Baccano!: 1934 Peter Pan in Chains: Finale

By Ryohgo Narita and Katsumi Enami. Released in Japan by ASCII Mediaworks. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Taylor Engel.

At last we reach the finale of this arc. This being a Narita book, all of the plot bombs that were set up in the prior two volumes go off here, and the result is very satisfying. You get the sense of people growing and changing over the course of the series. Christopher points this out himself, as he notes that after spending time with Ricardo, he doesn’t want to kill people anymore. Meanwhile, Rail, driven to the point of madness and despair, discovers that new families and friends are just as good as the old ones. And Firo once again reveals his dark side to us… but it doesn’t last long. Firo is still Firo, the Peter Pan of the title, and his philosophy allows him to stand up against the murderous Leeza, and also save her. There are a few threats and nasty things going on, but for the most part this is a very feel-good sort of book. You leave it with a smile on your face.

There are a few intertwined plot beats that I really liked. On his train to Chicago, Isaac gets into conversation with Sham, talking philosophy as Sham tries to deal with the face that he’s betraying Huey. Isaac’s “do good things, worry about consequences later” attitude is puzzling to Sham, but not to the reader, who’s seen that over the course of the series. And, as we see, it’s not just Isaac. When Rail tries to end it all by jumping off the top of the Nebula building, Jacuzzi rushes in to stop it even if it means his own life, because that’s just the sort of person he is. And then Nice grabs him, and Miria steps in… hell, even Lua, the most passive character in all of Baccano!, is ready to leap in there to save Rail’s life. It’s a great moment. And, of course, it’s resolved by Isaac, arriving in the nick of time to do what he said he would earlier and joyously reunite with Miria.

It’s not all heartwarming, of course. Ladd’s violence can be terrifying, particularly if you’re Leeza, and it’s nice to see him and Firo in such opposition. The method of Huey escaping Alcatraz is somewhat revolting, and the sort of thing only Huey would even think of doing. And Nice runs into the mob, and her thoughts of how they might deal with her and send her back to Jacuzzi make you shudder. This is a fun world to read about, but a highly dangerous one to live in. That said, in the end this is about not destroying things. Rail doesn’t blow everything up with bombs in the end; Ladd decides to become “a model prisoner” so he can get out of jail sooner and return to Graham and Lua; Christopher and Graham each realize that killing each other is not really what they want. And Renee… well, OK, her ending isn’t so sweet, but there’s no denying she deserved everything she got. Narita loves his smiling amoral villains.

So what happens next? Well, it’s going to take a long time to find out, as we leave the world of the 1930s for a few books. Next time Baccano! goes back to Italy in the early 1700s, as we meet a young Huey Laforet and his burgeoning, if irritating, friendship with a certain Elmer C. Albatross.

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