Gangsta takes place in the fictional city of Ergastulum and it is where the main subjects of the story, Twilights -or Tags- try to coexist with humans. And due to things such as prison overcrowding and becoming home to refugees, the city became a very populated and diverse place and you can see things such as interracial couples and even important characters that are POC/ mixed such as:
Nicolas Brown (mixed- Asian/White)
Alex Benedetto (mixed- Black/Asian)
Galahad Woehor (black)
Doug (mixed- Black/???)
Worick Arcangelo (white)
2. Disabled Main Character That Kicks Major Ass
One of the main characters, Nicolas Brown, is deaf and often communicates using sign language (and on occasions, he will talk though his voice is distorted and slurred).
However, despite Nicolas being deaf, this guy will easily kick someone’s ass all over town with his katana.
In fact, that’s what he’s most known for: being able to kick someone’s ass even though he can’t hear a thing. Making him notorious throughout the streets of Ergastulum.
There’s also another male main character, Worick Arcangelo, who only has one eye and is sight-impaired because of it. He doens’t let it get to him though and his disability doesn’t make him any less threatening than Nicolas and Ergastulum also knows to fear the one-contract holding normal who’s apart of the Benriya Trio.
3. Badass Female Characters
Probably one of the top reasons you should ever consider this series– the female characters are amazing. Despite some of the girl’s large busts, they aren’t being used for just plain fanservice and actually bring something to the show with varying aspects.
We have Alex, a former prostitute who suffers from PTSD,
but she is brave and won’t let her inability to fight stop her from jumping in to help her friends, even against people who are clearly stronger than her.
Loretta, one of the most accomplished girls in the story at a young age –15 to be precise– who is the leader of her own mafia family. She has men to do her bidding and to use at her disposal, but she blatantly refuses to sacrifice them and let them die needlessly– so she joins the fight too.
Connie, even when out numbered and overpowered due to her status as a normal(human)– she fights. She isn’t indestructible and she isn’t strong, but that’s exactly what makes Connie a powerhouse. She doesn’t step down and her willpower to survive and protect the people she cherishes most is outstanding.
And this is only to name a few of the beautiful women that grace this series (and the ones that aren’t even Twilights).
4. Accurate Use of Japanese Sign Language
Though this possibly should have gone after reason number two, I digress. Another good reason to start looking at Gangsta is the fact that legitimate sign language is used and could be even be educational in the fact that you can practice reading it.
However, keep in mind that this Japanese Sign Language, so for those who already know some form of sign language– here’s a chance to pick up another type just in case you might actually be heading to Japan and encounter a person who knows it.
5. A LGBTQA Couple
Though not much has been explored on these two characters, Gina Paulklee and Ginger are two Twilight women that happen to be in an implied relationship with one another. Heavily so.
So if you want a series with an actual lesbian couple that isn’t just yuri-exclusive and it’s ACTUALLY canon, Gangsta is the series for you.
Nina is possibly one of the most precious characters in Gangsta and a constant ray of sunshine when things get too dark. She’s a nurse-in-training who works for a gruff doctor named Theo and is a very open-minded, gentle person who doesn’t discriminate people due to colour or species.
She’s not portrayed as a weak little girl either and will jump in a surgery as fast as possible, getting info as she prepares.
Also, Nina and Nicolas’s uncle/brother-niece/sister relationship is one of the most endearing and adorable things ever.
Another precious child who must be protected at all costs and is a total bae. (His tarot card representation is the hanged man like Kaneki, you know he needs a protection squad!)
8. Just An Interesting Series In General
Gangsta takes an interesting twist on things like discrimination with it’s dog tag wearing characters called Twilights and the mafia. The diverse cast of characters extends past the fact that they are different races and delve into deeper things like, what past events shaped up their current personality or reasons that lead to make certain decisions with their lives even if it wasn’t the best choice.
The girl characters are used for more than fanservice and there are more than just hetero couples, LGBTQA and interracial couples all included.
While this may be a phrase used to describe many other anime/manga, Gangsta is a series that is taking the otaku community by a storm due to bringing what other, more mainstream stories, fail to include in their storylines and Kohsuke is doing a wonderful job with it.
So at the very least, check out the first chapter or episode of Gangsta and give it a chance because this is a series that is worth a try.
“You know that friend you have? The girl who seems to have it all figured out? She’s got the great job, the great guy, the great life…Well, I’m not that girl.
My name is Erica Strange. I’m 32, still working a dead end job, still sleeping with my cat. I know people wonder why the cute girl with the great education and the great friends can’t get it together. There’s a simple answer: bad decisions. I could teach a course on messing up your life. Really. I’m that good at getting everything wrong. The worst part is, I wasn’t always like this. I used to be a rising star but these days, I just feel like a flame out.”
