I originally gave Baccano!!!!!!!!!!!!1111one!!!1 (the exclamation point is retardedly theirs) a try when it first aired in Japan back in 2007. The fan boys were pissing all over their laptops at how "aw3some!" and "so much like teh Cowboy Bebop" it was; my first thought was "Oh fuck... Shades of the unearned praise for Coyote Ragtime Show. Faaaaantastic." But then my second thought was "Well, it couldn't hurt to try it." My second thoughts should be shot in the face for such a horrendous misjudgment of character.
I originally made it through episode 4 and considered myself lucky that I didn't suffer any lasting brain damage (like half the cast of this thing was apparently afflicted with). I could not force myself to go on in what was sure to be a brain-hemorrhaging inducing travesty of a train wreck of wasted animation. Everything about Baccano!!!1!!!1eleven!!11 screamed "second rate": The 20+ main characters (just watch the opening animation to get introduced to them all rapid-fire like) who were all either blissfully retarded, slobberingly psychotic, or had the IQ of the average audience member of According to Jim (and are whiney and emo to boot [*ahem* Jacuzzi])... or all three combined; the shitty jazz soundtrack (apparently the Japanese never really got a handle on the whole Dizzy Gillespie thing); and the random skipping ahead/flipping backwards through time every 30 seconds of "storyline" without telling the audience when exactly things were taking place. All things that even a third rate director should know to avoid.
So after suffering 4 excruciating episodes of this crap I gave up on it. Yes, I made it completely through 26 episodes of Melody of Oblivion, but Baka-NO! broke me. In my mind I kept telling myself "Well, it's okay. Just like the pile of excrement that is Coyote Ragtime Show I'm SURE that the stinky otaku population as a whole will see right through this amateur garbage and ignore it when it comes out in the States (if it ever does)... I mean, who really wants to follow a show where EVERY MAIN CHARACTER either shits himself in fear over the lamest ghost story ever told, or who is supposed to be 'crazy and excitingly interesting' because he keeps telling his girlfriend that he's going to KILL HER *drooooooool!* with a gay gleam in his eye (Ooooo! That just means he AWESOME crazy, fool! Only awesome peoples say things like that!!!!)".... Well, once again my inner voices were shown to be fallible and unprophetic to a fault, for as soon as the first Baccanoes!!11! DVD was released in the States the rest of the fanboys (who've never heard of bittorrent) started whacking off on message forums over just how "aw3some!!!" and "so much like teh Cowboyz Bebop" it was... The same four episodes that almost caused blood vessels to explode in my skull were making the masses bend over and take it like a bunch of ten year-old girls in a Thailand brothel by a sick, perverted, barely hung, and damned fat and hairy American tourist who told his wife he was going to Europe for business. Yes, Baccano!1!@!#%!1 is that tiny-dicked deviant in that analogy... But I digress.
My point is that after a year of doing my best to ignore everything about Baccano!!7!^1 the time came when it was just too much to simply sit back and pretend that the world wasn't going crazy. So I dug through my older saved anime series and found this "show" (and I use that term loosely because shows are really meant to be entertaining, and should not cause the viewer to want to stab their eyes out with one's house keys upon viewing), and decided that in order to right what once went wrong I'd have to sit through it in its entirety and then tell the masses just how shitty shitty can be... And no, do not think for an instant that I was "going into this with a preconceived hatred for it." That's not true, you sister-fucking apologist, as you already know that I was only bringing with me my KNOWLEDGE that the first four episodes were nothing but the filth that your mom cleans out of her diseased cunt every Friday before hitting the docks in the hopes of getting knocked up so that she can stay on the government cheese for another 18 years. So shut the fuck up, and just keep on reading to see if I was forced to change my mind on Baccanoooooo1!1!!!!!1!???!.!
Things begin in the early 1930s in America because the writers and director thought that the golden age of Jazz was hip and cool... ignoring the fact that the Great Depression was in reality ravaging the country like a bear fucking a rabbit in the woods until it simply gave up fighting and just lay there, taking the poundings with a dazed and tearful expression on its face... But whatever — Jazz! Yays! Fun! We're quickly (tommy gun-like) introduced to well over a dozen characters who are supposedly integral to the story, and since things involve alchemy and immortals of course one of them is called St. Germain, because as I've stated many times already the writers suck and are unoriginal.
Anyway, so after the first episode (which is just a collage of random images and violence) we jump into a train ride from Chicago to New York where most of the googolplex of main characters meet and shoot the shit out each other on the Guilded Pussyfoot (or whatever Pussyfoot that train was). There's a senator's wife and child riding the train, some strange (read, mental) dudes who want to waste all the passengers in order to bring about the freedom of their captured leader, and lots of psycho Mafioso who just want other characters to die horrible deaths. Unfortunately since most of the mongoloid characters are immortals this is an impossibility.
