By Ryohgo Narita and Katsumi Enami. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Taylor Engel.
The author has said a few times that this will be the final 1930s arc, and that after that there’s just one arc in 2003 to wrap up the series. (Admittedly he said that when this volume came out… almost ten years ago… more on that next time.) And on reading this volume, you get the sense that he’s sending the series off with a bang. Baccano! is known for its big cast, but here it feels like he’s trying to have every single main character from the series show up at the same time. We get Firo’s group, Luck’s group (with several additions from Drugs and the Dominoes and Man in the Killer), All Huey’s various Lamia and Larva, Jacuzzi’s gang, the girls from Time of the Oasis, etc. As for the 1700s immortals, for the most part they’re absent from the actual event (Maiza doesn’t count at this point, he’s part of Firo’s group more than he is a 1700s alchemist) but are trying to control or destroy everything there. It’s an all-star finale.
So yeah, Ennis has (sigh) been kidnapped in order to make Firo do something dumb. Fortunately, Firo has matured a bit from the last time this happened, so he merely smolders with controlled rage. The Martillos have his back (well, most of them, Ronny is AWOL) and consider Ennis one of their own. Meanwhile, there’s also the Runorata’s big casino opening, which everyone wioll be attending so that they can watch the other shoe drop. No one is quite sure what will be happening, but they all know it will be happening there. As for Melvi, we find out who he is in this book, but frankly he’s started his downhill slide already, given that he can’t even win against Ennis in an argument about what makes someone human. And then there’s Nader, the least likely protagonist, trying to help Eve and avoid getting caught by Leeza, but also running into someone who knows of his past.
Again, so much of this is just setup. I do wish Ennis had done more (Melvi is threatening her with Czes being tortured, but as we can see, Melvi doesn’t even have Czes, something Ennis can’t really confirm) but I did really enjoy her conversation with Melvi, where she shows she’s a much better homunculus than he’ll ever be. (Speaking of the Dormentaires, we get confirmation that only three of them got immortality in 1711 – Lucrezia, Niki, and Maiza’s dad. Sorry, Lucrezia/Carla shippers.) There’s a lot of potential confrontations that haven’t happened yet (Ladd vs. Claire, Nader and Sonia meeting again) as this book is STILL almost all setup, but we do get a couple scenes we’ve been waiting for, such as Leeza and Chane working together and Huey confronting Fermet. I’d mentioned above that almost everyone from the main cast and supporting cast is here, but Elmer is mentioned but not around – one wonders if he’ll be the fuse for this explosion to come.
The arc still isn’t over, so we’ll have to wait till next time for that explosion. Till then, enjoy the discussion of what makes a human, how much the world runs on fate, and other Baccano! philosophical debates.