Gangsta – 05

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That episode had everything but R. Daneel Olivaw.

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…

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8 comments

  1. K

    I enjoy watching Gangsta. It does not spoon feed the audience.

    I think It is implied that the 14 year old kid is Nic. Worick wished that he is the 'friend' but at that time Nic sees him as his 'contract holder'. Probably ranking is not permanent as the Twilights' level of abilities may change over time.

    Nina seems to be able to sense that they are coming to the clinic. She gets ready the first aid items, changes her attire and even opens the door to 'welcome' them.

  2. A

    I believe that in one of the earlier episodes where they were being interrogated at the police station Nic held up the two mugshots of himself and Worick when they were younger and it showed that Nic used to be a C-3 ranked Twilight.

  3. e

    I'm pretty fuzzy myself about the reason behind choosing Paul Klee as the name of the Guild. As of now I can only guess Koshke is a fan of his art ( or possibly the opposite :,D ) and his name adds a German note to underline the ethnic bouquet of Ergastulum.
    Some free talks about such details would be lovely.

    About Nick and the C3 flashback bit I second Keizon's comment. Worick's lines' implications seemed quite clear… on top of the friend bit we know and see Arcangelo has been popular with the ladies since an early age. Remember we're told that the C3's assault was a revenge of a revenge by a jilted lover working for Monroe? And that the unfaithful lover lady had a thing with the C3's friend/contractor ? :)
    A Twilight's rank could be a combination of their natural abilities (if they're born in a certain way and corresponding rank) with traning and/or Celebrer (ab)use… the latter resembling doping in sports hence a way to cheat regarding your 'natural' rank?

    Aw he couldn't leave Doug alone and hurt on the street. Worick has a thing for picking up strays it seems – although based on the anime so far it's hard to say who's more of a stray and who's the 'owner/carer' in the relationship between him and Nic. Yet Worick is seen so far to act as a limiter of sort and smooth things over whenever his aibou goes overboard in fights and with Celebrer – .
    Talking of another stray… Alex is probably hallucinating out of PSTD and/or drug withdrawal (see also the Doc's words +that enigmatic piece of paper he gave her + her pill and injections in the OP ). Based on the white coat the man with the umbrella could be the Doc meaning to check on her condition. We'll see next week I guess.

  4. f

    that moment when gina shot the two of them with downer was too awesome, especially the music. wow. just wow.

  5. S

    Two things:

    1) I am confused as to the interpretation of the 2nd law. Are they to obey all humans, like Asimov's robots, or to obey their specific "master", or "contract holder"? It seems to me the latter makes more sense, as it would mean each Twilight has someone directly responsible for their behaviour. Worick seems to be this for Nic. That would also explain a bit his discussion with Monroe.
    2) how does the previous work seen from the Handymen fit within the framework of the 1st law? And even if we consider what Nic did to protect the doctor as self defence (he only asked them to leave, they are the ones who did not comply and attacked instead), how is what the other dude, the Twilight attacking the doctor, was doing, ok under the Three Laws? If it wasn't, why did the guild not interfere – maybe because both he and the doctor were smaller fries than Doug and Monroe?

  6. m

    What I believe is that a contracted twilight obeys both the contract holder, and is to some degree managed by the Guild if anything goes down serious. In Dr Theo's case he's pretty much a nobody, but as mentioned in the episode, Monroe was a key figure as a family head
    For Doug's case, I'm not sure but I think he is not contracted by anyone, that is why he is directly under supervision of the guild. I suppose that if he was able to take a sidejob, he should not have a master. Either that or he violated the rule

  7. m

    Is A/O the highest rank for a twilight? If there was any mention of it, I can't remember.
    I found Nicolas' comment "I dislike women who are taller than me" hilarious. A slight inferiority complex there XD
    Also, the little titbits of information about the characteristics and history of Twilights got me intrigued. Since they are said to have physical and/or mental defects, I'm guessing Doug is stunted in height and Delico is blind in one eye?

  8. Gina seems to have some kind of "S" rank, but whether that's an official rank like H/C in the Tour de France or just a one-off for her (and her husband?) I don't know.

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