Gangsta continues to impress with intricate storytelling haunting graphics, continually evolving plotlines. By this point in the story, it has gone very hardcore, with the ‘sex, drugs, violence’ reaching an apex that enhances rather than crushes the underlying pathos. Make no mistake, there are emotionally devastating scenes in this volume that are perfectly punctuated by the superb visuals, making for a horrifying if heady mix.
Story: Marco realizes he must abandon his family to go after and get Connie. He knows who took her – and that surprise will be the most saddening one of all. At the same time, Worick has figured out the real mastermind behind the Hunters and their Twilight terrorism – and he realizes he can no longer be a neutral handyman. The fragile peace that had kept the simmering unrest at bay has completely broken. And the government is quite happy if the hunters and twilights destroy themselves in the process.
I can’t say enough about how nuanced the story is – each character experiencing highs and lows right after each other in a dizzying mix. Reveals which tell characters’ stories appear in so many ways: as flashbacks, as casually thrown away dialogue, or even as a small close up panels of one small object. I’ll quickly read past and then stop and reread as I realize the impact and import of what was just shown/written. It is just so well played by author Kohske.
But beyond the storytelling, the illustrations/layouts are masterful. Anyone interesting in seeing how manga can be an artform need only to look at how this story is illustrated. Little things like a small black cat that weaves through the story at critical moments or cinematic pull ins and pull backs that reveal horror or delight. Even the small smiles that evince a bittersweet and fleeting moment of happiness.
This will always top my best list. And although I receive a digital copy from the publisher for review purposes, I always buy the hardcover and proudly display it on the front of my shelf. This really is still one of the best manga out there.