Gangsta (Gyangusuta) (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 17-Jul-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Audio Commentary-Episode 1
Audio-Visual Commentary-Episode 2 Video Commentary
More…-Additional Episode 9.5 (23:36)
Trailer-Series trailers, promotions and TV spots
Trailer-x 6 for other anime
More…-Textless Opening Song - “Renegade” x 2
More…-Textless Closing Song “Yoru no Kuni” x 2
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 284:39 (Case: 300)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Shűkô Murase
Shinichi Inotsume
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Junichi Suwabe / Ian Sinclair
Kenjiro Tsuda / Brandon Potter
Mamiko Noto / Felecia Angelle
Tetsuo Kanao / John Swasey
Satoshi Mikami / Robert McCollum
Aoi Yuki / Bryn Apprill
Katsuhisa Houki / Mark Stoddard
Kana Ueda / Alexis Tipton
Yoshiko Sakakibara / Clarine Harp
Case ?
RPI ? Music Tsutchie


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, always
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The city of Ergastulum is a dark, dangerous place with four mafia families, known collectively as The Four Feathers, running drugs, gambling, clubs and prostitution while the police do not interfere as long as the families keep an uneasy peace, and the violence within limits. Sometimes to keep the peace the intervention of a neutral person, or persons, is needed. Thus there is room for The Handymen, Worick (voiced by Junichi Suwabe / Ian Sinclair) and Nicolas (Kenjiro Tsuda / Brandon Potter), who are very deadly and very efficient, getting their hands dirty and the job done when requested by Police Detective Chad Atkins (Tetsuo Kanao / John Swasey). After completing one request to eliminate a rival gang trying to muscle into their district of the city, the two acquire Alex (Mamiko Noto / Felecia Angelle), an abused prostitute, as an extra member of The Handymen.

     Ergastulum is also a city for those with secrets. Nicolas is a Twilight (also called a Tag), a super-human with supernatural abilities. Twilights, so called because they have a reduced life-span, are children of the soldiers who had been genetically enhanced during an earlier war. Twilights are confined to one district of the city and are feared and hated by “normals”, ordinary people, and in the past Twilight hunts akin to pogroms had broken out across the city and Twilights massacred. Worick, on the other hand, is a “normal” who has known Nicolas since they were children; he is also male prostitute with a dark and bloody past concerning the murder of his parents when he was 13 years old after which he and Nicolas escaped into the city. And now someone is determined to upset the balance between the families and super hunters, called Esminets, have been unleashed and Twilights again targeted. With neutrality no longer an option, The Handymen must decide where they want to stand.

     Gangsta (Gyangusta), based on the manga by Kohske, is a cross between Micky Spillane pulp crime novels, film noir, martial arts and superheroes. There are hard boiled tough guys, ambivalent attitudes, police, criminals, broads, pimps and prostitutes, vice and double-crosses, everyone, but everyone, is constantly smoking, the city is a dark place and it is often raining. The anime has a very stylised, almost film noir look, with a monochrome colour palate which is frequently almost black and white or brown and white, although it often throws in vibrant background colours of blue, red, green or yellow that are quite startling.

     Despite the number of characters, and shifting alliances, it only takes a little while to sort out who is who in Gangsta and you do not need to have read the manga. Worick and Nicolas are more closely aligned with the family run by Monroe (Katsuhisa Houki / Mark Stoddard), having once been a part of that family, and are friendly with the family run by Loretta Cristiano Amodio (Kana Ueda / Alexis Tipton), who is accepting of Twilights. On the other side are the Twilight hating family of Corsica (Hideyuki Umezu / Greg Dulcie) while the final part of the Four Feathers, the Paulklee Guild led by Gina (Yoshiko Sakakibara / Clarine Harp), basically hire out Twilights to others. Neutrals in the series include the police, Dr Theo (Satoshi Mikami / Robert McCollum), who runs a clinic where all are treated, and his young nurse / assistant, and friend of Nicolas, Nina (Aoi Yuki / Bryn Apprill). Over the course of the series these, and others, constantly interact and the plot is complicated by the unexpected appearance of a couple of siblings of other characters.

