Title: Baccano! Volume 4, 1932 Drugs & The Dominos
Genre: Drama, Supernatural
Publisher: Kadokawa (JP) / Yen Press (US)
Story/Artist: Ryohgo Narita, Katsumi Enami
Translator: Taylor Engel
Original Release Date: April 18, 2017
A review copy was provided by Yen Press.
The ruckus is back! Baccano!‘s fourth volume is the final light novel volume that was adapted by the 2007 anime series but “adapted” is a bit of a generous term here.
Drugs and Dominos was used as filler more than anything else, a way to help pad out the anime’s runtime, but the anime really only adapts about half of the story here. Sure anime viewers will remember Eve Genoard, heiress to the Genoard family and younger sister of scumbag Dallas, but the anime never touches on Roy Maddock, a druggie who accidentally instigates most of the mess here. And frankly the anime needs to apologize to light novel Nicholas for combining him with another character in the adaptation and making him much more sleazy as a result! Anime-only fans didn’t get a good sense of his character at all!
Perhaps it’s not so surprising that the Baccano! anime only covered bits and pieces of this story. To start with, Drugs and Dominos involves very little of the main Baccano! cast. The story runs from December 1931 to January 1932, meaning that many of the main characters are still entangled in the Flying Pussyfoot incident, and the most “main character-ish” returning cast members are the Gandor brothers trio (ie, mostly Luck). They are a part of this story, after all they called Claire in from across the country to deal with other families creating a growing drug problem on their turf, but as per usual, Baccano! is a mismash of tales.
This is also Eve’s journey to find her missing brother, Roy’s adventures with drugs and the impossibly large incident he sets off, and the life and times of The Daily Days (you know, the trilingual newspaper/intelligence agency that arranges their newsroom according to the tactics of trench warfare).
If you liked the rest of Baccano! you’ll be delighted to come back for the ride here. Many parts of this story are completely new, like how the Gandors meet a dual katana-wielding, female Mexican assassin, and there are some juicy details about old favorites (like what various characters were doing after they got off The Flying Pussyfoot). It’s as self-contained as any Baccano! story is, and one of Baccano!‘s greatest strengths is making every character feel like “the hero of another story”, but Eve and Roy’s stories have particularly satisfying conclusions.
Eve also got the short stick in the anime and here we get to see the true breadth of her determination and tenacity to go as far as she needs to find her brother, not out of devotion or affection but out of duty and morals. I highly encourage all fans to read these light novels for this very reason; there was only so much character building the anime could give and these novels do so much more.
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