GANGSTA: CURSED Ep_Marco Adriano Volume 1 makes for an interesting read to be sure. If you were raised all your life to believe one thing but then exposed to a reality that may be the complete opposite, how would you cope? This is the very real challenge Marco Adriano faces in this gripping tale of his past.
The manga opens with present day Marco who is triggered into having a flashback to his past as a Hunter. In the volume young Marco has been sent on a mission as part of a team of hunters called the Second Destroyers to eradicate the Twilight population of Ergastrulum. Marco, then called Spas, along with fellow hunters Striker, Beretta, Minimi and Maverick enter the city, immediately and graphically commencing with their task of slaughtering every Twilight they encounter.
Early in the manga, Marco has an encounter with a normal human with a Twilight family, triggering his internal struggle and giving form to the manga’s plot. Having been raised to believe that Twilight are monsters and the enemy of humanity, this contradiction raises some doubts in Spas’ mind and as a result, his conviction to their mission beings to waver. Although he is quickly reassured that they are doing what is right, Spas’ doubts are never fully alleviated. As events progress we begin to see depth being added to each character as the world itself begins to take shape.
The interesting thing about the character building of the hunters is that it stems from a single question, why aren’t they all suffering the same conflict as Spas? What the plot does seamlessly, without disrupting the action or splintering off into too much backstory, is slowly reveal the differences in each hunter’s motivation. Where as Spas is shown to be a hunter due to his belief in their cause as what is right, he may be the only one. Things become a bit more interesting as readers are kind of forced to reexamine the dynamic of the hunter team as shown thus far.
The personalities of each character feed into how they are portrayed, though GANGSTA: CURSED takes it a bit further with the graphic depiction. GANGSTA has no qualms in showing blood, gore and dismemberment, but what makes the animation so powerful in this manga is that, each hunter is unique in the way they fight and each fighting style shows a hint of their personality. With this in mind, its a bit jarring at how smoothly the team functions as a unit while still contrasting each other so greatly.
On the other end of the spectrum, while casually developing the hunters the manga does not slack in the developments of the world and those impacted by their actions. You get glimpses of the affect their attack has on the city. On the people, humans and twilight, those attacked and safe. Its made clear that the issue of the Twilight population isn’t something shallow or one sided.
I have personally never had the pleasure of reading/watching the original GANGSTA so in truth, some references may have been lost on me. That said, at no point did I ever feel lost or left out. Enough detail is given to pull you into the world of the manga and the pacing of the story is engrossing. You get so tied up in what’s going on and what may happen that there is no time to think of anything else.
GANGSTA: CURSED Volume 1 is currently available for $12.99USD and its definitely worth it, new to the series or not. The characters are far from shallow and the story is definitely something to sink you teeth into. The world and characters seem to hold so much more than first meets the eye which, as this is technically a prequel backstory, makes you wonder at the quality and depth to be found the original series.
Volume 2 is due for release on May 16th, 2017. With the contradiction of Volume 1, the open end to the volume coupled with the definitive prediction of the story’s end by the prologue, there is a lot of information to be filled in and questions to answer.