Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 26, 2007 to Nov 1, 2007
Producers: Aniplex, FUNimation EntertainmentL, Brains Base, Aniplex of AmericaL, Sakura Create, Happinet Pictures
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.681 (scored by 69750 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction adventure comedy fantasy mafia shounen
May 18, 2008
Thankfully, Baccano! is not one of those.
Baccano! maintains a very high standard of animation throughout its entirety. Brains Base made good use of color to heighten the effect of the more dramatic moments in the show. The animation quality is particularly noteworthy considering the fact that Brains Base is one of the smallest studios in the animating business. The fact that Brains Base managed to achieve a level of animation to match many of the larger studios and maintain that level of quality for the length the show, especially during the action sequences, is a credit to their effort and skill.
Baccano! opens with the excellent (and very appropriate for the setting) track "Guns N' Roses" by Paradise Lunch. The jazzy theme of the OP fits perfectly against the backdrop of 1930's America, in which the majority of the show is set. This jazz themed music continues throughout the entirety of the show and adds a certain authentic flavor which is often lacking in other shows. The only true downside to the music is the ED, which is a stereotypical J-ballad. However, this is only a small detraction from the otherwise great music though and can easily be skipped over.
Another area where Baccano! excelled was the voice acting. The talented VA's for each role managed to breathe life and individuality into the large and diverse cast of characters. The most singular achievement of the voice actors is that each of the characters can be easily identified by voice alone, as each actor has brought a different timbre, a different nuance, sometimes even a different accent, to each role.
From the marvelously hilarious Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent to the psychopathic Ladd Russo, all the characters are very well designed and as unique as their voices. Isaac and Miria are without doubt the most memorable members of an excellent cast of characters. The duo effectively serve as a glue that holds the story together. They dance through the series's multiple time lines like a giddy gyroscope on acid, occasionally colliding with one of the other cast members at random (usually by fluke).
There is one minor downside regarding the characters. Baccano! is a 13 episode series, with a cast of approximately 12 main characters. Though they all receive a certain amount of development, some critics would argue that it is not enough. However, the quality of the overall show is of such a high value that any shortcomings in development had no impact on enjoyment.
The story in Baccano! is very straightforward. Usually, it is the style of in which the story is told that receives the most attention. Baccano! adopts a non-sequential storytelling style. While this may not be anything new (the TV broadcast of Haruhi and the movie Pulp Fiction did the same thing), it adds to the enjoyment by removing the need for the universally derided "down time" episodes. Baccano! has multiple individual storylines, all of which intertwine into a larger story. At first, the events and characters may be confusing. But once you're past the initial surprise of leaping feet first into the middle of the story, you find yourself immersed in an unusual, fast-paced and entertaining style of storytelling that whets your appetite for more.
Baccano! contains a nice mixture of drama, action and comedy. This, coupled with some amazing characters and a good short story, makes Baccano! one of the most enjoyable romps in recent years. The absurd, comedic moments serve as a perfect counterweight to the action and tension that builds throughout the show. Nothing is too dramatic or depressing, and both the humor and the violence aren't forced. The most enjoyable thing about Baccano! is that each character's actions feel natural to that character and this comes across to the viewer in a big way.
Baccano! is one of the rarest types of anime as it successfully merges comedy, suspense, action and even a little romance, without sacrificing animation or sound quality. It is a gem that will appeal to fans of many different genres and it is one of the few animes that can be watched again and again without suffering any loss of enjoyment.
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team members were:
Archaeon - Wrote the review
Lowell - Who contributed to and edited the review
Megadedhed - Who contributed to and edited the review
Here are their individual scorings for the show:
Category - Archaeon, Lowell, Megadedhed
Story - 9, 8, 9.6
Art - 10, 8, 9.5
Sound - 9, 9, 10
Character - 10, 8 , 9.8
Enjoyment - 10, 9, 10
Overall - 10, 8, 9.5
In the club wide poll held for Baccano! it received an average overall rating of 9.03 read more
Jun 11, 2008
It's because you see, Baccano is very heavily influenced on these western movies made in this style. From the opening theme (Snatch) to the storytelling (Pulp Fiction) to even the coolness (Reservoir Dogs/Godfather) oozes western-style. Therefore, it's practically pointless to explain the plot of the show since they show how the show ends in episode one. That's the hook, the viewer isn't supposed to understand what they are seeing at first. Instead, they are enticed to want to know how did a 'mess' such as this happen in the first place. After that giant hook of showing you how it ends, it all unravels almost perfectly into a story involving over a dozen individuals. For the most part they are all complete strangers but through a little luck, chance, and happenstance their stories will cross paths most definitely.
...with a little anime flair of course.
The art is something of perfection, from the minor details in the shadowing and brutal violence left on victims, to major details like the painted streets of 1930's New York City. You can tell there was a large team summoned to make this 13 episode epic. Where it shows the best though are all the action scenes, where the movements are fast but smooth at the same time, and gun shots come complete with flash and gun smoke. Blood splatters in all different directions, teeth and bones can be torn apart and you can point them out as they're flying in the air. It's all just simply amazing. Art would be a perfect only if they wouldn't add some poorly placed 3D backgrounds in some spots, and if certain parts weren't so overly dark. The darkness ruins some of the beauty of a few scenes and its a shame since this is a show where everything it shows is a visual treat.
The sound is second to none. The op is classic, and I love how they meld the last episode synopsis with the opening theme. But this show would definitely not be as cool without the jazz styling, piano solo's and everything else in between. Every scene has an amazing amount of environmental sounds running at the same time and definitely sets the mood. If you watch it a few times I swear you'll hear something different every time. This is easily one of the few shows best enjoyed on a good surround sound system on high.
The characters are out of this world. Some plucked off of gangster flicks, some plucked out of action flicks, and some straight out the anime stock. With a cast of characters this large, you're bound to find a favorite one or have fun pointing out what RL actors they resemble or portray. Their voice acting is also top notch, I even enjoyed the annoying characters voices as well and thats rare. The crazies were my favorite overall though, just how they managed to sound so insane without it being annoying but rather fun was rather cool. My only gripe is the "comedy relief" of the show. Why do 'serious' shows such as this require comedy relief? Sure its fine to have to relieve the viewers from all the masochism throughout the show. But i don't think they should have given so much air time to the comic relief as they did.
This show is basically a 4-hour Tarantino-esque movie, if you remove the credits and extra recollections that get the viewer back on track. Overall its a perfect sized anime for a Tarantino-esque story. Any longer and the viewer will get tired of the mixed up style of story telling especially with the attention span of people these days. Think of it as "it will get exponentially complicated if this series went to 26 episodes. Although i would be all for a brand new story if Narita Ryougo made it. But only time will tell. It would have been cooler if they kept anime without all the anime 'hoodoo' and tried to make it a serious anime. But like the Japanese say, "It can't be helped."
Apr 1, 2013
Every now and then, out of all the generic harem anime coming out, we get one anime that sticks out more than a white guy in an NWA concert. For 2007, we get Baccano! An anime that feels like it has everything an anime should have. Action, Adventure, Supernatural, Fantasy, and don't forget Comedy. With all this in mind, this anime will have you hooked all the way till the last episode.
Story (9): Baccano has multiple individual storylines, all of which intervene into a larger story. The story is not told in order, so the first episode is actually the last episode, while the middle is actually the beginning, etc, etc. At first, you'll be mind fucked but that's what will get you watching an episode after an episode. The more you get into the story, the more you find out what's happening and why is it happening. The story is unique as it revolves around a train robbery not knowing there's mass murderers, bootleggers, immortals, mercenaries, and a loving couple who commit crimes on board.
Art (9): The art is realistic and smooth, from the streets of New York to the blood squirting out of a guys face. The animation holds up for the greatness of the series, it's nothing special but it should be noted that the animation is very lively especially during the action scenes.
