Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I just finished watching this series, and I have to say, it's been a long time since I had so much fun watching a series. Baccano! is a total romp! It's a series that's unique in so many ways, and you know how I'm always drawn to the unique. Still, it surprises me that this series satisfied me on so many levels because it's not at all like what I'm usually attracted to.

I didn't watch this series when it was coming out. I bought the complete series (16 episodes) on DVD the other day on a whim. It's also been quite some time since I've done that. I used to pick my anime that way when I first started watching anime. Fushigi Yuugi and Rurouni Kenshin were random, whim picks that worked out. As was Trigun. Texhnolyze was an example of a less-than-great whim pick. Can't win them all, right? Still, since I was shown how to download anime, I've pretty much only bought anime DVDs of series that I've already seen and liked. Buying random anime DVDs is fairly rare for me now. I'm not sure what drew me to Baccano! Just lucky, I guess.

Baccano! is unique in a bunch of ways. For one thing, it really doesn't have one or two major characters. Most of the cast gets about the same amount of screen time, and it's a large cast. So no one gets a lot of screen time. My favorite character is the guy in this picture, Firo. He lives! Yes, a favorite character of mine actually survives the series. Sugoi, ne? Actually the vast majority of the cast lives. The other character in the picture is Ennis. Like the rest of the cast, these two appear infrequently enough to be considered minor characters in any other anime series, and yet they play a huge role in the plot. The two characters that appear most often in Baccano! are Miria and Isaac, a pair of totally clueless, totally inept, petty thieves, who manage to accomplish things quite by accident and just generally make everyone around them happy. They are childishly silly, and should have no more role than occasional comic relief, and yet they end up as central to the plot as any of the rest of the gang. Plus they provide an added bit of continuity by appearing frequently.

The series needs that added bit of continuity because it is FAR from chronological. The story is told in bits and pieces, flashbacks and flash-forwards and flash-sidewards. Something that makes no sense when you see it, is totally important to the story later. Usually I don't like things quite this scattered, but this is really well done. From the perspective of looking at the whole series, I'm amazed by their ability to dance around as much as they do, and still tell a coherent tale, and also make it fun to watch. The plot is also far from predictable, and this is aided by the way everything is presented. This back and forth presentation of apparently random scenes is another of the unique things about Baccano!

Baccano! is a story about immortal gangsters, so the plot is a tad unique in itself. Or I should say, it's a story about immortals who happen to be living as gangsters during the early 1930s, and being immortal has a decided advantage in that role. Parts of the story are relatively bloody, and it has it's share of seriously deranged characters, but it's only briefly gross. For example, madman concocting the immortal elixir tests it on a rat and then smashes the rat with a hammer. (Ewww!) Luckily the elixir has been perfected and the rat draws back together and lives. And the wacko characters in the series are often as not pretty amusing too. Plus Baccano! is a love story, or rather several of the subplots are love stories.

I really think one of the reasons I enjoyed watching this series so much was partly because I wasn't overly concerned about character death. Because of the timeline jumping around that the plot does, often when the characters are facing imminent death, you know they've survived it because you've already seen them in a scene that occurs in time after the one you're currently watching. It's very comforting not to be all tense about whether a character you like is about to bite the big one.

Another unique part of Baccano! is that they successfully tie up ALL the loose ends in a sometimes incredibly scattered plot. Which also makes it very satisfying to watch. I didn't have to wonder about what happened to any of the characters. It's all in there. And there are MANY subplots going on, with all the characters having specific stories that intersect with the larger plot.

And the most amazing thing of all, which also made me laugh my ass off. The last episode, one of the characters gives a treatise on "why stories should not have endings"!!!! All good stories don't end. They continue on. I just died. How could a series like this appeal to me on sooooooo many levels? It's like they pushed every button I have, and made me enjoy it. After all my rants about non-ending endings, I watch a series that actually gives me a lecture on why stories shouldn't end. I was nearly crying, I was laughing so hard.
Is it obvious that I liked this series? I think I'll watch it again.


  1. I have now FINALLY read this blog entry!! WONDERFUL SERIES!

    Nandai Miriam?
    SU~GOI!!! SU~GOIIIII!!!!!
    Sou, sou!!

    *dies laughing*