I’m a history buff for those who don’t know, and the Prohibition era and Great Depression are two of my favorite periods in time. Smuggling, alcohol, speakeasys, gangsters…all of it. That’s why Baccano! has been on my list for a while. Just took me a while to get around to it.
The show starts off with a story being told. The vice president of the Daily Days newspaper, Gustav St. Germain, and his assistant, Carol, are investigating a series of strange events. The events range from 1711 to the 1930s. There are 4 different storylines going on and about 20 characters. Gustav has Carol trying to pick a main character while telling the story.
In Chicago in the 1930s, the Flying Pussyfoot, a transcontinental train starts it’s journey. One that will leave a trail of blood across the country. In New York, you have a scientist and his assistant looking for missing bottles of an immortality elixir. You have a war between mafia factions on board the Flying Pussyfoot. Then in 1711, on board the Advena Avis, you have alchemists who are learning the cost of being immortal. Did you get all that?
I can’t tell you who the protagonist is because there’s like 128. Almost everyone introduced seems like a protagonist because there are so many different storylines that they try to tell. I guess I would have to say it’s Isaac and Miria, two goofy characters who start out as robbers but end up trying to be the good guys. They’re very misguided criminals who are either too kind or too dumb to realize some of the things they’re doing are not what criminals do. They end up being the ones who tie all the storylines together. They may seem like comedy relief at times but they’re very important to the show.
This show gets a lot of praise and visually you can see why. It looks great, the opening sequence is as tight as can be, the art holds up through most of the show. The music and atmosphere is tight as well. The setting is very 1930s, they really pulled that part off well. The plot is where I have issues, it seems to be all over the place at first but they combine all the loose threads so it makes some sense later. You just have to stick with it and really pay attention when they make jumps.
Baccano! I really wanted to like you but I think we’re better off as friends. So disappointed. It’s not a bad show but it’s not one I’d list as very good either. If you don’t watch it then you aren’t missing anything but if you have the time then it’s decent…just should have stuck with one theme and go with that. This is a show that got a ton of praise but I’m just not seeing it, unfortunately. Maybe if it had more than 13 episodes (16 counting DVD specials) so you get enough space to flesh out the story…who knows.