Gangsta. 44 by Kosuke

The latest Gangsta. chapter came out yesterday.

I read it twice, but I still feel like maybe I’m missing something that might have been explained in the spin-off, Gangsta.:Cursed, which I admittedly gave up reading because it was so bloody (and I was having a hard time finding a scanlation of it. Looks like I could buy it on Amazon now. I may have to.)

SPOILERS

.

.

.

The chapter opens up with a crowd of Twilights demanding entrance to the Guild. The Guild has closed its doors, however. The only interesting thing about this scene is that we discover that normally a Twilight can buy the protection of the Guild.  When told to move along, one of the women in the crowd says, “Come on, let us in. We have money.”  Someone else complains that they are “the paying customers here” and that the Guild should fire its “useless commodities” to free up room.

This confuses me as to how the Guild works. To be fair, my only previous sense of it is that they kind of act like the military police for the Twilight population, as well as the “regulatory body” in that they are the ones (I think!) that issue tags and class designation.

Then we flash to a series of what I believe are Worick’s memories, possibly triggered by the presence of a fly. Or maybe the fly is just a dramatic/thematic image.

ggangsta_v008_044_003.jpg

I love the blood trail on the floor leading to the desk

The scene then shifts to Big Mama’s, where the girls are complaining about not being able to hear something (I’m not sure what) and Worick is standing in the background, looking grim, listening to reports on Marco, aka Spas. Just hearing about Marco, Worick gets a memory flash of Connie.

Mama must have the same thought because she suggests that they (the Destroyers?) are “tying up loose ends” from the Second Destroyer gang from 15 years ago using that woman as bait, she continues, suggesting that Tag-hating Uranos wasn’t officially involved, but she happens to know that the plan was to leave Spas at large with the hopes that he’d switch sides again.

Worick laughs at this idea saying, “That’s a huge miscalculation on your people’s part.”

As he’s saying this we get a series of images in current time of one-armed Connie and Bareta in the fight.  We also seem to get a panel of the fly’s legs, and I’m not sure what that’s supposed to signify–maybe that this whole thing is rotten? Or that there’s nothing left but death and decay?

The next several panels are the fight between Marcos and Striker. Striker continues to be gross and Marcos continues to tell the Destroyers to f*ck off.  It looks to me like Marcos gets a second wind and maybe actually takes out the rape-y lady (Bereta).

We get a couple of silent panels that are clearly intended to be meaningful that I think work better if you’re up on the spin-off.  Through the clearing smoke, we get an image of Marco rushing Striker. Then in grayed-out flashback we get what I assume is Striker’s memory of Marco/Spas leaving, and Striker reaching out a hand to him, as though to try to stop him or beg him to stay.

Next we get Connie struggling to her feet in real-time, shouting something not articulated, and then a grayed flashback to her (I assume) standing in a warehouse as a young girl, possibly when first reaching out to Marco, because she reaches for him now. This reach seems to be a symbol between them, since she did it earlier in this chapter, right before Marco got his second wind.

Then we get a full page spread of their hands clasping, which seems to be in real-time as those are the gloves Marco is currently wearing.

ggangsta_v008_044_020.jpg

After this line, which I believe is Marco speaking, saying that the only thing left of “that thing” (meaning Spas) is Marco Adriano, we flash to Worick continuing, “who is utterly worthless,” by which I assume he means to Uranos’s cause, because Worick insists that Marco won’t return to those guys ever.

I’m going line by line here because this plan of Uranos’ literally makes no sense.

To be fair, I only read the first chapter of the Marco spin-off, but I can tell you that from what I read? Spas’ life was grim af. Why on EARTH would anyone want to go back to that kind of living where you kill women and children for sport? Also, only a moron would think that Marco is just screwing around with Connie, she was WEARING HIS RING around her neck.

Also, why is Marco such a hot commodity? He’s not a Tag, he’s one of the superhuman normals, who, if I remember this correctly, have Twilight superpowers without the drawbacks (some better form of Celebre? That part is a little lost to me, but I do remember that the surprise is that Monroe has this, too, and has some kind of mind control ability associated with it, since he could control Delico to shoot Yang in the back, and something weird happened a LOOOOONG time back involving Worick and Monroe’s “smell,” anyone else remember that? It was shortly after Striker was introduced.)

