Recently my roommate and I realized that although we talked about anime constantly, neither of us had ever watched a series together for some reason. Of course we decided to fix this problem by choosing and anime to watch and fangirl over together. Baccano! became that anime, and I’m very glad we watched it. This anime series is very good and I really enjoyed watching it. It was also beneficial to watch it with another person because it could get confusing and violent and it was helpful for me to be able to discuss the plot. I would recommend this anime to those who love a good plot and piece of art. If you like series like Durarara! I think you will really like this anime as well. Read on for my thoughts!The plot is set in the years from 1929-1932 in Prohibition-era New York City. There are many main characters, and a lot of them are involved in the crime syndicates of the city. The story also has a more supernatural twist in that alchemists within the city created an elixir of immortality. This elixir was mistakenly passed around the city and many of the characters in the crime families ended up becoming immortals. This development greatly complicates the already complex story. The major points of the plot revolve around the trip of the train The Flying Pussyfoot as it is hijacked and the passengers (including many of the main characters) try to survive or kill each other. All of this conflict is surrounded by character background and discoveries involving the elixir. This plot dynamic makes things very exciting.
Although the plot is good, I think this series is mainly character-driven. I was very invested in what happened to the characters and I loved to hear their stories. The characters were also very unique and interesting to learn about. I really loved most of them, which was quite an accomplishment for the show. I was wholly invested, whether it was Firo the happy-go-lucky young mobster, Isaac and Miria the over-the-top petty criminals, Jacuzzi the overly terrified protector, or Czeslaw the mysteriously mature young boy. I really wanted each of these characters to survive their ordeals and I loved to learn about each of them. All of the characters had fairly satisfactory back stories as well. I was most amazed at how the writing allowed me to love characters who I probably should have hated. I really liked The Rail Chaser despite the fact that he was biting off people’s fingers, and that is really saying something about his character development. I couldn’t help but like most of these characters.
With that in mind, there were a couple characters that really missed the mark. I had no liking or cares at all about Eve and Dallas Genoard and I was pretty mad that they were such main characters. Eve had no appeal to me at all because she was just a wimp with a serious brother complex. Dallas was even worse as he was a complete douchebag who wasn’t even nice to his own sister. I think that these characters could have been developed better because I doubt the creators wanted me to have no feeling toward them.
I also appreciated the amount of love interests in this show. I hate a show that only implies relationships but won’t let you see them. That just makes me crazy and sad because I have to get my love fix from people “exchanging meaningful glances”. That is not healthy for me honestly. The relationships in this show were quite touching and they really made it for me. Even the bizarre relationships between Ladd and Lua and Vino and Chane made me smile with their cuteness. People comforted each other, kissed, and actually participated in healthy relationships. This kind of action really makes a show for me because I think it is unrealistic to act like love would just wait in the background while the main action goes on (*cough* *cough* Naruto). Love is always present in real life and I think it makes sense for it to come out in stressful situations. Needless to say, I have found some wonderful new OTPs in this show.
There were a couple of negative parts of this show as well. I found the plot very hard to follow in the beginning. The story is told by jumping between the different years. Because the plot isn’t very linear, it can be very confusing to follow. It took me about 5 episodes to really get what was happening in each time enough for me to follow the plot. It wasn’t too bad of a problem, but there were several things that happened in the beginning that were important that I didn’t get until later because I couldn’t follow the quick pace. There is definitely a learning curve to watching this show which was a negative aspect for me.
The other big problem I had was with the amount of violence. I am one of those people who believes that a certain amount of violence can be necessary to understand the emotion and seriousness of a situation, but that violence can cross the line. If violence is used to shock the audience into understanding the seriousness of the plot, I am fine with it, but shows that overuse violence as a spectacle-like element annoy me. Baccano! was dancing on this line for me. I understood that The Rail Tracer was supposed to be terrifying and that the people could regenerate by a sort of time reversal where there blood returns to them, but there was more violence than necessary to show these things. I do not enjoy a show where I feel sick or need to cover my eyes, and this show almost got there. If the story wasn’t so good and there had been a bit more violence I would have liked the show less. I don’t think showing a guy’s face getting ripped off or another guy punching a man to death really enhances a piece of entertainment.
Overall this show was very good and I really enjoyed it. More recent series like this one are usually a hit or miss for me, and Baccano! made the hit list for me along with Durarara! and Guilty Crown. I enjoyed most of this series, especially when it was closer to the end. I can honestly say that I like most of the characters and their little quirks. It was fun to watch and the fights looked really cool. I was also able to laugh out loud several times due to the antics of Isaac and Miria. I recommend this series to anyone who loves a well-made anime that is fairly short. Just make sure to be wary if you can’t stand quite a bit of graphic violence. I give this show a 4/5 for my anime review.