There are few things synonymous with mobster movies, and they conform to this across the board: Guns, Suits, Italian Sweets, and Weddings. The Godfather featured each of these four, and that is a film seen as the pinnacle of the sub-genre, so it only makes sense that an Anime series based upon films of this kind would also feature those same components. In episode two of 91 Days, “Phantom Of Falsehood“, the audience is taken on a wild ride as we follow the short-lived story of Vanetti mafioso Vanno Clemente who, at first introduction, quickly became my favorite character of the series. It’s just too bad that he, well…I really shouldn’t say.
Opening up with a job gone wrong, episode two of 91 Days gives audiences a front-row seat to the inner-workings of the Vanetti family told in a way reminiscent of The Godfather, as mentioned above. It’s the wedding day of Nero’s little sister, and in true Italian matrimonial festivity a fight breaks out between our “hero” Avilio and the groom which, if it’s me you’re asking, was entirely justified. 91 Days proving that it can develop a character within the span of a single scene, it was Vanno’s excitement at the prospect of laying into said groom that showed his care for a family that he is, essentially, not even a part of considering his lack of blood relation.
From this point on the episode gets for more heart-pounding as Vanno employs Avillio to sent Fango to the grave as revenge for a younger member of the Vanetti family that was killed during the episode’s opening. Taking on the job for the sake of having an “in” with the Vanetti’s, Avillio hatches a plan to fill Fango with lead as quickly and simply as he possibly can, circumventing the security of his right-hand man Serpente, and making it out before the authorities catch wind of the situation. The pacing of this particular scene I felt to be incredibly impactful simply because of it’s realistic haste. Avillio’s plan was to get in and out, leaving only the deceased corpse of Fango in his wake, but as plans of this calibre go…often they don’t work out.
Fango escapes, but Avillio and Vanno don’t leave without first taking Serpente with them. Seeing his unique Snake-handled knife, Vanno was instantly made aware that it was Serpente who slit the throat of poor Tronco. Taking him to a cemetery on the outskirts of town, Vanno instilled the fear of God in Serpente as he urged him to pray for his descent into the afterlife in an attempt to be forgiven for what he had done not only to Tronco but to many others, in that exact moment being both a hypocrite and a warrior of righteousness at the same time. Serpente, showing his true colours, cries for help as Vanno unloads a few rounds into his gut, fulfilling his vendetta and putting down another member of the Orco family right in front of Tronco’s grave…unfortunately Serpente was not the only one laid to rest on holy ground.
A scene that made me smile in delight yet one that made my heart skip a beat; Avillio emerges from behind cover and kills Vanno with the gun that was given to him for the sake of ending Fango. In that moment, Vanno is reminded that karma indeed exists, but nowhere more prevalent than in the world of organised crime. He hits the floor, and the credits role, but we return to the Anime after their finish as Nero is given the news of his friends death and forces Avillio to take him to where it happened. An obvious lie, Avillio explains that Serpente shot Vanno, and that he himself shot Serpente in defence of his new friend, but when they arrive at the cemetery and Serpente’s body is nowhere to be seen, the tables turn on Avillio once again. No amount of deceit can dig you out of this grave.
Episode two of 91 Days had enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat for what felt like almost the entire episode. Starting off with a mobster movie staple, the episode went on to subtly show you the different layers of not only the individual characters but of the series as a whole. Seeing the sadness in Vanno’s eyes as Tronco is killed, the anger as his would-be sister marries an oaf, and the disappointment as he turns to meet his death at the hands of Avillio made me love this character AND this series. The first episode proved to audiences that it can leave you on quite a cliffhanger, but episode two showed us that it can make you connect to a character only for us to be devastated by their death in the span of a twenty-two minute episode.
91 Days very much understands what makes series’ of this kind great and pulls it off in spades. Despite the fact that, at this point in time, we’re only two episodes in; I feel as though I have been following Avillio’s story for years. This is something that some Anime can’t even do in a span of fifty episodes let alone two, and yet here’s this mostly-unknown contemporary Anime series that can pluck at your heart strings without you even being aware of it. Characters are still to be introduced, and their backstories are still to be detailed, but judging by this episode I now have not a single doubt in my mind that each of those introduced will be fleshed-out, likeable (despite their personality), and to a certain degree relatable, because that’s what makes a character great, and it’s what made Vanno’s death incredibly heart-breaking.
Two episodes down and I’m ready to call this Anime the very best of what this season has to offer, and that’s by a long shot! 91 Days is exactly what I was looking for in a modern Anime, and until I actually started watching it, I didn’t even know that it was what I needed! I’m not very much aware of what this series is capable of, and it both scares and delights me. Bring on episode three.
91 Days is now available to watch through Crunchyroll: Click Here.