Fanfiction Fridays: Baccano! Double Feature

In my mind, there’s a secret list of anime I want to watch or catch up on. This list is made full well knowing that I might get to maybe 10% of those series due to my own apathy toward finding streaming sites—because, as we are all aware, using Google is hard and typing anime titles into search bars is too time consuming. Luckily, I have the best support in the world for marking off entries on this list that no one knows about. Which is to say that with very little prodding from her end, my girlfriend and I sat down and marathoned Baccano! I feel like I’ve cheated myself by not watching it sooner, but hindsight is 20/20.

Baccano! Group ShotThis is one of those situations where I knew I liked what the series had to offer, but watching it itself was always in the back of my mind, in the dark abysses where I forget things. The series watches from an objective viewpoint the events that unfold on The Flying Pussyfoot, a transcontinental locomotive that happens to be transporting a cult bent on gaining immortality, a mafia family that gains joy from killing other people, a couple of thieves who have a strangely positive outlook on life, a gang full of sweet cinnamon rolls (who will also potentially kill you), and several other characters who mostly fall under the theme of “they will kill you”. Cut so the storyline jumps between “present” and past events, this mildly fantastical look at the 1930’s keeps watchers glued to the show so they don’t miss any hints at what’s actually going on.

Upon finishing the show, I desperately needed family fic of the adorable found family formed at the end of the series. Unfortunately, since the fandom is hella small—apparently—instead of cute family fic, I had to wade through pages of NOTP fic and other things that just didn’t fit the bill. And while I may not have found what I was looking for, I did end up finding two really great fics. And to my joy, they were both written by the same author!

Basically the best character in the show.

Basically the best character in the show.

Stepping into ryfkah’s (the author of both of my fic recommendations today) fics, I immediately got the Baccano! feeling I had grown to love over the sixteen episodes. Not only do the the titles have a delightful ring to them, the author, too, utilizes the effect of jumping between different points in time, revealing several stories as they become relevant to the main plot. Though out of the two, I feel that Despite an Unexpected Amount of Interest from the Public, the Daily Days Decides Not to Publish the Full Story Behind Recent Executive Upheavals utilized this narrative tool the best. This particular fic follows the attempted take-over by the callous Senator Beriam, leaving the employees of the Daily Days newspaper to flounder about what to do. With his usual hot-headed manner, employee Nicholas attempts to talk things out with the senator; however this only ends up getting him taken hostage leaving the other two employees, Rachel and Elean, to attempt a rescue despite both of them thinking Nicholas is an ass. No seriously, look at this beautiful line Elean says to the senator’s daughter (who is not connected with her father’s shadiness at all) upon breaking into the senator’s estate:

“Here’s a life lesson I want you to learn, Mary,” he says, very seriously. “Sometimes, life turns out so you find yourself making friends with an ass. It’s one of those things that happens, so you may as well get used to it.”

This is the tone of the entire fic, and I adore it. Elean and Rachel (who is basically the hero of the main series) continue to be the intelligent badasses they are, and end up doing much more than saving their newspaper, all without pulling a gun trigger once. It’s a great look at one of the events that could have taken place after the main arc of the show.

Nothing will stop me from thinking that Nice deserved more from the anime.

Nothing will stop me from thinking that Nice deserved more from the anime.

It’s difficult to say which out of the two is my favorite, but I’m inclined to say that Nice Holystone Remains Unafraid to Throw Herself Into Explosive Situations fit what I was originally looking for more. One minute watching Jacuzzi Splot’s gang—the gang to which Nice also belongs—is more than enough to show the audience that this isn’t just a gang, but a tight-knit family of misfits. This fic explores that to a great extent, both showing how the members managed to find each other and how they worked together, and how close they’ve grown over their years of being in business. This fic also manages to incorporate real people—in this case, Al Capone—in a way that makes perfect sense and doesn’t alienate the audience due to all the canon gangs and mafia families being completely made up.

ryfkah doesn’t let up there, though. This fic in particular finally gives some much needed respect to the young Eve Genoard—a character in the show who didn’t get to do much outside of getting kidnapped and (understandably) worrying over her missing brother. While Eve was also a player in the previous fic, in this one she gets to show her more mob-y side by forging deals with both one of the mafia families and Jacuzzi’s gang. If I could give the author a bouquet for doing this, I would. My kudos will have to do in lieu of that.

I don't know who said that Eve was only to be used for looking wistfully at things and getting into situations she didn't understand, but I wish they didn't.

I don’t know who said that Eve was only to be used for looking wistfully at things and only getting into situations she didn’t understand, but I wish they hadn’t.

While I adored most everything about Baccano! something that bothered me was that, while completely capable, the women in the show didn’t actually do much of anything; instead allowing the men in the show to make most of the decisions and have all the fun. Some may say ‘historical sexism’. I say bullshit. This is what I like best about these fics! Rachel keeps being her collected, badass self—though she doesn’t expect recognition, it’s nice to see her be appreciated by more characters and stick it to the man. Nice is finally shown as a capable member of Jacuzzi’s gang outside of her explosives expertise—hell, she sets off a bomb in front of Al Capone and negotiates a deal to work for him in addition to saving someone from an assassination attempt. And Eve, sweet Eve whom the show seems completely determined to use only as a pillar of innocence and naiveté, gets to show off that she’s not completely ignorant to what’s going on around her any longer, nor is she afraid to deal with both the mafia and gangs to achieve what she wants. Oh, also, she manages to retrieve Senator Beriam’s wife and daughter from his shady clutches—ladies helping ladies, yay!

Neither fic is too heavy of a read, the latter being around 3k words and the former being around 10k. Additionally, the writing is fantastic! I can actually hear the characters talking when I read their dialogue, and I was always sad when I finally reached the end of the story—I really didn’t want them to end. If you’re a fan of Baccano! or felt like you just wanted more of everything after the show ended, definitely check these out!

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