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Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Greatest Story Ever Told

For years scientists have been on a quest to discover a binding, universal formula. A single equation that can sum up the entire fucking cosmos. Is it possible? Does it even exist?

Yes it does, and here it is:

Baccano!  >  (Any other fucking show ever)

Baccano! has been around for years, but an anime about prohibition-era New York doesn't make a very large blip on my radar so only recently did I try it out, and oh my god, I am so in love with this fucking show.

You know how Pulp Fiction took multiple stories and shuffled them around, along with their chronological order? Remember how cool it was to piece the elements together and sometimes have an idea of what was going to happen next? Baccano! makes that shit look amateur. In just one episode you can jump between entirely different years (sometimes centuries) over a dozen times. Hell, you could have a scene in 1931, then jump to 1929 for ten seconds, and then go back to 1931 and be introduced to a completely different character.

And despite being only sixteen episodes long, there are at least a billion characters in this show. If you're watching the OP I embedded above then you'll have a good idea of what I'm talking about. A billion characters, most of which are crazy, at least half are homicidal, and a few of them are immortal. Yes, immortal, because if you're going to tell a story about gangsters in 1930's New York then you might as well throw in some alchemists who discovered the secret to eternal life, right?

I don't know if what I've just written comes off as a recommendation or a good reason to avoid the series, but if your interest is perked then keep in mind these humble bullet points before viewing:

  •  Baccano! is a little dark-humored. Are you okay with watching kids get their heads blown off? I don't mean just shot, either. I mean teeth-in-the-wall, bloody-stump, blown-off.
  • Watching the first episode is like staring into the quivering eyes of Madness itself. This is not how the next fifteen episodes are constructed. Just keep in mind that the show only makes more sense the further you go, and the story doesn't really kick off until the second episode.
  •  The English dub is spectacular. If Japanese was my first language I'd still watch the English dub version of Baccano! (with Japanese subs).

Oh, wait, wait, wait! I found a really good review. Sums it up perfectly:

The only tying elements to the tale are the various coincidental associations forged in a series of extraordinary events that come crashing down in the final epsiodes. Imagine watching eighteen jumbo jets colliding midair with all the passengers miraculously jumping out with parachutes, and you’ll get a sense of what Baccano! pulls off. - Shadowmage

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