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What Ben Learned From Watching Baccano, Part I

Posted on the 18 July 2014 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

Probably the strangest subtitle I’ve ever read…

Baccano… what is there to even say about this series? It’s one of the more critically acclaimed anime to come out of the 2000s. Everything that can be said about this anime adaptation has literally already been said. All I can do now is offer my impressions as I watch the series for the first time.

This is another case of an anime I’ve had for years, but never watched. That’s one of the points of this article series I’m doing. It’s more of an excuse for me to actually watch these famous shows that I’ve just all but forgotten about. I’m not even sure how I got this one, but since I have all 16 episodes on my external hard drive (in glorious 480p, no less),I’m guessing that I must have got them from a friend back in high school. Fun fact; the file dates on these episodes all read “September 13, 2010″. That’s almost four years that I’ve not watched these! Shame on me.

What I learned from Baccano, Episode 1

1. I think I’m supposed to be this confused after the first episode. As for an introduction to the series, this episode did a good job at confusing the hell out of me. It’s about murder, or immortals, or murders done by immortals… all in New York in 1930… or on a train… and mobsters… but it’s all flashback… what? Yeah, it’s a confusing first episode. Honestly, I’ll take a confusing episode that throws it all out there for later explanation over a confusing episode where nothing ever gets explained.

2. There are many characters! I liked the intro for two reasons: the amazing song and all of the characters it showed. Plus, the entirety of the first episode asserted the claim that none of them are really the main characters, because they’re all the main characters in some way. Just more people to love or hate. I hope something is done with all of them to make them all individualistic and fun to watch.

3. The story looks like it’ll become very interesting and complex. This episode seemed to have given us a bunch of pieces to a puzzle, but didn’t quite tell us how to connect them. I sort of like that because it constantly keeps me guessing as to where the story can go, and who the true “main character” is.

4. I get the feeling that this is going to be another show that will not make any sense until the last couple of episodes. If the first episode didn’t make a whole lot of sense, something tells me that a bunch of the following episodes are going to follow suit. That’s not bad or anything. I enjoy a good mystery. However, I can’t help but get the feeling that it’ll make me write a bunch of nonsense that I’ll be laughing at come the finale.

5. The setup is very strange, and seems as if it were about to show a compilation of stories instead of a single, coherent story. I’m pretty sure that all the stories that are being told here are all intertwined in one way or another, so it’s probably not going to be told in separate stories. That doesn’t change the fact that the anime seems to be set up this way according to this episode. Honestly, I don’t care whichever way the story ends up being told. I just want it to be a good story.

6. It looks like I’m in for loads of blood and gore. Can’t have a story about New York mobsters without loads of bullets spraying from the good ol’ Chicago Typewriter, can we? Not to sound like a sadomasochist here, but violence is pretty cool in anime like this. Just as long as no more fingers get cut off.. geez, that made me flinch a bit.

7. This is a very strange first episode. When I say that, I mean that it’s a strange episode in the fact that it did more in setting up a story rather than introducing characters. Throughout the episode, we see characters that have certain powers that prevent them from sustaining serious bodily harm, but we don’t get anything in the way of character development or anything that can get us invested in any of these characters. I’ve seen shows that do this before, and they usually do

8. I’d rather see an anime that’s set in the 30s than one that’s set in any generic interpretation of the future. Basically put, anime that’s set in a realistic time period that we already know a great deal about is more fun than one set in some random future with generic future stuff. Plus, I’ve always been a big fan of 20s/30s gangster settings.

9. This reminds me a lot of Durarara!!oh, wait, they’re both written by Ryogo Narita! I honestly didn’t know this until now! While I was watching the first episode of Baccano and wondering why there are all these characters who have the “potential to be the main character”, it reminded me a lot of Durarara!! in the fact that every episode seemed to follow a different character, thus thrusting every character into the “main character” position at least once. On a side note, Durarara!! is my favorite anime of all time, so now my standards have been drastically increased. Don’t let me down, Ryogo Narita!

I’ve spent four years watching mostly mediocre anime when I could have been watching this?! Even though the first episode was a cluttered mess, it was still neat. I liked hearing about all these different settings, and can’t wait to see how they all pan out. The fact that Baccano is written by the same guy who wrote Durarara!! only makes me that much more curious. I’ve heard some people say that this series is a mess because it focuses on too many characters, but I’ll hold out hope that each character is just as fun to follow as the last. Then again, I’m all about interesting characters. If Baccano can pull at least that off, then I’ll declare it a masterpiece.

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20 year old university student studying economics by day, snooty anime blogger by night! I have high standards for anime, but I also keep an open mind when it comes to shows outside my comfort area, which usually includes dialogue-heavy drama. Always happy to have a discussion.
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