And, maybe that’s it? Maybe Uranos and Monroe were/are counting on whatever brainwashing Marco had at the start to kick back in?  But again, what for? What does having Marco gain them, except possibly a full cadre of Destroyers?

Because then we shift to Loretta Cristiano, whom we discover is the figure collapsed on the desk (I had initially thought it was Worick). She’s calling the Guild head, Paulkee, and apologizing for the delay but telling her that “the person our organization was trusted with managing” Marco/Spas will be terminated / disposed of.

Which leaves me feeling super confused again.

Let me see if I understand what’s going down with Marco.  Somehow, Uranos and Monroe thought hurting Connie would make Marco return to the Destroyers and that was something they WANTED?

Meanwhile, the Guild and the Cristiano gangs have some OTHER connection to Marco (well, we know the Cristiano one, he was basically her bodyguard/mentor/father-figure,) which involved an agreement that would somehow self-destruct/sniper Marco if he gets out of hand?

Okay, I get Cristiano’s stake in Marco, but why the f*ck is the Guild involved?

Marco is not a Twilight. He’s a super-human. Granted, I have long suspected that the Destroyers are part of a government sponsored/initiated program to eradicate the Twilight ‘problem.’  I feel like a government connection was pretty strongly hinted at in the first chapter of Gangsta.:Cursed, and as soon as the Destroyers first showed up in this.  So, perhaps the Guild is keeping an eye on Marco, because they believe he could be turned back to his wicked ways?  Maybe Cristiano looks so depressed because she thinks she’s lost him and now must destroy him?

I guess I could buy that if the idea is supposed to be that Monroe and Uranos think that Marco has some kind of brainwashed trigger built in to his programming that guarantees he’ll switch sides, no matter what.  I’m still not sure why they want that, unless they really feel that Marco + the Destroyers can wipe out all of the Twilights. To be fair, we have certainly seen evidence that the Destroyers are good at this particularly nasty job. They came damn close to taking out Nic (and they got Doug — *sobs*)  But, what we haven’t seen is what would happen if someone like Paulkee or her lover, Ginger, who are at least S/0 class goes up against these supped-up humans.

It also doesn’t entirely explain why the Guild has closed its doors to the Twilight population of Ergastulum.  Unless, Paulkee has decided that she’s only going to protect those who can protect her interests? (But what ARE her interests if not the Twilights of Ergastulum?)  Anyway, seems to me like a dumb strategy. I’d personally take all comers, even whatever’s below D class, with the idea that there’s strength in numbers.

I suspect, as I said above and throughout, I would probably understand why Marco is the lynchpin here if I’d been keeping up with Cursed.

Gangsta. 43

With any luck, this chapter will come out from an easier to read source, but a friend of mine pointed to a downloadable version that seems kosher.

0203

The cover splash page scan seems to be missing part of Worick, but then again, that seems ominously appropriate to the events of the chapter.

SPOILERS

.

.

.

.

The story picks up with the aftermath in Ergastulum (the name of the city, but also the name of a Roman building used to hold dangerous slaves.) As usual, there is chaos.  Bodies of Twlights litter the streets and the Normal population is protesting.

In the police office, Cody seems to be attempting to call the Benriya.  Chad tells him not to use that number ever again.  Instead, Chad calls the head of the Twilight Guild, Gina Paulklee.  Chad is angered that the Guild seems to have locked their gates to their own kind. She pushes him off, he keeps pushing, until she says (basically,) “Look, it’s out of your hands. You need to stop worrying about things you failed to protect.” (Cue: close-up on the wanted posters of Nic and Worick.)

Speaking of Worick, he’s still going down whatever weird preprogrammed path that “Storage” has laid out before him.  We get a flashback to young Worick. Worick apparently disrupted some people involved in “slave trade.” I’m assuming Tags here. Big Mama has found him in a rain-drenched street and admonishes him for being on a fool’s errand, since his actions went unnoticed and nothing will ever change.  He cuts her off and says he’s going to keep doing it anyway, because no one else will.

