So, I didn’t get the big confrontation I was hoping for on Kronen’s behalf, but I’m sure he’ll be in action again soon.
Instead, aside from a bit more of the struggle between Juzo and Seven (and a quick check-in with Mary) it’s mostly a long flashback where we meet Juzo’s Hands and see events that made him who he is today.
As the audience is meant to be, I think most of us have been quite curious about certain details in his past and so I was glued to the screen here. Feels like my old (obvious) prediction that the Big Bad was not going to be dealt with this season has been accurate.
I guess it’s Seven instead, who will be the main antagonist after all, which is, in a way, a little disappointing. He’s no Victor for one, but then, he (and Pepper) are at least more interesting than Cunningham 😀
Mafia-style stories can be an incredibly hard sell for me in many ways, since I tend not to enjoy the idea of glamorising career-criminals via entertainment media.
But Gangsta isn’t a straight-up crime drama either because there is a little something more going on – namely the human experiment angle, that and the fact that one of the lead characters is deaf, which was a welcome change from typical action heroes.
Having said that, this series still features vaguely super-hero style fights at times, so typical action conventions definitely dominate. Nic and Worick are memorable leads, and while they don’t get a chance to be fully developed, I think it’s clear they were going to get even more dimensions – even, or especially – Alex, who does function as more than eye-candy sometimes.
The villains are fairly strong too and the setting is distinctive – or at least, I enjoyed its general Italian-look for sure. I think you could argue that the super-human ‘Tag’ aspect to the world-building was going to escalate far too quickly for the pacing of a story that definitely needed more than one short season to tell. For me, that meant that some of the action-sequences and associated tension tapered off because characters seemed a little overpowered for so early on.
But basically, I was pretty happy to see something a little different in this unfinished story from Manglobe and Shūkō Murase. I know that Gangsta sometimes comes with a little asterisk next to it, as ‘the series that no-one liked and which killed Manglobe’ but of course, that’d be a little simplistic. Manglobe certainly did close up shop [a few details here] and some of the vitriol directed to this short series is due to the ‘ending’.
And if there had been a second season, this would be a cracker of a cliff-hanger… but alas, it was not to be.
Like the majority of anime out there, there is a manga luckily, and so if you wanted to keep reading to catch more of the storyline then you’re all good. However, as usual with me, I’ve written about the anime since that’s all I’ve got 🙂
*This might be me being my usual generous, uncritical self, but since the Gangsta anime is a truly unfinished story, I wanted to add this note about the lack of resolution, since I’m certainly on record as saying that endings are vital.
The action is escalating, as are the stakes and risks too, so I’m still enjoying this half of the season. I’m also expecting the narrative to check in with Mary soon, though we’re mid-battle at the end of the episode.
A few surprises in episode nine, and some handled… differently than others, but overall the tension is rising toward that big finish I’ve been craving. I’d really like to see a few characters drawn into the struggle more directly for the next few episodes, chief among them Victor.
As I feel like I’ve said many times before, I hope this does get a second season so a few scores can be settled, especially things that I don’t think there will be time for right now.
Happy that my guess from the last episode was right, but on the other hand it was more fun to see that nasty surprise from Wachowski near the end.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’m noticing the most of the more serious episodes use this blue, green, grey palette with the lighter ones going for warmer tones, though it’s not a bright show in any sense.
Despite the action and revelations here, it still feels like that ‘pause before the big finish’ I’ve been expecting.
I’m hoping for some rising tension to build quickly now, as we head to the end of the season. But maybe I’ll be extremely wrong and there’s only a really cruel cliffhanger coming, rather than a strong resolution?
I’d love for some other folks to return also, like Kronen, and he was at least mentioned here, so I have hope!
Again, I’m a bit short on stuff to say – basically, I still look forward to No Guns Life in spite of how much I grumble about what I consider to be pacing issues.
Ah, the cliffhanger – I’m on the edge of my seat a bit after having watched episode seven, both because I’m keen to see what happens next but also to see if my prediction comes true, re: Juzo and Tetsuro.
It feels like all the silence from Juzo in that final scene is meant to push me toward assuming one thing, but comparing it to the conversation he has with Tetsuro in the office and I suspect I’m meant to go with another assumption 🙂
Anyway, since this ep once again offered glimpses into Juzo’s past I was pretty satisfied and while I still feel like there’s not enough time to take on the Big Evil Corporation, I’m ready for whatever debris will fall when Juzo begins his wrecking ball act!
This episode plays out like classic film noir in nearly every way, and it gives us another glimpse of Juzo’s past. I enjoyed it more than last week and I’m slowly trying to adjust my expectations re: the storyline.
Maybe instead of a pause before the storm, what we’re in the middle of is the collecting of more allies and enemies? It feels like there’s already not enough time left to take on Berühren.
