91 Days – 10

91-days-10-1Why, I wonder, does 91 Days seem to engender so little discussion?  I certainly never would have expected it to be a commercial hit – it’s a seinen series about the mob, with minimal anime affectation and no moe or bishounen to speak of.  It fares well enough in English-based viewer ratings, but seems to generate almost no post traffic – even here, which tends to be the refuge of the commercially untenable shows and the viewers who adore them.  What gives, I wonder?  It’s certainly one of the very best series of the season, and arguably the most mature in tone and style.

91-days-10-2Maybe 91 Days simply does too good a job speaking for itself.  Maybe it’s so lucid and eloquent in telling its story that not a lot of explanation or rationalization is required, and people just figure everyone else gets the same stuff out of it that they do so what’s there to talk about?  There’s no question this is one of the most cleanly and efficiently-written anime I’ve watched in a good while.  There’s a kind of simple poetry about it, much as is there is with many especially good mob stories – there’s something so poignant in the tales of men who do bad in order to try and do good, and in the fate that usually finds them.

91-days-10-3I don’t know what’s going to happen to Angelo – hopefully we have two episodes left to find out, though the recap ep has left that somewhat in doubt.  But what happened to Corteo this week was far from a surprise.  Again, by nature 91 Days is more a tragedy than a thriller – the drama comes from seeing how the tragic events we know are coming are arrived at.  Last week I noted that Corteo’s role was to press the question of whether or not there was any humanity left in Angelo – whether there was a trace of the boy who ran away that fateful night, or whether that boy had been fully consumed by Avilio Bruno.

91-days-10-4Well, we have our answer.  Whatever else has happened to him, Angelo has not lost himself so much that he’s forgotten the one person who stood by him when his world exploded around him.  Corteo saved Angelo that night, and now Angelo saves Corteo by smuggling him out of Lawless and accompanying him secretly back to the village where he’d been hiding when Ganzo’s letter found him.  While Angelo tries to cover this up in the blanket of his trip to Chicago to negotiate with the Galassias, Barbero especially is suspicious and won’t let it go.  Nero wants to believe in Angelo, but Barbero isn’t likewise blinded by sentiment.

91-days-10-5I’d wondered if Barbero might have been working with Ganzo, but it seems not – and Corteo isn’t totally off-base in noting that Angelo represents a threat to Barbero’s position at Nero’s right hand.  Corteo is alive because Ganzo has a need for Angelo, and because Angelo still loves him as a brother.  But Ganzo doesn’t care whether Corteo lives or dies, so when Angelo’s position is threatened he doesn’t hesitate to call Corteo back to Lawless.  And Corteo doesn’t hesitate to come, even though it’s a suicide mission, because he loves Angelo as much as Angelo loves him.  And he’s always been the one to make sacrifices for his brother, so there’s no reason to suspect he would hesitate now.

91-days-10-6All this makes the death of Corteo hard to take, and seeing this side of Angelo is going to make his own inevitable (I assume) demise a lot more painful too.  It’s not a surprise that Nero should make Angelo do the deed – if he’s loyal, it shouldn’t be a problem (and there’s a certain symmetry, given that Angelo maneuvered Nero into killing his own brother). Nero is, at heart, a simple and straightforward man – he lives in a world of emotional primary colors, which has been both his strength and weakness as a mafioso.  His time as Don is coming soon, clearly – Vincent is nearing the end of the line whether it falls to Angelo to finish him off or not.  But one suspects that he’s not calculating enough to thrive in the world he’s about to enter, and he’d eventually piss the Galassias off enough in the name of familial pride to get himself taken out whether Angelo was around or not.

91-days-10-8What we have, then, is probably not so much a question of whether Angelo can successfully take his revenge on the remaining assassins from that night but whether he can do so before they’re dead anyway.  I don’t think Angelo particularly wants to survive all this, especially after killing Corteo – money, women and power matter not a whit to him.  He wants to avenge his family (and that includes Corteo now as well) and then join them in eternal rest.  And whether Ganzo was the fourth gunman that night or not (I suspect he was) Angelo will surely take him down too when the time comes to bring all this to a close.