     The violence in Gangsta can be extreme with limbs severed and blood spirting extensively. The series can be bleak, with torture and the abuse of women, but it does have a heart and at its core it is a story about unlikely friendships and the harsh treatment of outsiders; for Twilights you can read any oppressed minority throughout history, such as the Jews in Europe or displaced refugees. Gangsta aired on Japanese TV in 12 episodes between July and September 2015. This Blu-ray release contains the entire season on two discs. Episode 12 is not actually a cliff-hanger as such; instead the anime just stops in mid-story leaving all the plot strands up in the air.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Gangsta is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Ergastulum is a dark, stark city and this is reflected in the anime. Many sequences are very muted and dark, with a monochrome colour palate which is almost black and white, although the series then introduces, by way of contrast, vibrant background colours of blue, red, green or yellow. Detail is very strong, blacks solid and shadow detail very good. I noticed no marks or artefacts.

    The American English subtitles are in a small but clear white font. The subtitles are burnt in when the Japanese dub is selected so they cannot be removed for Japanese speakers. I noticed no errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Like many Funimation releases, audio is a choice of the original Japanese in Dolby TrueHD 2.0 or the English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 dub. The audio selection can only be changed through the menu, not on the go.

     I did listen to a couple of episodes in English. It is recorded at a slightly lower level and is not particularly enveloping in any case. The Japanese original is surround encoded and the rears feature ambient sound such as rain, music and impacts. Indeed it does sound sharper and the voice acting feels more intense, so while the English is acceptable I do prefer the original Japanese.

     The score by Tsutchie is moody and jazz like, utilising a single piano or finger clicks, and perfectly supports the visuals and tone of the series.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate in either audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Disc 1

Start-up Trailer (1:17)

     On start-up a trailer for Dimension W plays. It cannot be selected from the menu.

Commentary – Episode 1

     US Voice Director and voice of Ivan Christopher Bevins plus cast members Ian Sinclair, Brandon Potter and Felicia Angelle (the voices of Worick, Nicolas and Alex) sit together and chat. They laugh a lot but there are less silly jokes than is usual in Funimation commentaries and they do talk occasionally about the show.

Disc 2

Start-up Trailer (1:17)

     On start-up a trailer for Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions plays. It cannot be selected from the menu.

Episode 2 Video Commentary

     Ian Sinclair, Brandon Potter and Felicia Angelle (the voices of Worick, Nicolas and Alex) appear on screen, watch the episode and chat. Sometimes the episode is full screen with the commentators in a smaller screen in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, sometimes the other way around. Perhaps because they are on screen there is less silly mucking around; they do pause to watch the screen as well as discussing aspects of the series, the voices and the characters.

Episode 9.5 (23:36)

     This is a recap of the series thus far and if you are confused about who is who, and their roles and alliances, this bonus episode gives a succinct and useful rundown of the main characters and the various mafia families.

Promo Videos (6:00)

     Two Japanese trailers for the series and one for the BD / DVD release.

Commercial (0:17)

     A TV spot for the BD / DVD release.

Textless Opening Song - “Renegade” Version 1 (1:32)

     A version of the opening song without the credits.

Textless Opening Song - “Renegade” Version 2 (1:32)

     Another version of the opening song without the credits.

Textless Closing Song “Yoru no Kuni” Version 1 (1:32)

     A version of the closing song without the credits.

Textless Closing Song “Yoru no Kuni” Version 2 (1:32)

     Another version of the closing song without the credits.

Trailers (7:35)

     Trailers for Assassination Classroom, Eden of the East, Divine Gate, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters and Steins; Gate.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our release is identical to the Region A US Blu-ray including the FBI anti-piracy warning.

Summary

     Gangsta is a dark and sometimes bleak anime, and a far cry from those series which feature teenaged schoolgirls in short skirts. It is a stylish, grown up anime with a diverse range of interesting well-rounded characters as well as a well sketched world. Pity it ends so openly, but I guess that means one is eager for more. Unfortunately, only these 12 episodes have been made; one thus needs to read the manga (now up to 7 volumes) to know what happens.

     The video is different and stylish and the audio fine. The extras are the same as available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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