This was awesome. All that gritty build-up of the city and it’s trio–Nicolas, Worwick and Alex pays off wonderfully in this episode. Theo is a grim doctor definitely aware of the city’s inhabitants and its great to see it reflect his character and his calm demeanor. He’s missing two fingers and takes care of the only innocent character we’ve seen so far, Nina. She’s absolutely adorable and played by Aoi Yuki of Puella Magi Madoka Magica‘s Kaname Madoka! She’s voiced some of my favorite characters in the past–Gosick‘s Victorique, SHIKI‘s Sunako Kirishiki and of course Kurenai‘s Murasaki Kuhōin! Nina is very young compared to the rest of the cast as she knows exactly what Nicolas is and I like how the roles are reversed between the two female leads of this show! It feels as though Nina is maturely adapted to the city more than Alex has!
After being used by Barry, Alex has finally been given a second chance as Benriya’s assistant and it’s the beginning of this episode that really embellishes the finer points of how she’s learning the ropes of their killing business and Ergastulum. It’s just the tip of the iceberg on the dogtags and what they represent–frightened by Nicolas’ strength and strong attachment to death Alex amplifies the mystery behind the dogtags quite strongly. We are seeing just the beginning of what sort of corrupt people live in Ergastulum–famous for its prostitutes and drug smuggling that episodes that are slow with their pacing end up being really rewarding for episodes like this one with a heavy amount of action!
Tsutchie’s soundtrack really comes through by the second half–there’s a strong distinct melody playing that pays tribute to GANGSTA‘s grisly crime themes. Tsutchie’s real name is Shinji Tsuchida whom started out as a DJ and producer for the rock group ShakkaZombie. Since his departure from them his work consists mainly of solo and a few collaborations works like with Forces of Nature, Fat Jon and Nujabes on the score for Samurai Champloo. His style with this show is sublime to say the least offering a nice atmosphere to this anime’s toned down artistic choice in background designs and adult appeal towards its rugged character designs. Not Masaaki Yuasa rugged but worn-out looking.
Would like to point out that Yasuomi Umetsu storyboarded, directed and drew all the key animation segments for GANGSTA‘s ending. Known for creating the feature length film for Kite as well as its series back in 1998. Throughout his career in the anime industry, Yasuomi Umetsu is really versatile in staffing work. Ranging from original creator to character designing, key animating and directing! What’s strange is that he’s working on such a seinen series like GANGSTA rather than his usual ecchi productions. That’s great and all but I’m very glad he didn’t direct this show as I’ve seen how horribly planned Wizard Barristers was back in the Winter 2014 Season. I’ll admit his work on Kite was decent putting aside the horrible voice directing but his two original anime series Galilei Donna and following it up with Wizard Barristers were disastrous for his career. Not to mention the latter using one of the worst studios in the business, Arms. Perhaps he’s learning from his mistake of “don’t write and direct at the same time” method. Some can pull that off where others cannot. This ending on GANGSTA is probably on his top tier in collaborative works out of his entire career. Please, please don’t let Umetsu do anything original for a while–he’s got a lot of ambition but isn’t able to put it down on pen and paper too well. On a positive note he must be learning a lot from MANGLOBE and Ergo Proxy director Shuko Murase right now with this show.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10