Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Gangsta by Kosuke



You wanna get rid of someone? Nicolas and Warrick your two neighborly gangsters also known as “Benriya” are for hire!

Alternative names


Manga reader sites (free)

Rosy's scrawlings on Gangsta
Judging on the title alone, as this is a different cover than the one I first saw, I started reading this thinking that the focus of the story might be mobs or gangs going about a war or some such. You'd expect it a little more considering this cover too. The cover I saw has these two men when young on it, leading to thoughts of two boys being drawn into gang wars, another typical manga plot. (I have included the cover with the older versions of these characters as the manga's for adults really.) All guesses proved wrong although these two can be called hard boiled and gangster-ish if you like.
Gangsta is the story of the two men who make up Benriya; Warrick and Nicolas, and their Alex, the prostitute/ex-prostitute. All three characters have seen more troubles than they'd like and all have or are managing to carve out a life for themselves. The relationships aren't simple, even for the two men who've known each other since childhood. Saying they like each other is too simple. None of their lives is what it could have been. Warrick could have been a rich heir but ended up a survivor or his father's abuse and the massacre of his family. Nicolas could have been an excellent soldier and warrior in control of his life but ended up hunted, maligned, drug addicted (not just dependant) and a mass murderer even to his own kind. Alex could have been a loving and protective older sister but she's a struggling survivor of prostitution, battling the effects of drugs forced upon her and struggling to remember what her history is. Still, things could have been a lot worse. As is, Warrick and Nicolas have an arrangement with those of the neighbourhood and even the police to act as hit men and odd jobs men whenever needed.
The story of these characters is light hearted at times, tragic or horrific at others and filled with violence. They don't always attract dangerous situations but, then again, they don't avoid them either. In fact, if they want to be paid or to escape jail, as the case may be, they have to tackle some odd and bloody jobs. Ultimately, the story has a finely tuned balance between light and dark elements, enough that this violent and thoughtful story is actually easy to read and addictive. I've recommended this story while it is still starting up, essentially, for this very reason. It has all the makings of a great manga story.
The art of Gangsta is somewhat similar to that which you might find in grittier romances rather than in hard core action and gangster mangas. There's a variety of styles used to expression emotions and emotional states but they all blend together well. The art is neither overly smooth or scratchy but has a depth and warmth to it that matches the variety of scenes  and themes. Overall, the art is attractive and shows the inner personality of the characters extremely well while also revealing a stark and yet crowded and ruthless world.

I'd recommend this manga to: adults who love good-hearted but ruthless gangsters or criminals, themes of discrimination and the eradication of a peoples, violence and characters with traumatic histories.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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