「汚れた空をかいくぐり」 (Yogore ta Sora o Kaikuguri)
“Slipping Through the Dirty Sky”
What exactly is family, and how do we honor it proper with its loss?
91Days’ finale delivers on some genuinely heartfelt revelations that stay faithful to the show’s core themes and values. It explores the absolutely devastating mental toll that revenge can enact on an individual, but also how we can look to move past it.
So we’ve hit the eleventh hour. Don Galassia has been straight assassinated. His entire family’s after Nero. All of Nero’s friends have been murdered. The guy is straight done. He’s got nothing to live for anymore. He’s got no future to look forward to. His entire family—individuals which made up his entire world— has been ripped from him. They were everything to him and now they’re gone. He’s cold, alone, and ripe for anger. Furthermore, the entirety of his rage can be focused on one individual and one individual only.
That’s right. Avilio, who just so happens to be tied up and at his mercy.
And so, it seems obvious what to do next. He should make Avilio pay for what he did. And why not? The guy just executed all his loves ones. He has what’s coming to him. Nero should feel completely justified in ending this man. He should feel free to let the hate, anger, and thirst for revenge completely consume him. This is a matter which has shattered his entire world and left him broken, alone, and dead. Anyone would be consumed by the desire to annihilate those responsible. Anyone would let their life be taken over by revenge. Anyone would let their entire life drown in the pain and agony of loss and the insatiable, unhinged desire to tear apart the guilty.
Just. Like. Avilio.
The son of Testa Lagusa let his entire life wash away in the sorrows of grief and the thirst for revenge. After his family’s murder, Angelo Lagusa died with them. In his place stood an individual passionless and wonderless. Avilio is someone who doesn’t live, but merely continues existing. His only purpose is to absolutely destroy those responsible for the death of his loved ones. A vessel built purely for revenge.
However, this is no way for a human to live, and even Avilio begins to realize this towards the end of the series. A few episodes back we witnessed perhaps the only instances the guy has felt affection or happiness with his fraternal love for Corteo. After years of being alone and with no family, Corteo offers him solace and familial love. Avilio could’ve shelved the revenge scheme and truly settled down with the homie to a pleasant little carefree life. Instead, however, his revenge took priority. He ultimately sacrifices any chance of this happiness by killing off Corteo to maintain the course of his ultimate scheme. However, now that Avilio’s got a taste of happiness—of family—he realizes that that is something to live for and not his revenge. That’s why when Nero and him quarrel over campfire, he reveals how instead of finding reason to live after his revenge, he now feels empty and without purpose. This is because once again, revenge is no reason to live for, especially when any chance for familial love or happiness is abolished along the way.
This is what Nero slowly begins to realize throughout the course of this final episode. At first he wants nothing more than to murder the man responsible for ripping a life of familial love and happiness from him—for revenge to consume his thoughts and purpose for living. When he presses the gun against Avilio’s forehead, he yearns so badly to mercilessly pull the trigger.
However, as Avilio expresses intense emotion for the first time this entire series—bawling his eyes out at the emptiness of his revenge-fueled life—Nero learns that a life consumed by this thirst and anguish is no way to live. Nero realizes that he has to muster up the strength to move on with his life. Familial love—the feeling of accompaniment and unconditional love—is what ultimately keeps everyone going. This is why in lieu of Avilio’s emptiness, Nero spends the final moments of the show providing with him very kind of familial love both individuals took from the other. It’s the ultimate act of forgiveness from both sides.
In a series driven completely by Avilio’s perspective, and thus his desire for revenge, it’s absolutely telling that it ends with Nero’s personal revelations. That in the end, a life consumed by revenge is no way to live. Avilio loved his family, which is what set him on this path to begin with. However, he lost sight of the familial love he treasured and instead (evident when he kills Corteo, or when he mercilessly and unempathetically does the same to others) begins to operate solely under hatred and resentment.
