「EVENING DRESS」


Maturity & Quality:

GANGSTA really is something else. Back when the summer season started, I knew it would be a complete breath of fresh – or rather, dirty – air to wash away what we’ve come to expect from the majority of anime of this era. GANGSTA is gritty and disturbing and really shines a light on the brutal side of living in a horrid, crime-filled city like Ergastulum; yet it never feels like its relishing in the devastation.

If there was one thing I was skeptical about going in (especially after the first episode), it was that the violence, gore, blood, and sexual abuse would be used to ‘titillate’ the audience and provide them with mindless, cruel entertainment. But there is nothing mindless about GANGSTA; everything is carefully planned, especially with the touchy subject of abuse – whether it be past, present, sexual, physical, mental. Clearly, Kohske cares a lot for her characters and her story; she hasn’t resorted to violence just for the sake of it, like far too many series do, and I respect that.

Twilights Are Still Dying:

Continuing from the end of last week’s episode, we see that more Twilights are being murdered. It’s being pinned as gang violence, but clearly they two at the very end are playing a massive part here. I’m excited to see more of this mysterious duo, learn who they are, and what they’re really up to. Why are they killing the Tags? It could be simple hatred for them, but I’m sure there’s many layers to this upcoming war.

We do learn some pretty useful information about the four father of Ergastulum, and what each gang/family does to maintain the balance. The Corsica Family manages the supplying/smuggling of weapons as well as controlling the sex industry of the city; Paulklee Guild provides Tagged mercenaries to various clients, including the other three major families; the Monroe Family deals with commerce within the city as well as supporting Twilights unaffiliated with the Paulklee Guild; and there there’s the Cristiano Family, led by the spunky Loretta Cristiano Amodio (Ueda Kano) who distribute Celebrer to the twilights. However, we learn that they cannot get directly involved with the Twilights, and so hire Nic, Worick, and other high-level combatants to keep their clients safe. Or – as we saw in this episode – they hold a high-profile party intended to provide a safe haven for the Tags as the death count rises.

Alex’s Struggles – Forgotten Memories:

The balance of the city through the four major families is interesting stuff that I’m very grateful to learn more about. However, that wasn’t the big part of the episode for me. More than ever perhaps, this was Alex’s episode. She’s had focus in nearly every episode with her passive watching and analysis of Ergastulum, coinciding with a gradual and powerful character arc that didn’t truly reveal itself until episode 6. There’s something special about Alex – and it’s not just her voice. She’s fragile, yet composed, and her story is one to tug the heartstrings. She’s my favourite character of the series, which comes down to my bias for sympathetic, yet powerful female characters – and Alex is just that.

I suspected there would be more side-effects to her getting the TBs out of her system, but the fact that it also suppressed memories was something different from what I imaged. Though it makes sense, given what we know about the drug. Seeing her remember her brother for the first time in what presumes to quite a while was certainly moving. Alex continues to suffer one set-back after another, but she’s anything but weak. She may shed a tear from time to time, but anyone who has to go through what she’s been forced to do would feel the same, or much worse.

I like that we’re learning about her brother at the same time as her, with the flashback become clearer as the episode goes on. When the scenes of them as children are finally revealed, my heart swelled. Accompanied by her soothing voice, and sights of Nic and Worick slamming some Tag murderers to the ground, the last few minutes were especially fantastic. The fact that her brother recognised her voice as he passed by the club was the sour cherry on top.

Another standout moment this episode was when Nic gripped Alex’s shaking hands as she reached for her pills, adding more layers to the interactions between these handymen. Just like Worick sympathises with Alex due to her work in the sex industry, Nic must see something of himself in her problems with drugs. And the more we see of these three together, the more enthralled I become with their dynamics.

Overview – What’s Next?:

Going by next week’s title, I presume we’ll be focusing more on Alex and her brother, and possibly the duo wreaking havoc in Ergastulum. Overall, this was another brilliant episode, especially because it focused on my personal favourite character. Alex is so much more than a girl with (naturally) big breasts who looks gorgeous in a dress; her story of abuse and survival is a powerful one, and seeing her every step of the way is an unsightly, yet rewarding experience.

Full-length images: 31.

23 Comments

  1. https://randomc.net/image/GANGSTA/GANGSTA%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2003.jpg
    The Handymen are literally handymen.

    https://randomc.net/image/GANGSTA/GANGSTA%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2005.jpg
    I’m glad there is always room for humor despite everything that is happening to and around our cast.

    https://randomc.net/image/GANGSTA/GANGSTA%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2031.jpg
    Alex had a fantastic performance! I keep playing the song over and over again. Great job, Mamiko Noto!

    https://randomc.net/image/GANGSTA/GANGSTA%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2035.jpg
    I also hope Alex and her brother reunite next episode. It is likely!

    ichigo
  2. Just to make a quick note on the story: remember that the two we saw killing Twilights last episode (and this episode) took the tags from their victims. The bodies we saw this episode still had tags. It’s not really a spoiler, but just something to look out for.