Then we temporally flip backward and forward a few times (per minute) and see that some groups involved in this whole mess are trying to find an alchemical concoction for immortality, and others are just trying to find information on the whereabouts of half of the giant cast. There's some mob kidnappings, lots of unnecessary murders (unnecessary for both for the characters in the anime and for us, the viewers), and waaaaaay too many episodes on that goddamn Flying Pussyfoot train. Oh, and in between the train tale there's the war between those two rival New York mob families, and there's that espionage service that just gathers information for whoever'll pay for it, and that one guy who's only out for his own benefit in the middle of it all (notice I'm not using any names beyond that fag, tattoo-face Jacuzzi... It's because there are just so many of them and they all suck and aren't worth remembering. I only recall Jacuzzi's nombre because HIS FUCKING NAME IS JACUZZI).
Well, in episode 7 we begin jumping back even further in time to find out that "everything begins on board the Advena Avis," a 1700s alchemist cruise ship filled with a bunch of morons who want to summon a demon in the hopes of finding a cure-all elixir for whatever ails 'em. I shit you not, it's an 18th Century Love Boat for crazy alternative-science fucks. But anyway, they of course succeed, and the charismatic demon (aren't they all) gives everybody on board a taste of the (loooooong) good life via his own demon juices.... But with rules attached, as all good-bad demons are wont to do with their presents. The summoned creature pretty much turns the entire ship against one another and teaches them the only way immortals can die: By (yooooooou guessed it!) HAND SUCKING! The suckER puts his hand on the suckEE's head and then SLURRRRRRRPS the poor bastard up... Holy fuck. The first time I laughed at anything in this piece of shit and it was trying so hard to be serious at the time. Oh, and immortals have to use their real names when other immortals are nearby too because.... Fuck if I know.
Up until the whole 18th Century Alchemist Pleasure Cruise I thought this whole plot was just silly... Afterwards I realized that it was stupider than Jimmy Jammer's attempt to suck his own dick while strangling himself with a pair of his sister's pantyhose in the most spectacular scene of hideous autoasphyxiation I've ever born witness too (and I've seen a LOT in my day). Not only does the whole demon thing come from way out of left field, but his presence makes the entire set up for this thirteen episode tale just absolutely laughable. It's like an autistic 5 year-old made this shit up after visiting one of the three make-believe worlds that he regularly lives in... You know, the one with peppermint trees, candy houses, and human-sized rats that rape the women and children every hour on the hour. This "plot twist" is just bat shit insane! And that episode alone was filled with even more random (and unlisted) time jumps than any of the previous combined! It was like the creators realized after completing this shitty series in correct chronological order that all they had on their hands was a barrel of toxic waste with chunks of rotten corpses mixed in, and so after everything was done and the last cel was painted, they cut it all up and then just reassembled the whole thing willy nilly, and claimed that it was "art" and a conscious decision. I call bullshit. This thing was way too big a mess and way too sloppy to have been their original intention.
Oh, and the end of that boat episode, when that holy-fucking-retarded blonde guy tries to save the day (and stop all the hand-sucking that's going on) by doing a goofy handstand on the edge of the ship in the middle of a rainstorm in what was supposed to be the most intense moment of the series thus far?!? What the goddamn FUCK!? How shitty are the writers that they think THIS is a logical way out of this murderous predicament?! Oh, and it gets even more anvil-to-head ludicrous than that... After the dipshit slips and falls overboard (to everybody's goddamn amazement) the demon actually fucking comes to the sinking fagwad and saves him by granting him a wish like a genie. Why? Because the demon HATES the viewer I'm guessing.
After that annoying, painful, and terrible journey into the distant past we regrettably jump back to the goddamn Flying Pussycock to find that it STILL hasn't arrived at New York. Holy fuck! They pretty much just dragged on a tale that should have only been 3 episodes max into 13... This thing has so many repeated moments and drawn out scenes of pure character ramblings in order to pad out its runtime it's re-goddamn-diculous. When episode 10 rolled around I was actually pissed off that I still had 4 more to go. "Holy fuck!" I thought. "How many more times do I have to see that stupid couple 'act all silly-zany'? How many more times must I bear witness to psycho douchebag dance in other people's blood like Snoopy and tell the audience that he loves to kill and that he's koo koo for Coco Puffs? And how many leaps back and forth through the time stream must I endure before my sweet release?!?!?" The answer is TOO MANY. Oh, and when telepathy entered the fray between that loser in prison and his mute daughter I came sooo damn close to just laying a big juicy turd right on my laptop in unadulterated rage. I wanted to give back to BaccanoIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!111111 what I felt it had given to me.
As for the ending... I just... Really, it was lame and gay. The three main stories that we follow in the different time periods (the train fubar, the mafia kidnapping, and Rasputin-looking-guy killing the shit out of other immortals for the secret family recipe to the demon elixir) really don't have anything to do with each other (there's no giant plot that weaves them all together like we're led to believe [except for the fact that the moronic thief couple appears at least once in each narrative... Which I don't consider to be a plus at all...] — there is absolutely NO payoff for all the shittiness that came before), and they just pitter out. There's no BIG FINALE, the tales just... end. Some plot threads end aggravatingly loosely too (nothing more is shown or spoken of Huey, the immortal in jail, we never see if his horny daughter hooks up with the circus freak mob hitman, and we never even go back to the little girl and St. Germain after they appear and disappear from the tale in the opening episode). This thing was so stretched and padded out that they could have easily cut back on some of the blander storytelling bits to answer all of the viewers' hanging questions... Honestly, what is the holy goddamn fuss over this show about?!
