Animania: Baccano! (Review)

So, this review is probably going to be one of those that folks strongly disagree with, and I am totally okay with this. When I sat down to watch Baccano! I really attempted to go in with an open mind. I had a very mixed time with Durarara!! and I knew that this was the series that came before. Although this is hailed as one of the flagship anime of its time, I honestly didn’t see the appeal. As I was watching through, I kept waiting for that breakthrough moment that would make me truly understand the genius of exactly what I was watching…and it never came. By the finale, I felt that I had been duped into watching a very mediocre piece of media that fell very short of my expectations.

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To start, Baccano is extremely hard to follow. With so many time skips happening at various points, you often feel extremely disjointed as you move through the narrative, now, I do understand that this is also part of the idea, the show wants to keep you guessing and keep you confused until you’re finally at the point of understanding, which is at the end. However, the characters and motives just aren’t interesting enough to compel you to table your interests for a later time, in fact, I’d say that the majority of the time you spend questioning what the hell is going on, the more interest you’re losing by the minute.

On that note, the animation is also something that will make you lose interests. It’s definitely better than Durarara!! but it still isn’t something that’s eye popping. It keeps your attention well enough, but there’s really nothing here that distinguishes itself outside of the narrative that it’s attempting to tell. Speaking of which, the narrative is nuts. I definitely give the creators props for attempting to fly outside of a normal creative space, the story here is absolutely ambitious. However, the execution of the whole premise definitely leaves a bad taste in your mouth throughout.

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The underlying concept of immortality and the characters’ stories intersecting is the basic premise of the whole tale, however it’s drowned out by so many ridiculous threads that by the 13th episode you’ve just about had it with the whole damn thing. Characters like Isaac and Miria can be charming, but characters like Czelaw and Ladd are completely boring, I can’t understand why there’s a 5 minute long credit scene introducing these characters that are used for no longer than five minutes or so and then thrown away. Also, the whole Rail Tracer hoax was completely lame. I was expecting a far better payoff.

So, is Baccano something that’s worth sinking your time into? If you’re a fan of Durarara!! then, possibly. If not, then no. It’s safe to say that staying clear from this one won’t exactly hurt your pallette. It’s yet another grasp at artistry that fails completely on the most fundamental levels of creation. A jumpy plot, brainless cast, and ultimately lackluster execution of the premise help to leave viewers in a wake of questions and boredom that just doesn’t justify the run time of this arguably too long series.

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