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April 6, 2015

Bento Bako Weekly: Gangsta volumes 4-5

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Written by: Kristin
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gangsta4Title: Gangsta.
Author: Kohske
Publisher: Viz Media (Viz Signature)
Volume: Volumes 4-5, $12.99
Vintage: Shinchosha in Japan; November 2014, February 2015 by Viz Media
Genre: Action, drama

[Volumes 2-3 review.]

During some brief downtime, the Handymen help repair Constance’s gun shop. Even Alex helps out, but as she gets healthier, her memories start coming back, specifically those about her missing younger brother. The anti-Twilight violence continues, with Normals attacking Tags throughout the city. But that’s nothing compared to the slaughter going on by two mysterious hunters. They’ve been working fairly secretly so far, but the time has come for their master’s plan to seriously begin. They start with an all-out attack against the Cristiano family, targeting a party held at the brothel Bastard, where Cristiano’s leader, Loretta, houses injured Twilights in need of assistance. Galahad and Marco do their best to get Loretta and Alex to safety while the hunters kill every Twilight in sight. Even powerful Galahad can barely keep up with the small boy, and when he’s joined by the older Erica, it’s a full on struggle for survival until Nicolas shows up. That’s when things start coming together, or falling apart depending on perspective. Erica is known to several of the other characters already – Nicolas, Worick, and Yang remember her, and Delico has a special connection from when they were all children. Some information about Nicolas is also revealed – he’s not the powerful Twilight he claims. Nicolas is a “faker”; he’s only moderately naturally powerful. Most of his strength comes from the overuse of Twilight specific drugs. That kind of power might not cut it against this strange batch of Twilight hunters known as the Destroyers.

Along with Erica and Mikhail, there are five other members of the Destroyers, intent on annihilating Twilights and drowning Ergastulum in blood and chaos. The goal is to attack the main families, and with Cristiano mostly out of commission after the attack on Bastard, the Monroe Family and the Paulklee Guild are the two major powers remaining. Prior to the double attack, the Destroys set about cutting off communication throughout the city. Doug is sent out with an escort to make a report to the cops and find Galahad. Unfortunately he’s waylaid by two Destroyers on their way to the Paulklee Guild. At Monroe’s headquarters, Yang and Delico set out to track down Erica, but while they’re gone their leader disappears. Marco also seems to have a connection to the Destroyers, and he rushes off to ensure Constance’s safety, but is too late. Nicolas is called to help the Cristiano family, while Worick checks in with the Monroes, leaving Alex alone with her reemerging memories of her little brother. As Yang and Delico get closer to finding Erica, Worick finds himself in a fight with yet another Destroyer, Striker. Unfortunately, as Worick has no special abilities, he’s no match, and he may have finally stuck his foot in too deep.

gangsta5Kohske continues to weave action, drama, and character progression in excellent fashion. Her action is a bit on the gory side at times, so beware if you have a weak stomach. There are entrails and dismemberments scattered through the pages. Such shock moments are not overused, though. The action does pick up in these two volumes big time, so if that’s what you came for, you’ll be very pleased. The Twilight hunters, a group called the Destroyers, is kicking things into high gear and sending the entire city into chaos. The losses are going to start piling up now. There’s down time, too, of course. Moments where the pasts of certain characters are revealed, like Delico and Yang at the same orphanage as children, and the truth about Alex’s little brother. A few surprises are dropped in, like Marco’s kind-of-sort-of relationship with Constance. The biggest surprise is Alex’s brother, but I’m trying not to spoil that one here. Nicolas has a couple gentle moments in between slicing up enemies. Loretta gets to shine as Cristiano’s leader (go go strong female characters). Dr. Theo is secretly a big softy (he reminds me of Blue Exorcist‘s Shiro Fujimoto). There’s just some really nice character moments all around where true natures are showcased. Of course, the villains aren’t left out. The Destroyers haven’t had a lot of individual page time yet, but given who some of them are (and their past relationships with other characters), hopefully they’ll be expanded on soon. Couple notes about the art as I wrap up. The action is clean and easy to follow, which is a big plus for any heavy action on the page. The only artistic complaint I have deals with panel layouts. Occasionally the action in a page is ruined by the dialog on the page; basically, the action and dialog don’t match up. It’s about timing panel action with narration, and there’s several unfortunate instances of this within these volumes that are very distracting. Other than that, I’m still loving this series. If you’re looking for a mature action story along the lines of Black Lagoon or Jormungandthis is another title to check out. Also, an anime version is coming out this summer in Japan.


Review copies provided by Viz Media.



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