Sound (10): Baccano takes place in the 1930's so it would only make sense that the OP and OST is nothing but good old jazz music. The music fits perfectly with the show, you'll be bopping your head to the rhythm of the music, while watching Ladd Russo punch a guy to death. The music is excellent even if it's not my choice in music. Not only that, this has the best English dubbed I've seen next to Cowboy Bebop. The voice actors were spot on with accents from new york action flicks. Giving the dubbed version a must watch.
Character (10): Without a doubt, Baccano has an outstanding cast. With this large of a cast, you're bound to hate at least one character but this was the first anime, that made me like every character including the villains. Never before in anime I've seen a psychopathic killer being my favorite character. You have your cool guys, your badass girls, a couple, and even a wimp who gets to kick ass in the end. Characters in Baccano is definitely a strong point in this series.
Enjoyment (9): Being a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino, this anime was a pleasant treat for me. I didn't want this show to end, and when it did I was left there longing for more. This was an anime that made made me want to rush to the next episode, that kept me at the edge of my seat after ending the episode with a cliff hanger. This show will kill your boredom in a jiffy.
Overall (9.5): Baccano! feels like a big puzzle solving it's self with every episode. As it shows a bunch of events that later on piece together to make a great story. It is incredibly enjoyable watching every character going through their own story mixed with mafia action and hilarious comedy. Baccano! should be a prime example for what an anime should be. Instead of watching today's anime for the tits and ass route, go check out Baccano for the entertainment that anime was made for.
Hey guys, this was my first review. Please feel free to give me some feed back, help would be much appreciated. Thank guys. read more
Jun 8, 2011
The show follow three different plots taking place in 1930's America. One revolves round an elixir that will grant the drinker immortal life. Another is centered around a young lady's search for her missing delinquent brother. And the third follows the gruesome events that took place aboard the transcontinental train, The Flying Pussyfoot (yup, that's its name). Events from all three storylines are presented out of order and jumbled together. Now, it might sound like the show is a big mess, and it is confusing at first, but it is actually brilliantly constructed. It is kind of like Pulp Fiction, but taken to the extreme. The show knows just when to drop which plot point from which storyline to clarify things for the viewer, and connect the dots. It is left to the viewer to piece together this insane jigsaw puzzle. Since each story is really quite simple at its core, this piecemeal presentation makes the show much more engaging than if they were told in a straightforward manner, as it challenges the audience to use their brains while watching the mayhem unfold.
The out-of-order storytelling isn't the only thing Baccano has going for it, however. No, Baccano is also blessed with one of the best casts of characters in an anime ever. The cast is composed of gangsters, thieves, shady information brokers, ruthless cult members, and psychotic serial killers. Yet for being a collection of morally deplorable people, there isn't an unlikable character in the bunch. Mafioso like Firo and the Gandor brother have that certain charm to them that only slick gangsters can posses. The robber duo, Isaac and Miria, are hilarious in all their nonsensical glory. It is always fun to see the psychopath among psychopaths Ladd Russo off a few people, or even just glee over the prospect of killing. Heck, you'll even be cheering for the resident wussy, Jacuzzi Splot, by the end. This massive likability is shared by even the smallest of roles, really there isn't much more you could ask for in a cast of characters.
...Well, you could ask for more depth. Actually, that is what the show is missing as a whole. For all their likability, none of the characters are particularly deep. Sure, they have their own feelings, desires and such, but its all pretty simplistic characterization. Likewise there isn't any huge, mind-blowing themes here either; no questioning of morality, no off-hand philosophizing. Really though, this is almost inconsequential. Baccano's goal is above all else to entertain, and it succeeds with flying colors to that end. Baccano is just as entertaining the second, third, or even forth time (or however many times you decide to watch it) around as it is the first.
Looking at the art style, it is clear that the team behind Baccano did their research. The visuals do a great job of capturing 1930's America. From the busy city streets of New York to the lavish interior of The Flying Pussyfoot, all the backgrounds are marvelously detailed, and really give the viewer the feeling of being in the Prohibition era. The character designs do the same. The clothing they wear, and the presence of several different nationalities and races add to the settings. Another thing noteworthy is how violent the show is. Fingers are cut off, heads are blown to pieces, one character kills his victims by pushing them against the tracks as the train is moving; all of this is shown in gruesome detail The soundtrack is dominated by Jazz, one of the most prominent genres of the time, which really adds to the atmosphere. Not only that, the music near-perfectly captures the excitement of what is happening on screen. Whether it be the sound of beating drums as Ladd beats a man to death, or the blasting of trumpets as characters do battle on the roof of the train, the music enhances the experience.
Baccano is a show that never fails to entertain. Viewers will undoubtedly be thrown off by the shows unique storytelling at first, but will be sucked into the madness. The colorful cast of characters is insanely likable and the attention to detail regarding the time period is astounding. If you are in search for high quality entertainment that is not too heavy, then you should be watching Baccano. It is one wild ride you won't be forgetting anytime soon. read more
Jan 18, 2008
Novel, Manga, Anime: Baccano! was originally a light novel series authored by Ryohgo Narita, with art done by Katsumi Enami. The series was published by Dengeki Bunko, at it currently stands at fourteen collected volumes. It also won the Ninth Dengeki Novel Prize.
A manga series based on the second storyline of the novel series (basically picking up where the anime leaves off) began running in February of 2007, with story still done by Ryohgo Nartia, and art done by Ginyu Shinjin. It is currently being published by Media Works and is running in Dengeki Comic Gao!. At this point in time, it has one collected volume to its name.
The anime series itself was directed by Takahiro Omori (famous for directing both seasons of Jigoku Shoujo) and produced by Brains-Base (well-known for their work on KamiChu!). The anime is thirteen episodes long and ran from July 26th to November 1st of 2007. It has yet to be licensed Stateside.
Story: It's really hard to describe this anime, because the plot in and of itself is extremely complicated. There are three storylines: one that revolves around the mafia and an elixir of immortality in 1930, one that involves a hostage situation aboard a train called the Flying Pussyfoot in 1931, and a girl's search for her missing brother in 1932. For one episode, the show jumps back to a ship carrying alchemists headed for the New World. Each episode contains multiple jumps from time to time, but the main focus is the Flying Pussyfoot in 1931. And all of these plots intertwine.
You think that's complicated? Add into this a cast of about twenty main characters, along with another ten side characters that are still equally important to the story, and you've got about thirty people to handle. Initially, these characters are introduced with one-note personalities, but each and every character gets development, along with advancing the intertwining plot lines. You are guaranteed to find at least one male and one female character that you like in the cast.
And they did this all in the space of thirteen episodes.
There's not a lot more that I can say about the story for Baccano!. Just my description above should give you a sense of the epicness that the writers undertook for this. And the fact that they managed to pull it off and pull it off well is absolutely amazing, as there was plenty of chances for it to pull a Rozen Maiden and not adress anything, or a Nishi no Yoki Majo: Astraea Testament and try to rush things and fall apart. But by the end of the thirteenth episode, everything is completely settled; you will know what's going on and how everything is connected to each other.
WARNING: There is some gore in this series (blood, limbs getting cut off, things along that line), but it's nothing compared to Elfen Lied.
Art: Brains-Base shows the same amount of detail in this production that they did in KamiChu!, only in a different way -- each character design is different, and you can easily recognize a character when they come on screen, and this is really important, with the sheer amount of characters. The animation is fairly-high quality, attaining Victorian Romance Emma and Elfen Lied-level beauty.
In short, excellent work.
Music: The show's set in the thirties, and appropriately, there's a lot of jazz-themed numbers for background music, all of which is fairly well done, and makes me want to find the OST. This includes the OP, which is done by Paradise Lunch, and is pretty good, too. The ED is the stereotypical female J-Ballad, and is really kind of a letdown.
