Take a story, fill it full of diverse characters in the American 1920’s, add a supernatural element and throw in some mystery. Then, chunk it all in a blender. That is Baccano!
Baccano is the out of chronological order tale of…people. Yeah, it’s lots of characters doing stuff. But, what they’re doing and who’s doing it is what makes the series fun. Gangsters, immortals, manic murderers—the show by design is crazy, but sometimes crazy works. And Baccano works.
Not going deep about the characters, mainly because they’re so many. It can—no, it is confusing (at least during a first-time viewing), but chances are you’ll find a character or five to fall in love with. Again, the story is all over the place but you get the since the creator wrote the story out linear and broke it apart so if you really wanted to piece it together it’ll make sense. This is all about enjoying the ride (no pun intended), a ride that wonderfully knows when and when not to take itself seriously. On the subject of fun, Isaac and Miria will become your spirit animals.
Out of order storytelling done right is a beautiful thing, albeit very hard to pull off, so when it works it makes the mystery exponentially better. And I’m talking the in-story mystery as well as discovering the characters. You meet them out of order, piecing together who they are, their backstories and when they first meet. A delicate process but Baccano pulls it off brilliantly.
There’s some bumps. Some characters get lost in the shuffle. There’s the group of characters you love, the group you like and the group that’s just there. And, not everyone gets equal spotlight. There’s clearly the protagonist characters, the supporting characters and everyone else. Not really a negative because most of the best characters, in my opinion, do get enough spotlight.
Also…how can I explain this…
Ever watch a show where characters are “too cool”? The hip, bad ass, do no wrong characters basically perfect and/or looks good doing any and everything? I think Baccano suffers from that a bit. Sometimes the style meter gets turned up to eleven, and if the show played it straight I’d be a major problem. Thank goodness the humor and horror saves it from being another self-serving superficial Cowboy Bebop/Soul Eater/any over-stylized anime wanna-be.
Just a heads-up, the anime is based on a light novel series, meaning it will leave you wanting more, much more. The good news, some of the light novels are available in English. So, watch the anime then continue the fun reading the light novels!
I’m amazed this show didn’t get another season, it’s fantastic. The best anime series to use out of order storytelling I ever saw (Yes, that includes The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.). One of my favorite anime series, period. Absolutely give Baccano a watch.