I guess this is the day to lament manga adaptations which end in the middle of the story with no hope of a sequel (Arslan Senki isn’t quite hopeless, at least). No, I have no idea how Manglobe intends to finish Gangsta, but it’s a safe bet (as safe as that this season is all the Gangsta anime we’ll get) that we’re not going to reach a point with any real closure. It’s the old familiar emotional tug-of-war – be grateful to get any anime whatsoever for a series as commercially challenged as this one, or be frustrated not to see it fully adapted? With me it always ends up being a mix of the two.
The dominant theme of family has been growing more and more all-encompassing in Gangsta, to the point now where it’s at the center of pretty much every thematic element both symbolic and literal. While the anime hasn’t gone into exhaustive detail about just why the hatred of twilights is as vitriolic as it is, the thing is that we tend to reserve our most primal hatred for those close to us, and there’s plenty of historical and psychological evidence to bear that out.
It seems to me that the great crime of twilights (in the eyes of genocidal maniacs like Corsica and his followers) is that they look and sound exactly like “real” humans, but aren’t. Their existence is an affront to Corsica and the anti-twilights’ worldview – and not to be overlooked is the fact that scapegoating them is a handy tool to try and gather power for themselves. This is an ugly story to say the least, holding up a mirror to the human race and revealing a visage that’s pretty horrific.
As this theme is playing out, we see literal families on opposing sides – Delico and Erica, Alex and Emilio. And we see that familial bonds exist between twilights and normals, such as Delico and Yang (Maeno Tomoaki) – though of course we’ve seen that between Nic and Worick from the beginning. Why is it that some choose to view twilights is people, and others as abominations? There’s something deeply human about that conundrum, alas.
It’s interesting that as the story winds down and its time slips away, Gangsta the anime chooses to focus on a wide swathe of stories rather than on its core elements. Indeed, Worick and Nicholas are completely absent from this penultimate episode, while the struggles of lesser characters like Marco and Connie take center stage. I believe this is intentional, not so much to depersonalize the story as to force home the point that everyone in Ergastulum is helpless against the forces of darkness which buffet the city. All these characters have lives and loves, and all of them are equally caught up in the rapidly developing tragedy that’s taking place here.
It doesn’t seem as if anyone is going to escape that tragedy unscathed. The carnage makes it all the way to the Paulklee Colony itself, though Gina doesn’t deign to dirty her hands even when Sig and Emilio take out half her guardsmen. I’m not that crazy for characters like Sig, who exist as cartoon figures to drive the plot and in this instance, feel as if they’re part of a different show. But the point is certainly made – the hunters are ruthless and terrible, and no one in Ergastulum is safe. The violence claims some familiar names here – primarily Doug and seemingly Connie too, and it doesn’t seem as if that’s as high up the character ladder as death’s hand will reach.
There’s an awful lot of unfinished business to deal with in a single episode, that’s for certain. The hunter called Striker (Seki Tomokazu) – who’s well-known to Marco – is certainly going to play a major role in the final reckoning. Ultimately, though, it seems as if at the very least Nic and Worick’s story has to com back into focus before the series ends, because it’s the foundation upon which everything in Gangsta is built. I don’t expect a happy ending (Manglobe doesn’t do those, generally – Mashifony excepted). Frankly, I don’t expect an ending at all. But I do expect Murase-sensei to try and give some meaning to the story, to help us understand what we’ve been watching unfold – though whether he’ll do so by turning to the manga or not, I have no idea.