If so, that might be a battle for a future season. (Assuming, of course, a future season happens.)
Invariably, if I’m anywhere near correct, this suggests that Spitzbergen are going to serve as the main antagonist for now, with Tetsuro’s dilemma being linked up with Mary and Victor as the main emotional struggles. (Which I’m happy with too, of course).
Making predictions is still kinda fun, and taking screencaps ‘as I go’ very handy, but writing up weekly posts on an ongoing anime is hard work!
It’s not my usual approach because I prefer to think on an entire season once it’s done… still, I can now include a part in my final write up that addresses how well/not well I was able to pick up on foreshadowing and storytelling beats 🙂
Not the forward momentum that I was craving, but maybe this is a pause before a push toward the bigger things that must be coming.
The hyper-focus on the old pervert trope seemed to be the No Guns Life fan-service episode – or perhaps a critique of it – but I think it’s also clear that ‘x-ray eyes’ will be back, once he hooks up with Vincent and spills some secrets.
It was good to see Mary get fired up, but the highlight for me was another clue about Juzo’s past. I’m also pleased that the story is now bringing back a few characters that I’ve been curious about too.
Even if this isn’t my fav moment this season, at least the bloody nose exaggeration was funny. (There was also a refreshing change in the colour palette, as the greys and blues dominated the last few eps.)
Again, I’m doing only a couple of notes for this episode, as I’m juggling a few things at the moment.
First off – I’m pleased to see Juzo has recovered, but it was a fun surprise as to how, and so I feel like there’s a chance our heroes can move forward a bit now. For most of the season so far, the team has been locked into a reactive pattern, as they deal with and learn about important stuff, and stuff I wanted to know too.
But it’s nice to see that other key characters are being drawn back into the picture again, and I wonder how that will play out now that Tetsuro is being (sorta) blackmailed.
Here and there I’m noticing the occasional moment where the CGI jumps out a bit – usually when there’s less shadow to do the work of blending, I guess. And since this is a show I believe I’ll grab on disc one day, I’m curious to compare a few scenes.
Anyway, that’s a bit of an aside – once more, I must ‘suffer’ through an entire week before another episode 😀
More answers revealed this time around, and of course, more questions raised. While we didn’t check-in with Tetsuro at all, there was plenty going on with Juzo and Mary.
And seeing them face off against ‘Victor’ was quite satisfying, plus there’s a little comedic moment that I won’t spoil in there too. At this point, after getting that tiny morsel about Juzo’s past, I’m realising that I probably know more about the back-story of everyone else, so I’m ready for extra details in that department from the next few episodes 😀
What I continue to find (and not enjoy so much) is that even though I think I can comment, in the form of prediction/gut reaction, upon big picture things like ‘pacing’, is that it’s very hard. Ideally, before I attempt a series review of No Guns Life, I’d like to watch the whole thing in a few sittings first.
Glad that it seems Victor will take the role of significant villain (and ally, as it turns out) but when we no doubt visit Tetsuro’s storyline with the next episode, I’m hoping things start to surge forward.
It feels like the audience now has plenty of background, context and understanding around what’s happening and who is responsible for what – and once Mary (or someone else?) fixes up Juzo, I’m hoping it’ll be time to start drawing the main protagonists together!
So, how’s everyone finding the second season so far? (For me, each week certainly gets harder to wait for the next episode :D).
Now that the recapping/tiny wrap-up bits from episode 1 are dealt with, it feels like it’s time to move the story along again! (Though right at the beginning, I like that little nod to possible audience impatience with Juzo’s voice-over interruption :D).
A bit more action this time around, and more Juzo – so I’m happy there of course, as he’s still a force no matter his injuries. In fact, I’m hoping he and Mary take a moment for repairs soon.
But since they haven’t, I believe that adds a touch more tension to the upcoming fight between he and Victor. And, like episode one, we’re given a few more answers that lead to more questions. Big questions, especially around Tetsuro, so I’m growing increasingly keen for No Guns Life. In fact, it’s getting harder to wait – part of me wants to ‘save up’ a few episodes so I can watch back-to-back.
One thing I mentioned in the first half of the season, I’m still wanting to get a feel for a ‘main antagonist’. And it’s interesting to speculate upon whether Victor will take that role, since he has a connection to our heroes.
So far, outside of flashback, he’s been shown as ‘unhinged with some cunning’ rather than just being ‘broken + destructive’, so I’m kinda hoping he’ll end up in the ‘main villain’ category or at least in the ‘untrustworthy ally’ basket. I also hope that the plot doesn’t essentially discard him too soon, as there have been a lot of players entering and exiting the stage too quickly… so far.
Further to this, I still don’t quite ‘feel’ Berühren as the villain of the series, even if the corporation clearly must be, based at least on their activities and general stranglehold on the city.