OP: 「Signal」 by (TK from Ling Tosite Sigure)
「いつわりの幻影」 (Itsuwari no Gen’ei)
“Phantom of Falsehood”
If you haven’t yet jumped into 91Days, you’re doing yourself one hell of a disservice.
Last week I raved about 91Days’ premiere—lauding its superb production, unique setting, lively characters, and excellently paced plot. The show’s sophomore episode continues to build on all of these qualities—elevating them to just the right levels to both impress us, and let us know it can only get better.
The episode does a remarkable job of expanding and fleshing out the world we were just introduced to. If you were a little confused about what exactly was going on last episode (which I was a little lol), we slow down the pace and get a better look at all the big players. Three main families—the Vanettis, the Orcos, and the Galassias—are all battling for power and turf, and often overstep their boundaries, amounting in an abundance of conflict. What’s amazing about 91Days is that exposition is never relayed in an explicit or unnatural manner—details about the world are skillfully weaved into the dialogue and plot points. We learn about the world without ever bringing the momentum of the story to a complete halt. As a result, the pacing proceeds in a quick and stable manner, even in this early in the series and with so much about the world to learn.
Our story primarily takes place from the perspective of the Vanettis—or at least some of the family’s key players. We introduced to group of genuinely likable and sympathizable characters. In particular, the episode’s (especially the cold open) does wonders in fleshing out the personality and appeal of Vanno Clementine. His frustration at the lack of his family’s refusal to take action over the cold murder of a member (especially a kid) feel completely justified, only worsened by the peace-intended marriage of a loved one (or a potentially unrequited love?) to a downright jerk.
And then BAM that’s all completely turned over its head during the episode’s third act (which, by the way, boasted some gorgeously impressive cinematopgraphy). Despite the quality of the episode’s character development, I thought it a little weird our protagonist was not given as much attention as our supporting cast was. I realized that they needed to be properly fleshed out as early as possible—I thought Vanno Clementine was to play a key role during the rest of the series. And while this was true, it was not to in the way that I imagined. To make all these characters likable, heartfelt, and fun only to—in one jarring reveal—suddenly make them the antagonists?? Are you kidding me??
Or to, out of nowhere, completely gray out the boundaries of moral standing. Since the Vanettis are actually a pretty cool group of dudes, could it be that Avilo’s parents actually maybe deserved their deaths? But even then, was the murder of a child necessary? Could the Vanettis responsible actually have been haunted with regret and guilt by that death in particular all those years? Even then, the murder of a child is still the murder of a child, right? Could the Vanettis actually be secretly sinister, in contrast to all the development this episode made? How will Avilo handle his dilemma in the final scene? Will be played up as somewhat a villain as the show goes on? I mean, he straight up murdered a character the show was deliberately trying to make likable.
Agghhh, there’s just so much to chew off of here—so much to speculate, so much to debate over, and most importantly, so much to get excited by. At the very least, we know that nothing’s set in stone. Nothing is morally black and white. Nothing is in the clear. This early on, and the plot is already blown to these kinds of mind-bending levels.
Also, I love how the series is unabashedly dark, graphic, and even a little bit sexy. Though anime has never really had concerns with any of these qualities, I love how justified and appropriate it feels for the world, tone, and subject matter of 91Days. It’s never these things for merely the sake of being them—it’s all functional. Even Fango’s unconventional sexual tastes serve to twist and dement the character.
91Day’s second episode manages to organically provide a myriad of exposition, while at the same time, refusing to slow things. The series refuses to be predictable or stale, as the episode ramps up the intrigue this early in the show, but in a way which feels natural. The exposition provided in the episode’s first half brilliantly feeds into the concluding excitement in a twist which I did not see coming (and shit was even foreshadowed without me even realizing). 91Day continues to exceed my expectations.
ED: 「Rain or Shine」 by (ELISA)