Anime Spotlight: Gangsta.
In a not so little city called Ergastulum, live Worick Arcangelo and Nicolas Brown, your friendly neighborhood handymen. These handymen don’t unclog sinks or rebuild fences. These handymen handle those ugly little tasks beyond the purview of the police; tasks so distasteful that the local mafia won’t even sully their hands. In a city rife with crime and corruption, handymen are convenient tools and fall guys.
Gigolo turned mercenary Worick and his lethal and faithful (and deaf) companion Nicolas are quite the combination. Worick is the affable, almost comedic foil to Nicolas’ strong silence. Worick gives me Vash the Stampede vibes – the goofy hero that is a better shot than anyone expects. On the other, Nicolas’ silence speaks volumes. In fact, if he decides to speak, you would do well to listen. Nicolas is a Twilight, the child of a chemically enhanced soldier, who was raised to be a mercenary. As a result of his father’s use of the drug Celebrer, Nicolas is now dependent on that very drug to maintain his bodily functions and stay alive.
Well-placed flashbacks let us know that Worick and Nicolas’ past and as a result their present is complex and intriguing. There is a series of unfortunate events this Deadly Diva shall not spoil that brings Worick and Nicolas together.
Representation matters and Gangsta. (the period at the end of the title is intentional) almost gets it right–well maybe not right, but just better than most. There are men of varying ages, sizes and colors, but the men with any discernible power appear white, or in Nicolas’ case – half-white. In a corrupt city, it is almost expected that any women present would be subjected to various levels of subjugation and abuse. However, a Diva can dream for female characters with agency, who aren’t the proverbial damsels in distress, and who kick ass and take all the names.
What Gangsta. gives us is a primary female character named Alex, a half-Asian, half-black prostitute selling her wares outside Worick and Nicholas’ window. She doesn’t seem to be that good at it based on the reactions of her pimp and the johns. I am hoping that Alex’s poor performance is an act of subversion, that she is raging against the machine designed to keep her a perpetual state of despair and subservience.
Alex makes the acquaintance of Worik and Nicolas as they were sent by the police to take care of her boss and his crew. Yes, that means exactly what you think it means. Our handymen with hearts of gold spare Alex’s life and the dynamic duo becomes a terrific trio… at least for a while. Who knows how long this arrangement will last? And by arrangement, I mean a roof and a job that does not involve exchanging sexual favors for money. What I am enjoying most about the addition of Alex is that she isn’t the love or sexual interest for either Worick or Nicolas. They seem to genuinely care about Alex’s well being, which for her has to be a welcome change.
For every bit of information gleaned by watching, there are more unanswered questions. And this Deadly Diva cannot wait to see how the loose ends are tied up. There is a depth that I am more accustomed to seeing in live action series. In fact, it conjured the emotions I once reserved for Game of Thrones and Supernatural. So far this is my favorite new anime series of the summer.
Diva’s note: Just in case you were wondering, Gangsta. is intended for a more mature audience.