skygiants: Nice from Baccano! in post-explosion ecstasy (maybe too excited . . .?)
[personal profile] skygiants
So I've fallen into a bit of a Baccano! vortex, due to the fact that Yen Press is now at last translating the light novels!

For those unfamiliar, Baccano! is an anime that came out in 2007. Set in the 1930s, it features about five colliding train heists, two blithely clueless thieves, four different gangs, a collection of conspiratorial immortal alchemists, a whole baker's dozen of murderous psychopaths, and a bunch of delinquent bootlegging teenagers who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Somehow, it all generally turns out OK (except for the nameless murdery people we don't like, who tend to get their comeuppances in extraordinarily gruesome fashions. The named and protagonist-y murderers, on the other hand, get adorable romantic meet-cutes in between or occasionally during bloodbaths.) It's bouncy, bloody and bizarre -- the title in Italian means "stupid commotion" and the story does its level best to live up to that premise.

The anime covers the first 3-4 books in a long-running series about these wacky, frequently murderous immortals and their assorted gangster buddies. I am exceptionally excited for the point when Yen Press starts translating the books not covered by the anime -- assuming that they do; I have a terrible and probably-ungrounded fear that they're going to cancel the project before getting around to the later stuff -- but it's already been fun reading the three that are out so far:

The Rolling Bootlegs, in which an immortal alchemist's attempt to recreate the elixir of immortality is rudely interrupted by his homunculus servant-daughter's inconvenient development of a conscience, as well as a running succession of of rowdy gangsters

1931 - The Grand Punk Railroad (Local), which recounts the TRAIN HEIST FIVE-WAY COLLISION OF DOOM with a focus on the heroic intervention of a gang of teen delinquents led by pyromaniac Nice Holystone and nervous crybaby Jacuzzi Splot

1931 - The Grand Punk Railroad (Express), which clears up all the mysteries of the last book by recounting the TRAIN HEIST FIVE-WAY COLLISION OF DOOM with a focus on the heroic (....sort of) intervention of unaccompanied minor Czeslaw, intrepid reporter/information broker/repeat ride stealer Rachel, and the Rail Tracer, a lovable monster who saves the train by rampaging up and down through the cars murdering almost everyone he meets

OK, that's the write-up for those who haven't seen the series; for those who have, but not read the books yet, I'm going to put some further impressions

For the most part the anime is extremely faithful to the books -- especially the train storyline, which is clearly the anime's favorite -- but there is some stuff that didn't make it in. I'm just going to bullet-point the things I found most interesting:

- The Rolling Bootlegs has an additional subplot about an FBI agent named Edward who sets himself up as Firo's nemesis and then gets distracted by immortality-related hijinks; he is cranky and incorruptible and as a result I kept picturing him played by Edward G. Robinson
- Grand Punk Railroad has an additional subplot about a doctor with severe post-WWI PTSD who patches up the various injuries of numerous people on the train over the course of The Flying Pussyfoot Incident, bonds with Lua over their mutual disinterest in life, and then adopts one of Ladd's minion-psychopaths to be his new medical assistant
- there's a great cut scene in The Rolling Bootlegs when Szilard is eating one of Dallas Genoard's minions and Dallas is like "OH POOR JAMES, HOW CAN YOU BE EATING JAMES??" and then the minion is dead and minion #2 is like "uh, his name wasn't James, I'm James, that was Scott" and that says everything you need to know about Dallas Genoard
- there's a lot more focus on Rachel in Grand Punk Railroad (Express) than the main anime gives her, which was great for me because Rachel is my favorite
- relatedly -- and hilariously -- when a blood-covered Claire Stanfield asks Rachel for her ticket while they're both crawling around the train, it's not a ploy to freak her out, it's because his conductor instincts briefly take over and he's genuinely concerned that he doesn't recognize her from the passenger manifest and wondering if he should call the cops
- Claire Stanfield overall generally comes off a bit less manic in the books than in the show, though I wonder if that trend will hold true in later ones -- I mean, he's still PRETTY over-the-top, but it's fairly clear that his killing is not indiscriminate and it seems like a person would probably have to do more a little more than look at him wrong to become targeted (the goriness of his murder methods is explained as "he just wants to make sure they're really quite sincerely dead!" ... but he still does definitely torture Czes, that's definitely a thing that happens)
- he also gives Rachel a ticket on the train so she won't get in trouble with the authorities after he sees her rescue the Beriams and then rescues her in turn from an angry racist passenger, which is sweet
- speaking of the angry racist passenger, there's more emphasis than I'd expected on the fact that Jacuzzi's gang includes a number of immigrants and the anti-immigrant prejudice of the time period
- relatedly, I don't know that I love the way the translators chose to render Delinquent Donny's imperfect English (which of course might be a function of the way Narita is writing it in Japanese)
- while we're talking about the delinquents, Nice in the books has a quirk where she's characterized by being extremely polite and formal in speech to everyone but Jacuzzi -- this kind of weirded me out, honestly, as I'm very attached to casual slangy delinquent Nice in the show
- Isaac and Miria are exactly the same and I love them very much
- honestly I still love everyone in this bar

