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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Media Month in Review – March 2015

I use this post to go over all the media consumed/experienced over the past month, with 2-4 sentences per item. A way to give short thoughts on each topic. Highlights this month: Pillars of Eternity kickstarter delivered, Sherlock and The Blacklist, anime of the heaviest and least-heavy sorts.

Movies:

Big Hero 6 - Baymax and Hiro - Non huggable armour

Big Hero 6 – This movie sort of exemplifies the problem I’ve had with the third Harry Potter film. I really liked the book, but the film sort of ticked all the plot-boxes, without actually spending any time on characterization. Likewise, this film ticked all the “Feel good” boxes, the group support, the don’t give into the darkness, believe in yourself, etc. It had beautiful vistas, some good action sequences, and a couple of emotional scenes, but again, everything according to the standardized mix. The film was empty calories, even if enjoyable, in a standardized enjoyment way.

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Durarara!! – The Sound and Fury of Life

Durarara!! AnimeShortly before Winter’s season was ending, I was feeling a bit meh over all the anime I was watching, and didn’t feel like tackling all the shows I already started, so picked a new show to watch, with the intention of marathoning it. In short? I loved Durarara!! It made my heart swell, it made my thoughts race, as I’m filled with an inexplicable joy and feelings of overwhelming love for the whole world. That show invigorated me and made me want to run, and act.

Durarara!! (DRRR for short) had been written by Narita Ryogo, the author behind fan-favourite Baccano! (meaning “ruckus”), and their anime adaptations also share a director. I hadn’t watched Baccano! yet, but they both are light novel adaptations displaying a very varied cast, and both deal with noise, if only thematically. DRRR is a very loud anime, not in decibels, but there’s music that is somewhat ill-belonging present in almost every scene. The music disarms you, the music forces you to enter the world, to weather the fury, to embrace it. Repeating sounds are what draws you into a ritualistic mindset, and it’s very present here.

While they are Light Novel adaptations, I think these are exactly the stories that benefit from being adapted into a visual medium, as the intersecting story-lines and characters can be seen in the background, as we see this breathing world, without attention being drawn to it by the author. It’s a word which different characters share, and we get to see things from various angles. As much as it is a story of the characters, Durarara!! is very much the story of Ikebukuro, a district within Tokyo. It’s the story of the world inhabited and created by the cast.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be premise spoilers, but while I might spoil what some of the situations are, I won’t spoil how they are resolved.)

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