I’ve been a terrible Gangsta. fan.
I had no idea that Kohske-sensei was back to publishing regularly.
The good news is that this means I got to read a whole lot of chapters at once.
If you haven’t been following Gangsta, this review is going to be fairly meaningless to you, I’m afraid. I’ve been a fan of this manga since I read the first volume back in October of 2014.
I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.
To try to catch a new reader up to this point in the story would be nearly impossible, but, since I tend to use these chapter reviews for my own purposes, I’m going to try to at least hit some of the highlights so that I can make sense of the story so far… for myself, if nothing else.
Also, I’m going to be honest, I need to write out what happened because the first time through all I could think was: “YEAH, YEAH, FINE, WHATEVER, BUT NIC? WHAT IS MY BABY DOING, IS HE OKAY??!”
Answer: still alive.
That was my biggest takeaway from these chapters.
I love this man:
So, okay, on to the serious review.
When I last reviewed Gangsta, the site I’d been using to read it was missing chapters 46 and 47. So, I went back and read those this time, as well. Mostly, they continued the fight between Marco (aka ‘Spaz’) and his ex-cronies, the Hunters/Second Destroyers.
Chapter 46, however, gives us a couple of important bits of information. For one, we discover that it was a decision by the Godfathers to allow the Cristianos (later run by Loretta) to take custody of Marco. There’s also a mysterious bit that Nic seems to “overhear” about a pair of twins that Monroe wanted to adopt from the orphanage. I presume this is a reference to Erica and Delico, since it is noted that the girl was kidnapped.
Then, of course, there’s this depressing series of panels in which Worick tells Cristino that he’ll regret taking on a Twilight.
Mmmm, I do not like this implication, Worick. Nope. Not at all.
Since I’m not all that invested in the Marco/Striker fight, the only thing of interest to me in Chapter 47 is that once again, poor Galahad ends up carrying 9/10th of the emotional baggage of this manga.
When the Guild is trying to figure out if they need to offer back-up to Marco during this fight, Galahad ‘reminds’ Hausen that they don’t need to bother. The only reason Marco’s life was spared way back when was for this day. He’s a convicted murderer, a monster, and the only reason he exists is to kill the killers, as it were, to take out the Second Destroyers, should they ever return.
Or to die trying (which if you read my previous review, you know he does.)
We see a close-up of the fact that Galahad has Marco and Connie’s wedding rings.
That poor guy.
First Doug, now this.
Chapter 49 picks up with the only storyline I have truly ever cared for: Nicolas Brown.
Actually, this chapter opens with a signal flare going up. All the Twilights seem to understand the significance of the flares, which is that a “third wave” is coming and that, when that starts, the entire city will be on lock down and a massacre to end all massacres is going to start.
Then we cut to a gathering of all the Godfathers. Corisca tells the assembled families that the “main plan” is about to be put into action. Georgiana/Big Mama then presents her “gift,” which is none-other-than Worick in his new guise as “Storage.”
And…. we get another set of panels that I hate:
When all the of gathered Godfathers (which include several I don’t remember meeting before) argue about whether or not Worick can be trusted since he worked for Monroe for so many years, Mama pulls out the suitcase with Miles’ head in it and tells Corsica that it’s his family that Worick is most suited for.
I think the implication here is that, since, in previous chapters we discovered that Monroe was actually a kind of Twilight-hybrid that had superhuman powers without the addiction to Celebrer, Worick’s assassination/decapitation of Miles Mayer is some kind of signal that not only is Worick OBVIOUSLY not working for Monroe any more, but he’s also… maybe some kind of secret Twilight hater, despite being Nic’s contract holder?
It’s not like we never had clues about the second part (the anime, in particular, hit this idea a lot earlier)… but still. That hurts, Worick. I’m sure hoping this is all a ruse.
I’m not willing to bet on it, though.
Chapter 50 cuts to Emilio (Alex’s brother) who is apparently one of the last men standing in the Monroe organization. As he’s trying to figure out why he can’t get a hold of Miles or Worick, a car drives through an anti-Twilight demonstration and someone flings out… Miles’ decapitated head. (We get a cameo of poor, overworked police inspector Chad IDing the head.)
Meanwhile, back at Theo‘s clinic, creepy little Mikhail is freaking out about the flares. Nic, who had been staring out the window of the clinic, spots at least three Twilights who seem to be casing the joint. Turns out that when Worick went rogue he voided his contract with Nic, making Nic a stray. Now, the Guild, the organization in charge of policing the Twilights, are showing up to take Nic into their custody.
Nic doesn’t go without a fight.
A really f*cking cool fight.
At the same time all that is going down, someone kidnaps Alex.
Chapter 51 opens with Nic reminiscing about Miles and, specifically, how kind Miles was to Worick. He says a very curious thing at the end…
“So you won’t change your mind about walking the other side no matter what, Master Wallace.” (emphasis mine.)
This is my only glimmer of hope that maybe Nic knows something about Worick’s plans here. I find it interesting, if the translator got this right, that Nic refers to Worick as Master Wallace (or, possibly just ‘master,’) here. Master Wallace, if that’s what the original says, feels like a call back to our benriya’s earliest days together.
Did I mention that the fight was cool?
But, Nic loses, actually. In the next chapter we learn that he and Theo have been taken prisoner, and now are locked up in the Guild’s facilities. They might have been killed, but ‘Sir’/Gina Paulklee put out a stand down order because she is indebted to Dr. Theo, like many Twilights, for his willingness to treat all comers.
