So, 91 Days is basically the Count of Monte Cristo except with the mafia and its in Jazz Age America.
No, really. It’s about a guy whose entire family is killed, he flees, and then he returns seven years later to get in with the mafia family so that he can wreak revenge. Baccano does the Count of Monte Cristo, perhaps? It is being done by Shuka, which is a spin-off of Brains Base, which did the various Durarara sequels. Unlike those, though, this is fully animated, and in fact, the production values are genuinely stunning. However, the sheer amount of effort clearly put into the visuals made me all the more irked in the latter bit of the episode when people started popping up who looked like they’d gotten their wardrobes from Mad Bull 34 or guido movies from the 80’s.
But… for all that this was generally a treat to the eye, and for all that I found the coordination of the music and visuals great, I don’t feel terribly engaged by what we got in this opening episode. Admittedly, I was put off quite strongly by the fact that in the first half of the episode, the only female character with any prominence is one whom we spend most of the time observing ass-first. She also, poor thing, suffers from perma-wedgie, peculiarly enough even though she’s wearing a loose skirt. At first, I brushed it off, but then the final glimpse we get of her is of her butt cheeks fully outlined by her skirt as she’s lying on the ground after having been shot in the head. This by itself is bad enough, but the choice to go about it this way is pretty bizarre given that the woman isn’t otherwise sexualized, nor are there any other examples of this kind of visual fanservice to be had. So, not only was it gross and unnecessary, it’s inclusion was just flat-out weird. And it makes me hope to hell that there aren’t going to be any female characters in this show, because if a show is going to do a shitty job with its female characters, I’d honestly rather it just didn’t even bother to include any at all.
Perhaps I seem to be getting wrapped around the axle, but it left a sour taste in my mouth, which isn’t generally a good way to start off with a show. The remainder of the episode involves people being shot at, things being blown up, and our lead getting the in he needs with the Vanetti family. There are some mildly amusing moments, and there’s a decent trick our core cast uses to get out of a tight spot, but it isn’t exactly riveting or super original stuff. It doesn’t help that our vengeful young man, Angelo, has all the personality of a cup of warm water.
Its clear that I’m underwhelmed, but I’ll grant that the revenge story requires the time to slow boil. The cast has only just been assembled at the end of the episode, so the initial setting-up of the narrative is out of the way now. Here’s hoping this isn’t going to be another Joker Game.