Date: 2017-02-11 03:36 am (UTC)
radiantfracture: (Default)
From: [personal profile] radiantfracture
I mean this sounds amazing

Date: 2017-02-11 04:22 am (UTC)
whimsyful: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whimsyful
Between this and Durarara!!, I'm amazed at Narita's ability to make me sigh fondly at criminals and killers committing mass slaughter. (I'm also amazed at the things he's managed to make me ship, though a large part of that is that he tends to make the girl just as screwed up and dangerous)

Date: 2017-02-11 03:51 am (UTC)
wakuchan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wakuchan
It's been so long since I saw Baccano! but the novels sound amazing. (I am a little astonished how few libraries are apparently carrying it though, hopefully ILL comes through for me.)

Date: 2017-02-11 04:06 am (UTC)
aamcnamara: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aamcnamara
Is this BPL or Minuteman? *hatching plans...*

Date: 2017-02-11 04:15 am (UTC)
whimsyful: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whimsyful
Ooo I've read the fan translation of that one! It's so different from the plotline in the anime (I think because they didn't want to adapt the drugs part? but yunno psychopaths killing people in gruesome fashion is perfectly fine). Aside from Kate they've also completely removed Edith and Roy (much more sad about Edith than Roy). And there was some excellent Luck/Eve interaction which was cut out as well.

Date: 2017-02-11 05:24 am (UTC)
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
From: [personal profile] sovay
(I'm so sorry we didn't get Keith Gandor's silent-film-pianist wife Kate!)

Seriously!

Date: 2017-02-11 04:32 am (UTC)
rushthatspeaks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rushthatspeaks
!

Okay, I have to look those up immediately. I am so delighted to hear that about Claire's conductor instincts, you have no idea. I am probably fonder of Claire Stanfield than is reasonable, which is why I still can't make up my mind about the possible ending to the Baccano! video game where you can get Claire and Ladd Russo to marry each other. I mean, I want Claire to be happy, and Ladd Russo is very much his... sort of thing... but on the other hand, Ladd Russo.

Date: 2017-02-11 05:15 am (UTC)
rushthatspeaks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rushthatspeaks
Ah ha ha! That effort/talent thing pretty much sums up why I love Claire, because there are all these ways in which he is such a TOTAL FAILBOAT.

Also, I love Rachel, and of course that would be her reaction, why wouldn't it.

I have the screenshot from that ending in my random-things-pop-up screensaver, and every time it comes up I wind up sitting there staring at it going @_@ because they are clearly so happy, and yet.

Date: 2017-02-11 05:18 am (UTC)
rushthatspeaks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rushthatspeaks
OH AND it occurs to me that you might enjoy my theory about Isaac and Miria, which is that they are among the thirty-six tzaddikim. I don't care if the author knows that or not, it's true anyway.