    Ruddor
  3. I love a character like Alex, shows another side of strong female leads that don’t have to be bustling with combative or intellectual prowess to be strong. She’s simply got a good head on her shoulders. Yes, she messes up (and has), but she can remain realistically resolute even while wallowing in her sorrow and has 2 excellent support systems to guide her along the way.
    It’s also awesome to see more of her real personality blend in with the rest of them now, watching her react to Worick being a smartass was awesome. Never would have pictured her as the type to give him a big old slap across the face 4 episodes ago.

    Kabble
  4. It’s going to go down the next episode! I just know it!! I mean, i read all the volumes (and yes, i own all of them) and this is aeound the 4th volume so i could say it’s going to end around the beginning of the 5th volume because the manga is still ongoing and it’s only recently it started being updated. (Probably because the anime got it kick started so, yeah. I can’t wait for the next couple of episodes!! This week’s episode was a little slow, but that’s to help buikd character. Alex’s voice is so beautiful to!! I’m worried about Nicolas and Worick, i mean, i know the Christianos can’t help them, but still, those hunters are scaring the hell out of me!! I hope they’ll be okay!! Can’t wait for your report next week!!

    Kiminobokuwa
  5. I have watched a lot of anime ! This series has to among one of the best ! Just how the story is being told / the twists and revelations the characters. Add to that a great animation ! Well drawn / detailed but oversplashed with bright colors !

    At this point I dont even think of this as an anime anymore!

    Next EP 9 / Siblings / I will leave it at that !

  6. ” Nic must see something of himself in her problems with drugs.”

    No. In the manga it was obvious he was calming her down as she was having a panic attack.

    Kurisu Vi Britannia
    1. I think the point being made is “Why was Nic calming Alex/Why would he care if Alex had a panic attack?” Probably because Nic can sympathize with Alex’s drug problem (or knew someone who suffered the same way as Alex [maybe Veronica??]).

      kapoli
  7. https://randomc.net/image/GANGSTA/GANGSTA%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2003.jpg
    LOL @ Handymen actually working as their namesake

    I think the proverbial “…. has hit the fan” moment is coming as obviously the sibling “twilight hunters” are intending to crash the party.

    https://randomc.net/image/GANGSTA/GANGSTA%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2015.jpg
    Loretta will be furious.
    And the incredibly powerful siblings wil be probably more than Handymen ever handled…

    ewok40k
    1. No, that part where Nic gave Worick aspirin and says it doesn’t work on him, then Worick hit Nic’s leg with hammer just to make sure he still can feel pain, was not animated.

      yukishina
  8. I felt the random boob gags in the middle of things were incredibly out of place and broke the tone completely.
    Then the whole part about the Twilight hunters doesn’t seem to make sense. If I understood correctly, normal people are hunting Twilights with clubs and knives. Now even if low ranked Twilights have only 1/100th of Nic’s ability to jump around, move quickly and hit things hard without breaking their own hands, I don’t understand how the normals could be considered any more threatening than a 5 year old with an empty water bottle. I’d understand if they were being snipped at during their daily life, but an alleyway brawl between 2 effective Twilights and half a dozen normals sounds like it will end very badly for the normals.

    Riktol
  9. I know this is rude to all women kind but….

    https://randomc.net/image/GANGSTA/GANGSTA%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2021.jpg

    Since I know Alex is a prostitute, I would like to inquire and avail her “services”…. I know Im horrible piece of human waste! Please dont look at me like that!

    https://randomc.net/image/GANGSTA/GANGSTA%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2024.jpg

    On the other hand, Ms. Loli Gang Boss just happens to be within my extremely wide strike range…. MARRY ME!

    Ginobi47
  10. Oh so the anime made an original song for Alex to sing! I like this one (though the melody sounds suspiciously like Whitney Houston’s Saving All My Love for You). In the manga, the lyrics she was singing was Ben E. King’s Stand by Me.

    I like this anime original better because of the overall mode it brings. I think I would find the mood weird if they stay true to the manga and have Alex sing Stand by Me.

    kapoli
  11. Yep. This is a typical Gangsta episode where the story execution is great and the expositions are thrown like these are the best plot device tool ever.

    YET…

    … the artwork’s quality considerably dropped for some parts which makes me wish that this show has more budget (and time). I know it’s nitpicking but it distracted my overall viewing experience.

    samui
  12. I love this series, the pace, the character development, everything that Gangsta has gave to me, include SDF’s Renegade and sweet sweet Annabel’s City of Night, and now Alex’s With You, this anime are by far my most appreciated works in this year beside kekkai sensen.

    P.S. Collecting the bluray for support now XD, I even asked my friend to get me the op and ed music disc at Japan XD

    Frost

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