What’s better than being a gangster? Besides maybe being Beyoncé, not a whole lot really. Take what you want, when you want, and never let anyone step on you in the wrong way. Being a gangster is easy. But being a handyman for hire? Not so much. For the intrepid array of characters in the crime drama anime Gangsta, life is all but easy. Set in the fictional city of Ergastulum; a writhing crockpot full of drugs, hookers, and organized crime that was set to boil on high, Gangsta is an extraordinary story of two men who clean up other people’s messes, while making quite a few of their own. For a certain price, Worick Arcangelo and Nicholas Brown will help fix your problems. Whether you’re a seedy crime lord or a hard old woman with the temperament of a badger, as long as you have the funds they’ll do just about anything for you.
The series begins by introducing us to our main cast of characters, Worick and Nicholas as well as a very damaged woman named Alex. In the opening episode of the show, we find Worick and Nicholas going about their business. Making deliveries, providing witty banter, and bringing something to the table that no anime before it has quite dared to touch; Disabled representation in the form of Nicholas who is hearing impaired and speaks in mostly sign language. Now let me be clear on one thing, as a child I would always watch tv series showcasing characters who were completely “normal” by the media standards. Save for X-Men’s Professor X, I never really saw the representation in the media that real-life provided. I had friends who wore hearing aids, others who spent most of their lives in wheelchairs, and finally seeing a series take a step in the right direction towards providing relatable characters to the ones watching who aren’t necessarily “normal” warmed my iced heart quite a bit. .
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching series like Naruto or Bleach as much as the next guy. However, when a series roles around that not only shows that you can have a disability and still be a complete badass, but also represents different aspects of emotional and physical abuse and how different people deal with the after-effects of it was monumental to me.
Beyond just being a fun action story, filled with plenty of bullets, babes, and blood to whet the pallet of any die hard action fan, it’s a true break through in story telling. Most anime out there revolves around the manifest destiny of one teenager, meant to save the world using an immense power they usually can’t control and don’t understand. Now, finally, we have been blessed with a series revolving around two 30 something guys who have difficult pasts they still struggle with through out the duration of the show. It was a series I could connect with fully for once, that anyone who’s actually been in touch with reality can relate to. That anyone who has been abused or mistreated can look to and see these characters over come the adversities presented to them and come out stronger in the end.
From learning about Worick’s intense past and childhood, to Alex who from a young age was forced into a trade she didn’t ever wish to be a part of. To Nicholas who lives everyday as if nothing really gets to him, but deep down is an intensely emotional and loyal person. Along with the many other characters you meet along the way, Gangsta is a fun, captivating, and action packed thrill ride that will leave you wanting more and craving another series like it.