Thursday, December 05, 2013

Manga you probably never heard of


So I reviewed Black Lagoon a while ago and Gangsta has similarities. Let's start with a short summary; In an alternate history world there are people born with extraordinary abilities. They are called 'twilights' - superhuman speed strength agility, all these things that make them excellent killers and mercenaries which is often what they end up as. Meet our heroes:

Alex, Worrick and Nicolas. Worrick and Nic started Benriya - a jack of all trades company in which they sell out their considerable talents and strength to solve 'problems' that plague the historic city of Ergastulum. So, basically, this is a world of gangs, prostitutes (Alex is an ex-prostitute saved by Nic and Worrick) and serious blood shed.

This is actually a great deal more graphic than Black Lagoon, so serious, serious warnings right up front. This ain't for kids. Graphic murder, rape and gore and nudity is in this manga, so you are warned.

Asides from that Gangsta is a decent manga. I like the art style a lot, especially Nic's character. There are a few things that really stand out in Gansta; Our two heroic protags, Nic and Worrick, aren't kids. They are in their mid-thirties which makes them extremely unusual for a manga, seeing how the vast majority of characters ever written are all under the age of twenty five.

They have had a hard life and it shows in the style of art; they have scars, wrinkles, CHEST HAIR, scraggly facial hair, a dark past that often shows up in the form of nightmares.

Nic is the strongest and most fleshed out character of the series. He is a twilight and the lethal force of the team. He is also deaf, which makes him a really, really interesting manga character. I don't think I've seen too many disabled characters represented in manga so this makes me really excited. You can see in Nic the author's obsession with Bruce Lee, which I'm pretty sure Nic is based off of. He's all over badass and ruthless killer when he needs to be but he's also more humane and compassionate then most of the characters. Stealth nice, is what I would say. He doesn't like crowds, doesn't really like people, likes to yank on peoples chains and has almost animal like senses asides the no hearing thing. Actually his character is a bit like a wild animal. If there was one reason to read the manga Nic would probably be it. I'm curious about what's going to happen to him, rather how he's going to die because it's been foreshadowed a LOT that twilights live short lives and often die in battle.

Worrick is Nic's complete opposite; outgoing, a lady's man (a gigolo, actually) and very, very intelligent, Worrick is the brains and social face of Benriya. I'm not as fond of Worrick as I am of Nic but he's fun. He's exactly what you see - sex on legs, free spirit type.

I'm in two minds about Alex. Unfortunately, Alex is the fan service bait that serves to drag in male viewers to Gangsta. The story begins with Alex being brutalized by her pimp and by the end of the chapter the pimp is killed and Alex is 'rescued' by Worrick (if by rescued you mean he claims her as booty and all but throws her over his shoulder in a manly fashion) after that she serves as Benriya's secretary and cook and surrogate mother. She's just... is a typical female presence in a shounen/men's story.

She's sweet, she's accommodating, she cooks, she cleans, she answers the phone and....and...yeah. We know nothing about her, only in a recent chapter we know she has a younger brother who is looking for her. She has no interests, no hobbies, no past, no future, no decisions but hey, she wears lots of super skimpy outfits and has huge breasts so that's all that counts right?

I'm really, really hoping that her character can be fleshed out - to have her rise and become part of the badass group of Benriya, an actual contributing member that does more than answer phones. I hope she develops into something amazing but somehow I get the feeling that she's going to be the fan service character which is deeply frustrating.

So there you go; Gangsta is about a B- or C on the scale of great manga. The plot isn't really there, it's kind of just a jumble of fights, gangs and the undercurrent story of the twilights, whom humanity hates. The current storyline has a bit more promise and hopefully will shed some more light on the pasts of all three of the protags.

Found here: Gangsta

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