She calls him a foolish boy, but clearly is charmed by his determination to do what’s right. The flashback then transitions to the now with this lovely panel….

07

Then she says that Uranos (Corsica) is waiting and so she’s going to introduce him to “Storage.”

Meanwhile, Nic is still in rough shape. His hands are shaking and he complains to Dr. Theo that he’s anxious for his stupid body to work properly again.  Theo tells him he should forget it and just sell his contract to him so that he can study his body for science. Nina is horrified by this proposal, but Nic is like, “Nah, he’s right. I’ll give it to him, but he has to wait. I have one last order.”

The last scene is Alex going back to the Benriya office only to find the beheaded body of Miles, Monroe’s second-in-command. She freaks out and sees Worick’s note that tells her to run, the precise words are “Get out of here.” As Alex laments the fact that they brought her into their lives, we get a close up of the words “Take care” having been scribbled out.

The chapter ends there.

There’s a heavily foreboding sense of doom in this chapter.  The fact that Nic and Dr. Theo are certain enough that Nic is free of his contract is spooky enough, but Worick not even pretending to care enough about Alex to tell her to “take care” IN A GOOD-BYE NOTE pretty much cinches it.

It sets my teeth on edge, because I really want the Benriya to make it out of this alive. Despite the giant red arrows saying Worick is the doomed one in this chapter, I’m actually far more concerned about Nic.  That scene of him talking so casually about his contract was deeply unnerving (though it was always Worick who hated any mention of it, more than Nic. Nic always seemed sort of resigned to the fact that he was disposable property.)

I’m super-glad to see Kohske-sensei back in the game. As I told my friend, I feel like the art is a bit off, a little flat–like, literally.  Normally she cuts in a odd angles. (The art this time reminded me of the art of the spin-off, and I wonder if she’s getting a boost from that artist.  Which would be fine, because I long found that art close enough, you know?) But I’m perfectly willing to give Kohske-sensei all the slack she needs.  She’s been so sick for so long.  I’m just happy that we seem to be right back into the story…. even if it seems deeply foreboding.

I really don’t want any of the trio to die, but I’m not holding my breath….

Gangsta. 40

If you’re a Gangsta. addict like I am, you may want to go through the hassle of downloading the scanalation of chapter 40, via http://manicpotato.tumblr.com/post/136442987269/gangsta-chapter-40-is-here-happy-new-year.

It’s a bit fussy, but you know you want to….

SPOILERS

.

.

.

P183.png

Gangsta. opens with another one of those silent, multi panel, emotion-packed pages that I really, really adore Kohske-sensei for.  We see Alex watching Worick go, reaching for him, and then pulling back to let him go… regretfully.

Then, the story flashes over to action already in progress.  We start with Galahad squaring off against one of the Destroyers.  Galahad is getting his butt kicked fairly soundly, until he notices the Tag the Destroyer is wearing/holding.

P190.png

Then, he goes ballistic.  Because: Doug.

In case, somehow, the readers have forgotten the single most tragic story in this dark, brooding story, we even get an extreme close-up of Galahad’s eye with a reflection of the mass grave all the Tags were dumped into (including Doug.  Remember his Converse sticking up among the corpses?  UGH,  my FEELS.)

Then, Hausen and other members of the Guild show up for what I’m calling ‘Operation: Revenge for Doug.’

The action shifts to the long-awaited reunion between Marco/Spaz and Striker.  I have to admit that I’m not as invested in this fight as I should be partly because the uber-violent spin-off (Gangsta: Cursed) deeply wounded my sympathy for Marco.

However, I’m looking forward to Striker getting a smack down.  He’s generally gross and unlikable and I’m super-ready for him to get his comeuppance.

Especially because of this:

P198.png

The severed arm of your lover… the gift that keeps on giving

So, you know, if Marco wants to take this guy’s head off with those little whip-like things, I won’t cry.