Seiyuu: There are a lot of new talent that was used on this show, and they all do a great job. Sanae Kobayashi (famous for voice work on Daedalus of Ergo Proxy and Nyuu/Lucy of Elfen Lied) plays one of my favorite female characters in the show, Ennis, so that's always a nice touch.
Length: See my rant in Story to see how amazed I am at what they were able to do and do well in the length that they were given.
However, the story covered in the anime only covers the first four volumes or so of the novel. And while the manga is covering another storyline, it would be nice to see an adaptation of the rest of the material, just to see what they can do with it.
Overall: This anime manages and develops thirty characters in three different times/storylines that all intersect with each other, and manages to wrap it all up and do it well, all in the space of thirteen episodes. And it's got pretty music and great seiyuu. In short, made of bloody genius.
This is one of my top picks. Go watch it. NOW.
Overall: 46/50; 92% (A) read more
Sep 21, 2011
Many action adventures rely solely on plot, letting the characterisation come second; inversely, many romances have virtually no plot to speak of, letting character interaction and reflection drive along the drama - while historical chronicles often rely on the setting and the carefully researched daily-living conditions of the characters to paint a rich saga of that time and place.
Baccano! - Italian for 'ruckus' - is a blend of all these genres, and yet, it fits none of them.
The 2007 anime, produced by Brain's Base (Spice and Wolf II, Kuragehime) and based on a series of light novels, is something of an enigma. It is simultaneously infamous for its popularity and unpopularity, recieving nothing but praise from foreign fans and nothing but apathy from Japanese ones.
A possible reason for this is that it doesn't feel like an anime.
To be clearer, this feels solidly American, from the jazzy soundtrack to the character designs, from the trains to the accents (in the dub, at least). As a Western viewer, even if not as an American, this feels instantly relatable.
Of course, it helps that we get thrown straight into the action.
Speaking of, the first episode is something of a decoy. We immediately get two characters discussing a story who are never to be seen again (outside of the OVAs, anyway, Karyll~) and then a clusterfuck of spoilers for the next 13 episodes. Is that girl crawling up the train the rail tracer? Did that guy just lose his arm? Did someone just kill a kid? Did his fingers just..? It's messy, it's bloody, it's confusing.
It is hard to be original and compelling without being a mindfuck, but despite the fantasy element, Baccano! feels thoroughly grounded in reality. Perhaps it's the realistic setting; perhaps it's because the characters act so much like we would. Capturing the surprise we felt as children, watching the idle sketches in the corner of your notepad suddenly gain life as we flipped through, and audacious, like robbing a train for explosives with only your boyfriend and your two friends by your side.
After the first episode the story is a non-stop ride on the Flying Pussyfoot (if you need a minute to laugh that off, take it now), along Eve's search for her missing brother (who everyone hates), the clashing of the Gandors and Runorata families in what must be the longest cardgame in history, and the quest to recreate an immortality elixir, the panacea, the ultimate goal of the alchemist. The story slips in and out among the different times with graceful ease, and a title card with the year appears for a second as a transition. Tension is continually built and smaller revelations continue to break as we see other character's points of view on different incidents, overlapping, building up and foreshadowing.
Despite the seismometer of a plotline and the lack of clear protagonist, characterisation is never sacrificed. Characterisation comes first in this series, as everyone has their past and their reasons even if they aren't immediately apparent. Why does a crybaby like Jacuzzi have such a large tattoo on his face? Why is Chane so silent? A woman in a suit, in the thirties? And where the hell did Firo get such a snazzy hat?
The period setting is gloriously rendered, yet, it is not a setting that the series gloats about. There are hardly any scenes that pull back and focus on the environment as a pat on the back for all the research and effort put into recreating it. Though the series is very obviously set in the 1930s, we see it through the characters' eyes as their present - pressing, urgent, real.
I mentioned romance before, and, without giving too much away, the affectivity of the characters throughout all this constant turmoil is never sacrificed. Firm friendships are made from chance meetings and several canon romances appear, each one uniquely forming in ways that tug upon the heartstrings and ultimately feel very real.
Of course, I can't talk about the validity of this series without touching upon the English dub, produced by Aniplex. This is a dub that has been ranted and raved about in anime circles, and as someone who watched sub first and who genuinely prefers Japanese dubs to English ones, I was very prepared not to like it.
While the Japanese dub certainly isn't bad, the addition of accents and slang added so much to the characterisation and atmosphere that it was almost like the difference between 720p and Bluray HD: like watching a slightly better, sharper series.
However, this dub is no means perfect: the generic cute voice that sounds so natural in Japanese dubs came off slightly annoying with Maria (a general complaint of all English dubs, not this one in particular nor the voice actress herself), and the fact a few epic lines of Ladd's were changed. 'Thank you, fuck you, a villain has arrived' is one of my favourite things to say when entering a room, and its omission irked me a little bit - if memory serves, some other lines were changed, but it wasn't so obvious in their cases. However, I think this is a small price to pay for such perfect synching of, for a lack of a better term, the lip flaps. They were absolutely perfect, throughout it was hard to believe the animation wasn't made to fit this very dub.
The soundtrack, too, is absolutely top-notch. The OP is plain addictive, and while the ED is rather dull in comparison, it does grow on you. The OST throughout the series always adds to the scene and atmosphere, never feeling out of place.
The art in this series seems rather dark at first glance. There is not much use of bright colour in the series, but there is a deep saturation like the smog that clings to a city and fits the general air of the 1930s well. The character designs are on the realistic side and though many of the older, blonde men look alike, most characters have distinctive visual traits that set them apart and make it easier for the viewer.
The characters themselves are all enjoyable in their own way (except Dallas). Isaac and Miria are contenders for the most well loved character duo of all time, the most incompetant thieves ever, who spread happiness inadvertantly wherever they go. Isaac rather looks like Andy from Cowboy Bebop, don't you think? Other than Isaac and Miria, there is perpetually closed-eyed Maiza, estrogen brigade bait Firo, stoic Chane, surprisingly bishounen Luck Gandor, a guy who eats birdfood, an explosion fetishist, delicious shota, the Rail Tracer and enough psychopaths to keep you chugging along until anime does some sort of answer to Girl, Interrupted.
I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys piecing together a very satisfying plot or anyone who enjoys a cast of diverse and interesting characters. This is not a story for someone who wants to switch their brain off; nor is it for anyone with an aversion to animated blood or gore.
This review is about the story that is Baccano! It is a story can never really end. Why? Because it's enjoyable, of course. read more
Feb 1, 2008
Baccano! is set in 1930’s America and revolves around different characters and their stories, which involves several unrelated plots intersecting and crossing each other. The way the series is portrayed is very interesting however first time watchers will easily get confused and lost, as it constantly switches from story to story or moves between different timelines. But for those able to concentrate for long periods of time will be able to handle it easily. It is then that you can truly appreciate the story for what it is.
The characters of are also another important element seeing how this series has a surprisingly large cast of characters, so remembering them may become a problem. However there will be some that stand out to individual viewers, be it for the character traits, personalities or eccentric behaviour (Isaac & Miria). These will be the ones you’ll enjoy.
The animation is superb in the way that everything and everyone moves fluidly, from their little gestures to the action sequences. There’s also a fair bit of blood and gore, which is used appropriately and the environments including buildings look authentic. The only real downer is with the lack of detail in the character designs. The music of this series goes for the Jazz theme, which suits perfectly with time period it relates to.
Overall Baccano! strangely felt like Quentin Tarantino’s classic “Pulp Fiction” not only for its non-linear storyline but also for its ironic mix of violence and humour. The story is one of the best aspects of the series as it tells a bunch of random events that later on piece together to make a whole story. Not only that but it was incredibly enjoyable to watch the characters go through their own stories, with plenty of mafia action and hilarious comedy. Some may be turned of by the gore and the confusing aspects of the story but all in all this is a series worth checking out.
