When watching this title, I said to myself, based on the opening alone it would be an exploitative ride down a dark path of violence, sex and bloody action. Then I watched episode 1 and realized, yep, not for little boys and girls, but then I kept watching. Soon it felt like I was watching a Gonzo title. It has a fantastic start, and a so-so end. At first the title seemed like a seedy world of tough guys who bludgeon, dice and blast through a trove of gang minions. But then the show seems to take an almost comical turn when they introduce a crime family ran by a young girl. From the point she becomes a bigger character, the overall grittyness looses some grit. This is not dreadful, it just feels like it changes tone. However, what lets Gangsta down a notch, is a lack of conclusion. Until I see an ending (it has an on-going manga) then it will probably have to sit at a 6 for story.
The two main male leads run a sort of business for hire, which is paid for muscle, or handling law-and-order. They have the aptly named "Handymen" name which covertly means they can carve through a batch of baddies, but they can also fix your pluming.
Nicolas, one of the main pair, is deaf and carries a big sword, and the other wears an eye patch and is the vocal side of the duo. The deaf gimmick is an interesting piece thrown in, and the fact that Nick is labeled as a Tag (a person wearing some military looking dog-tags) leads one to believe he was made for killing. Adding to the handyman team is a full figured woman who has a rough past. The title has at its core is a two male lead with a female in tow. It harkens back to Samurai Champloo mixed with the rough underworld of a Black Lagoon. There has been other cast introduced in the form of a doctor who's practice is as shady as it is helpful. He has a little nurse who looks pretty young, but has obviously seen a rougher life, and an older detective who stratles a grey line of right and wrong. *** As of the writing we also have a dreadlocked young looking tag and a young lady who runs one of the mafia styled factions.
There is a certain bent appeal in the fact that you get setups with unredeemable baddies who for example hit women as a drug pimp. Our two "heroes" who are most definitely going to make him and his team pay for their actions in blood. But it is not rocket science watching the title, nor is it trying to be. It comes across as violence with attitude. It is probably going to lean heavily on simple set ups and throw in a challenge that will throw our Handymen for a loop. Luckily it has fleshed out some backstory of the two main stars.
The animation is sharp and shady, which fits the mood. It has drafts of light that seep through alleyways and streets, and the character designs make our "heroes" look like they should be the actual bad guys. Overall budget strains in later episdoes. The show started with great noir in sunlight, and later turned stiff and off-model.
The music is a mixtape of lo-fi downbeat jazz that is slightly remixed with some tinged beats. Again, Champloo, Bebop, come to mind. The opening is a blood racing, uber red light district, dive through dark streets and the Ed is a brooding chill tune. The acting seems to go along with the characters nicely. I especially liked the vocal Seiyu for the deaf Tag. His somewhat hard to understand talking, is true to a person who cannot hear himself.
I lked the show, but it did take a bit of a stumble toward the end. Some titles can pull off a full story with an opening for a sequel, some middle movies or titles can still follow a basic 3 part act and still have need for a sequel to wrp things up... but then there is an ending like this, that is abrupt with no preparedness of the future.
I am not a fan of "well there is a manga that is still going, just read that." I would say; No, I am not going to search out a different medium to have to conclued a story. This is not a franchise review, it is an anime one. I still give it a marginal pass and If your a fan os Speed Grapher or Gantz, you will probably still find this a worthy title. Just remember it might leave you hanging in the end.