I would desperately like to know what Worick is up to, where he’s going, and what he’s going to do.  It’s frustrating to know that due to Kohske-sensei’s illness, we won’t know for… however long it takes.  On the other hand, I don’t want her to put something out that’s not up to her usual quality just because we’re all very invested in her fictional universe.  All I can do is pray for her speedy recovery and be grateful that, at least right now, in this moment (frozen in time for however long), everyone I love is alive.

I’m not sure that’s going to be true by the end, so I’m just as happy to savor where we are at the moment.

Gangsta 38 & 39: The Tension Mounts

The newest Gangsta. chapters are out at MangaTown, but I have to warn you that the site seems to be riddled with spyware.  I have a Mac, which is supposed to be impervious to this stuff, but downloads were constantly popping up and several times I got switched away from the manga to an advertisement.  It was pretty rough.  So, if you can find the chapters elsewhere, I highly recommend that option.  Okay… go.  I’ll wait.

.

.

.

SPOILERS

Mostly these two chapters continue the previous action. Galahad and Marco are facing off against the Second Exterminators/Hunters.  We get a lot of worrying action with Galahad (my odds on his survival have slipped a few notches, which is bummer because he’s one of my favorite sideline characters.)  Marco’s backstory continues to be in the spotlight and we get a reunion, of sorts, between two former colleagues.

jp246

The other bit of interesting information we get is when Ivan talking to/about Erica.  He says that she is an “Instant,” which is a type of Tag that has been brainwashed in some program or other (government? Monroe’s own evil plans?) in which they are first raised in a loving family, taken from that environment, and then deprived of any kind of affection or gentle touch. So, you know, basically tortured, until they will do anything for something as simple as a kiss on the forehead.

We cut to Monroe smugly talking to Corisca about this ingenious little horror shop, but Corisca thinks the whole thing is pretty revolting and thinks that a smarter person would just let the government clean-up the Tags.  I have to admit that one of the things that has not yet been made clear to me (or if it has, I missed it,) is whether or not the Second Hunters are part of the government’s clean-up program or not.  They seem to be able to go toe-to-toe with Tags, which makes me think they must have been physically enhanced somehow.  Maybe I’m already supposed to have guessed that they’re like Monroe, in that they can take Celebrer without any ill effects…?  Though this leaves Connie’s “half blood”  line unanswered, unless that’s part of how they can withstand the Celebrer…?

Again, the best part of Gangsta., IMHO, is that you don’t have to know all the nitty-gritty details of the plot to continue to enjoy it.

The second chapter has Marco and Striker facing off and a flash to Theo’s clinic where we get some clarification that Worick’s “disgusting” line is squarely aimed at Monroe.  To which I can only say: OH MY GOD THANK GOD.  Now, this doesn’t mean that Worick isn’t up to something, because he starts acting very strangely.  He’s clearly piecing something together and he’s making a move, but Koshke-sensei is still playing her hand close to her chest, which is fine with me because we get this lovely series of very tense panels:

qp024

And, that’s pretty much where things end, with Worick very determinedly headed off to DO SOMETHING, only we don’t know what.

My feelings?  This continues to be astronomically better than the anime.  Koshke-sensei’s art elevates this story in a way I can’t even entirely articulate.  I mean, her edges are rough in places, but so much of it so… visceral?  She takes her time to set mood.

qp021qp022

These are just lovely, for instance.  The “camera” eye follows Worick’s shoes.  And then we get the crushing image of Delico who clearly feels unable to act, most likely because he can’t trust himself not to follow Monroe’s orders.  All of that is conveyed silently with a simple two panel shot and Worick’s continued footsteps “above” him.

I fucking love Koshke-sensei’s style.  There’s nothing quite like it for full, hard-core emotional impact.  Yeah, sometimes her hands are way too big and seem like they’d fit better in some gods-awful yaoi, but goddamn the silent FEELS she’s able to convey.

This is why, for me, the anime is such a huge disappointment.  I feel like some of the panels of this unmoving art has more depth, emotion, and MOTION than anything they bothered to animate.  Also it astounds me that her color panels, which Chapter 39 begins with, give this sense of oppressive, Mediterranean heat in a way that I have never, ever experienced in a manga.

