I just found out this was on HBO Max and if you haven’t watched it, you need to.
Welcome to the 1920s, where everything is great unless you want to get drunk legally or avoid polio or racism. Angelo Lagusa (Takashi Kondo/Austin Tindle) watched his family get murdered as a young boy by the Vanetti crime family. Seven years later, under the alias Avilio Bruno, Angelo returns to the town of Lawless, Illinois to exact vengeance upon the Vanetti crime family, infiltrating the organization through befriending Nero Vanetti (Takuya Eguchi/Ian Moore), the son of the Don, Vincenzo Vanetti (Kazuhiro Yamaji/Jeremy Schwartz). In a mere 91 days, Angelo plans to meticulously assassinate every member of the family, and Lawless will run with blood.
This show is one of the best anime I’ve seen. I first saw it several years ago, but since it is now available for streaming on HBO Max, I felt like I should make sure to get the word out. This show is only 12 half-hour episodes long (plus one OVA special) and it makes full use of every minute of it. Fights are brutal and short. Conversations are, mostly, likewise. Angelo is the kind of person who thinks everything through, and his planning skills often reach Batman levels, if Batman put more of his enemies in the ground like the Punisher. Either way, the show cuts to the point and it’s great.
Despite the large cast for such a short run, all of the characters make sense. They’ve got their own motivations and the motives are believable. Not that a lot of them aren’t over-the-top in their conduct and appearance in the way that only anime characters really can be, but they’re all relatable. As the show goes on and the cycle of violence escalates, many of them start making decisions that reflect how killing starts to take a piece of your soul. The best part of the show is seeing how Angelo interacts with everyone, often seeming to become friendly with them before pulling the trigger.
My one caveat here is that the original Japanese with subtitles is preferable to the dub. The accents in the dub will start to get on your nerves, in all likelihood. Oh, and you can skip episode 8. It’s one of those anime recap episodes designed to get more use out of animation.
Overall, though, this is a hell of a show and if you like mob stories or revenge stories, I recommend it.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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