Be What You Want to Be (Baccano)

This is Day 7 of the 12 Days of Aniblogging holiday rumpus. Today I am going to talk about the first volume of the light novel series Baccano!, which released in English in the late spring. (Note: I have not watched the anime; I went into this book blind.)

art by RIQ

art by RIQ

There’s a meme out there that goes along the lines of “Society: Be yourself! … … … No, not like that.” This is of course amusing, but it touches upon a topic I’ve been prone to muse about from time to time. The average person has both good and bad qualities, and is it not one’s “character” that makes up an individual’s identity? At any rate, we can all live the way we wish to, but chances are we’re going to upset at least a few people along the way.

Baccano! has a lot of fun filling its story with a cast of questionable characters and just letting them have at it. One of the leads is a boy named Firo, who becomes a member of a Mafia-like organization. He is more or less a good kid, but has had to work with the cards life handed him. Through a series of events, his group comes into conflict with the villain and those who work for him, including a girl named Ennis. She doesn’t want to work for the villain, but doesn’t have much choice in the matter. This theme of antiheroes with hearts extends even to the comic relief, a pair of bumbling thieves who always go about their ridiculous crimes with good intentions.

While I wouldn’t call Baccano! a deep story by any means, it’s still a well-written narrative and has a lot going for it in terms of characters, setting, and style. And you know? I like what it has to say. Carve your own path in life, even if it’s painful. Stick with your friends, and you can make it through.

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