Lovely.

Gangsta 34 and… 36?

For reasons unknown, chapter 35 seems to be AWOL. MangaTown has 34 and 36.  I’d be more worried, but the story seems to flow pretty directly from one to the next.

So, go!  Go read ’em!

.

.

.

SPOILERS FOLLOW

n006

I’m pretty sure half of this manga has started this way: Worrick dragging a nearly-dead Nic into Dr. Theo’s place.  This time, if you recall, Nic super-DUPER overdosed on the experimental drug Theo cooked up.  In fact, Dr. Mengele Theo is still far more worried about his experiment than his patient:

n007

Buddy, that’s Nicolas Brown you’re talking about.  You’d better save his ass or I’ll jump through these pages and kick yours into next week!

What follows only serves to make me adore Nic even more.  Last chapter, Yang was shot by his colleague Delaco, under orders by his master/owner/boss, Monroe.  I can’t remember why, though.  It doesn’t entirely matter.  What matters is that Delaco is SHATTERED by it and Yang is on the brink of death.  So, even while Nic is going through horrible convulsions and Dr. Theo considers giving him a lethal injection to put him out of his misery, Nic points to Yang as if to say, “Don’t worry about me; take care of that guy first.”

OMG.  Such a hero! *sniff*  Seriously, though, talk about a Tag who follows the spirit of the Three Law rather than the letter.  Nic totally puts the human first, even though he really is only barely aware of his own surrounding.

Even though he’s in a bad way…

n022

A SERIOUSLY bad way.

I’ll be honest.  My heart was pretty much in my throat this entire chapter.  If Nic dies, there’s really no reason at all for me to keep reading this manga.  My heart would be far, far too broken to go on.

It’s looking really rough, and then we get a series of amazing (silent) panels.  Worrick is loosing the battle with Nic and it looks like Nic is going to tear himself apart.  Alex pushes Worrick aside and grabs for Nic’s hand.  Worrick freaks, because this is Nik without his downer shot.  He’s still super-hyped and really could crush Alex’s hand or kill her without much thought:

n029

n030

I can NOT get over how gorgeously the mangaka shows this scene.

Nic, in his altered state, clearly has mistaken Alex for Veronica (I think that was her name), the woman we’ve seen him visiting at Dr. Theo’s.  She’s the last woman who lived with our two Handymen, and is, presumably, the reason granny from the shop keeps telling Alex she should really bail on these guys before they f*ck up her life.

But, granny should really be more worried closer to home… because Constance (her… daughter?  Adoptive daughter?) went off to confront the Executioner guys (The “Destroyers”) on her own.

…and seems to have lost her arm for it.

n035

Because it gets delivered to Loretta, the child-head of the Christina Family.  For reasons either unknown/as-yet-to-be revealed/or I forgot them, Loretta is really, REALLY adamant that her main guy, Marco, NOT see the severed arm.

Given the events of #36, I suspect I was supposed to have remembered that Constance and Marco are lovers/special friends.  Because the whole of chapter 36 is basically Loretta telling Marco not to go after her/go for revenge and him saying “sorry, I got to take some time off.”   We also get a lot of backstory about the relationship between Marco ad Loretta–he was kind of like an adoptive dad (he, apparently, will scold her, whereas Galahad won’t.)

The other bit of interesting information we get in this new chapter is at the very beginning, where we see a TV announcement about the attack on the Monroe Mansion, which has caused anti-Twilight groups to protest.

The “Four Big Fathers” have called a state of emergency, which has plunged Ergastulum into an uproar.  We also get a flash to some normal people arguing about who is to blame, the exterminators or the Tags.  (Of course, most people are blaming the Tags just for existing.)  I presume we’re going to get more development of this issue: the common Normal’s attitudes towards Tags, a.k.a., the peasants are revolting.