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10 comments

  1. Anime fans do not like “mature shows for mature people such as myself” anymore. Everything that has that “moniker” attached to it is mocked to death or called “edgy trash.”

    People aren’t even given the show a chance and rather shitpost it to death by pointing the quality issues (granted, those exist but are not as bad as some pople like to pretend) or complaining about things that make sense in context.

    It’s really a shame, this show is excellent.

  2. R

    My friends know about the series but they’re not willing to watch it weekly, they’d rather it be finished and they can enjoy until the end. I also did mention to them when I recommended it that it’s like a cinematic film, one you can fully enjoy in one thing. That is one reason. Others were looking for this type of anime but is not up to date each season and this passed their radar. Baccano is not well known in my circle but I’m trying to get them into it.

    It’s not just lack of interest but different preference I guess. Others just want to stay quiet.

    Anyway, onto the episode. I think this EP solidified Nero’s antagonism and most want him dead by now. He rarely has his apologist now and I never truly supported him from the start. So yeah, I expect his death is now certain.

    The Corteo scenes was so innocently happy that though you can sense the deathflags, you still want to believe for that happy ending. I think Ganzo is truly the 4th man as he succeeded in making Angelo lost all his important connections and is now closer to Nero. But what I understand is why they never even considered Corteo’s reasons and still had him killed. This was the guy who propelled them to success through his alcohol, helped Nero and co together with Angelo with the Fango business and even killed Fango. I though his betrayal would be weighed against that and Angelo would at least plead for him. It’s so sad really.

  3. Y

    I’m curious about how 91 Days is faring in Japan, but for me every episode so far has been either perfect or nearly perfect that there’s really not much to say except “Wow.” For this episode I found Corteo’s bursting in the room as slightly unbelievable (it’d make more sense if he let himself get caught in Lawless and brought in), but it didn’t really affect the tragedy of Corteo’s end. Ganzo better wash his neck now ’cause I’m pretty sure he’s just wrote himself onto the top of Angelo’s hitlist.

  4. o

    I think I haven’t been commenting because there are so many ways this plot can twist, it was hard to speculate, or even hope.

    I do have to admit that I was hoping for a way Angelo and Corteo would survive, or at least Angelo and Nero. I think killing Corteo ended any hope of Nero making it out. But I also think that’s where Ganzo screwed up.. Corteo was Angelo’s anchor, and the only person that could be used against him. He can’t really even “out” Angelo to Nero – Nero pretty much already knows the story.

    Any which way, it’s going to be a sad ending.

  5. T

    Speaking as someone who’s behind in the episodes, but insists on spoiling myself, this is still reminding me of a cleaner, more realistic Gungrave, which I marathoner in a two-day period. I’ve waiting for the show to draw near its conclusion before fully catching up, but feel the tragedy has been in motion from the beginning. Part of me is curious if anyone will survive at this point. If Corteo is down, I can’t think of anyone else I was ever truly rooting for right now.

  6. j

    I think the beginning of this episode was the first time we saw Angelo genuinely smile or look surprised. His facial expressions made me think it was a flashback for a sec.

    Also, I cried.

  7. B

    Second to that. I cried too.

    I remember in the very first teaser of the show, there’s this line: For revenge, he will kill his friend. In hindsight, that was a master stroke. Most people assume the friend in question would be Nero, but now we know the say friend is actually Corteo.

    This show is so elegantly written that I’m contented with sitting back and enjoy the ride.

  8. A

    Well I think Angelo is going to die too in the end, God I cried sooo much, after the episode i payed unravel(Tokyo ghoul) and my tears are flowing full speed!

  9. Corteo should have picked a better disguise, that change of hairstyle is way too obvious(At least ditch the glasses?)

  10. I was thinking maybe a fake beard. Ditching the glasses may not be so easy in the pre-contacts era though – maybe he’s unable to function without them.

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