Though it’s one of the goriest anime I’ve ever seen, volume two of “Baccano!” is a brilliant time warp, filled with brutal mob wars linked to a scientific experiment gone mad.
By time warp, I mean that “Baccano!” has jumped around in time in the 1930s setting. Some parts take place on a train, some parts take place in New York and some parts take place in the 1770s.
You heard me–episode seven takes place where the story began, in 1771, on an old European ship. With the help of the alchemist Maiza Aviro, a group of people attains immortality through a special elixir.
With these powers are many life-threatening risks. Each new immortal person has the ability to suck out a person’s body and knowledge into his/her body by placing a hand on the person’s forehead.
These are shocking new revelations that put the entire storyline of “Baccano!” into perspective. Thus, many of the main characters have the ability of rebuilding their body parts even if they die. We already know that Maiza Aviro in the 1930s is now a member of the Camorra mafia. And Firo somehow attains the same abilities as Maiza. Oh, and Szilard is an old evil crony who just sucks in all the people into his body for himself. And he wants to sell elixirs for immortality. What a punk.
It’s almost too difficult to figure out which character is most significant, since each one has different philosophical standards in their use of immortality. However, probably the most significant ones are Firo, Szilard and Maiza. However, this series, like the American TV series “Lost,” features s so many excellent side characters as well.
One of these characters, Jacuzzi Splot (how the hell did he ever get that name?), is a crybaby who has probably killed too many people in his lifetime. Fortunately, he still manages to muster up the courage in the train to confront Ladd Russo, the grade A sadist who killed some of his gang members.
Oddly enough, though, Russo is more interested in the conductor who was savagely murdered, so Russo and Splot’s fight will have to wait. Meanwhile, some creepy monster, called the Rail Tracer, is absorbing countless immortal people inside the train.
As one can see, each episode is a tough-to-follow string of situations. While this is confusing, the anime still holds down the fort with some of the most unforgettable characters. Comedians, such as Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent, pop in and out dressing up as zany Indians and cowboys. They may have a grudge against the mafia–they’ve already stolen most of the Gandor inheritance. Then again, they’re too happy-go-lucky to really care about who they steal from.
And it’s hard not to love them–they just want to perform good deeds to make up for their sins. They cheer up young Eve Geonard in 1931, who misses her swindling big brother, Dallas. Isaac and Miria also crack some funny jokes to cheer up Jacuzzi on the train in 1932, before they get ready to bust the heads of the train murderers.
At the same time, the immortal characters make for brutal mafia members. They’re not just powerful–they just cannot believe in any religion at all. Dallas shouts at his poor, innocent sister whenever she prays to God. Perhaps they’re really afraid that God won’t forgive them for their mischievous life throughout 200 or so years of living.
This is a multi-faceted storyline with so much sheer complexity that it’s brilliant. It’s a must-have anime for any action fan. Although the scene where a demon chops Szilard’s head in half is brutal, the regeneration scenes immediately after the murder makes for fascinating eye candy. Who ever knew that chopping off a limb and regenerating it would be so damn cool?
Image of Jacuzzi and Nice courtesy of funimation.com