The thing about this that intrigues me is the mention of the ‘Four Big Fathers’ and their apparent authority to call for states of emergency.  Are these the four mafia families?  From the chart at the front of the collected volumes, I count three mafia families: Corsica, Christiano, and Monroe.  But, there’s a third “power,” the Paulkee Guild, which are the Tag Guild, run by Gina.

The thing that confuses me about that, if they’re actually part of these four “Fathers,” is that I was under the impression that the reason Alex didn’t know anything about the Tags when she first met Nic was because Tags/Twilights were confined to Mos Eisley District 7.  But, then again, when we first meet Gina and Ginger in the second volume, they seem to have a broad authority over Tags/Twilights, since they sweep into the Doug/Nic fight and shut it down, invoking the Three Laws (and shoot them both with the trank gun, remember?). So… maybe they represent some arm of the government…?

It’s hard to know.

But as I said in the podcast I guested on last night (for Anime300.com‘s Manga Corner, I’ll post a link here when it airs in August), it doesn’t really matter to me if I can follow every single nuance of this story from month to month.  I know that it will all be come clearer in the following chapters and the story of the characters are compelling enough to keep me reading through minor confusion.

Anyway, chapter 36, being mostly about Marco was interesting but didn’t have much oomph.  But, I get the feeling the mangaka gave us these pages because we need to care about Marco before he DIES.

Which is pretty much where I think he’s headed. TO HIS DOOM.

Because these are the executioners, that include Alex’s “lost” brother, and who have been controlling the hunters (I think).  To be fair, I’m not sure exactly what they’re up to has been entirely revealed.  I’m pretty sure that’s a big part of what’s coming next.

If you don’t know, Gangsta is getting its anime in Japan starting next week, July 1st.  Check out the promo video: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2015-05-21/gangsta-tv-anime-promo-video-1.5-streamed/.88404

I have to say it looks pretty good.  I was super excited to learn last night that the company that’s producing it also did Samurai Champloo, which… so gorgeous.  So fingers crossed.

Gangsta 33 – All That Matters is Nic

I have to admit something.

Sometimes I read a manga or comic book for a single character.  You can ask my partner and she’ll tell you that there was a time during the 1990s that I subscribed to X-Men and ONLY READ THE WORDS GAMBIT SAID.

I’m in Gangsta for Nic Brown.  To me, he is, as the kids would say, ‘my bae.’

o009

SPOILERS

Go Read Gangsta, Chapter 33

A whole lot of stuff happens in Gangsta 33.  I’m pretty sure major political machinations are being revealed, particularly since we now know that Delico is completely owned by the dudes who showed up (Daniel Monroe and… Ivan).  And, by “completely owned,” I don’t mean in a “man, what a tool” sort of way, but nearly-literally, since it’s revealed that Monroe has the ability to command Delico to do anything he says (or maybe even just implies with a look).

Including shooting Yang in the back.

Which is quite the surprise, since Delico and Yang work for the Monroe family.  Together.  As in, on the same side.  Friends.  Colleagues.  Buds.

Of course, Monroe is supposed to be on their side, too, but has apparently betrayed them to Ivan, who seems to be acting as the ringleader of the group of rogue/special Tags who have been wiping out the rest of the Tag/Twilight population in Ergastulum (including Doug *sobs*).

As Nic is wobbling on his feet as he’s coming down off the crazy-drugs Theo gave him, some ugly words get exchanged.

Ivan seems particularly grossly happy to be raping Erica nightly, and seeing her face reflected in “a guy I see every day” at work.

This obviously enrages Delico, since that’s his sister this guy is talking about, and he raises his gun.

But, Yang busts out in front of him.  Deciding that Delico is not in a good space, Yang tries to take out Monroe on his own.  Apparently with a look and an evil smile, Monroe is able to command Delico to kill Yang.  Or, maybe Delico is simply compelled to protect his ‘master.’  That part’s not clear, though Delico is obviously devastated when he does it.

Nic tries to intercede (running so fast and hard that he cracks the wall!):

o022

But his katana goes flying and and Nic passes out at Monroe’s feet–finally at his limit with the overdose.  Nic reaches out to Monroe and actually speaks out loud.  Monroe steps on his hand and breaks a syringe of something (the downer?  Something Nic was trying to get into him?) under his shoe, and says, “Poison.  Theo, that petty-prankster.”

