wMar 30, 2008


Baccano! is a 13-episode anime series that takes place in Prohibition-era America. Thus, there are machine guns, mafia-operated speakeasies, and poker. It is difficult to tell too much about this series without giving things away, but it's been a long time since I've had this much fun watching a series. Every single scene thus far (I've seen the first 4 episodes) is fresh, unpredictable, and fun to watch.

The very first episode seems almost non-sensical because two characters are trying to figure out where to begin telling this story, which seems to span 3 eras in time, about 30 characters, and multiple plot lines. The first episode made me nervous, but after that, the writing is so tight that I never feel ungrounded again - the non-linear storytelling works here, and the pacing is pretty brilliant.

The story is coming to a head on a train called the Flying Pussyfoot, which is traveling from Chicago to New York. The passengers on the train have ties to alchemists, two powerful mafia families, robbers, powerful political families, and others. Flashbacks explain why the characters are on the train in the first place, and how their pasts form an intricate, inter-connected web.

This series has black characters in it, which is sadly rare in the anime medium.

The only disclaimer I'll make is that if animated violence bothers you, this series is not for you.

What I love most about the series is watching the characters, who are eccentric, well-dressed, and confident. It has a high character-count, but the writing is so good that the viewer is able to keep track of them. All of the characters look different from one another, and they all have easily definable personality traits, without being formulaic or cliched.

The soundtrack to this series is also very fun, as it contains a lot of jazz. I've only seen the first 4 episodes, but I highly recommend this series!

Oh yeah! And there's a woman with an eye patch. What more do you need?

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scribbled mystickeeper at 12:46 PM

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