This anime both was and wasn’t what I expected. After the first episode, I did expect a kind of revenge plot to take form and—because it was dealing with the mafia—I also expected people to double-cross each other and whatnot. I wasn’t disappointed in how this anime turned out, but I also didn’t think it was anything special.
If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you already know you shouldn’t read past the quick summary if you plan on watching this anime at any point and don’t want spoilers. If you do read past that part don’t blame me. I didn’t force you to read it.
I’ll be a little honest, this review went on way longer than I had planned, and by the end I started losing steam, so sorry for that. Didn’t think I had that much to say about it.
A young Avilio had his family murdered right in front of him after a mafia dispute. He manages to escape and remains undetected by the mafia family for years. Avilio eventually returns to the city his family died in, after being sent a letter from an unknown person with the names of the people responsible for his family’s deaths. This sets Avilio on a quest to avenge his family by destroying the family that left him an orphan. (Sounds super epic, am I right?)
I really wanted to start this one because it looked cool, edgy and adult-like. I’ve been hunting for anime with more adult themes that I could relate to now that I have reached the tender age of 22. I think I was a little tired of all the silly anime that take place in high school and don’t really have any deeper meanings. This was my first misguided approach to find an anime that had mature themes I could possibly relate to (don’t ask me how I could relate to mafiosos). I was attracted to the setting and the reserved color palette of the anime, but that’s really all I based my initial judgement on. None of the characters had brightly colored hair and it didn’t take place in a high school. That was good enough for me at the time.
I know I’ve said this before, I think when I was talking about Kuroko no Basket, but I’ve always been really bad with anime that have a lot of characters. This anime doesn’t really have that many characters, but it was enough for me to have to go to the wiki and familiarize myself with all the seemingly important characters. It didn’t help that they all had the same rough-manly look and sound either. I’ll be honest: after the first episode, I was kinda skating by watching this anime. Partly out of boredom, a slow moving plot and because I had to read to understand (I’m not that good at Japanese yet, unfortunately).
My interest in the anime over time pairs very similarly to a sine graph. The first 10 minutes of an episode, I was half paying attention and then after that it had my full attention. Around episode 5 was when I was constantly paying attention, as I liked the characters who started to get more screen-time, like Nero. It was because of this that I started to dread Avilio eventually killing Nero. Couldn’t he give him a break? Nero appeared remorseful about what he had done in the past when he was talking about killing Avilio’s family (or at least I thought he sounded kind of remorseful). If he’d been gloating while retelling the story, there’s no doubt that Avilio would’ve killed him right then and there.
And that’s where I started thinking that Avilio was getting soft. He seemed to grow less fixated on wanting to kill Nero the more he hung out with him. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for Corteo getting jealous and messing things up and then freaking dying, I think Avilio might have forgiven Nero and stopped his mission to killing everybody….. or at least Nero. Speaking of Corteo, he made me so upset. Why did he get all pissy when it looked like Avilio was losing interest in his revenge? It wasn’t Corteo’s family that was killed. If the person that should have been the most angry is no longer angry, then you have no right to be angry. Well, maybe he did have a right to be angry: he did know Avilio’s family personally. But he didn’t really want Avilio to go through with this plan in the first place. The moment he heard about Avilio’s plan, he looked horrified. Corteo isn’t the only person who irritated me in this show, but I’ll talk about his punk self in the character section.
Later on in the show….
I don’t feel right moving on to the character section without addressing the ending of this anime. I was a little disappointed at the end. When it came time for the final show down between Avilio and Nero, they just ended up hanging out? Why? Why were they eating together? Shouldn’t Nero be more pissed? If I found out that all the misfortune around my family was orchestrated by one person and they also got my entire family killed, I wouldn’t hesitate to kill them, slowly and painfully. I didn’t understand why he waited all the way until they got to the beach to kill Avilio? Was there really a reason for them to go there? Did Nero want to bring a little happiness to the man who ruined his life? With the way Avilio was acting at the beach I feel like he knew he was about to get killed. That’s why he wasn’t looking directly at Nero while he was talking to him. It’s easier to shoot someone in the back than it is while they are looking straight at you, at least that’s what I think.
Honestly, I would have been happy with an ending where they both realized how much destruction their negative emotions caused and called it a truce. Because at this point, they were even. Both their families were dead (except maybe Nero’s sister), they both killed someone they considered to be their brother and they both hated themselves and their lives. They were in the same pathetic position. They could’ve lived out the rest of their days together sharing the trauma they both went through.
This might be one of the few times where I talk about almost every single character. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I think I’ll hit a good chunk of the characters.
Why is it that with these kinds of anime, the protagonist is always able to come up with smart plans? Without fail, they can always read a situation and get out of any predicament. What has Avilio been doing with his life up until this point, playing chess so he can always be three steps ahead? He reminds me of Light Yagami. Maybe it’s the hair, maybe it’s the same default cold, blank expression. He’s certainly not as conniving or clever, but he’s trying. He’s also not as cold-blooded as Light, otherwise his plan to kill Nero would’ve been wrapped up by episode 6.
He wouldn’t have gotten all emotionally tangled up with his target, which was ultimately Avilio’s downfall. If he’d just stuck to his plan and been committed, he’d still have Corteo and they could’ve been riding off in the sunset at the end. Or maybe because it’s been so many years since his family died, his feelings of hatred waned and it’s only when he had to kill Corteo and relive the trauma of his family dying again that he was able to actually push forward in his plans to wipe out the Vanetti family… You know what, I think I’ll go with that theory.
