Baccano!

Aug. 16th, 2009 03:28 pm
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[personal profile] salinea posting in [community profile] abymage
Baccano!



How do you summarize an anime that starts with a discussion on narrative and its arbitrariness prefiguring that the ensuing story will have no clear beginning nor protagonist, not to mention the fact it will be chronologically destructured?
Baccano! is a story set in the 1930's that involves robbers, mobsters, delinquents, cultists, assassins, innocent and not-so-innocent bystanders - a number of which are immortals - a newspaper agency and a train called 'the Flying Pussyfoot' running from Chicago to New York through three main separate interwoven time lines plus the flashbacks.

In 1930, a handful of mislaid bottles of the Immortality drink and the people who try to recapture them cross the path of the Camorra, a gang of violent delinquents, and a couple of eccentric robbers.
In 1931, on board the Flying Pussyfoot ride a number of miscellaneous groups of suspicious people with conflicting and violent agendas - not to mention the monster known as Rail Tracer - as well as our favourite couple of eccentric robbers.
In 1932, young Eve Genoart, daughter of wealthy mobster family, is still trying to find her brother, who mysteriously disappeared two years ago.

Despite the complex chronology and massive number of protagonists, Baccano! is remarkably easy to follow (after the somewhat confusing first episode) in what amounts to a brilliant masterpiece of storytelling. It is fast paced, compelling, with beautiful action and fluid animation, a glorious jazzy soundtrack, frequently gory and yet filled with a communicative feeling of joie de vivre. A remarkable number of the characters in Baccano! are kind of insane - from the sociopathic to the so stupidly eccentric it's crazy, going through the psychopathic and the people who clearly have big issues which would be hard to describe. You come to love all of them anyway, or, at least, those of them that do their psychopathic rampage with style (there are several).
I have only one complaint against Baccano! : I want more.

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