1x01 Dr. Tom (Series Premiere)
“Everything that has a beginning, has an ending. Just as every ending creates space for something new to begin: the wonder of a second chance. the miracle of a new life, the joy of a new love.
My name’s Erica Strange and today is the end of one chapter and the beginning of the rest of my life.”
4x11 - Dr. Erica (Series Finale)
“Everything that has a beginning, has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.” ~Buddha
#Sanvers and what it’s like to actually see you and your relationship represented, correctly, onscreen
This past Monday night was the first episode of Supergirl since their midseason finale back in November. I’ve only recently started watching the show, so the hiatus felt like this gift I’d been given to catch up on storylines, characters, and, to be totally honest, Alex/Maggie. I know, I know, there are already several articles written about the impact of her coming out / relationship this season, but I’d like to add another. After all, when representation this good comes around, you can’t take it for granted. Who knows when we’ll get something even remotely close to this again?
During this time without the show, I’ve learned a few things. The most obvious one is that I am such actual trash (lovable, gay trash, hopefully) when it comes to Alex and Maggie’s relationship, otherwise known as #Sanvers. I’ve rewatched every single scene they have together and any they have with other characters where they talk about each other. Everything about those moments is memorized, from the words they say down to their body language. I’m constantly checking the #Sanvers / #Alex Danvers #Maggie Sawyer #Supergirl (also #Supercorp – why isn’t that happening yet??) tags on Twitter and Tumblr for any spoilers / insights from fellow fans. There aren’t too many people in my life who I can talk to about this so excitedly with which is why when I found this devoted fanbase on these sites, talking, discussing, deconstructing what this fictional relationship meant, it felt more like finding a community. It was so inspiring reading @sapphicgeek’s tweets about her day at work talking / comforting the girl who came in looking for Supergirl comics. It was equally frustrating and refreshing reading about the story of @hajabeg on the flight where they encountered a hugely bigoted person and wonderfully supportive people all within a few hours. I loved that people made gif sets showcasing Maggie’s adorable dimples or the way she cocks her head to the side or the photos of Alex overlaid with text teasing how poorly she tries to hide her “gay” or the puppy-like way she holds the door open for Maggie in 2x09’s “Supergirl Lives”, ready to apologize to the girl she loves, I mean, likes.
What I appreciated most, though, was reading how many lives this relationship, this show, and these characters have touched, which led me to think about how it had impacted my own. Here I was, with practically a quarter century’s worth of life experience under my belt, semi-obsessively watching and rewatching scenes from a show I hadn’t even seen all the episodes of yet (as a note of reference, this also happened several months ago when I found out about the pairing of Waverly / Nicole on Syfy’s Wynona Earp otherwise known as #WayHaught, last summer with SoSo / Poussey on Orange is the New Black, of course Lexa / Clarke on The 100, Elena on One Day at a Time, Carmen / Shane on The L Word, and Root / Shaw on Person of Interest). Why?
So much of my answer came from finally being at a place in my life where I felt happy with who I was. I finally “got me” as Alex said to Maggie in 2x08’s “Medusa”. My coming out process wasn’t of my own choosing, and it’s taken me a long time to feel proud of who I am. My parents found out that I had feelings for my now-girlfriend and confronted me about them on the phone while we were hundreds of miles apart. They were furious, but there was a reason I hadn’t told them yet. I wanted to do this on my terms, I wanted to figure out who I was, work through the other problems in my life, in hopes of not getting the reaction I ended up eliciting.
I mean, earlier that year was the first time I had even started seriously confronting the fact that I was attracted to and liked girls. There were so many signs, hundreds, thousands of them from my life growing up that became clearer but I wasn’t thinking of those yet. No, what pushed me towards this realization was my burgeoning friendship with this girl. There was always some curiosity about her on my part, something that drew me in, made me kind of afraid of her, in a way, before, but when we started talking, getting to know each other, building our relationship, that’s when everything started unraveling. I couldn’t stop myself, or the feelings, any longer, which meant I also couldn’t stop the dismantling of the dam that kept my problems stocked inside.
So when I decided to fully recognize that I had feelings for this girl, I also had to confront a whole host of problems that included, but were not limited to, an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, insecurity, and years upon years of shame and guilt for not being who I thought I was supposed to be. For disappointing my parents, my family, my culture more than I already had. For being such a failure in every aspect of my life.
