Posted by AidanAK47 on 4 October 2016 with categories: 91 Days, Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Reviews by AidanAK47

When taking up the job of checking out every anime season you really can starve for something different. Variety is the spice of life and yet the entertainment industry seems determined to give us more of the same. So in the sea of average high school students gaining superpowers and harems I see an anime promising a classic Mafia drama and say sing me the hell up. The story is of a boy called Angelo, who joins the mafia to enact a plot of revenge against those who murdered his family. As the likes of Joker Game and Gangsta proved, doing something different does not automatically make it great. I will say that 91 Days succeeded in avoiding the failures of those respective series but sadly the result is a decent anime. While great to some this story does seem alright despite it really feeling like it should be more. It has it’s good moments, even some great moments and it makes no major missteps in it’s delivery. This is a solid series without doubt but I sadly never got as invested as I really should have been.

Part of the reason for this could be to the nature of the storytelling which goes the opposite route of most anime by having characters thoughts not be narrated by monologue and instead shown through actions. Certainly a fresh take but sadly the series tends to keep the audience too much in the dark about what is really going on in people’s heads which makes the finales emotional climax fall hollow as the characters actions don’t really convey the depth of their intentions or feelings. Another thing is the story’s tendency of foreshadowing developments moments before being revealed. Whenever a character gets development or focus it often means they are about to be removed from the plot entirely or are the focus of that episode’s twist. A police chief is introduced decides to take on the mafia one episode but in that very same episode he is scared off and hereby removed from the remaining plot. This kind of thing happens numerous times through 91 Day’s run and as a result the characters that remain end up being those we have the least attachment to. There is also the matter that this show is a slow burn that continues to the end here it finally fizzles out instead of exploding. Our main character is far too stoic to really relate with and thus like him the audience is equally unmoved by the events that unfold before him. Only at times when the perspective changes to another more relatable character does this show start to shine.

Studio Shuka managed to avoid major quality drops in the animation and art of 91 Days but it does remain a show that couldn’t really be called visually impressive. The greatest strength of this series is it’s ability to evoke the mood and atmosphere of classic mafia film to which it references and homages quite a bit. I consider this series to be a unique identity within anime but sadly not an outstanding one. Depending on your taste you could come to love this series and with a Baccano style dub it could gain a cult following, however I am afraid it didn’t quite hit the notes for me. It has merit for being what it is and I applaud the choice to try such a novel concept in animation but it never quite reached the potential it could have. In truth this proves that one can copy the style of Mafia movies but without the heart all you really have is something temporarily charming but fundamentally hollow. Much like every movie gangster feels when it’s his time to bite the bullet.

4 Responses

  1. Avatar Rowan says:

    Hello. I have to admit that I read the entire review. I just finished 91 days and it’s my fav anime so far (I dont watch animes so often anyways). I agree in lot of things about this review. I think it was too short for this kind of anime. I also agree that sometimes it was poor or needed more scenes or episodes to explain or make it more interesting.
    Im an artist, I draw and paint. I planned on making a second part of 91 days (manga). I dont know if you are gonna read this but I would like to contact you because I would like to know your opinion about my plan and story.
    I want to give Fio an important role and also Nero. I also want Avilio to appear in my story and show the vanetti’s situation after all this happened.
    Hope you can read it and I will like to contact you to talk or just to give me your opinion. See ya

    • AidanAK47 AidanAK47 says:

      Hello Rowan. I appreciate you coming to check out the review.

      On the matter of that manga you plan to to make, how much experience do you have with drawing manga? I don’t mean for this to be discouraging but if you are jumping into this it would be wise to consider what you are jumping into. You would need to be able to work well and fast along with considering the paneling of your story. Writing for a manga isn’t quite the same as writing a novel, you need to also consider how it’s read along with what is being read. Before going into something heavy, even if it’s a fanwork, it might be good to make a few oneshots first.(Those being a 1 chapter story of about 30 to 60 pages) Provided you haven’t done so already. Then that way you can get an idea how just how much work it is and whether you have the time to invest into in. You can be surprised at how long something can really take. For example this review above may look like something easy to cough out in a few minutes but more often than not these can take an hour or more to write.

      • Avatar Rowan says:

        Well, Im an Art teacher, I always draw realistic faces and landscapes. I used to draw a lot of anime and manga when I was a teen. I also write some stories on Word or paper.
        I never did a real manga and I don’t have so much idea about manga composition but I was thinking about writing all my ideas and then start trying to make the manga. It’s just a fanmade but it’s a new project for me to experience new ways to draw or compose an story.
        It might sounds weird but reading the entire review I think you wanted a more detailed story about this series like I do. So Im asking you if you want to know my own story about a possible ‘second part’ where Avilio is alive after all.
        My native language isnt english so I hope I didnt write something wrong and I also hope you can read my version or help to make it better because I loved your review and all the details about it.

        • AidanAK47 AidanAK47 says:

          I do appreciate that you want my input in this but I feel you are underestimating the level of work involved. That is why I am suggesting starting with a work that’s smaller in scope first. While I can help by looking at your idea’s and suggesting some of my own, it would be all for naught if you started drawing and found that it was much more work than you bargained for. Researching manga creation and storytelling technique would be wise as well especially if your goal is to learn of new ways of story composition.

          As an example this video goes into detail about Akira Torayama’s manga technique.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJK7oysHoMw

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