This year, we witnessed a studio collapsing and declaring bankruptcy just as they were finishing production on an anime series. Now, the writing had been on the wall for a while ; Manglobe hadn’t been producing the ambitious original shows like Samurai Champloo or Ergo Proxy that had put it on the map for a while, instead focusing on otaku-friendly licenses like The World God Only Knows that paid the bills (with diminishing returns). NoitaminA commissioning Samurai Flamenco out of them, however fascinating creatively a show it was, seems to have been the death knell : it sold like crap and somehow it took two years for the studio to find another project ; by then, it was too little, too late. Especially as there was no guarantee a Black Lagoon clone would have sold well enough even before it got the smell of death.
Of course, Gangsta had much more going for it than that. For one thing, the premise had more to do with X-Men, except without any superheroes to protect the mutants. Instead, it’s the mob families (with their own wars) and freelancers like the protagonists. Now, the plot itself is the series’ weakest point ; it’s not so much a story than a few characters pieces and a parade of murderous wackos wrecking havoc on the setting. Instead, what it excelled at was setting a mood ; there was a real feeling of community, and the city itself being its own character. And then there were the fight scenes. A combination of perfect direction and delicious score more than made up for the obvious budget problems ; it always knew how to make characters look badass and pull crazy physics-be-damned moves.
With all that in mind, it doesn’t really bother me that this series had no ending whatsoever, not only ending on a cliffhanger, but still introducing new elements until the last minute. (And of course, the chances of a sequel are close to nil, given the context.) This is a show that is all about enjoying the moment and giving the middle finger to a future that’s probably to screw you over and leave you for dead ; the denial of closure feels logical rather than frustrating.