And here it is folks, Gangsta. Vol. 6, the final volume. Well… at least for a little while. This is a very slow going series over in Japan due Kohske’s health, so we now have officially caught up with them with what is currently available. As such, this will be the last review of the manga for some time, so let’s see what the series has to offer us. Is it good?
Gangsta. Vol. 6 (Viz Media)
Written and Drawn by: Kohske
Translation and Adaption by: Christine Schilling
The sieges on Paulklee Guild and the Monore Family compound are over. While no one is dead at the compound, the guild has suffered terrible losses at the hands of the Destroyers. As the characters finally start tending to their wounds and recovering from their losses, elsewhere Delico and Yang continue their search for Erica, Delico’s formerly lost sister. She had taken part in the massacre of the Twilights at the Bastard club, and the two need to put a stop to her. However, what they discover in their hunt is far more shocking and tragic than what they could have ever foreseen.
Gangsta. Vol. 4 and Gangsta. Vol. 5 were intense and brutal trips, barely giving you time to breath and get settled in before hitting you with a shocking turn or wild action sequence. Volume six takes a step back in that sense; there are certainly thrills, big reveals and action but Gangsta. Vol. 6 gives us more room to breathe and reflect on what happens. While I absolutely loved the last two volumes, I feel having a better balance with the action, story, and slow/quiet moments leads to a better paced and just as enjoyable outing.
Story-wise, the manga picks up right where we left off last volume. We check in to see how Worick is holding up, the Paulklee Guild burying the bodies, wrap up some remaining plot points with the club attack in Vol. 5, and continue on with Delico and Yang’s search for Erica. There are a lot of storylines going on, but a majority of them are concluded in the first two chapters of the book in a fairly satisfying manner. We see how the characters are handling the fallout, like Galahad listening to Doug’s Will and Testimony or Alex tending to Worick’s wounds. They’re all very quiet and personal moments, with many instances of artwork telling the story/invoking emotion without any dialogue. You really can see and tell how all of these characters are feeling and how they may end up changing from this.
The following chapters focus on Delico and Yang’s storyline, while occasionally splicing in scenes with Worrick and the others towards the end. This is where all of the action is and where we are hit by some of the biggest shockers in the series. I dare not spoil what happens here but what does happen makes a lot of sense if you go back and read the previous volumes, as it’s made clear how a lot of pieces come together. The final chapter in the book is similar to the first two, where the manga slows down a bit to let you recover and take in everything you just read. There’s still a sense of urgency, especially considering the condition that Nicolas was left in, and it ends on a nasty cliffhanger, but you do get the chance to breathe and see how the characters are dealing with these new revelations. All in all, the story is firing on all cylinders here.
Kohske’s writing remains just as strong as her storytelling. Like I said, the pacing feels improved in some ways due the manga not constantly being in superfast/intense mode all the time. It’s something that didn’t bother me in the previous volumes, but might have if the manga continued to move at that pace. The story transitions from scenes to different times of the day to even flashbacks just fine and you never get lost about where and when something is happening. The characterization is still very strong and well-done, especially seeing the nice subtle bits here (like with the flashback with Galahad). You do really come to feel for all of these characters, even if you don’t get to know them as well as others, like Heather. The dialogue is still good as well and the humor feels a tad more balanced. There are no parts where the jokes are awkwardly placed or interfere with the tone or mood of a scene, like in the last volume. The only part of the story or writing that I’m iffy on is with the Destroyers and Hunters themselves. They seem like the exact same group with some similar goals to me, to the point where I’m slightly confused on what exactly differentiate themselves from each other.
The last thing to discuss (since the volume is filled with way to many big spoilers to even dare spoil), is Kohske’s artwork. Suffice to say, her art for this series still manages to impress with its outstanding action, its depiction of the heavy dramatic and emotional moments, and its ability to simply tell the story and convey what is happening when there are no words. The layouts are incredibly strong, with everything flowing wonderful from page to page and panel to panel. The characters’ range of emotions and facial expressions is strong, conveying every bit of feeling that is going on in their head. The action is raw and brutal, each blow and wound looking nasty and painful. The only area I took issue with the artwork last time was the odd moments of fanservice where the manga focuses on a woman’s butt or boobs turning a serious scene where it didn’t belong. Here though, there are no such issues and anything fanservicey is confined to areas where the story isn’t as intense or brutal.
Is It Good?
Gangsta. Vol. 6 is, to me at least, the best volume of the series thus far. Considering that I handed down perfect scores to the past two volumes, that is quite the statement. Any of the minor nitpicks that I could point out with those volumes are nowhere to be seen here and the story presented here is much better balanced in terms of story, action, and character. There’s just nothing bad I can say about this volume and all I can say is that if you haven’t checked out the series yet, I implore you to. This is something worth every cent and bit of time you have. Gangsta. is easily one of the best manga series going on right now.
Gangsta. is available from Viz Media. The seventh volume of the series is scheduled for release in July of this year in Japan, with no word on an English translated version. A spin-off series called Gangsta.:Cursed. EP_Marco Adriano has also been released, alongside a tarot card for the regular series as well. An anime adaption of the series is scheduled to be released this July as well, so be ready.