After that came a long summer, and subsequent semester, where I tried to find the pieces of who I was amongst the destruction of this person I tried to be for the last, almost twenty-two years. I shaved away a lot of who people thought I was, including me, in the hopes that who I’d be left with would be my true self. I thought it’d be easy to do this after being forcibly shoved out of the closet. I thought I’d feel this great weight lift off of my chest, but instead there was months of guilt and carnage to deal with. I struggled with a lot of internalized homophobia, prejudice, initially coming out as bisexual because I was afraid of what it meant to be a lesbian, of disappointing my parents further. When Alex told Maggie that she’d tried dating men in the past as she first comes out, in 2x05’s “Crossfire”, I felt her with every word she could and couldn’t bring herself to say. I’d dated a bunch, myself, but in every relationship, there was something missing. Something wasn’t there. Something had to be forced. The intimacy was never authentic, just like Alex, and I always felt some sort of emptiness from pushing down those feelings and thoughts and dreams I’d had.
Because of all this, I saw Alex’s story as something of my own. While we were in different stages of our lives, her character nearing her 30s, me just entering my 20s, we were both adults who were supposed to have at least figured things out a little bit. Friends of mine were engaged, some married, others pregnant. What was I doing? Where was I going? I felt as if my life was just beginning when I, almost a year later, was able to say aloud, with pride, that I was gay, a lesbian. Being in this relationship with my girlfriend, living out who I was, changed the clarity with which I saw the world.
To draw on another epic speech on television, Dr. Erica Hahn’s realization that she was gay after she slept with Dr. Callie Torres on Grey’s Anatomy for the first time rung in my head as well:
“When I was a kid, I would get these headaches, and I went to the doctor, and they said that I needed glasses. I get the glasses, and I put them on, and I’m in the car on the way home, and suddenly I yell. Because the big green blobs that I had been staring at my whole life, they weren’t big green blobs. They were leaves on trees. And I didn’t even know I was missing the leaves. I didn’t even know that leaves existed, and then…leaves! You, [Callie Torres] are glasses.”
Unlike on Grey’s, though, what Supergirl gets and showcases is the uncertainty of where you go from there. I wasn’t a teenager anymore. I was on my own, living in a new city, working a new job, surrounded by people who had their lives figured out years prior, and yet, I just felt like such a kid again, as did Alex. Everything was heightened, the world’s color seemed to glow.
When Alex decided, at the suggestion of Maggie, that it was time to come out to Kara in 2x06’s “Changing”, I was touched by everything from the words semi-tumbling out of her mouth to the way her face expressed every emotion from “oh fuck, how do I do this?” to “fuck, is she disappointed in me?”. Watching her semi-panic in front of Kara, afraid that she’d lost the person she was closest to, afraid that she’d done something wrong by simply being her, it pulled on the strings in my heart. Listening as Kara comforts Alex, reiterating how while their situations are different, she understands and Alex does not have to go through this alone because she isn’t, it was something out of a dream I wished for everyone going through something like this. When I saw Alex tearfully explain why she likes Maggie, “I uh, I just like her so much you know she’s smart and she’s tough and she’s just… beautiful, she’s so beautiful”, it brought me to tears as well. How fucking crazy is this? The world is literally burning to pieces around me, but this, this show is creating something so vivid and real. They are creating so much more than art and entertainment, they are creating hope and inspiration and a new reality within this world of Supergirl.
Alex struggled afterwards, first dealing with a rejection after putting herself so far out there, then trying to explain her heartbreak to the person who crushed her, proceeding to rebuild that relationship, coming out to her mom, and then starting this beautiful romance with Maggie. And I watched each moment, so rarely explored, with baited breath. A relationship and dynamic that’s never told. Layers never seen. People talk about representation all the time now, but it could never be overstated just how important it is for people to see themselves in strong, empowered, independent women like them, finding love with each other so organically and honestly.
Maybe if I had seen a show like this years prior, things would have turned out differently, I’m not sure, but what I do know is that thanks to Alex and Maggie, thanks to the fantastic writers on Supergirl, there are millions of people watching a character finally come into her own. There are people seeing what love looks like outside of the boundaries and norms they’re used to seeing. There are people who look to this couple with hope that it means opening a door of new w|w relationships on television like this one. There are people, like me, who revel in the scenes on YouTube, because it reminds us of ourselves, and gives us hope that happiness so pure but so raw and flawed yet, somehow, perfectly imperfect, is out there. It gives us, or at least me, so much happiness to see myself on screen, to see my relationship explored without being over sexualized, without being stereotyped (or killed off).
As I continue to watch everything unfold, I will undoubtedly laugh, cry, and feel so deeply for a couple so closely intertwined with myself. And then I’ll get on Twitter / Tumblr / YouTube, and feel everything over and over again with everyone around the world as we rejoice in a show that finally gets us right.
Thank you. To the creators, writers, crew, actors, and everyone who works on Supergirl for this. For everything you’re doing with these characters. I can’t say that enough.