By choosing to forgive Avilio and move on, Nero establishes his high regard for familial love—for unconditional love and forgiveness—by providing it to someone who is maybe the least deserving. He refuses to go down the route Avilio has. So does Nero kill Avilio in the end? I don’t know, but I don’t think it really matters. The idea is that Nero sends off the guy in an act of forgiveness. Avilio could’ve died finally enjoying the love of family again, or he could’ve been sent off in mercy. Either way, the most important thing here is that Nero let Avilio live the rest of his life—however long that duration may be—knowing the very thing which catalyzed his revenge. Now the Avilio’s life has come full circle, and Testa Lagusa reemerges after years of dormancy. The show wants us to learn from Avilio’s mistake and Nero’s ultimate personal success—to realize that in the spirit of familial love, we should forgive, let go, and move on. In the show’s final scene, Nero turns to his right to a can of pineapple, illustrating that he will remember Avilio for the genuine fraternal bond they cemented, and not the ultimate betrayal. He has been forgiven, and that’s what we do for family.
Boy what a ride. When 91Days first started, I was absolutely blown away by how different the show was from what anime usually has to offer. The series boasted a tone and premise wholly unique, and promised all the thrills and drama of a proper gangster show. I was nothing but ecstatic at the prospect of this really unanime anime.
From then on, 91Days continued to impress with its intricate narrative, impressive world-building, and fantastic sound and art design. Week after week, the show provided genuine thrills and compelling plot twists. However, its flaws also became more and more apparent. The show was often hindered by inadequately developed characters—to the point of often unjustified payoff. In particular, the brotherhood between Avilio and either Nero or Corteo was not fleshed out enough to merit the revelations and developments which relied upon it. The show also sometimes dipped into some really slow moments, to the point of really just dragging on.
However, when 91Days hit, boy did it hit. The show provided some of the most exciting moments of character turmoil and conflict of the summer. While one could disagree, this easily made up for many of the show’s deeper flaws. Furthermore, the finale—while not particularly mind-bending—was a fascinating way to end the show, by paying off on its consistent themes and motifs. Sure the series was sometimes not the most coherent and sure some of the character relationships weren’t properly developed, but 91Days continued to deliver on the kind of crime thriller escapades it promised early on. I’d highly recommend it for its uniqueness and quality.
Author’s Note: Leaving Randomc
And that’s a wrap. Unfortunately, after a year of living the dream, I will be stepping down as a writer on Randomc. As some of you may have likely noticed, the quality and punctuality of my work has decreased significantly throughout the summer. For this, I sincerely apologize. A pressing matter has arisen in my personal life that has taken up a lot of my time and energy, and will continue to do so indefinitely. At the same time, I’m heading into my last year of undergrad, and I really need to start focusing on getting ready for law school, as well as eventually taking the LSAT. As such, I’m not confident I can continue at Randomc in lieu of other time-consuming priorities.
It’s been nothing but an honor writing for you guys. I’ve never really had anyone give a damn about any of my personal writing. To have a readership as large and passionate as Randomc’s actually care about anything I had to say was surreal to say the least. Despite whatever “authority” I might’ve had as a writer, I’m just another dork, so my commentary is riddled with holes and imperfections. The comments on my posts have always managed to fill in a lot of what I missed—making up for a lot I didn’t account for. Not only this, but such thoughts were almost always conveyed in a respectful manner, which we all know is hard to come by on the internet.
A big sorry and thank you to the Randomc staff for always being warm, welcoming, and accommodating towards me—even with my consistent screw-ups—as well as the entire Randomc community. Embarrassing as it may sound, I used to have fantasies about being a writer here. Like seriously I would scroll through the “About This Site” page on the website and just imagine my name and bio at the bottom of the list of writers. It was sad guys. But things worked out, and my inbox was graced with an invitation to join the staff. The time since has been nothing short of incredible. There’s really nothing like getting the opportunity to do in front of thousands of people. Even though my writing is seriously not even close to perfect, you guys continued to read what I had to say.
If you want, you can continue to follow my personal writing at my wordpress (I promise I’ll post more lol) or feel free to contact me @MrJamDiggity. Thanks to everyone for giving me a home to express all of the dumb things I had to say about some of the greatest entertainment the world has to offer. Thanks for giving a nerd like me the opportunity to do what he loves doing. Thanks for coming along with me on this crazy crazy ride. I’ll really never experience anything like this again. Thanks again everyone. Finally, it looks like the jig is up.
ED2: 「Rain or Shine」 by ELISA