91 Days is the best anime I’d never heard of until two months ago.
Although it was released in 2016, I came across it almost two years later. The series summary in the preview amounted to “a guy wants revenge after the mob murders his family,” which didn’t seem like something I’d enjoy watching, but the cover caught my eye—two twenty-something-year-old men point guns at each other in front of a stained glass window in a display that radiated drama and betrayal.
I was two years old when my Cuban immigrant parents uprooted our family from the life we’d built in Florida over the course of three years and moved to Puerto Rico to get their college degrees. Neither of them had an education past the sixth grade, and I don’t think they fully understood how much work and sacrifice it would take to put themselves through college with a teenager and a toddler to look after. But they were determined to make a better life for us, and Puerto Rico was the place to start.
I’ve been in and out of fan spaces for movies, books, and TV shows since I was in high school. I love fandoms because of the a shared sense of community and creativity that enhances the enjoyment of any story, and I’ve also met many wonderful people in these spaces. Unfortunately, over the years I’ve noticed that all fandoms I’ve been in also have one negative thing in common—an unacknowledged undercurrent of racism.
Editor’s Note: This article references the Toei dub of Dragon Ball Super.
Growing up, I identified with the villains in stories. Characters like Scar from The Lion King, Envy in Fullmetal Alchemist and Loki within the Marvel Universe were some of my favorites in the media I consumed, and the list only grew longer as I got older.
It was a few years before I realized why I gravitated towards the “pretty”, flamboyant villains who frequently wore purple eyeshadow: I was gay and nonbinary, and these were often the only mirrors I had when consuming media. They were characters I could connect to with ease.