^_^ read more
Jun 16, 2008
STORY - Surprisingly, Baccano!'s story -- or really, I should say stories -- is very straightforward. It's just takes a while to realize how simple it is because of its crazy non-linear storytelling and ridiculous onslaught of characters. Indeed, this is definitely one of those series that I'm going to have to watch a second, or even third time, in order to pick up all the connecting threads that run through the thirteen episodes. I'm a big fan of things told in a non-sequential fashion though, and while the scenes change frequently enough to be incredibly confusing, it serves to move things along quickly, insuring that there's rarely a dull moment (and even if there is, it won't last long at all). It definitely won't appeal to everyone, but I think it's worth it to have to rewatch something like this a few times if needed -- after all, that only means that its definitely got your attention.
Storytelling and pacing aside though, the story itself I found to be a very exciting and unique blend of genres. Prohibition era (or approximately so) America is not a common setting for an anime, nor is an entire cast of American characters. Alchemists and the mafia don't generally mix either. It's a very eclectic bunch of subjects to say the least. Other reviews have likened Baccano! to a slew of film noir and pulp fiction films, but I've personally not seen very many of them (not because of lack of interest though) and thus can't compare very well. Still, there are similarities in style that I can pick out between the series and the few I have seen. Sin City comes to mind rather quickly, what with its multiple casts of characters and heavily exaggerated/stylized violence.
"Baccano" has been translated into meaning "noise" or "commotion" in Italian, a very fitting title for this series. Dozens of perspectives spin several stories, coincidentally connected. The only real downside to this chaotic presentation is that it makes room for a lot of plotholes and unresolved subplots and subsubplots. A lot of secondary characters' stories feel unresolved or completely useless at the series' conclusion. I have mixed feelings about this mostly because the lack of a solid conclusion contributes both to a sense of realism and the way the stories are "packaged" within the series (a newspaper company is recollecting it). It's interesting, but it definitely means you'll be left with questions. That said, I would not vote to lengthen the series. Thirteen episodes might seem a little short when there's so much going on, but it's actually the perfect length to me -- any longer and it would have felt drawn out and forced. Ironic, I suppose, but this series breaks a lot of traditional boundaries and so traditional expectations don't really apply in a lot of cases.
All in all though, you're definitely in for one hell of a train ride.
CHARACTER - Oh, man, where do I start? The characters in Baccano!, more than anything else, make up a large part of the series, especially considering how closely they're all connected to the overarching story. Because of their sheer number, and because of the varied genres that have been tossed into the mix, there is an incredible range of characters. From outrageously outrageous thieves to badass mafia under-bosses to conniving, immortal old men to beautiful, mute women to traumatized little children, there is a character for everyone to take an interest in, to sympathize with, to cheer on, and to hate. Some of the characters are perfect representations of their archetypes, and others are far out in the left field. It's crazy (and most of them are crazy too).
Unfortunately though, while almost all of the characters are fun and amusing to watch, I would venture to say that there are just too many of them. I could not count all of the "main" characters on my ten fingers, though, of course, "main" is difficult to define in a series such as this. But really, having more than a dozen characters running around, each with their own story, gets very confusing, very fast, especially when you factor in the arbitrary-seeming jumps in time, space, and story. Names and faces become difficult to remember, especially the tangle of mafia families and their relationships to each other. It also becomes hard to keep track of who knows who and when since groups of characters meet at different points in the timeline (you see why I say this is probably a series you'll need to watch more than once to understand all of).
Finally, once again because of the sheer number of characters, very few of them seem to show real depth or development throughout the series. Some of them overcome obstacles or face setbacks and challenges, but their personalities and core beliefs don't change. I suppose its probably an impossible wish for a series such as this, and it may even be a distraction that would unbalance the even plain all the characters stand on, but a well-developed character is one expectation of a traditional series that I'm finding difficult to discard. But yes, since this is a rather unconventional series, its an unreasonable expectation for me to have, and I hold nothing against it.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION - At first glance, there's really nothing exceptional about Baccano!'s art style, but after a while, after you see a few of the gorier scenes, you kind of notice that they treat the raw violence a little different than usual. While people seem to lose limbs and body parts too easily to be realistic at times, the rendering of their injuries is incredibly sophisticated and impressive. Seriously, a severed arm never looked so good! Additionally, the backgrounds and character costumes for the entire series show demonstrate the wonderful depth of research that went into the series' creation -- New York of the early forties is wonderfully convincing with appropriate fashions adorned on characters and so on. The interiors as well are pleasingly accurate -- the insides of train cars, bars, and mansion homes are all fantastic. For an anime set in an unfamiliar time, it's really great to see that they did indeed take the time to look stuff up.
Also, it was really awesome seeing them weave the previous episode (or episodes) sypnosis into the series opening. It's refreshingly creative and lengthens the amount of time devoted to the actual episode, which is significant considering how much happens in every episode.
MUSIC - I love Baccano!'s music. From the very first time I heard its opening theme, I knew it was going to be one fantastic soundtrack. Since Cowboy Bebop's foray into jazz, I don't think I've seen any other series utilize that unique music choice. The jazz in Baccano! is energetic and upbeat, perfect for the mood of the series, not to mention wonderfully appropriate for its time period and setting. Beyond the opening song, Baccano! employs some really awesome Psycho-esque violin tracks that heighten suspense and drama, not to mention thrashing pianos with tension-filled broken chords abound. The ending theme is notably different from the rest of its music being a more traditional-sounding Japanese song, but its slowed melody and contemplative mood works well as you should definitely devote some time after each episode to sorting out and processing everything you just saw.
VOICE ACTING - With such a formidable cast, it would be incredibly difficult to have outstanding voices across the board. Still, Baccano! seems to do a pretty good job -- none of the voices are shoddy by any means, though yes, some of them are quite normal and unspectacular. (I was most impressed by the fact that none of the female characters seemed to have that characteristically annoying voice. You know what I'm talking about.) Of those that do stand out, the voices for Isaac and Miria are at the top. This is probably due in part to their incredibly eccentric personalities, but their voices just fit them perfectly. Baccano! has yet to be licensed Stateside, but I'd definitely be interested in watching the dub should one ever be produced, especially since all of the characters are indeed American.
OVERALL - I won't lie. Baccano! presents itself as a very confusing and complex series, and at times, it can be frustrating trying to decipher what exactly was going on and to remember who the hell everyone was. Despite this though, it somehow remains very entertaining to watch. There is a perfect balance between action-packed and "cool-down" scenes, and there is rarely a dull moment in between the crazy characters and crazy storylines. I'm going to go watch it again now.
Dec 17, 2007
Many desire immortality, yet the key to eternal life has forever eluded man. The story of “Baccano!” begins in 1711 when a group of sea-faring alchemists capture this most desired of gifts. Nearly all of them become immortal there and then, yet, as fate would have it; only one is granted the knowledge to recreate the potion. Of course, he quickly decides not to tell, wisely realising the folly in allowing such power to leak out into the public domain, but his brave decision quickly incites murder and ultimately, a struggle that’s raged for over 200 years. We join the story as it reaches its climax during prohibition-era North America; this was the absolute height of organised crime in the US, a violent and cruel time to live, or indeed, die.
Despite its frequent lapses into light comedy, squeamish readers should be warned that this is a deceptively violent (and often, sadistic) series. Without going into too much detail, lets just say that bones break, arms get sliced, faces explode and children are tortured. Of course, this refreshing lack of moral compunction inevitably climaxes in some breath-taking and unpredictable action scenes, including several sequences of beautifully animated hand-to-hand combat, fought on the windy carriage-roofs of a moving train. Just so you know, it turns out that knives, guns, grenades and even flame-throwers aren’t much of a match for blood-thirsty gymnasts. “Baccano!” is a lot like “Black Lagoon”; it has that same delirious hunger for gruesome carnage.
