Baccano! And Non-Chronological Storytelling

Baccano anime reviewOne of the most notable things about the Baccano! anime is its non-chronological storytelling, how the show weaves together several different storylines, with different characters or focus for each one. The show is so well known for this aspect, that when I came upon a project last year that spliced the entire show so it’d be told in chronological order, I felt bemused. The way in which Baccano! is told is a large part of the show’s identity, and I’m going to look at it and some other examples and counter-examples here.

I’m actually going to begin by a counter-example, to better clarify what it is I wish to try and explore. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’s first season, in its original 2006 broadcast, cut up the chronological order of the episodes. Each episode on its own did not involve temporal skips, but the episodes aired in the following chronological order: 11, 1, 2, 7, 3, 9, etc. For the DVD release and when the second and first seasons aired together, the chronological order was the one chosen.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be spoilers for show.)

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