Top 5 Anime Characters in the Mafia

Tuesday's Top 5

There’s something about a good gangster story that really draws in the viewers. Unfortunately there aren’t a huge number of anime that deal with the mafia or gangsters and even then, most of my favourite characters in those stories aren’t actually in the mafia, so this list was a little tricky to put together. Ultimately though I’ve picked my top 5 anime characters in the mafia and I’d love to know who some of your favourites are.

Number 5: Nero Vanetti from 91 Days

Nero is an interesting choice because he’s a character I find hard to get a read on and yet I enjoy watching him. He’s carefree to a point and brash but he’s also very loyal to his family. Avilio abuses his trust and uses him and yet when the betrayal is revealed Nero struggles with it because of his loyalty to his friend, even if it isn’t returned. Ultimately Nero is just an interesting character to watch and while he makes many mistakes he comes back from them each and every time.


Number 4: Jolly from Arcana Famiglia

Alright, I’m not a huge fan of La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia as an anime feeling there were a lot of wasted opportunities and plenty of potential left languishing. However, there were some great characters scattered about being utterly deprived of a half-decent plot. One of those characters is Jolly. He makes only sporadic appearances in the story but his impact and influence on the rest of the cast is clear to see. Jolly might be the right hand man in the family but his personal agenda and his experimentation put the rest of the members on edge and this makes him fascinating to watch.


Number 3: The Fourth from Kamisama no Memochou

The Fourth, or Souichirou Hinamura, is full of surprises. While on the surface he seems the typical gangster running his group, he’s got an interesting skill set including repairing stuffed toys. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t an incredibly dangerous character to try to get close to and don’t even think of trying to betray him. While The Fourth is a peripheral character in Heaven’s Memo Pad he gets some substantial character development including his own back story and he remains one of the most interesting members of the cast.

the fourth

Number 2: Claire Stanfield from Baccano

So many great characters in Baccano it was hard to narrow it down to one for this list, but ultimately I had to go with Claire. The incredibly talented murderer definitely dances to the beat of his own drum but has an interesting personal morality that plays a part in all his decisions about who to kill and who to leave alive, even if he leaves them emotionally scarred for life. In a zany cast of larger than life characters Claire managed to leave a definite impression.


Number 1: Oda from Bungo Stray Dogs

Again, the Port mafia is full of a lot of incredibly interesting characters but the one who has had the greatest impression on me is actually one we only saw for a handful of episodes as part of an extended flash back. Oda’s story is tragic to be sure but it left a lasting impression on the audience and on the other characters. It certainly left a lasting impression on Dazai. I know it is too late but can we please have more Oda, I loved watching his story unfold and just got so drawn into his character.


That’s it from me but as I said before I’d love to know who your top picks would be for anime characters in the mafia.

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Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Up Close With Angelo Lagusa

91 Days Episode 10

Someone probably should have given Angelo Lagusa from 91 Days a quote book from Confucius: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Only, even then that advice probably wasn’t enough because there were a lot more dead than just two by the time the dust settled in Lawless.

There will be some spoilers for the anime, 91 Days, below.

Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t as though Angelo didn’t have grounds for revenge. The Vanetti family orchestrated the death of his family and they were never brought to justice. Angelo himself only survived by chance and whim and was forced to adopt a new name, Avilio.

91 Days

However, Angelo’s quest for revenge wasn’t just an eye for an eye. His plans involved plenty of those who were either bystanders or totally unrelated to the initial incident and even when he knew the precise identity of those responsible he didn’t just carry out a hit and call it a day. There was an almost cruel pleasure in Angelo’s actions as he seemed to relish raining down disaster upon those he’d wormed his way amongst.


And it wasn’t without heavy cost to him. The person he was before the death of his family had already been killed and lost his innocence. However the person he became continued to carve off pieces of himself until there was very little left. The shell that remains of Angelo by the end of the series is almost unrecognisable.

Part of the final descent is triggered by the death of Corteo, the closest thing Angelo might have to a friend. Yet, Corteo is used mercilessly by Angelo as a chess piece early on and thrust into a very dangerous world with a dangerous set of companions. While it is ultimately Corteo’s choices that lead to his death, Angelo’s responsibility for putting Corteo in a position to make those choices cannot be denied.


There’s barely any mourning time either after the death of what might have been a friend. Angelo can’t be weak and does not believe he can turn back from his path of revenge.

However, it isn’t the death of a loyal and close friend that breaks Angelo. It might have triggered the final leg of the journey, but it was certainly not the final blow. No, we save that for Nero Vanetti, the son of Angelo’s enemy, who he uses and then shatters by destroying his trust and his family.

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The ambiguous ending with the two characters is important because it leaves it open for interpretation what their relationship really was. Did they become friends despite the blood lying between them or were they just the weapons their families and circumstances had made them who for a time travelled together?


Angelo Lagusa gave everything for his revenge and ultimately he achieved what he set out to do. But, in the end, the question remains whether it was worth it or not given the high cost that was paid.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Baccano Series Review: Ambition, Immortality, Murder and Mayhem

isaac and miria


During the early 1930s in Chicago, the transcontinental train, Flying Pussyfoot, is starting its legendary journey that will leave a trail of blood all over the country. At the same time in New York, the ambitious scientist Szilard and his unwilling aide Ennis are looking for missing bottles of the immortality elixir. In addition, a war between the mafia groups is getting worse. On board the Advena Avis, in 1711, alchemists are about to learn the price of immortality.

– From MAL


Baccano is one of those anime that the first time you try and watch it, you would be easily forgiven for dropping mid-episode 1 and walking away. The opening episode is incredibly dry and confusing as it has two characters discussing a range of apparently unrelated events seemingly trying to find a connection between them or a main character for the story. The dialogue is slow, you have no context for anything they are discussing, and all in all it is probably one of the worst opening episodes I have endured for an otherwise very competent anime.

What makes it worse, is that after having watched the anime through, the opening actually makes perfect sense and on the second and third watch of the series you begin to think the first episode is actually rather good, and that is probably a mistake. I remember it took me nearly four goes before I watched this beyond episode 1. It then became something I couldn’t stop watching and ended up falling in love with, but that first episode is tough to get through. Still, endure it and you will find a story that ends up hitting all the right notes even if it takes its time to get there.


Part of what makes the first watch through of this series challenging is the sheer number of characters and that you are jumping through time and locations as three stories are told almost simultaneously but the links between them aren’t all that clear until you are fair way through the narrative. Adding to the confusion of the main storylines are characters like Isaac and Miria (who are amazing) that simply float through every other characters’ story at some point though they don’t actually have all that much to do with the main stories that are going on. Their presence is completely necessary to everything that happens, and to draw certain ideas and characters together, as well as to move several key plot points along, and yet they are almost oblivious to the story the audience is trying to follow as they flit about in their own little world. It makes them amazing but confusing.


With so many characters it would be easy to write off a lot of them as one-note and given the majority of the story is set in a world of gangsters and we see the usual tropes getting pulled out and marched onto screen, that could be a fair complaint. However, there’s a lot going on in this story and even seemingly simple characters sometimes offer a little bit more than meets the eye when you stick with the show. Then there are the pivotal characters within the plot that have been given a lot more depth. While they don’t get a lot of screen time individually, they leave a lasting impression.

The show does a number of things to help the audience out with remembering who is who and what their role is. The most obvious is the opening, which outside of being awesome to listen to and entertaining, introduces each character in their element and also draws a lot of the relationships for the audience. Watching the opening can really help early on in the series if you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of faces and names being thrown around. However, outside of that, the majority of the characters stay within their plot. There are connections to the other stories being told, but with the exception of Isaac and Miria, very few of the other characters cross between storylines until the very end when things kind of come together. This means that you can usually remember when and where you are based on which group of characters you are currently following. Also, that boring first episode, actually does give you a lot of the set up if you manage to pay attention to it.


One thing I really liked about the story was despite the fact that Ladd Russo is most definitely crazy and violent, the story doesn’t try to paint those opposed to him or anyone as heroic. Self-interest reigns supreme for almost all of these characters and their actions reflect that. While sometimes characters are cast in a more heroic light, the anime itself largely refrains from pushing anyone into that hero or good guy role. That doesn’t mean that their aren’t likeable characters in the story. There are many characters you may end up really loving. However, even Isaac and Miria are thieves and everyone else has plenty of blood on their hands.


Ultimately, Baccano is one of those stories that it is best to try yourself and make your own mind up about so I’m avoiding going into any specific details about the plot. It is violent and quite gory in places so it probably isn’t for those who dislike blood and violence. However, that upbeat opening song isn’t just for show. Despite some dark subject matter, this show is a bundle of fun to watch and one that sticks with you after viewing. I definitely recommend a second viewing of it though because everything is more fun in this show the second time when you know where it is going and aren’t struggling as much with character identification.

I’d love to know your thoughts on Baccano if you’ve seen it.

Thanks for reading.

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Karandi James.