On its own, the action wouldn’t be enough, but as I’ve already mentioned, this is hardly a conventional series. Aside from the fact that the narrative will regularly interchange years and events in a matter of seconds, many of the characters provoke empathy and romance despite having splattered the brains of an adversary all over the wall minutes earlier. I loved the playful dialogue, and the character interactions are remarkably fun and natural; you believe in their fear, sadness or anger. You can see a love affair unfolding and it’s almost heart-breaking. By the end I was completely riveted by the story, lost in the characters.
There is so much to say about “Baccano!” but I’m afraid I’ll lose your concentration if I keep going. I’ve already had to completely scrap the first version of this review since it degenerated into a bloated rant. Obviously, I absolutely loved this series, and if I ever get around to writing a review of 2007, it will easily make my top 3 of the year. The best decision I made was to push through it over a quiet weekend; as expected, the jumbled jigsaw of a plot and all those unique characters are so much easier to remember this way. The only problem is that now I’m having trouble letting go, I’m still stuck in the world of immortals and trying to fathom out the few remaining mysteries. Hints are made at characters and storylines beyond the anime narrative and quite frankly, I’d die for a sequel. If you’re yet to watch “Baccano!”; I envy you. read more
May 4, 2013
Story - 10/10
Brilliant, and filled with life. I don't really think anyone could not be interested in the multiple storylines the anime so beautifully weaves together. Just to warn you though, at times, this can get quite confusing.
Art - 9/10
Ito Satoshi is the art director for Baccano, and he did a really great job. All of the settings are actually very realistic, probably because they are all based on real places. Satoshi and other staff members scouted through Manhattan so they could accurately portray the area.
Sound - 10/10
The voices in the japanese are all by rather notable voice actors, and the English dub, usually terrible as far as I'm concerned, is actually very good. The Music, though, is so brilliant it almost glows. The Theme song, Gun's and Roses is so fitting, and yet so cheerful. It's was stuck in my head the first time I saw it, and yet that wasn't bad at all. The Final closing theme, while somewhat mediocre at first, grows on you, and soon becomes the most fitting thing to end the show.
Characters - 10/10
I shouldn't be defining this. I'll just say that you learn to love even the most Insane characters, from Isaac and Miria, the two lovable thieves, to Ladd Russo, insane hitman, his sweetheart, Lua Klein, to Graham Specter, a mechanic who NEVER shuts up, even to the Daily Days staff, namely Gustav St. Germain, and his assistant Carol (KYAARRROOOOLLL In the original japanese) who, while quite clever, are some what more enjoyable in the two abridged series ("OW! What did i do to deserve this?!" "Everything Carol, Everything!")
Enjoyment - 10/10
The thing about Baccano is that it is not a normal anime. It is so brilliant that is shines out among many others. Stop reading this Review already, and see it for yourself. read more
Dec 7, 2011
Story - The story of Baccano is an interesting one to say the least. It doesn't have a main central story like many other animes. For example, X character has to kill X character because this person murdered his family....As a side note, none of what I just said actually never happens. It is an example :P
I couldn't really tell the story, without actually giving away what happens.
Art - I really like this art style and it suits the time period (1930s) really well. It has vibrant colours, but still has that sense of the whole 1930s feel to it.
Sound - The soundtrack for Baccano really suits the time period as it mixes jazz with classical, then it can make transitional changes when an intense scene comes up.
Characters - Oh boy, so many characters. There are so many characters in this anime, that you are bound to like one or more, dislike one or more and so forth. So many to choose from. Some different from others. But a couple in particular really bring a comedic, light-hearted feel to this anime. Very likeable and how they get involved is comedic in its own right.
Enjoyment - As each episode moved on, it kept leaving me for more and more. Has multiple cliffhangers and those are the things that keeped you glued to the screen with your mouth gaped open.
Overall - I highly recommend this anime to anyone who loves anime and for people who don't as well. Will enjoy it. read more
May 11, 2011
Everyone has their own story. Baccano is an anime that realizes that all too well and decides to puppeteer different people with different personalities, ideals and aims into making one blockbuster series that will have you throwing roses on stage as the curtain closes. It’s anime like these that I shove down people’s throats when they say it’s a medium for kids.
The story, told in the multiple perspective fashion, revolves around the adventures and atrocities of the passengers aboard a Chicago train called the Flying Pussyfoot. And the passengers are no ordinary ones – they are a colorful cast that compromise of people ranging from psychopaths to alchemists. Sheer ruckus ensues when their security is compromised and they all set out to carry out their missions, leading to all hell being let loose. Set in the Prohibition Era of America (1930s), it often shifts its focus to events that take place in New York and even unravels the mysteries that happened on a ship in 1711. And so it begins - stories, with no clear ending or beginning and no specific protagonists, but ones that emphasize on the interaction and influence among the characters.
The story starts off by giving you a glimpse into the everyday life of (most of) the characters and it does so all at once. And by that, I mean that you have a few minutes denoted to each of them and all this information at one shot can be confusing, if not a complete turn-off. This might be the major reason for people putting down this anime as the initial three episodes are an overload of what is considered “unnecessary” information. But, here’s the thing: Don’t. What may seem insignificant, all ties in with the characters actions later in the series, if not at least the reason for their behavior. In fact, that is where the beauty of Baccano lies – making order out of chaos.
The show effortlessly glides from one perspective to another, seldom leaving you confused. For an anime with twelve main characters and an assortment of side characters, that’s quite an achievement. The same goes for the time-place shifts. There is just something always happening on screen, be it a funny conversation or a deadly fight. Thus, the flow while smooth for the most part might be a little jerky due to the variation in character. Seeing an enthralling gun fight being interrupted by some comic relief does evoke some negative reaction, but upon retrospect I think it’s safe to say that these light-hearted moments only increase the tension for the more intense scenes.
The cast includes alchemists, thieves, assassins, landlords, mobsters, immortals, chemists, monsters, delinquents, information brokers and many more fascinating characters. There’s something in here for fans of every genre.
The characters themselves are truly refreshing. One of the most recurring characters in the show are Isaac and Miria, who are entertaining to say the least. Watching them prance about and mindlessly cosplay is hilarious. They may come across as annoying at first, but they very soon grow on you. We also have a Heath Ledger (The Joker in Dark Knight), named Ladd Russo. This psychopathic hitman is definitely one of my favorite characters of all time. The Gandors and the other mafia families do a good job of keeping the mood tense. The mysterious chemist Szilard and his assistant Ennis arouse your curiosity on more than one occasion. The eternally sad Chane is someone who you might want to pay extra attention to. Just going through the varied type of characters must make you wonder how long it must’ve taken the producers to prepare the script, which happens to be very well done. Analyzing the characters (or even mentioning them!) any deeper would probably be spoilerific as Baccano is an anime where the characters are the plot.
Brain’s Base spared no expense while producing this show. They sent their artists to America to study the locations so that they could recreate them as realistically as possible. And it was a wonderful investment indeed as 1930s America looks exactly like it should – dusty, grand and mysterious. The backgrounds are detailed very well and buildings in different areas look completely different from each other. The characters themselves are drawn neatly with light shades of water colors. When Ladd gets angry, you can actually notice the blood rush up to his face. The emotions of all characters are done very subtly and artfully. When one of the characters breaks his hand, you can see the bone fragments in the flesh around the forearm. That’s how good the animation is.
The soundtrack is pretty difficult to judge. The OP, Guns N Roses, is a jazzy piece of classical American music with generous use of the trombone and fits the series like a glove. You are given a small recap of the earlier episodes in the middle of the OP, where the music fades out in the background and resumes once the recap is over. This was a really neat touch and although minor, this addition is a refreshing way to present an OP. The ED, Calling, is a melodious number and is one of my favorites. Sadly, this charming piece is out of place in this fast moving dark anime. There isn’t much of a background score, with the only notable track being a dramatic violin tone that fades in just before the end of each episode. Addition of some more thematic tracks could’ve definitely kicked things up a notch.