Corteo was the catalyst! Apparently not a really strong one, because Avilio still didn’t kill Nero in the end. It’s possible that after Corteo pissed off Avilio by betraying the Vanetti family, Avilio’s brotherly feelings for Nero overshadowed those that he felt for Corteo. Darn it Corteo…you couldn’t just be the innocent damsel in distress who had no fault for their current situation? Avilio wouldn’t have been upset with you at all, if you didn’t try to interfere with his plans. It really was his own fault that he died in the end anyway.
I went from thinking this character was just passive, to thinking he was too emotional, to thinking he was freaking stupid and then to thinking he was absolutely insane. The transformation of this character was rather drastic. He was too weak to handle the pressures of being mixed up with the mafia. He freaked out in every intense situation or was completely useless. He was only able to take matters into his own hands out of the desperate situation he was in. He was pushed beyond his normal mental capacity and acted without thought. Corteo was overall a pretty important character in this story even though really didn’t do anything through most of it. Avilio was only able to get into the Vanetti circle thanks to Corteo’s booze and his death caused Avillio to continue with his original revenge plan. Without these two important details our story could have ended up a whole lot differently. Granted, Avilio could have gotten himself into the Vanetti family some other way, since he used Corteo’s booze in a lot of different negotiations. What would’ve happened if Corteo hadn’t killed Fango? I’m almost positive the ending would’ve changed. The Chicago family probably wouldn’t have come because Fango’s war with Vanetti would’ve still been occurring.
The Vanetti family embodies what I really liked about this show and one of the things I think they did fairly well. The character development as the story progresses is one of the things that kept me going with the series. I wanted to see how certain key events would affect their behavior later on. Nero was a pretty light-hearted guy in the beginning of the series. He joked a bit and never seemed to take life too seriously; all-around a laid back guy. His personality started to change after he found out that someone in his family might have sold him out to Orco. Of course, what completely changed his demeanor was finding out that his brother was one of the people trying to get him killed and then eventually having to kill his brother. He lost all his joking ways and almost became as depressing as Avilio. He became too serious for my liking. He used to be my favorite character in this series, but after that, he was just some depressing, dark brooding, butt-hurt character.
He’s a little punk. Who sells out their own brother? I was hoping he died in the most awful of ways (guess I got my wish). I would call him something else, but there is no need to use profanity to describe this little creep (there will be a time where I will be so done with a character that I will have no choice but to angrily swear to the heavens). This guy is a good example of how not to be a good brother. Characters like him make me the angriest. They are so weak willed and spineless, but they always have the biggest ego even though they would wet themselves if they knew their lives were even slightly in danger. I started to feel a little bad for him after they showed how he was actually suffering emotionally from what he was doing to his family. That scene kind of humanized him. It made my impression of him change. The state of his office showed even more about his state of mind. There were papers everywhere and endless amounts of empty bottles. And was he doing drugs?! I wasn’t the only one who saw Ronald slip what looked drugs to Frate, right?!
The more they started showing her and her love for her family, the more I got the feeling that something terrible was going to happen to her. My prediction was that she was going to die. This would be the final nail in the coffin for Frate’s mental stability and would send Nero into a rage. They would both of course blame each other for her death (when it was really her husband’s fault she died). That prediction, as you all should know, was very wrong. What I wasn’t expecting was for Fio to actually shoot Ronald. Holy crap, I didn’t think she had it in her. What message did she get from Avilio before boarding the train!? What did he tell her?!?! Where did she go when she left on the train? Did she just leave the city or leave the family? Or both? I’m sure she couldn’t look at her brother anymore after he killed Frate. She’s probably mentally damaged now, too.
So it was him all along, pulling everything together. Was he just going to continue playing his role if Avilio hadn’t decided to go through with his revenge plan? Seeing what he’s done so far, he probably would have come up with another plan. He’s going to betray the man that thinks he’s his closest ally. What a horrible person. I personally dislike backstabbers but I’ve got to hand it to him, he had a very nice plan to get what he wanted. Still didn’t quite understand his full motives though. Like why did he want even more power? It seemed like he was in a pretty comfortable spot under the Vanetti family.
I didn’t like him because I just thought he was a big arrogant buffoon, but now I come to realize he is smarter than I thought. Manipulating the family to get what he wants. Trying to kill Nero and putting Frate on a self-destructive path, leaving him as the only heir to take over the family business. Even going as far as to manipulate the sister into giving him Nero. Bravo sir, you are winning the game, but you underestimated your wife. Apparently threatening her and her baby wasn’t enough to take her out of the equation. I don’t even think he put her in the equation. She tricked both of us into thinking she was powerless….
He looked like a snake and acted kind of like a snake. I know he was only trying to protect the family but he was too observant…..yet not observant enough, because he completely missed Ganzo’s hidden agenda. I think the only reason I didn’t really like him was because he was inconvenient. He noticed things at inconvenient times and had terrible timing. He showed up where I didn’t want him to and he paid attention to people that I didn’t want him to. He was a risk to the main character and his goals and every time he appeared on screen it stressed me out.
The last person I would like to address was another character I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve always liked the crazy eccentric characters. He was violent, but he had fun with his violence. He was hard to predict and was always the life of any event whether it be party or killing raid. There wasn’t a moment in the show where he wasn’t unadulterated fun.
If you’re looking for a show that has some more adult themes and a pretty decent array of characters, this is a pretty good show. It’s not one I would say was amazing, though. I would categorize it as pretty average. The show didn’t do anything especially good or bad. The story was a little interesting, the setting was different, none of the characters really stuck out to me and you already know how I feel about the ending. At first, I think I rated this anime 7 on myanimelist, but I’ll be moving down to a 6 thanks to its underwhelming impact.