I am enjoying the story to GANGSTA quite a bit. It’s vastly different than a lot of series that are airing this season in that it’s gritty by design, mature with its story and leaves a lot to the audience to speculate each week. Talk about a cliffhanger this episode, can’t wait to see that fight between Doug and Nicholas in the next episode! Looks as though there was an issue with the original broadcaster for this show as it’s moving their time to Sundays.
Key animator of Mushishi, Eiji Abiko directed this episode and I’m amazed at how he was able to shift between slow-paced scenes with Alex’s fears of the past and gradually discovering the Handymen’s pasts to maintaining a momentum with Worwick’s backstory in order to build up to Doug’s appearance. I say this because this is Abiko’s first time directing an episode. Is it just me or is this animator freelance? Artland is the production studio for Mushishi and Abiko was the animation director for the Zoku Shou and the two 1-hour specials we had last year. On top of that he’s worked with BONES on a few Space Dandy episodes and with MAPPA on Zankyou no Terror. Glad to see he’s gotten a promotion this year direction an episode for GANGSTA. Because this was really good! This also takes me to my next point about MANGLOBE. They’ve kept a ton of their key animators from Ergo Proxy and Michiko e Hatchin to work on this show. The animation was really good this time around–there are at least 5 animation directors on this! Hiromi Okazaki, Itsuko Takeda, Noritomo, Hattori, Masaiku Tayori, and Shinya Kitamura. All of which are lead animators at MANGLOBE–working on some of the biggest productions between 2006 and 2010! Ergo Proxy, Michiko e Hatchin, Ristorante Paradiso and 2013’s Samurai Flamenco!
We finally get a good look at when Nicholas and Worwick were young and how they met each other. I like how unhinged Worwick used to be–his reaction to Nicholas being deaf was fantastic! Wonderful way to build this up through Captain Chad and Cody’s interrogation on the murder cases. Worwick’s been around Ergastulum for a long time and this episode barely touched the surface on the things he’s seen. His connection with the prostitutes and various gangs illustrates his value to the police and Barry Monroe without shoving it down our throats with a long information dump. Smart move on the original author, Koshke, to develop this with a quick analysis of the actual murders themselves! I like how his innate ability to memorize transitioned back towards his childhood and the social status his family upheld.
The adaptation doesn’t leave anything out, however, it does switch the placement of scenes around. Doug showing up, taking out Monroe’s men is the highlight of the episode because we get a chance to see how an A tag handles his own against a group of normals and more importantly another A tag, Nicholas!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10