Friday, 28 August 2015
FIRST IMPRESSIONS - GANGSTA
This series has been hyped as one of the best of the season. Do I agree?
In short, I’m not sure. The story itself deviates from the normal anime genres, while still retaining some recognizable elements. This is probably why the series feels so rich and new. It’s almost like it’s supposed to be live-action. In fact, I can easily imagine it as one.
I tuned in for the first two episodes as the first episode’s plot is a little thin, serving mostly to introduce us to the main characters, a pair of brothers who run a sort of ‘mercenary for hire’ business, employed by various parties. One of the brothers is deaf, so the character doesn’t speak much. Bummer for the voice over artist eh?
Left: Silent, but deadly. Right: Jerk with a Heart of Gold
However, one of the letdowns is that there is no onscreen subtitle translation when a character uses sign-language and listening to only half the conversation all the time can get irksome, but it does create a unique character trait that is also treated as a genuine disability in the series. Ironically, there is a translation for when the character speaks verbally and since deaf people cannot hear what they sound like in order to better form the words, the speech comes across as slurry, even in the Broadcast Dub. I applaud this as it’s a nice attention to detail that adds more real some to this series.
"Life is hard and more often than not, it takes more than it gives."
The series also introduces us to Alex, a prostitute who at first comes across as blank. Not in the sense that she is a generic character, but a character who hardly ever smiles or says anything. This is understandable as the series features her being used as a sex tool and holding back acting out against it because this is the only life she knows. This I can relate to. Not the sex thing, but the fact that life often puts us in situations where the only real option is to ‘suck it up’ because we can’t afford not to. Alex comes across as someone whom life has dealt a bad hand and her depressive expressions reflect that. Felecia Angelle, who voices Alex, manages to do a great job conveying the inner pain the character is obviously experiencing while they are forced to just stand/sit/lie there and perform various sexual acts which thankfully are not shown, though comments by various male characters more than make up for this I’m afraid. In some scenes, I genuine felt ashamed of my gender so kudos to Gangsta for that.
"It's okay. We're insured."
The episodes themselves seem to follow a ‘crook of the week’ format with each episode dealing with a different victim who needs saving. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the formula is a little predictable. Whether or not this will change remains to be seen. I do hope it will as the environment and characters created in the Gangsta universe do feel like a breath of fresh air when compared to other anime this season.
Rating this first impression: 7.8/10. Worth checking out to see how things play out.