It was announced this week that Gangsta would be premiering on Sundays from now on – which didn’t exactly make me jump for joy, as my Sundays were already crazy. The reason is that ABC (Asahi Broadcasting Corporation), the network that originally premiered the series, changed their schedule. In Japan, anime are aired on a dizzying array of TV stations in different parts of the country, often at different times on different days, though typically it’s only the first station airing a series that’s noticed by Western fans. I preferred things the way they were (Wednesday was a much lighter anime day for me) and waiting 11 days for a new episode was a bitch. But surprisingly, no one consulted me, so here we are.
Apart from the schedule not much seems to have changed with Gangsta, and that’s a very good thing. I know this dense, relentless style of storytelling isn’t for everybody, but it’s a clear home run for me – I love the respect for the audience on display with this series. At this stage of the proceedings it’s as if new pieces are fit into place every week, but as they are they reveal that the picture is larger than we ever realized.
History – both personal and otherwise – is a presence always felt in Gangsta. Clearly an important piece of it is revealed here in the “Three Principles” – Twilights must not hurt humans, Twilights must obey orders from humans that don’t conflict with the first principle, and Twilights must defend themselves as long as doing so does not conflict with the first two principles. One can clearly see echoes of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics in these – in fact, they’re basically identical.
Contextually, there are a lot of similarities as well. Twilights are a human creation; the three principles are clearly an attempt both to police them and to offer them a certain measure of protection from exploitation. It seems at one time Twilights’ existence was even worse than it is now – they were virtual slaves (or maybe more than virtual). Clearly any violation of these three laws is effectively grounds for termination of the Twilight’s existence. When Captain Chad says he hates the three principles, is it because they off the Twilights too much protection – or too little? The answer would shed some interesting light both on his character and on the role of Twilights in this society.
Enter the “Paul Klee Guild”. Why Kohske decided to name it after one of the Bauhaus‘ most famous sons I’m not certain but it’s clearly a major player in Ergastulum. Seemingly, this is an organization by and of Twilights, designed to self-police and preserve relative peace. And one of its members has violated policy by going after Monroe, who’s “protected” in Ergastulum – that was the dreadlocked kid we met last week, whose name is Doug. There’s also talk of a 14 year-old Twilight who attacked Monroe many years earlier – my initial thought was that it was Nic, but that it was a C-rank doesn’t fit that theory so I assume we don’t know everything we need to connect the dots on that one yet.
Nic and Doug’s fight is the best of the series, and it becomes clear that the secret to Nic’s invulnerability is that he OD’s on Celebrer every time he thinks he’s going to fight. More allusions to Veronica here, and what’s become of her, courtesy of Gina (Sakakibara Yoshiko). Gina is the head of the Paul Klee Guild, seemingly, and a Twilight even more badass then Nic – she certainly has no trouble taking down both he and Doug when she arrives on the scene. She shoots both with downers and delivers a vigorous verbal spanking – in Doug’s case it certainly seems warranted, because he violated guild rules (and the Three Laws) seemingly in the interest of getting himself a worthy opponent. But Nic actually prevented things from being worse, it seems to me – I mean without him, Monroe’s a dead man – but perhaps Gina’s punishment was for the sin of overdosing on the drug.
As things stand, Nic and Doug are both left insensate in the street, and Worick decides to take the both of them in for treatment – perhaps Doug will be joining the Handymen? There’s also a somewhat confusing development with Alex, who appears to see her dead pimp in the alley outside the office – but it’s also hinted that it might be Dr. Theo, and she’s hallucinating. In any event there’s no one around to answer the phone when Worick tries to call and let her know what’s happened, so whoever it was has taken her away – voluntarily or not…