There is hardly any character development, but with 12 main characters squeezed into 13 episodes, what do you expect? The cast, which up until now was an asset, turns into a liability towards the ending. It’s hard to give all of them a decent epilogue and some of your favorite characters’ futures will be left unexplored. Thankfully, the 3 episode OVA wraps things up rather neatly.
Baccano is a bloodbath and its monstrosity rivals that of Elfen Lied. You will be subject to witnessing some horrifying and disturbing scenes such as a face thrust into the rail tracks from aboard a moving train and hot tongs being used to gouge a child’s eyes. If you can make it past through this insane instances of violence, then you are in for a real treat.
Both the dub and the sub were done very well. Each character had a unique accent and was instantly recognizable. The old western American English accent and pronunciations are done very neatly and not overdone anywhere. FUNimation actually auditioned 140 people for the 18 available roles and they have done a fine job of selecting the best.
Masterpiece? Maybe. Breathtaking? Definitely.
[ THE WRAP-UP ]
Baccano is a 13 episode rollercoaster that will take you on the train journey of your life. The mood of the 1930s is captured perfectly and is presented in beautiful light-shaded animation that instantly transports you into the Prohibition Era America. The unique method of multiple-perspective storytelling is groundbreaking and very enchanting. The first couple of episodes might confuse the viewer due to the huge cast, however, this is all cleverly sorted out in the next few episodes and you get into the thick of things really quick in this fast paced anime. There are the usual culprits, such as mood ruiners, an unsatisfactory ending (fixed in the OVA that follows) and bland soundtrack, but nothing to ruin the overall experience. Passionate voice acting makes both the sub and the dub an enjoyable experience. With an intricately designed plot and an intriguing set of characters, it does not fail to impress. Don’t miss this one if you’re looking for something fast, fresh and action-packed. Baccano isn’t just a show – it’s an experience. read more
Oct 20, 2008
or This Reviewer Embraces the Fact that there is no Main Character
Baccano! is a show which has taken parts of the anime community by storm, while simultaneously remaining relatively unknown to the larger whole. The series is frenetic and has more energy than perhaps any other anime. Each scene, while displayed with no heed for chronology, is nonetheless structured to introduce questions and answer them little by little, even if the answer is chronologically first. This is an interesting and ingenious structural choice, and also is in many ways responsible for the series' undeniable style. Baccano! does a good job of offering a little something for most everybody, without watering any of it down.
Baccano! is a show that defies description. Generally speaking, it's about a number of people and a spattering of events which are connected, sometimes loosely and sometimes directly. More specifically, it is itself a story about these things and about stories in general. It, in some ways, comes close to breaking the fourth wall with its acknowledgment of the place of human subjectivity in any story. The framing of the series with the exchanges between Carole and the Vice-Director put the entire show in this context, and the re-telling of specific events from multiple perspectives provide examples as basis for the overall framework.
Baccano!'s placement in the American prohibition era and embracing of this setting lends it a taste of the exotic. Even to American audiences, a unique take on the prohibition era such as this one seems foreign and wild, despite the familiarity of many of the places represented. Anyone who has ever seen a mafia movie feels at home, and yet at the same time it is made foreign to us. Unlike many other series which utilize a unique setting or particular aesthetic, Baccano!'s use of its setting, its powerful aesthetic, does not come off as heavy-handed. Baccano! oozes style without ever feeling the need to shove it in your face, allowing for someone to not connect with the aesthetic yet still enjoy the series overall.
The animation in Baccano! is definitely a strong point, even though it is a little rough around the edges. Stationary art in the series is certainly good, but nothing especially worth noting. In motion, though, the style of the series comes to realization with its somewhat flashy, rough animation style. Colors are bright and vibrant, matching the characters' flair and the feel of the setting. Despite some remarkably over the top designs, everything meshes very well within the series, and there is nothing which visually feels out of place, even the occasional CGI section.
Sound plays a unique role in Baccano! in reinforcing and bringing to life its setting. In this, through the use of primarily jazz and swing tracks with unique twists, the soundtrack is remarkably successful, lending a credibility to the endeavor without being vestigial or overbearing. The soundtrack is solid even without considering the above, and is definitely good enough to warrant listening to on its own. Within the series, it never really takes center stage—aside from the dramatic string piece that closes each episode—but instead achieves a healthy balance with the other aspects of the show, unlike many series with strong, aesthetically-driven soundtracks, such as Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo. While not as strong on its own as those two, it does a better job of navigating its place within the overall work.
The voice-acting in Baccano! is unique in the anime world. It features few, if any, big name seiyuu, and, possibly as a result, is superbly cast. It is common for big name seiyuu to be included in a project for publicity and increased viewership, even where their voice does not fit the character, or where the show must be altered to accommodate the actor. In Baccano!, though, each voice actor fits their character extraordinarily well, and their performances overall are definitely solid, naturally bolstered by clever writing and a supporting soundtrack. As far as stand out performances, I must point out the seiyuu of Isaac and Miria, who managed to make what could have been very irritating characters enjoyable and fantastically entertaining. Ladd Russo's voice actor is also remarkably good, making a character who sounded simple and uninspired in description great in practice. As far as main characters are concerned, it is difficult to pinpoint a weak link, and the supporting cast is solid, if not as exemplary.
It is difficult to speak much on that plot of Baccano! without spoiling the mystery and the fun of it all, so I'll be brief and general. Baccano!'s plot is an evolving mystery which fills out completely the 13 episodes it inhabits. There is no idle time in Baccano!, and each scene fits very well into an overall picture. While this frenetic pace is paramount to the impressiveness of the series and to further its very postmodern style, at times it can be somewhat jarring. This, of course, is most likely intentional, considering the mindset of the rest of the series, but it does irk some, especially those less interested or familiar with postmodern literature. The plot itself is fairly straightforward if laid out chronologically, but the way it is presented makes it somewhat extraordinary. It does a better job of engaging the viewer in the plot, making them an active participant, than perhaps any other series I have seen.
If I had to point out a primary flaw of Baccano!, it would be the voluminous cast which limits the characterization of each. Each character is a larger than life, highly-stylized figure, but as a general rule there is little more to them than that. There is some nuance to each, but it is only in the relationships between the characters that they achieve depth, keeping this from becoming a crippling weakness. Even so, the aesthetically-charged character design is worth noting, differentiating each character powerfully from the others even in keeping with period attire—or at least a stylized, egalitarian version of it.
Baccano! takes everything you know about anime and shows you that there is another way, all the while engaging you with a flashy mystery full of action and suspense. Flush with style and ripe with content, Baccano! manages to give the audience a little bit of everything, without feeling rushed or particularly shallow, although its biggest weakness is the lack of complexity in its characters and plot. It offers unforgettable characters, powerful aesthetics, and a great soundtrack to frame a frenetic narrative which challenges notions of narratives themselves. The series challenges you as a viewer, interpreter, and active participant.
Final Score: 9/10
May 18, 2008
This sort of thing has been done quite often; a studio comes up with a great plot that makes sense, interesting and likable characters, a way to present the story in a way that pushes the bar; they start out well, but then end up like most do: they fail. Baccano! happens to be one of the instances where they actually succeed.
NOTE: Baccano! is somewhat gory, and does contain many scenes filled with blood and a few dismembered limbs here and there, as well as a few scenes of torture. It does nothing to reach gory levels in anime such as Elfen Lied, but if you have a weak stomach, perhaps it is better to keep your distance. Although I did not particularly like the more violent scenes, they don't last for very long, and it's easy to look past them to the great anime that they belong to.
The story consists of three stories being told at once (and the very brief interludes to the present day, early 2000s, and one episode in the 1700s), taking place in the years of 1930, '31, and '32, jumping between the three several time frames in a single episode. Each story involves many overlapping characters and involves all of them in some way or another. The story itself isn't necessarily the series' strong point; it's pretty standard as stories go - what makes it stand out is the way in which the story is presented, how each piece of information revealed is carefully planned out and you're given enough to be satisfied and not get lost, while not giving away so much that it ruins the plot. The story releases just the right amount of each plot line in each episode, finally culminating in the last two episodes, in which everything all finally comes together, and the grand unfolding occurs; it's well worth the wait.