Date: 2017-02-11 05:20 am (UTC)
sovay: (Cho Hakkai: intelligence)
From: [personal profile] sovay
- Grand Punk Railroad has an additional subplot about a doctor with severe post-WWI PTSD who patches up the various injuries of numerous people on the train over the course of The Flying Pussyfoot Incident, bonds with Lua over their mutual disinterest in life, and then adopts one of Ladd's minion-psychopaths to be his new medical assistant

Having recently read Vicki Baum's Grand Hotel (1929) for the first time in my life, I think this character may just happen to any sufficient concentration of lives colliding in a novelistic fashion.

- The Rolling Bootlegs has an additional subplot about an FBI agent named Edward who sets himself up as Firo's nemesis and then gets distracted by immortality-related hijinks; he is cranky and incorruptible and as a result I kept picturing him played by Edward G. Robinson

I see how that happened. I will now assume I'll have the same problem whenever I read these books.

- relatedly -- and hilariously -- when a blood-covered Claire Stanfield asks Rachel for her ticket while they're both crawling around the train, it's not a ploy to freak her out, it's because his conductor instincts briefly take over and he's genuinely concerned that he doesn't recognize her from the passenger manifest and wondering if he should call the cops

HOORAY.

Date: 2017-02-11 06:09 am (UTC)
sovay: (Sydney Carton)
From: [personal profile] sovay
I was going to say, I didn't have an immediate fancast for Doctor Fred but I bet you would, just from the number of times you've encountered this character in the past!

Hee. I will be happy to get back to you with an appropriate actor.

I think the real problem here is that everyone in this comments thread wants to read the light novels and I assume the library only has so many copies.

Date: 2017-02-12 10:24 am (UTC)
sovay: (Rotwang)
From: [personal profile] sovay
(...for now. Next one comes out in April!)

Whoa. I might actually follow two ongoing series at the same time!

I forgot to ask! Is the plot of the light novels as nonlinear as the anime or is that an invention of the show?

Date: 2017-02-11 07:19 am (UTC)
lacewood: (books books books)
From: [personal profile] lacewood
omg, they're translating the Baccano novels? There's MORE RACHEL in the novels? /goes to investigate for ebooks IMMEDIATELY

Date: 2017-02-11 02:49 pm (UTC)
hebethen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hebethen
I remember having read fan translations of some of the post-anime-events light novels at some point and not being particularly impressed with the plots, but

there's a lot more focus on Rachel in Grand Punk Railroad (Express) than the main anime gives her


hmmmmmmm

Date: 2017-02-11 08:45 pm (UTC)
lemon_badgeress: basket of lemons, with one cut lemon being decorative (Default)
From: [personal profile] lemon_badgeress
Okay no lie these sound AMAZING and honestly you had me at Claire but....I am concerned that on Amazon they're identified as a four book series :(

Date: 2017-02-11 11:21 pm (UTC)
lemon_badgeress: basket of lemons, with one cut lemon being decorative (Default)
From: [personal profile] lemon_badgeress
Yeah Amazon is currently perfectly willing to presell me Assassination Classroom 17 but doesn't think 15 or 16 are even things that exist so who knows what's up with Amazon >_<

I couldn't figure out Yen's page well enough to figure out what they might be doing with this series. I sooooo hope they keep going. I plan on picking up volumes 1 & 2 next paycheck!!

Date: 2017-02-11 09:24 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
I should watch/read this it sounds amazing.

Date: 2017-02-11 10:09 pm (UTC)
izilen: Paz, from GC (Default)
From: [personal profile] izilen
"Isaac and Miria are exactly the same and I love them very much"

This is all I came to find out and I am very glad this is the case.

Profile

skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (Default)
skygiants

April 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2 34 5678
91011121314 15
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Apr. 25th, 2017 04:50 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios