July 10th, 2015.
OP – So this is how Gangsta chose to start, by shoving three half-naked asses at us. Nothing says “mature” like rockish music, black and white art, prostitutes, drugs, booze, cigarettes, and weapons. It’s almost funny. It was very stylish, especially when they added colours, but it was just too funny from a meta-level, and the music was actually pretty forgettable, which is a big strike against it considering how hard the whole thing tried to garner a reaction.
ED – A nice and quiet number. Relaxing after the episode ends. I like it. I also like how when the lyrics go “Just you and me,” you have Nicholas signing something that seems to go along with it.
This show has so much style, or rather, since every show has a style, I’d say that this show leans so heavily on its style, and makes it a really significant part of the experience of it being watched, explicitly. The jazzy music that keeps playing is pretty great, but even beyond that, the show feels very deliberate, it feels slow, more like a western drama or a movie, with things progressing slowly, with a lot being transmitted by way of meaningful glances or knowing the subtext between characters, which they know but we do not.
The colours and animation don’t stand out, and the fight wasn’t all that great either, it seemed to be more about presenting how bad-ass Nicholas is, very abrupt movements, but it feeds into the more subdued feeling of the series. It’s honestly hard to talk about this show thus far beyond “presentation”, because it seems to be going for a noir-film aesthetic, and femme fatales, morally grey “sides”, cops who work with criminals, and criminals who have to remind cops about how weak some people and need to be defended, the criminals with a heart of gold, etc. all are genre tropes, and thus fall almost as much under presentation and atmosphere as they do under “plot”. The line between “slow and deliberate” to “dull” is a pretty thin one, but this really evokes the feel of an older Manglobe show, or something such as Cowboy Bebop.
Also, the show had several static or nearly static shots that were really beautiful, slow sequences where it feels someone arrayed every component with extreme care, this is my favourite shot. It did feel at times more like an animated manga than a visual show, or more like a slow-paced TV drama.
Plot / Story:
As I said, not a lot to go on for now, mostly tropes of the film noir genre, and “things are going down the shitter, kids/criminals these days don’t have proper respect,” about the boundaries of power and the morality of criminals, and mentions of “Dogtags”, which after Nicholas’s kicking of the police car I’m thinking might be augmented humans. We’ve saved the damsel-prostitute who gave up hope, and we’re living in a very grey world. Now it’s time to see how they expand on both the world and its characters, how they make this more than an atmospheric set-piece.