The story does tend to make the jumps between it's three stories rather rapidly throughout an episode, and if you're not paying attention, it's easy to get lost. My main advice would be to plan to watch the series when you're not going to be distracted easily many times during an episode, since as long as you follow along, the story makes sense.
The art quality in Baccano! is nothing to shrug at. The character design is exceptionally well done. Nearly all of the main characters are well defined and very easy to identify immediately. I did have some trouble recognizing a few characters for a while (as you are introduced to a large cast rather suddenly), but after a while, it became pretty easy to tell them apart. One particularly great feature is the OP of Baccano!, which freeze-frames at every character and gives you their name. This aids greatly in learning the characters quickly.
The quality of the animation is rather high, and remains high throughout the entire series, avoiding the drop in quality that many other series unfortunately suffer from. Action scenes are fluid and easy to follow.
The OP is the perfect fit to this anime. The jazz tone that it sets is perfect for the feel of the series as a whole, and music played in the background throughout the various episodes maintains this same atmosphere. The ED, however, is your standard j-pop number, and is rather disappointing.
In terms of voice acting, the voicing cast does exceedingly well at portraying their characters. Not only do they bring personality to their respective characters, they also are rather easily distinguishable, making it easier to identify the large number of main characters from the rest.
The characters of Baccano! are the series' strongest point, as they are well defined, unique (most of them), and the chemistry between them is simply amazing to behold. Even the most annoying character (believe me, you won't have any trouble figuring out who it is) is redeemed at the end, and I even started to like him a bit. The dynamic duo of Miria and Isaac is just brilliant, providing great entertainment just observing how they unwitting screw with everyone and somehow make things right in the end without ever knowing. The humor between the two is great, although some people will no doubt find these two to be annoying. By the end of this series, you are bound to find at least one character that you will like. Although many of the characters receive a healthy dose of development, the large number of them makes it so that many feel somewhat underdeveloped, but this is expected considering that the series only consists of 13 episodes.
As can be expected, when I first started watching this anime, I was very confused with the initial presentation. However, as the story continued to progress, it steadily escalated until the final few episodes, where everything reached a great climax which was pulled into a satisfying ending to a great series.
The only thing that I would say that was a drawback was that despite tying up nearly all the main important loose ends, there were still a few little things here and there that still had to be addressed (such as firmly establishing the identity of the people you meet at the very beginning and how they tie into the story). However, that's what the 3 episode Baccano! OVA is for (hopefully; they are currently being released and I will check them out very soon to confirm), and I'd like to believe that it will explain everything else, as well as give even more character development.
The fact that they pulled off a complex story following a large number of characters in several time frames within a small total of 13 episodes is nothing to scoff at. Despite the fact that many critics of the series could pretty easily point out a great number of minor flaws, the overall brilliance of the series outshines these small issues, and makes them more than easy to completely ignore.
In short, this anime is one that presents a great story, and most importantly, presents it well. This is a series that almost anyone could pick up and find something to enjoy (except perhaps those with a great aversion to blood). Although the series at first is hard to understand and will leave most viewers in confusion, the ending does a successful job of tying everything up, and everyone should have their initial questions well answered by then. This is a series that I would readily recommend to just about anyone to at least try out and watch a few episodes.
Score: 48/50; A (96%) read more
Jun 22, 2008
Wow. To say I was completely blown away by Baccano! might be a huge understatement. Gathering it's charm from the wild antics of cramming 3 novels into 13 episodes, Baccano! is one of the most intense, unique, and downright fun shows to ever come into existence. Comparing the plot to any other anime would be impossible; between cannibalistic immortals, New York gang violence of the late 20s, a clash of forces on the Transcontinental Railroad, a dubiously fortunate pair of thieves, and much more, one's mind can only be boggled by how all of it is fitted together naturally. Linearity is non-existant in either the timeline or presentation of the show itself, which opts instead for throwing out pieces of the story and letting the viewer put everything together. In addition, there is a massive cast, and all of the characters are equally important. Despite the number, though, all of them have refreshingly unique personalities - both from each other and from convention.
Using this combination of crazy characters and wacky storytelling, Baccano! never looses it's energy over the course of it's 13 episodes. Every moment succeeds in shocking, wowing, and bringing a smile to the face of the audience, be it through an exchange of witty dialogue, an electrifying battle, or a mysterious, dramatic occurrence. More importantly, though, is that despite all the madness going on, everything comes together seamlessly by the end of the series. Backing up all that energy is the uber-badassery that oozes out of every second of every episode. Baccano! is incredibly violent and unpredictable, crating scenarios of totally unforeseeable outcomes and holding no life sacred. Blatant usage of plot devices such as deus ex machina help give the feeling that the show really does whatever it wants.
By accomplishing a sort of completion in which every moment has to be taken into account to appreciate the whole while making every moment thoroughly enjoyable, the series could be considered structurally perfect.
Combining western pulp styles with seinen-anime designs paints a thick layer of style all over Bacano!. 30s New York and the massive train The Flying Pussyfoot are beautiful and intriguing, besides being carefully crafted (especially the train which is an environment that anime often does wrong or blandly). Heavy emphasis on color also livens up and deepens the overall atmosphere. Thanks to some great directorial decisions and intense cinematography, the fight scenes are always a joy to behold and well-animated. Because most of the cast is immortal, there are quite a few scenes with heavy gore and dismemberment, often proceeded by the re-attachment of a limb and culmination of blood as it re-enters the body. These scenes feature the coolest effects; the first time a character gets his finger severed and the blood and limb float through the air and re-attach themselves, I remember saying aloud, "that's freaking awesome." Talking scenes get less treatment, naturally, but they are rather infrequent.
Character designs in Baccano! are all wonderful, featuring a wide range of age groups that are all given equal treatment to look as cool as possible. Admittedly, there is a disturbing number of blondes which confused me at first, but once past the initial who's-who the unique designs are greatly appreciated.
"Guns and Roses," the thickly stylish jazz opening is probably the most well-known feature of Baccano!. Hearing it, you know immediately that something great and fun is about to begin. During battle, the energy-filled themes are immersive and add another layer to the fun. Like the visuals, care is taken to make everything ooze with the stye of fast-paced and exciting pulp.
Rather than selecting a main character, Baccano! features a self-proclaimed ensemble cast full of equally important and developed characters. Admittedly, there are certain characters who deserved more screen time (especially eye-patch-and-glasses-wearing girl Nice holystone) however, there is still a thoroughly impressive effort to connect the viewer with every character. One of the most difficult things is just picking a favorite. Isaac and Maria, the energetic, idiotic thieves always bring a smile along with their hilarious antics and lovable dumb luck. Jacuzzi Splat, who begins a hopeless crybaby but develops into a brave hero as well as his partner, the voluptuous Nice Holystone bring in the rebellious do-gooder spirit. The young mafia boss, Firo, has the most main-character personality and gentlemanly attitude. His relationship with a certain homunculus is one of the most involving plots. And those are just the nice guys. Szilard, the show's most prominent villain, is utterly hate-able and really evokes a deep rage, to the point that you're just begging for him to get his ass kicked. Next we have a cult full of masochists who's psycho leader is obsessed with killing people 'who think they are safe'. His is one of the most delightfully demented personalities I've had the pleasure of enjoying. However, my personal favorite had to be the man with the powers of god; the inhuman Rail Tracer. Even now, I haven't covered all of the major characters, so you can get an idea of how crazy it is. Characterization is definitely the strong point of Baccano!.
