Plot: Young boy Angelo Lagusa’s family is brutally murdered by members of a large mafia group, later to be revealed as the Vanetti family. Angelo returns to Lawless, his old home, now known as Avilio Bruno, after receiving a letter detailing the men responsible for his family’s murder.
91 Days is the anime I was most excited about last season, and with good reason. It had all of the qualities I find interesting in an anime; it was not based on any source material (meaning that it is not based off of a manga like Attack on Titan or a light novel like Sword Art Online), it was a mafia anime like one of my favorites Baccano!, and also it was set in one of my favorite periods in American history, prohibition. So it can go without saying that I had high hopes for 91 Days, but were my expectations met?
This half will be a non-spoiler review, so you can read up until the warning without having anything ruined for you.
I would first like to talk about the animation and art style of 91 Days. While I will say it was nothing particularly extraordinary, it was done very well. I usually find this to be a trend with anime not based on any other source material. There were many action scenes that flowed very seamlessly, making these scenes very enjoyable. The character designs were also pretty original, since not many anime are based on the American mafia. I can always appreciate an original looking character like Fango and Avilio. I also particularly liked Nero’s design the most.
If you know anything about me by now, you’ll know that the music in an anime is very important to me. However I was actually pretty disappointed with the opening and ending songs for 91 Days. It’s not even that they are bad, and to be honest I felt that they fit perfectly with the show itself, however they just did not stand out very much to me. It is a shame, since I was really looking forward to them, too.
One of my biggest problems with 91 Days, is actually not even the show’s problem, but rather my own. There were so many characters introduced, and so many names being thrown around that it made it incredibly difficult to keep track of it all. It was even more difficult because I took a break from the show for a few weeks, and when I came back I forgot about everyone but only the most important characters. I found myself needing to have the Wikipedia page for 91 Days open while I watched each episode just to get a recap of who each character was.
I am not going to say 91 Days was bad, in fact I think quite the opposite. However it just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. So while I recommend it to any of you looking for a good action anime, I have to give it only a 6/10, since I just didn’t like it very much.
*Warning! Spoilers beyond this point*
A huge complaint I have seen with 91 Days was with its ending. And to be honest I have to agree. A lot of people disliked the “road-trip” scene with Avilio and Nero after all hell breaks loose in Lawless. I felt that this was sort of an interesting scene, and done pretty well, to be honest. It, to me, was a reference to the first road-trip Avilio and Nero took together way back in episode 4, when Avilio first gained Nero’s trust. They take another after Nero’s trust is betrayed. So I think the road-trips symbolize the beginning and the end of their friend/partnership. So with this I have no complaints, and felt it was an interesting and necessary path to take, after the opera house climax reached in the previous episode.
However the issue with the ending that I have is not the road-trip, but rather how it ends. The duo’s destination is the Atlantic ocean, since neither of them had ever seen the ocean before. Avilio also reveals he didn’t kill Nero simply because he didn’t want to. However, it seems Nero has other intentions, as he points his gun in Avilio’s direction and shoots. This is just like the very beginning of the show, when Nero misses child Avilio (Angelo Lagusa). It isn’t clear if Avilio lives or not, leaving much to the viewers interpretation. I felt that this ending took a cue from The Sopranos, by having being incredibly inconclusive. While this isn’t especially a bad thing, I dislike not having closure, so this was not an ending for me.
I also HATED the fate of Corteo. He was by far my favorite character, being the most innocent and relatable out of every character. Just when it looks like he is finally safe, taking shelter in Avilio’s old haunts, he goes back into the fray to try to rescue Avilio. What’s worse, is he has to be killed by Avilio, his own best friend, in order for Avilio to remain undercover. This sequence of events nearly brought me to tears, and was just too much for my little heart to handle.
Since I have mostly been talking about negatives, I would like to talk about one positive that made me thoroughly enjoy the show, even if only for a little bit. This is the first road-trip I mentioned earlier. I really enjoyed seeing Nero and Avilio as normal human beings, instead of the mobsters they are. I especially enjoyed Nero and Avilio impressing a group of children by displaying their juggling and pick-pocketing skills. This was just very heartwarming to me, and definitely my favorite part of the whole show.
All in all, I felt the climax in episode 11 was worth it, but the payoff for the ending in 12 was not. A good show, but all-in-all not what I wanted it to be.