I love anime for the engrossing stories, the interesting characters, and pensive messages. But every now and then, they’ll offer some pretty nifty science lessons too.
91 Days is the story of one young man’s campaign of bloody revenge against the mob family responsible for killing his father, mother, and little brother. The story takes place in the fictional city of Lawless during the United States’ prohibition era.
[Note: This article contains spoilers for the first episode of 91 Days.]
Having returned after a seven-year absence, the protagonist, Avillio, reunites with his childhood friend, Corteo. Together, they go to a local watering hole to try and sell Corteo’s homemade brew. Things quickly go south when the deal is interrupted by the notoriously unstable Fango, who proceeds to shoot the bar up.
Cornered and without a way to fight back, Corteo and Avillio use some science to subdue their assailant and buy enough time for a quick escape. While Avillio throws bottles of liquor at Fango to distract him, Corteo quickly melts several candles and boils the wax. He then pours the wax into an empty liquor bottle. Avillio throws the molten wax-filled bottle, which Fango shoots out of the air like all the previous bottles. Things go poorly for Fango as the contents of the final bottle burst into flames upon coming in contact with the liquor-soaked carpet, igniting the alcohol and turning Fango into a fireball and distracting him long enough for Avillio, Corteo, and two strangers they met in the bar to escape.
So the science behind the little fireball trick that was pulled is called a wax fire. It’s the phenomenon where when water is added to boiling wax, it sparks a massive fireball due to the water explosively evaporating and the molten wax droplets being exposed to more oxygen to use as fuel as a result. The whole thing is essentially the same as pouring water on a grease fire.
To be honest, until I saw the characters pull off the wax fire trick and looked up on it myself, I had no idea about it or the chemistry/physics behind it. While, in that situation, there may have been more practical methods of dealing with Fango than waiting for wax to melt, it was still neat. Personally, I really enjoy it when shows take the time to talk about little backyard science stuff. I already learned about using flour to cause dust explosions from Joker Game. This is all helping me to be quite the little homegrown terrorist.
91 Days is currently airing in Japan on MBS, TBS, CBC, and BS-TBS. It can be viewed with subtitles on Crunchyroll.