Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of Studio Shuka
I am an absolute sucker for a period piece. The anime series that I have reviewed so far that deal with specific historical periods have been relatively hit or miss. For every show as great as Baccano, there are numerous shows that end up disappointing such as Joker Game. Thankfully, the series that I am reviewing today is in the same category as the former. What we have here is basically the anime equivalent of a classic mob story and it works on every level. I’m Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth anime review.
Story and Characters
Set during Prohibition, the first episode opens up with a young man named Angelo witnessing the murder of his family in a mafia dispute. Years later, he receives a mysterious letter that details the names of those that were involved in the murder, most notably the Vanetti crime family. Angelo infiltrates the mob under a false name and begins to befriend the don’s son, Nero, all while planning his eventual revenge. 91 Days absolutely slays it in terms of a basic plot set up.
There is something intrinsically interesting about a mob story. Despite the awful actions of the characters, the audience finds themselves rooting for the Vanetti crime family. This is similar to Angelo’s plight. He joins the Vanetti family for the purpose of revenge, but finds that the family actually treats him very well. The story places an emphasis on his conflicting feelings and this grants a large deal of development to his single natured character. As the series continues on, it becomes more difficult for Angelo to carry out these plans because of these relationships and the audience actually begins to sympathize more with Angelo’s targets. This inner turmoil is fascinating to watch as a viewer, especially since Angelo’s machinations are very Lelouch-esque.
I couldn’t do 91 Days justice without mentioning Nero. Nero is the son of the Vanetti family head and becomes an older brother of sorts to Angelo. However, Nero is on the list of names in the letter. He has such a warm and caring personality, especially when it comes to his family. He immediately takes Angelo in and often gives him the benefit of the doubt. Given the audience’s knowledge of Angelo’s plans, this actually quite tragic. While Nero is not a perfect person by any means, in this mafia world, he remains one of the most honorable characters of the show. It’s almost a tragedy to see Angelo’s plans for revenge begin to take apart the rather solid Nero. Overall, this story is a fascinating look into the concept of revenge and what that actually means. The Prohibition-era setting along with the mafia focus makes this one of the more interesting series in terms of plot to come out this year.
Animation and Sound
I would not say that 91 Days is an example of the pinnacle of animation. The characters can seem stiff at points and there are instances where the quality does drop. However, over the entire run of episodes, the quality was solid. This is especially helped due to the aesthetic. The Prohibition-era designs of the environment make this one of the more pleasing shows in an aesthetic sense. It is obvious that a significant amount of detail went into designing everything from the cars to the guns used by the characters. While the animation is not amazing, the attention to setting eclipses these animation issues fairly well.
As for the sound design, the show manages to impress. While I was not thrilled with the opening at first, it managed to grow on me as the series continued. It really is the perfect introduction to each episode with a very emotional song to remind the audience what exactly happened to Angelo’s family. Likewise, the rest of the music is also great. There is a healthy sample of jazz that fits in perfectly with the Prohibition-era setting. The voice actors also do a commendable job. Nero’s voice actor deserves recognition for the wide range of emotion required throughout the series. Nero is run through the emotional gauntlet and his voice actor carries every aspect of the character perfectly. Overall, the animation and sound design are solid.
91 Days was everything that I wanted it to be. It was a period piece with a mafia focus that told of a harrowing tale of revenge. It reminded me a lot of The Godfather and Goodfellas which are some of my favorite films. The presentation perfectly captured that era in American history and the sound design was phenomenal. I give 91 Days my Bananaowns’ stamp of approval. It was one of the best shows of the summer season and one of the best shows of the year. Thanks for checking out this piece and I’ll be back next week for another review.