Tuesday, February 7, 2012


New York, 1930ish. Amid the violence of Prohibition, gangs battle for control of territory and booze. But there's a very special brew making the rounds much more potent than alcohol. And various Mafiosi simply aren't dying, despite the bullets being fired into them. Added to this already volatile concoction are an assortment of passengers battling aboard a transcontinental railway, as well as a pair of decidedly wacky and costume-crazy thieves.

Spun from a series of light novels by Ryohgo Narita, BACCANO! plays fast and loose with chronology, plot, time, storytelling, maybe reality itself. Its bizarre structure lets its characters roam and act freely, and its nonlinearity is constantly shedding new light on previously established events. Which would be maddening if it weren't so damn fun - for all the bloodshed, the series manages to keep tongue firmly in cheek, and heart stapled to sleeve. Without losing any of its suspense, the story is generous to its characters, rewarding the innocent and even allowing its myriad psychopaths to discover their hearts (on their own neurotic terms, of course).

The generosity extends to us, as well: the open-endedness of its story, and its insistence on non-endings, allow the characters to remain with us even after the series stops. Not ends. Never, ever ends.

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