Wednesdays Watching Anime – Baccano!
August 5, 2015 § Leave a comment
This week, our triumphant return, we’re watching “Gun’s & Roses” by Paradise Lunch, the OP from Baccano!
Ben: It was a toss-up between the OP for Durarara!! and this one. Both series are by Omori Takahiro, a director also known for Princess Jellyfish, and both have a very similar style — fashionable while still kinetic, which tends to occasion comment, like I’m doing here.
If you haven’t noticed by now, most anime OPs have a fairly set structure. You introduce the main protagonists with the initial sequence, then weave in shots of the antagonists or circumstances that oppose them, and finally flesh out the world with secondary character introductions and little vignettes. It presents a microcosm of the show to the viewing audience, but of course in the best possible light, namely with a high animation budget and a catchy soundtrack. Still, it’s not a totalizing paradigm, and the OP for Baccano! shows it. Baccano! violates a lot of anime paradigms, as a matter of fact. It’s got an ensemble cast who get mostly equivalent airtime and a narrative presented in non-linear segments. In a way, it’s only appropriate that the OP reflects that.
Hence, what we have here: a breathless procession of character moments, woven tightly together by visual matches in the editing, to show how they form a coherent world without necessarily interacting with one another. Several of the characters that are cut together don’t ever actually meet in the show, so it’s definitely an impressionistic take. The music helps a lot with that. Paradise Lunch’s brand of lively backroom jazz, with different instruments and melodies crossing each other back and forth to form something of a whole, echoes the dizzying yet warm landscape of the series’ fiction, in addition to just being a really good listen. It feels like it’s all going to fall apart at any moment, but it never does.
I don’t know, Baccano! is good. It’s a pleasant surprise among anime, not just for its mindfuck twists but for its intimacy and joy of storytelling.