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Gangsta. Vol. 4 by Kohske (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 6, 2014 by  



gangsta-4

The Twilights are being massacred and the Handymen are hired to protect and get them to safety in the fourth volume of “Gangsta.”! With a possible gang war looming, two assailants try to cause trouble with the Cristiano and Monroe Family, who are these two mysterious killers?

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Image courtesy of © GANGSTA. Kohske 2011. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Gangsta. Vol. 4

STORY AND ART BY: Kohske

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shinchosha Publishing Co.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Viz Signature

RATED: M for Mature

Available on November 18, 2014

As Hunters infiltrate the walled city of Ergastulum, more and more Twilights fall victim to the violence and chaos that result. The Cristiano Family, traditionally (and secretly) charged with overseeing the Twilight population, is keeping a close eye on events – and they don’t like what they see. The young Cristiano boss hires the Handymen to escort Twilights to a safe place for protection, but a new, even more dangerous threat is on their doorstep.

As more Twilights are being hunted down, the Cristiano family, in charge of overseeing the Twilights have hired the Handymen to escort them to a safe area for protection.  But unknown to them, an anti-Twilight group is set to massacre the Twilights in protective custody.  Can the Handymen prevent a massacre from happening?

Find out in the fourth volume of Kohske’s “Gangsta.”!

What is “Gangsta.” about?

In the city of Ergastulum, the area is full of thieves, whores and murderers. And as for the police, they are corrupted and chaos is king.

This is the setting for the manga series known as “Gangsta.”, written and illustrated by female mangaka Kohske.

Debuting in 2009 with the short story “Postman” for Shonen GanGan Magazine, “Gangsta” has been running in “Monthly Comic Bunch” in 2011 and a total of five tankobon volumes have been published in Japan.

And now the manga series was released in Feb. 2014 in the U.S. as part of Viz Media’s “Viz Signature” line.

“Gangsta.” begins with a prostitute being assaulted outside a building. Meanwhile, inside a building are two owners of the business known as “Handymen”, Nic and Worick, two men paid to take on assassination or difficult jobs that police or big business can’t handle.

As Nic and Worick are completing a job with the elder businesswoman inside the building, they see the beaten prostitute going inside the building.

The Handymen are then called for business with the police department and are sent to go after a gang leader named Barry Abbot (the man seen beating on the prostitute in the opening pages). Both Nick and Worick are hired by the inspector to eliminate him and his gang (including his prostitutes) as they are doing business in the restricted zone. They work out a deal that they can take whatever they can in return for killing them.

As Nic and Worick go after the gang and eliminated everyone including the gang leader known as Barry. They run into the prostitute and give her the opportunity to escape. But instead, the prostitute named Alex comes back and instead of killing her, they decide to take her (as in agreement with the inspector) and make her as part of the Handymen as one of their employees.

Meanwhile, as Alex continues to work for the Handymen, she tries to figure both Nic and Worick out. Is Nic an ex-mercenary, does he talk at all? Why does Worick wear an eyepatch?

One day, Alex sees a newspaper article about a massacre of the Arcangelo family 20-years-ago, all were killed except a 13-year-old boy who was 13 at the time. And the perpetrator, said to be a boy hired as a mercenary by the family. And Alex begins to wonder, can the two boys be Worick and Nic? Is Worick the missing boy that was never found?

In volume 2, a gang war seems to be inevitable as Corsica and Cristiano are engaged in a battle of outwitting each other and destroy each other’s families with the use of Twilights. But what happens when the Handymen come and Nic must take on another Twilight A/O.

And for volume 3, we learn about the history of Nic and Worick and how they met. The volume also provides valuable insight to the Twilights, the mafia families and the employment plus backstory of the hatred towards the Twilights.

As volume 3 sets up the storyline of what is a Twilight, volume 4 features a storyline in which the Twilights have become the hunted as anti-Twilights have infiltrated Ergastulum.  Many Twilights are killed in the process but the Cristiano Family led by Loretta Cristiano Amodio, are trying to make sure that the Twilights are protected.  And an important family for the Monroe Family which distributes Cerebret, essential to the survival of Twilights.

And as the Handymen are hired to protect them, what happens when a mysterious group infiltrates the Cristiano’s club and tries to massacre everyone including Loretta and those employed by the Cristiano and Monroe Family.

This could be the beginning of a major gang war in Ergastulum!

With volume 4 of “Gangsta.” now released, we get to see how a possible major gang war is about to begin as an attack is made on Cristiano turf as two assailants are determined to kill the Twilights and anyone working for the the Cristiano and Monroe Family.

But who are these assailants and who do they work for?

Reminiscent of Frank Miller’s “Sin City”, where the world has gone corrupt and in the city of Ergastulum, a city overrun by thugs, gangs, mafia, whores and murderers, the police are just as bad and when the going gets tough, the only way for the police to maintain order is by hiring mercenaries, in this case, the Handymen, Nic and Worick.

Nic is the silent, deadly killer with a sword. Worick is the playboy with an eyepatch that is good with a gun and together, they are two men who aren’t afraid of taking on the most corrupt people in Ergastulum. And it’s not a duty done for the sake of morality but to them, it’s money and survival.

As these two men are mysterious individuals and through the eyes of former prostitute Alex, who joins the Handymen as their personal secretary or whatever she can be used for in order to get the job done, even Alex, has her thoughts on both men and their mysterious background.

But in this city, there is no normal. There is no peace. And right now, a major gang war is about to ignite between the Corsica and Cristiano gang. And for the Handymen, they have their hands tied in trying to keep people alive while Twilight A/O’s have been hired to assassinate major gang members but now all of a sudden have become the hunted as anti-twilight groups are infiltrating Ergastulum to kill them off.

Meanwhile, Alex is wallowing in her depression, not knowing what has happened to her young brother that she was unable to protect.

And once again, through another volume of “Gangsta.”, we get to see how corrupt this world they live in but how they fit in to all the chaos. There is no one character that is pure in Ergastulum, everything is corrupt, a lot of violence over runs the city and this volume does a great job as showing background of these Twilights and why they have become the hunted.

As for the manga, Kohske has developed a intriguing series full of sex and violence but also an illustration style that is unique to her style of work. The manga is different from your standard yakuza storyline or your assassins for hire manga series. There is a western influence and it will be interesting to see how the story of “Gangsta.” will continue to grow overtime.

Overall, “Gangsta.” is an action-packed series about mysterious two assassins for hire in a crime-filled land and a former prostitute who starts working for them. An intriguing and rare manga series to come from Japan and to be brought to the U.S.

If you are looking for a manga series with a little sex and plenty of violence, “Gangsta.” vol. 4 by Kohske is a manga series worth recommending!

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