We get a few cut scenes with Galahad and the girl that gets left behind by Delico (whose name I forget) and Loretta from Cristiano Family.  All of whom are heading in the direction of where everything is going down.

The little kid that Nic hamstrung, Mikhail, gets left behind as used goods, while calling out to Erica, trying to make her come back for him…

o031

She walks away with Monroe and Ivan.

And then that’s the end…

YIKES.

All I can say?  I’m glad Nic is alive–or at least seems to be so far.

Clean Action, Stark Story – Gangsta 32

One of the things I like about Gangsta is how gorgeous the action is.  In the current chapter, Gangsta 32, we’re treated to this amazing shot:

mimg015

But, as I feared, things are not going well for our dear Nicolas Brown. To be fair, he does seem to be winning his fight against Wonderweiss Mikhail and Erica, but at what cost?

The chapter actually opens with Worrick on the phone to Alex.  He apologizes for not making it to her singing show and generally chats her up (like he does.)  He asks to speak to Nic and gets a shocker: he’s not there.  We flash to the on-going fight where Nic is clearly (as I suspected) super-duper extra-dosed.  Then we cut-away to Delaco’s sister (figurative or literal, she calls him onii-chan, but he refers to himself as her nakama, colleague.)  She’s just woken up and has a flash back of Delaco buying her shoes; this pisses her off because even though he says they’re equals, he’s clearly left her to go off to fight (and probably die.)

Back to said fight in-progress, we see Delaco watching Nic fight.  He’s totally jealous.  He wishes he could survive crazy uppers overdoses like Nic can. Nic helpfully gives us his own flashback where we hear that Dr. Theo’s noxious little concoction will only last 10 minutes after injection and then the sweats will hit and limbs will start going numb. (Awesome. Especially since Nic is clearly already sweating.)

Back to Worrick who is basically hearing the same thing. After listening to Dr. Theo go on about how the new drug works and how much it will probably ultimately wreck Nic, Worrick reiterates that, frankly, Theo is possibly the sh*ttiest doctor on the face of the earth. (Agreed.)

Dr. Mengele Theo leaves us with a lovely parting line: “I have no interest in those who die.”

Since we got a black panel right before the cut back to the fight after that doozy of a line, I expected to see Nic face plant from an overdose. However, we see Mikhail taken out.  Though we don’t see the damage until later, Nic has expertly sliced the little runt’s Achilles tendons–effectively grounding him.  As Mikhail whines about how Nic is totally not acting like he did the last time they tussled, Delico rushes over with a vial (which I assume contains the downer injection.)  He’s almost on top of the kid, but, despite his injuries Mikhail makes a move that looks like curtains for Delico.  Nic jumps in the way.

It looks everyone is in a kind of Mexican stand-off when a voice off-screen tells Erica to stand down.

Then out steps… this guy:

mimg031

And… I have no idea who that is.

So I’m going to have to wait until the next chapter, where I’m sure it will be revealed.  Kosuke-sensei seems to be weaving a very skillful story here (one that operates on a number of levels), so I’m not nearly as concerned that I don’t recognize this person.  For instance, I have a feeling if I never figure out all the political connections to the various families in Ergastulum, I’ll still get interesting backstory/interaction between Worrick and Nic and the other Twilights and Humans I’m invested in.

This is one thing that Gangsta has over Hitogatana, in my opinion.  The art is stylized and sharp over at Hitogatana, but sometimes the story only works if you remember all the various plot mechanizations (hence my review in which I said I was completely lost). Gangsta is more skillfully written so that if you don’t catch all the details, you’re still in for a hell of a ride.  The best manga are like this.  The kind that grow deeper in re-reads.

I’ve been enjoying the down time moments of the recent Hitogatana* chapters, but I’m all in with Gangsta.

Now I just have to hope that Nic survives this latest overdose or there may be gross sobbing.

*Hitogatana #25 is out now, as well.