And because she’s interested in the “fruits of his experiments.”
Clearly, that’s Nic.
As we are reminded at the end of this chapter, Nic is actually a ‘faker.’ He has the tag designation A/O, but we learned in previous chapters that the Guild actually ranked him C/O when he first came to them. He overdoses on ‘uppers’ to maintain his higher rank. Yet, as one of Paulklee’s soldiers points out… they had a helluva time subduing Nic, and all three of them are naturally ranked A/O.
So, WTF did you do to him, Doc?
We never find out in this series of chapters, because next we skip back to Worick, who is busy charming his way back into Big Mama’s graces. We get the point of view of one of the Godfathers that I don’t think we’ve seen before, a long-lashes, sunglasses-on-head sporting fellow named Bernardo (who trips my gaydar, but does that even work in 2-D?)
Bernardo is thinking that, despite having delivered Miles’ head, Worick is fishy AF.
In the secret back hallways of Big Mama’s place, Worick has a confrontation with Striker who survived being bombed by Connie, but who is a complete mess. Another one of the new bosses, Svetlana, tells the surviving Second Destroyers that they aren’t worth fixing up. They’re used goods–“expired inventory,” as Worick later calls them. Worick also sees two cloaked child-sized twins running down the hall and guesses that they’re the next generation, which Corsica confirms.
Another new godfather, a bespectacled salaryman type, Victor, tells Worick that he really can’t trust him. Worick agrees that he’s not very trustworthy and lays out why that doesn’t matter in a long, convoluted speech. Corsica tests Worick by giving him a book that contains all the information Corsica has gathered, Worick does his eidetic memory trick and flips through the book at highspeed, but retains all of it.
We get little clips of information from the things Corisca tests Worick on.
- Erica and a number of other Twilights were given a ‘dezanfectan’ drug of some sort. After being subjected to which, she was the only one to “function normally.”
- Through continued administration of an improved form of this drug, training began to make a Twilight (Erica? Another?) into a Hunter (Second Destroyer). This was dubbed “Project Instant.”
- New research that follows on “Instant” and that includes a Celebrer-resistant candidate allows for the scrapping of the previous Hunters, and a large-scale Twilight extermination unit will purge the entire city of Ergastulum.
Fortunately for my heart, as he’s reciting that last line, Worick has flash of a memory of baby Nic… which could be a sign of sentimentality???? I CAN ONLY HOPE!?
By chapter 55, things are quite grim.
Sunglasses-on-head sporting Bernardo drops in on Worick who is consuming all the information he can get his hands on. Bernardo informs Worick that sh*t is about to hit the fan and their job is going to be “foreplay,” i.e. scattering Paulklee’s guild forces and destroying their hideouts along the way. Worick is all, nice, nice, but so when does the normal army roll in?
Right now, apparently.
Ironically? In the way of a full circle? The mercenary troop that is using Big Mama’s bordello as their main base is none other than that of the North Gate, which, you may recall is the one that Nic was… born? into.
The ladies working at Big Mama’s are initially freaked out by the arrival of all the mercenaries, but they actually beg Corisca to kill every last one of the Twilights for them. Worick looks on at this weird, quasi-religious scene with… dead eyes.
Not sure I like that much.
Corisca, for reasons of evil glee, decides to give Worick command of the Third Destroyers, the final wave of Twilight killers. So… that should be fun. It’ll be interesting to see just how much of this “other side” Worick is willing to actually walk.
Meanwhile, at the Paulklee compound, Alex is reunited with Nic and company and they have a very odd discussion about where Alex might go next. Nic keeps referring to Worick as ‘master,’ which is a creepy (new?) development. Particularly, since no one corrects him or seems at all startled by it. I really don’t remember him calling Worick ‘master’ before, honestly, and I’m not sure how to feel about it. (Is it sexy? … how much do I hate myself that that answer is… kinda?)
Loreitta Cristiano shows up in the middle of the night, interrupting Gina Paulklee and Ginger in flagrante delicto to discuss the situation.
Specifically, she and Galahad seem to have to come to try to spring Alex from jail, as it were. Loreitta would really like Gina not to use the small army of low-level Twilights who are camped outside her compound as canon-fodder when all hell breaks loose, but Gina’s very “Nah, I’m good with sacrificing them. They’re weak and would only slow me down.”
When they seem to come to an impasse regarding all this, Gina says something like, “Look, do what you want.”
Loreitta gets all excited about that because she was planning to do that anyway. (Weird kid, that one.) She wants to provide a “better” shield with the people Gina feels are canon fodder. Turns out, she’s got a private army of B class or better Twilights, whom she’s willing to lend to Gina in exchange for all four of Gina’s captives (which I believe are Nic, Theo, Nina, and Alex.)
This group of chapters ends with Loreitta promising to do far better “a dance” of skill than her father ever did.
Weirdly, I believe her.
So, it seems our only hope in all of this is a tiny, super-odd gangster kid.
I guess I’ll take it, because it’s better than no hope at all?
Who knows. If I have any reservations in my deep and unabiding love for this manga is that the relationship between Worick and Nic has been telegraphed as so f*cked up from the beginning that it’s really, really hard to imagine a happy ending for Gangsta. I’m honestly not even sure if a happy ending would be RIGHT for these two.
So, as each chapter brings us inexorably closer to the final curtain… I find myself dreading it.
At least we get art like this: