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.
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.
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.
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