Episode Director: Kudo Shun [Hajime no Ippo: Rising and Garo episode director and storyboard writer]
Storyboards: Oshio Manjiro [Witch Hunter Robin Episode 5 Storyboards/ Wolf’s Rain Episode 19 Storyboards]
Script: Kimura Noboru [script writer for Seikoku no Dragonar / Episodes 2, 5 and 8 of GANGSTA]
I’m trying something a bit different for posts from here on out. I feel that I have been discussing more about the production of an episode rather than the stories themselves! I will list a brief breakdown of production of individual episodes. As for initial impressions I am going to give a breakdown of series director, series writer, conceptual design, animation studio and soundtrack composer. Rather than discussing what these animators and directors have been doing it is going to be a lot more organized if I give a first-on introduction to them before diving into the episodes. I’ll be putting up some of their most notably works (if any) out of their career.
I believe what makes this episode stand out is its music. Instead of using the chill electronic hip-hop that Tsutchie helped write with the late Nujabes for Samurai Champloo‘s soundtrack; GANGSTA‘s score channels Tsutchie’s hip hop-infused style and modernizes it by using dubstep in its place. This enhances the action sequences very strongly. Speaking of dubstep, I believe this year we’ve got a few powerhouse composers working in this genre: Taku Iwasaki [if you haven’t heard the recently released Gatchaman Crowds Insight soundtrack I highly suggest you do!] and Ken Arai’s work on Kiseiju.
Prior to this episode we’ve been distracted by GANGSTA‘s timid violence. I’m curious how the Blu-rays will look uncensored, the added bonus is that the SINGLE volume releases will contain English subtitles. There is also this anime’s sexual tones with Alex’s past and Worwick’s womanizing behavior and last but not least the rugged animation–sometimes its pretty and other times it feels stuck and out of place especially when characters are moving around the screen. The character’s spacial area comes off very heavy–MANGLOBE really needs more talented animators and time to work on this show.
Having all this information about contract holders [Worwick being one of them], the Handymen protected by the Monroe family and the Tags throughout the city ending up dead: there’s a lot to take in! This episode does focus on one thing. There is normalcy out of all the hell that’s going on around them. Amidst the city being controlled by the four families–Monroe, Corsica, Paulklee and Cristiano their arguments over whose killing the Tags is a calm before the storm.
A very toned down episode here. A breather episode is what we’re getting and as much as this was about Twilights being accepted into society it is more about Alex. The Handymen fixing the Corsican shop gives the needed development for her since we’ve had a ton of backstory on Nicholas and Worwick recently. Alex had suffered from abuse and illustrating that she hasn’t fully recovered is how she remembers that she has a brother. Gradually, she’s becoming more of a member of the Handymen’s activities than ever before. Her jobs might not be as dangerous as the two men but the small jobs she does take–the singing for instance–delivers on a social mediator between the families.
Loretta Cristiano is a young girl that shouldn’t be taken lightly. She’s the most lively character of this entire episode. She’s presented as very lady-like and yet her personality says differently–gives off some strong humorous moments with her crew and before the attacks on the Tags start occurring.
MANGLOBE’s animated efforts haven’t been the best in this show, however, what IS effective is the storytelling. We’re learning about Alex’s brother just as she is and him hearing her singing able to recognize that it’s her is icing on the cake for us. GANGSTA is finally coming together! Alex enriches the Tags turmoil beautifully in this scene because she’s a woman that’s already been broken and trying to make a better life for herself. It’s because of this that I feel she’s very tough to watch, in an unlovely sense. The dress she’s wearing illustrates how she’s moving on from her past slowly but surely and that there can be peace found in this rotten city.
I also want to point out how amazing the directing is. Every episode has flushed out the characters and the transitions between scenes have been perfect. Loved the part where everything is calm at Bastard and the scene cuts straight into the action with the highly effective electronic song. It adds mystery to what is going to happen next!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10