Anyway, at one point early on they try to explain how the random jumps forward and backward through time (without identification as to where we are at any given moment) are meaningful by telling the viewer that "time is insignificant," or some such bullshit. Memento and the broadcast order of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya showed us that chronological events can be played with in a successful narrative, but unfortunately for Baccano!12345! it is neither successful nor really a narrative (to any real degree). In fact, they suck at telling a non-linear story so bad that the entire first episode is just a little girl and a squinty-eyed douchebag arguing over what IS the actual start of the story. I shit you not. If even the characters and the hack writers of this garbage can't figure it out, what chance do we have?
Oh, then there's the violence. Yes, the violence in this series is indeed quite awful (and at first it's even brilliant and startling), but it's just a gimmick, and it's terribly overused to the point of it not being shocking anymore after just the first episode. It's like it realizes that in the end its own storytelling is rat-infested sewer shit, but it thinks that by heavily seasoning in some over-the-top insane blood and guts (like children's heads getting blown clean off, fingers getting sliced off hands, and lots of bullets and daggers carving the massive cast up into hamburger) that it can save itself... And unfortunately for me it looks like this lame slight-of-hand trick actually worked on quite a few infatuated fatty otaku out there. So sad... There was a time when the otaku nation would have seen Baccano111111! for what it was, and not for what it pretended to be (which is, in case you were not following, shittier storytelling than a lonely loser's Sailor Moon/Dragon Ball Z/Naruto crossover hentai fanfic). Honestly, when violence happens to PEOPLE YOU HATE, it isn't all that frightening, YOU ACTUALLY WANT the fuckers to die painful deaths.
And speaking of gag-inducing shittiness (the whole review speaks of that), that "jazz" music that they fill the soundtrack with is... well, it ain't jazz. The closest to real jazz I've ever heard outside of the States was of course Yoko Kanno's brilliant score to Bebop (what Baccano!1@@!12!~ tries so desperately to mimic in every way). The music in Baccano? is clumsy, soft, forced, soulless, and doesn't flow in the least; it's everything that real jazz is not. Honestly, anybody who talks about the soundtrack to this series and doesn't include the words "kick to the balls," "made me want to vomit," "caused me to punch my sister in the uterus," or "made me force feed my neighbor dog droppings" has no idea what good music is. Do not listen to their opinions on ANYTHING. More than likely they suffer the same disillusionments on life that the mongoloid known as Jacuzzi does in this series.
I think the actual turning point for me (from when I really disliked this anime to when I WISHED ITS CREATORS DEAD) came when the (now hip, no thanks to Fullmetal Alchemist) term "homunculus" first appeared. I paused the show, shook my head, groaned, drank a half dozen Yuenglings, and was barely able to force myself to continue. Then the 200+ year-old fart with the Rasputin beard, eyebrows, and crazy eyes sucked that one old dude's body into his hand in order to see the man's memories and what happened to the lost elixir of immortality that he lost.... I had to stop again and drink a metric ass-ton more. After I got out of the hospital I continued. I rewatched the scene with the hand sucking to make sure that I didn't imagine it — I cursed myself, and then I went on. Regrettably.
Well, you ask, is there anything about this series that I liked? Well, the character designs weren't terrible (even though there were no likeable personalities to go along with them)... Not striking or memorable, but not bad... And it didn't make me kill myself... Though that last one was a close one.
I honestly did not think it was possible to actually make an entire TV series based around annoying assholes like this one. The good guys, the bad guys, everybody in between — they all sucked. Other than that kid with the face tattoo who cried all the time and always sounded like he had a giant dildo crammed up his yammer, I think the people I hated most were those retarded boyfriend and girlfriend thieves who dressed up in Santa outfits, or cowboy clothes, or priest clothes or whatever before they did a job. I was just embarrassed whenever they were given any screen time. Their "too cutesy" way of talking to each other was just soooooo gaaaaaaaaaaay.
And the plot... What friggin' plot? Okay, I guess it was about a bunch of undying 'tards trying to reinvent the immortal elixir that they all drank at one point in their past, but like when something is filled from top to bottom with this much suck it's hard to care if there was anything else beyond the bubbling and festering top layer of skim on the surface. Putrid is as putrid does, and this piece of shit was the putridest of them all.
(Note from the Rossman: Sorry folks, but no review from Kuni today. He actually committed seppuku in the middle of watching Baccano!!!@#$%^&*()! believing that death was the only freedom from the torture that he was enduring... I was his second! I feel so honored!)