Manga Review: GANGSTA. – Vol.1 by Kousuke

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I love this manga right from the start! The art and the story telling was definitely up my alley on this one! I really enjoyed the characters, their development and back stories…I’m so glad I picked this up!

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General Plot:
In the city of Ergastulum, a shady ville filled with made men and petty thieves, whores on the make and cops on the take, there are some deeds too dirty for even its jaded inhabitants to touch. Enter the “Handymen,” Nic and Worick, who take care of the jobs no one else will handle. Until the day when a cop they know on the force requests their help in taking down a new gang muscling in on the territory of a top Mafia family. It seems like business (and mayhem) as usual, but the Handymen are about to find that this job is a lot more than they bargained for.
– Taken from Goodreads

Genre:
Seinen – The manga is for more mature audience, in terms of violence and language…there will be some uncomfortable situation surrounding the issue of prostitution and sex, and some nudity (I barely spotted them…perhaps I wasn’t paying too much attention on those things). This is definitely not one for kids.

My Impression:
(I won’t be giving a play by play summary of what goes on in each chapter, rather I’m just going to give my reaction to the story so far.)
I was really taken in by the artwork. It was definitely a lot cleaner than I expected, usually with these sort of plots the drawing can get a little messy, but not this manga, it was definitely a pleasant surprise. The art style is also very much to my liking.

The story is quite gritty despite the bantering and humor between the pair. After all, the story is set in a city filled with dirty cops, mafia families, prostitution, crime and murder, and violence of the most gruesome sort. But behind it all everyone has a story, and the mangaka is really good at keeping our attention. There are quite some complicated issues going on in the story, even within the first volume but I find them having been handled quite well.

From the get go I was totally into the partnership between Worick and Nic. The addition of Alex into their team only helped us as readers, understand the pair better; it also allows us a better understanding of the world which is Ergastulum and its inhabitance aside from Worick and Nic, as they are introduced to her.

Almost none of the characters in the first volume are of the “clean” sorts, aside for the sweet and adorable Nina. Most of them have their own flaws be it in character or physical “damage” of some sort, in that many of them sports scars, both mentally and physically. Such as Nic’s hearing disability and Worick having lost the use of his left eye; but neither of these things make them less badass, in fact it really gives them characteristics of the good sort. There is also Dr. Theo, who you’ll find has two of his fingers missing. The characters in this manga are quite flawed in their ways but they continue to live their lives and survive in their city, and I think that just makes them badass in their own ways. In fact, this might be the first manga I’ve read where their characters uses sign language to communicate, and the mangaka’s attempt to capture it in speech bubbles is quite unique.

I really enjoy the pace of the story, it isn’t overly sped up, despite all the action scenes…nor are we bombarded with too much fight scenes. Every fight scene reveal more about their world and their rules to us.

Just to put this out there, one of my favorite character is definitely Worick! I do love Nic, but I do like to root for the regular guy who has no super strengths; and Worick normally does not have the upper hand in most fight situations, he uses mostly his wit and his street smarts. I love Worick’s cheekiness and laid-back personality which hides a darker side of him, as well as his loyalty to Nic; I also love Nic’s snarky cockiness despite his softy-side, he doesn’t care how people look at him, and just goes about in his own way. I love them as a pair and I cannot imagine one without the other! They are adorable together…as men in their 30s can be!

I adore this manga so much I have Worick as my wallpaper and screensaver!

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While I had not heard of this mangaka, Kousuke, before this series; I’m glad I found her and am absolutely in love with her work! Apparently the manga was incredibly hyped up but I’m glad I heard nothing of the hype and just jumped into it knowing NOTHING because it is has been really good!

Overall this has been an amazing read! I really love the series and will continue reading it! If you’re interested in these sorta gritty type story, this is the manga for you! I highly recommend it!

Have you read the series? If you have what did you think about it, who are your favorite character(s)? If you’ve not, do you think this is something you’d pick up? I really would love to hear from you!

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