Yay, its finally here! The Baccano review! So lets get started. In 1711, a group of alchemist huddle aboard the ship Advenna Avis, seeking to conjure a demon who will grant them eternal life.
In 1930, a young sister is looking for her brother in Depression Era New York City, unaware that he has fallen into bigger trouble than she could imagine.
In 1931, the transcontinental train The Flying Pussyfoot departs for her final trip, where something so horrific happens, and where so many of her passengers died, the event was immediately covered up by the authorities.
For those who don't know, the anime community often reference something called the "2000 Drought", what they're referring to is the lack of GOOD anime from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2011, so it was quite a long time. Why am I talking about this? I dunno but a show that took place before this drought was a series known as Baccano! Also known as one of the best anime series of all time. The beginning of Baccano is a disorienting experience. Forget linear storytelling-the series actually spends half an episode debating just how to tell its story through a sequence of meta dialogue between a newspaper vice-president and his secretary. What it settles on is scrambling a tale that already has a huge scope in terms of ground covered and characters included by jumping around between several seemingly unrelated storylines, and doesn't settle down until several episodes after that. And even then, even then, I still wouldn't blame you if you felt lost.
You see, the thing with Baccano is that its a very hard series to review for two reasons:
- Its too good
- Its too unorthodox
So mind you this review is gonna be shit, but who cares? If you're reading this thing you most likely know this is gonna be shit. Anyway! On with the review. The thing I love about Baccano is the compelling beginning.... if you can even call it the beginning. You see, with Baccano, the beginning is really the end, the end is really the beginning and the middle has just fucked off somewhere which just adds to the confusion of the first 3 episodes. And to add to this confusion, the story takes play between 3 freaking story lines.
- Mafia Family
- Flying Pussy Foot
- Search for Dallas
All storylines having their own main characters, plot and thing that makes them unique. By far, the best story line in my opinion is the Flying Pussy Foot (and no, not cause of the bloody name), to me, it just seemed the most interesting.
Baccano's cast is VERY likeable. Especially when it's friends like the cast of characters populating this anime-a suite of eighteen that includes Jokers, Thieves, Murderers, Gangsters, Lovers, Monsters, and even a couple of Idiots make up the "main cast." There's Miria and Isaac, a lovable duo of happy-go-lucky thieves who have only gotten away with so many crimes because they pull them off in profoundly stupid ways. There's Dallas, a young punk who is a much worse thief, if only because he accidentally stole the wrong thing at the wrong time. There's Szilard, a sinister immortal who has been scamming people for over a century with a fake immortality elixir. He has just recently recreated the real deal, though, and is enraged that some punk has stolen it. His silent assistant, the emotionless homunculus Ennis, is supposed to retrieve it. And she meant to, but she met this sweet boy named Firo, who is the ingenious new inductee to the Camorra mafia family. Ladd Russo is a psychotic son-of-a-gun who has boarded the Flying Pussyfoot with his gang of white suit assassins to kidnap a Senator's family. He didn't count on the black suited orchestra actually being a rival group of assassins, or on the Rail Tracer, a monster that hunts down trains and devours its passengers. And then there's the Gandor and Martillo family, Dallas' sister Eve, the cult leader Huey Leforet, his mute daughter Chane, the capable crybaby Jacuzzi and the sadistic kid Czeslaw. In a hobby filled with colorful and memorable characters, Baccano!'s cast leave a helluva an impression, and when it seems like the story is beyond your grasp, latching onto the strong cast makes the road to understanding less bumpy.
You'd expect a series mostly set in the Great Depression with so much violence and danger to be...depressing, but in the end, it's a joy to watch. It's a suspenseful series with such a large cast that it feels like no one is armed with plot armor-no one, even the "immortals," are guaranteed to come out of this insanity alive. There is a palpable feeling of danger. And when it wraps up, even with a few threads left dangling, some justice has been served, and even better, some characters find love. While the series ends on an epilogue that feels a bit flat, it left me with the best possible feeling: a mixture of contentment and a hunger to see more.
It's a beautiful, confounding mess of chaos and delight. So screw my rating system, I give Baccano, a 10/10. And now, cause I can, I'mma go watch it again!