Yen Press's first translated entry in the Baccano! It's good clean mobster fun, full-on glorious expropriation of tommy guns, speakeasies, corrupt cops, and all the Untouchable tropes; if you know New York's early 20th century history intimately, if you're an expert in the '30s mafia, if you can conjure the feeling of the city under Prohibition instantly to mind, don't come to this expecting that. This approach also means the translation preserves the author's other, less desirable thumbprintsfor example, Narita veers gender essentialist in this volume a handful of times, leaving unforced errors of description largely invisible in the anime adaptation, which features more female characters.
Sadistic hit-men and their dames, mad bombers making a bang, monsters going bump and soul sucking alchemists bootlegging an elixir that can grant a man eternal life. The best part of this story is the collection of characters that are present. A good reader can catch all the various details that connect all the characters.
I watched the anime first on Netflix, and absolutely fell in love with the storyline and all of the characters. It blew me away with it's amazing story line and diverse characters and...
First time I watched the anime was three years ago. Unlike the anime, which jumps through several time lines and combines several volumes in one season, the book follows more chronological time frame. I got a better insight on Luck Gandor - my favorite character from 1930 timeline - and of course the crazy duo: Isaac and Miria.
At that very same time, two cheerful and energetic thieves named Isaac and Miria have just arrived in the city, determined to right their past wrongs by doing only good deeds. Of course, they just happen to look like regular wine, its the Prohibition era, and there are two different Camorra groups, a couple idiot thieves, some thugs, and several FBI agents in the area, so her job isnt going to be easy. The only reason I might tell someone to start with the books instead is if 1) they absolutely needed more linear storytelling and/or 2) they couldnt stand Baccanos on-screen gore and violence. While this novel was a lot of fun and contained several bits of information that fans of the anime will love, the writing/translation was...not very good. The book was very heavy on dialogue, which was probably a good thing, since the issues with the writing/translation were most noticeable in the narrative parts. In addition to awkward writing, the book committed the crime of being a historical novel with, at best, vague and handwavy descriptions. As awkward as the writing/translation was, it somehow never leached the fun out of the overall story. in a few years, and this book made me think that a rewatch might be a good idea. If I had to pick favorite characters from the anime, Id probably go with Isaac, Miria, and Claire/Vino. I still found Isaac and Miria to be delightful in this book, but one thing that surprised me was how much I liked and felt sympathy for Ennis. I think the book might have included details about her history that werent included in the anime, but its been so long I cant be sure. If youve seen and enjoyed the anime, its definitely worth giving this book a shot, if only for the extra character information. The illustrations were nice enough - often a better way to get an idea of what a particular character was supposed to look like than any of the descriptions in the text, if there were any.
If that premise alone intrigues you, I implore you to stop reading this review, and go pick up a copy of this book or watch the anime if you can find a copy at your local library. The book starts us off with an unnamed frame character, a man from Japan visiting New York. Anyways, the only hiccup may be in the transition between this present day era (2002), to the 1700s, and then to our story inside the frame which is 1930s New York.
I was first introduced to this series through the exquisite anime series, and it was really wonderful to get more in-depth information about the world and the characters through the novel.
This first novel was great, too, but I don't think it matched the anime's quality.
* His work titles often have an exclamation mark at the end (i.e. Baccano!, Vamp!, Durarara!!, etc.).