilight, but still shows some prowess and defensive abilities when it came to protecting his boss. However, it was Doug (Yoshino Hiroyuki – all I can hear is Meow from Space Dandy!), who stood out the most. Sharing the same A/0 as Nick, their matchup made for a strong cliffhanger. Straight away, I want to see more, but this episode already delivered more than enough to keep me happy.
Overview – What’s Next?:
The transitions between past and present were seamless, and all the information we got was expertly delivered. Many series would just tell us upfront what’s going on, because it’s the easier thing to do. But with GANGSTA., it’s clear that the underbelly of the plot is well-composed and planned ahead. Seeing fragmented details and piecing them together is the perfect approach. That, and the fights were pretty well choreographed, and the animation was surprisingly on-point this week. I don’t know if Manglobe can deliver that consistently, but overall they’re doing a superb job with this adaptation.
i’m rather sceptical towards manglobe since samunenco, but gangsta has turned around my opinion towards them 180°. this episode just made me liked them even more, very well done.
I really enjoyed the flashback sequences. As you mentioned, it was really well done!!
Not to mention that I’m becoming more and more of a Nic fan as the episodes progress. (￣▽￣) His seiyuu is AMAZING. It makes me wonder if he studied under the partially-deaf and/or the JSL community to portray a deaf-person’s speech patterns. I’d like to read a seiyuu interview about that someday… (・Д・)ノ
I think the glowing eyes thing is a visual shorthand, but who knows. If it’s actually going to be a bit fantastical, I don’t think I’d mind that much.
I like the infodump that didn’t feel like an infodump. Disguising it as a history lecture was smart, although I tuned it out the first time, haha.
yea it really did seem like nothing but a visual touch
I really liked how they are putting all the exposition in naturally. So naturally in fact that many people miss it. I’ve seen a lot of people still frustrated at the end of this episode asking what the Twilights really are, when they tell you not only who and what they are, but also what those pills Nic takes and why he takes them, all during the teacher’s lecture. Also, I’m guessing the man who introduced Nicholas is his father, since they have the same last name?
And it’s interesting that the result of combat doping during the war actually lead to it affecting the soldiers’ DNA to the point that they can pass it on to their offspring.
So my predictions are confirmed – Twilights are relics of past war, a by-product of attempts at creating supersoldiers with drugs. What is interesting is that their abilities – and addiction -are at least to some degree passed to the offspring. I assume that they are quite often seen as threat by “normals” and subject to witch hunts, as one mentioned by Worick “15 years ago”…
The next mystery appearing is about who, and to what ends is trying to subvert relatively stable equilibrium of power between “4 families”, and why did he chose a way that might lead to widespread twilight hunt…
This EP was awesome, it had so much to tell and still you did not get overwhelmed by all the story. So fucking smooth.
The only thing that kinda bugged me is that Worick was a big prick in his younger years. The stereotypes (spoiled brat) are a bit to strong in this.
I really love director Murase Shugo’s slow but confident pacing just like in his other works.
Doug’s voice actor is so unique that you knew who he is right when he opened his mouth.
And there we go, now all three of our protagonists have their traumas introduced; but the interesting thing is that when the three of stay together, it’s what keeps them from falling prey to their respective traumas.
The part where Nic jumps behind Doug to slice his blade is the best scene in this episode imo.
Show Spoiler ▼
I wonder if the mangaka and/or the anime staff saw episodes of CW’s Arrow, because the way this GANGSTA episode switches between the present and flashback sequences reminded me of that show.
Unlikely. Arrow starts in October of 2012. Gangsta have been published in Monthly Comic Bunch since 2011. Albeit, it was only recently that the mangaka returning to the story after a long bout with health issue.
I guess it was just a coincidence then. But yeah like Arrow I like how they integrated those flashback scenes. Even if they’re short they also contain important details to Worick’s and Nicolas’s pasts, and they don’t disrupt the episode’s pace too much
That flashback screamed Nic is moe
Haha. Just kidding, Gangsta has a habit of delivering an alternate of great (2 and 4) and good (1 and 3) episodes.
I would criticize the flashbacks for being cliche but the relationship between Worick and Nic are engaging enough that it doesn’t really matter.
A very nice episode and the most interesting thing to me was the relationship the two have with the police. They have the wanted signs up but it’s clear that the police guy (don’t remember his name atm) isn’t interested in turning them in. It seemed like he was being introduced in that scene as a father figure to me.
I like how they included the subtle touch of younger Worrick’s own bruises along his arm suggesting abuse. Whilst Nic’s abuse is obvious (on his face/ neck), Worrick’s is somewhat hidden. Perhaps they are more similar than we thought.
It may be that the murder of Worick’s family was a result of Nicholas perceiving them as a threat to his ‘master’/friend and his attempt to protect him.
Well, there is still this Eye patch that covers his lost Eye. In the Flashback it is all okay, perhaps we get to see an Flashback what really happen
We see a glimpse, when he plays the Gigolo, and the Woman kiss the Pain away…
Thanks Samu for blogging this series! I don’t usually like violent stuff but reading your posts made me really want to watch this series due to the character development and the way they are telling the story. Sadly this isn’t streaming on CrunchyRoll and I don’t know where else I can look for it 🙁
You’re welcome! If you live in the US, you should be able to watch the episodes on the Funimation website. If that fails, I can only direct you to the links in the ‘Community’ section on the sidebar.
Thanks Samu! Sadly I live outside the US… *sigh*
show is such a breathe of fresh air. Only anime I’m watching this season so far. So great to see some fairly ‘mature’ content and great action. I love Nicholas. So hooked…
I’m disappointed with the anime community. Hands down this is the best of the season. Why this show isn’t as popular baffles me. Just from the first episode this series got me hooked. The animation is smooth, the art is well done, it has an awesome soundtrack and the story is very intriguing. If the reasons are the characters aren’t teens, there are no “moe” characters and other typical anime tropes then I lost hope for any kind of innovation in anime.(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Why flipping Tables? 🙂
The World is not Black and White seen with your Eyes. There are many shades of Grey…. (oh my God. I wrote this stupid Book name…)
I exaggerated a bit, huh? I understand people have different tastes and I shouldn’t expect anyone to like what I like. I guess I really expected this series to be uber popular but I disappointed myself.
Airing Time changed
Episode 5 will Air on 6th August. I do not have an Time
At first i wasn’t goingto watch this Series. Then all of a sudden I coulnd’t stop. I wish all the episodes were out. I need to know what happened tonthe girl Veronica that use to hang with Nic and Worwick. Everyone keeps telling Allie to leave.
As for the characters I like Nic’s quiet and dark deamoner. I like Worwick slick ways about him.
so far good series!