Sounds Good to Me
When 91 Days first aired in 2016, I was fairly confident that I would enjoy it. From the trailer it looked to be a serious drama set in prohibition era America. Seeing how I loved Baccano! I was excited at the prospect of another great series utilizing this more unique setting. Additionally, this was an opportunity for Funimation to deliver a great dub as was done for Baccano! when that received one. Was this anime one that capitalized on all of its uniqueness or did it burry itself six feet under with a bog standard revenge story? Let’s find out!
Let’s actually take a quick look at the trailer. It does an excellent job of getting the general feeling across, slightly cheesy mob voices and all. If I had to fault the trailer for anything, its that it makes the series seem way more exciting and fast paced than it really is. 91 Days is generally slower paced, but never to the point of being overbearing. Don’t worry though, there is still plenty of action in this series.
91 Days follows Angelo (the creepy smile guy in the trailer) who is out for revenge after his family is killed in front of him when he was a young boy. Unfortunately for Angelo, he doesn’t know who to blame. That is, until he receives a mysterious letter naming each of the men that took the lives of his family. The anime then proceeds to set up a Monte Cristo type revenge story where Angelo infiltrates the mob family responsible and starts exacting his revenge by killing one man at a time.
My initial impression of the series was somewhat correct. The tone and style of the show shifts from more goofy (even in the more “serious” scenes) moments to completely grounded drama. I can’t say that this was completely fitting, because frankly, it wasn’t. For example, sometimes a villain would be cartoonish and ridiculous with inhuman skills. Nothing too crazy, but beyond the scope of what one might consider, “realistic” at least. Then, as if the show was trying to give you whiplash, everything would go back to being this gritty super serious, “real world” mob drama.
Often I felt like I wanted to see more of the sillier stuff because it gave me that Baccano! or Durarara! feeling, but at the same time, I really did prefer the show when it was extremely grounded. This isn’t a turnoff for 91 Days but it is a definite mark against the series.
While we are on the subject of negatives let’s just get those out of the way. I have a couple. First, there is a completely unnecessary recap episode for seemingly no reason, it didn’t do anything. Seriously, just skip it. Next, 91 Days has a fairly vanilla ending. It is perfectly fitting, kind of melancholic, and the animation there is fantastic but it was kind of a, “wait, that’s it?” moment. The ending is perfectly serviceable, it just felt like the exact ending to every tragic revenge story that’s been done a million times over. Therefore, it lost impact that it otherwise should have had.
The rest of the issues with the show or more nitpicks than anything. Fango was not the best character and that specific story beat regarding him and another character was not handled well (even if it was kind of dark, which I liked). Credit to Fango, that lasagna scene was hilarious despite it being kind of gross. The ending theme was kind of meh. Occasionally some plot points were a little iffy.
The most praise I can heap onto this show is that it succeeded in telling an engaging story in a fairly underutilized setting in anime. Further enhanced by the English dubbing, set pieces, and overall pacing of the show, many of 91 Days shortcomings were mostly made up for. More than anything else, 91 Days is a fun anime with enough drama that isn’t too difficult to get swept up into.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of 91 Days is its opening “Signal” by TK from Ling Tosite Sigure. While it borrows a lot of clips from the show itself, the tight editing and significance in its presentation made this fairly excusable. The song itself is great, reminding me of the first Psycho-Pass OP, and one I never skipped.
If you are looking for a stylized mafia drama then 91 Days is likely going to fit the bill for you. Despite the expected ending, the rest of the show is a wild ride with a dynamic cast. Are you a fan of Baccano! but having trouble finding something similar? Than 91 Days is a must, even if it isn’t as strong. It’ll scratch the same kind of itch for sure.
Have you seen 91 Days? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. While you’re there, tell me what your favorite anime set outside of Japan is too. If you enjoy my content than please consider donating to my Ko-fi by hittin’ the button below. Hope to see you back around here soon, and as always, thanks for reading!