So who’s moving with me to Ergastulum? Why wasn’t I born a Twilight? Right, none of that makes any sense to those of you who have yet to be completely devoured by the world of Gangsta. Here is the quick rundown courtesy of MyAnimeList, “In the city of Ergastulum, a shady ville filled with made men and petty thieves, whores on the make and cops on the take, there are some deeds too dirty for even its jaded inhabitants to touch. Follow the “Handymen,” Nic and Worick, who take care of the jobs no one else will handle. A new group attempts to muscle in on their block and the cops enlist them to weed out the upstarts no questions asked. The only thing is, there’s a witness to the slaughter that they absolutely refuse to silence, so they decide to take her in instead.”
There are a number of notable characters sprinkled throughout this series. Each of the major ones has a nice back story to give them meaning and purpose. Rather than going into all of them, let’s just look at the ones who appear and play a part in each and every piece of the story. There are, of course, the Handymen, Worick Arcangelo and Nicolas (Nic) Brown. Neither of them has had an easy time as far as lives go, despite the fact that Worick was born into a wealthy family. Over the course of the episodes and their trials, we learn a bit more about each of them, what it is that makes them tick, and what bonds the two of them together. They grow and develop as we get deeper and deeper into their world. The third member of the group, Alex Benedetto, is an oddity in the mix, but at the same time, she fits. Alex was suffering through life when Nic and Worick first came into contact with her, and after releasing her from the greater part of that suffering, they take her in. She too is far from a flat caricature. As her memories come back to her and the situations she is unwillingly, and sometimes willingly, thrown into as a result of her affiliation with Nic and Worick, we learn that she is strong and capable and willing to learn and do whatever is necessary. The more that is revealed about each of the characters inhabiting Ergastulum, the more you want to know about them.
All story is built on conflict. This means that there is a never-ending font of story wrapped up in Ergastulum. There is the main conflict of the struggle of the Twilights not just to survive but to thrive, there is the constant struggle for power between the four mafia families that basically control the streets of Ergastulum. There is the battle by the resident police force to mamintain order and attempt to control the crime and lawlessness of the area. There is all of that, and there is the personal struggles undertaken by each of the main and supporting characters as they strive to achieve personal goals. There isn’t just one story when it comes to Gangsta. There are as many stories as there are characters, and each of them is intriguing and enthralling in their own way.
This series by no stretch of the imagination is appropriate for youngsters. I mean, it is chock full of foul language, violence, and no small amount of insinuated sexual activity. Regardless, it is fantastic. The characters, the story, the setting, all of them are elements that draw you into the lives and the world. It has a good pace and its fair share of twists and turns that keep you guessing as to allegiances and outcomes. If you have the time and the inclination, you should definitely give it a go. It can be found streaming over on the Funimation website.