Gangsta truly is one of the best manga out there right now. From its nuanced, intricate, and brutal storyline to the clean artwork and imaginative panel layouts, it’s hard to believe that this is Kohske’s debut series. Even after 6 volumes, the story still has so many surprises, reveals, and plot twists. But at its heart, it’s still very much about relationships – and perhaps that is why this particular volume is especially devastating in that regard. Whether sibling or lover, there are always consequences at the heart of Gangsta’s pathos. And Kohske knows how to let a story develop organically but powerfully.
The situation continues to devolve in Ergastulum. Originally founded as a quarantine for manufactured soldiers known as Twilights, then later populated by criminals and immigrants, the situation was always going to be explosive. But now, after 100 years, that city has become a powder keg of anti-Twilight sentiment and it is about to explode. The attack on the nightclub Bastard has left the Handymen, Delico’s group, and Christiano greatly damaged. But the source of the Hunter attacks is now ready to reveal himself – with devastating consequences for all.
Nearly every character is given a moment in this volume – to shine or to fall from grace. The plot is still expanding but for the most part, there are no new characters in volume 6. Rather, the focus is on those who would protect the people they cherish and those who will then casually betray all. Loss and gain are also explored as siblings and lovers, friends and acquaintances face death and more as a result of the Hunter’s latest incursion. Where the first several volumes focused mostly or Worick and Nicholas, with this volume nearly every character is featured is some very important way.
I can’t emphasize enough how impressive the drawing and storytelling are in Gangsta. The perspectives, clean line work, originality of characters, and distinct layout make for one very high art form of storytelling. It’s one of those stories that benefits from the graphic format rather than is limited by it. I always greatly look forward to each release and Viz’s excellent translation work (so important on a nuanced story like Gangsta). Fortunately, Kohske’s got a lot of story left in Gangsta but I can only imagine how amazing her next project will be as well. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.