Baccano! is as close to perfection as I have ever seen in an anime. Stylistically thorough, interesting and entertaining for every last minute, and with my personal choice of the greatest characters ever, it doesn't do a single thing wrong and presses all of the right buttons. No other series maintains such a balance of fun, thrills, and nonstop badassery like Baccano! read more
Oct 14, 2008
Baccano is an anime with a lot of problems. During the first half of the show, it steadfastly refuses to give away any information, while simultaneously adding extra confusion by jumping all around the continuity. These jumps could be okay, but they're usually entirely without context. There is no connection between the scene in 1932 and the following scene in 1930. The only thing connecting them is the greater plot.
Combine this with the fact that there are about 12 main characters (fortunately, MOST of them are shown over and over again in the opening credits), and you get a great recipe for audience confusion. It certainly doesn't help any that at the same time you're trying to juggle these characters, you're also trying to remember which Mob they belong to, etc.
Unfortunately, that's not all. The show is also jam packed with absurdity. The comic relief is constantly getting in the way, and by a few minutes into the second episode you wish that they would just shut up for a moment. As well, the premise is muddled by the introduction of other supernatural-seeming characters in the middle of the series, after we feel like we have a grip on the way the universe works. Also, and this may not be a deterrent for everyone, but the show is packed with the most absurd shouneny-seinen content around.
Finally, there's the fact that the director forgot to do his research. Many times, when a reference to American culture would have been appropriate, a reference to Japanese culture is substituted instead. It makes the whole setting seem a bit fragile, knowing that someone didn't care enough to push the show that extra distance.
Normally, with all these problems, I would have given up on this show almost right away. Either that, or I would have watched the show and hated it for not living up to its potential. It's a testament to the power of Baccano that neither of these happened. The fact is that despite all its problems, Baccano came through when it counted.
First of all, the sheer style exuded by the settings helped bring the feeling that we really were in 1930s America. Once I got past the initial confusion, the flashbacks and flashforwards were actually kind of nice. They gave me the feeling that I was in on some secret that the cast of the show were missing. The characters all came out amazing by the end of the show. I don't think there's a single character in the show that I would be able to call a hero, or that I can really even say that I completely like, but it didn't end up bothering me because they were all so interesting. Admittedly, most of them were cliches, but they were cliches taken to such an absurd degree that they somehow weren't cliches anymore.
I was really worried about the story as I got closer to the end. It didn't seem to have the depth that the complexity of the presentation required. Honestly, the story was a little bit shallow, but the narrative came together so well that it didn't matter. Even though it lacked serious depth, it was explored to its full potential, and had a feeling of completeness that I wasn't expecting.
And, as I seem to have come to the subject of the ending, I would like to note that it was very well done. It erased many of the doubts I had about the series earlier on, and despite all the shouneny-seinen stuff, kept me watching straight through the ending to the OVA. I won't say much more for spoilers, but the split narrative definitely pays off in the end. read more
Dec 5, 2010
Baccano is a story about a series of mysterious events connected to immortality which occur in the years 1711, 1931-1932 and 2001. It is told in an interestingly complex chronology and is very rich in content in a way that it has so many genres. This is a comedy, suspense, thriller, drama, romance, action, supernatural, mystery, horror, etc. One would not expect all these in a story because there would be a case of incompatibility and everything would be in disarray. Funny and shocking gore just don't go together, but here, they are all in excellent harmony.
The animation is high standard. The character and environment drawings are fit and well designed with beautiful and proper colors. Everything is well animated with good movement details, consistent frame quality, and light effects which bring about nice action scenes. Top-notch sounds, good ambience and exceptional voice acting. All voices are well chosen and are perfectly fitted for all characters. The OP is also good with fitting jazz music but the ED however is disappointing.
It has great casting. Filled with various characters that are unique and most interesting, this is one of the best points of the show. You have alchemists, mafias, psycho killers, delinquents, a newspaper and informant group, a comic thief duo, a homunculus, a train monster, etc. All of them are well made, with unique traits and sensible purposes.
Baccano gives outstanding enjoyment. You will laugh, you will be thrilled, you will be shocked, you will be curious and you will want more. Well actually, you will demand more because in the 13 episodes some things were not explained so hopefully, the OVAs would cover those holes in the story. read more
Oct 15, 2009
The story is centered around a group of immortal alchemists and their involvement with the Italian-American Mafia at various points from 1930 to 1932. There are three main, separate storylines occurring in parallel, one on the streets of New York in 1930, another on board the transcontinental locomotive "The Flying Pussyfoot" in 1931, and finally, a third one in New York in 1932. Throughout the show, this world really comes alive, thanks to the animation, music, hairstyles, and clothes all contributing to a viewer's sense of what that era in American history was like.
The anime constantly switches from one setting to another at a moment's notice, has events occur wildly out of order, and, to add to the confusion, there are a couple dozen important characters to remember,each with their own back story. While this is completely normal for a novel, it's unusual for an anime, especially one with only 13 episodes.However, Baccano pulls it off, with everything from the art style to the opening theme making it all digestible for the viewer.
Each character, while not particularly deep, is likable, unique, and far from predictable. They're one-dimensional, but that dimension is interesting and funny, and in several cases, even receives development during the course of the series.
This approach to character creation is a strength here; "Baccano" moves at an extremely quick, frenetic pace, with a plethora of different characters. Choosingto make all the characters interesting instead of focusing on just one,to the detriment of everyone else, was a wise move on the part of the creators.
The story is remarkable for its repeated, constant use of deus ex machina plot devices. In every episode, a great deal of purely accidental events occur that completely change the course of the storyline. A man attempting a magic trick involving fire accidentally burns a house down, and it just so happens to be the secret lab of a character creating the elixir of life. Two characters steal a car and decide to get away, just so happening to hit the main villain right before he can kill one of the main protagonists.
In fact, two of the characters, Miria Harvent and Isaac Dion, are nothing more than agents of these bizarre, accidental circumstances. At first, they only seem like comic relief, being an idiotic, overly cheerful couple that commits crimes like stealing candy bars, fancy hats, and the door of a museum.
However, throughout the story, they come in contact with most of the other main characters, and through their incredibly stupid deeds,optimistic and sanguine personalities, and purely accidental physical acts, change everyone's lives for the good, defeat the bad guys, and save lives... without even realizing it.
Normally, I'd criticize a story for so many absurd and improbable events, but since random circumstance are a central theme of Baccano and is openly acknowledged as such, it becomes both a humorous and entertaining element of the plot.
The art and music of the show are used to enhance and highlight the characters and story. The opening theme is a catchy blues theme that also lists all the main characters by name. Throughout the series,we hear upbeat, 30's era jazz and swing, which helps immerse the viewer in the story's environment.
The animation style uses very unique faces for all the main characters,making them easier to distinguish. Everything besides the character faces is drawn with very indistinct, smoky lines and a warm palette,giving one the impression of hazy Mafia backrooms, with green felt,cards, huge cigars, and Jack Daniel's whiskey.
Overall, the pacing, humor, and action in the series is great, and the plot climaxes in the final episode, resolving most of the mysteries earlier in the series.
Now, for me, a "9" means a masterpiece classic, and I think Baccano deserves this title. However, there is one problem I have with the series.
As good as the show was, none of the episodes in the series were spectacular.Nothing I saw mesmerized me, or made me feel I had just witnessed a work of supreme genius. It was a good story, with good characters,excellent sound and art, directed well.
Before the hardcore Baccano fanatics go crazy, ask yourself; what episode here stood out for you, really amazed you with its brilliance?The last episode was the most satisfying because it answered all the questions, but what episode had something unexpected, magnificent, and fantastic in it?
Nitpicking aside, Baccano is among the top 10-15 anime I've ever watched, and highly recommended to any fan of the medium. read more
Mar 18, 2013
To clarify, Baccano does not start off crap. It wouldn't have all 10s if it did. However, it is really confusing. It jumps around everywhere, across multiple times, multiple stories and multiple characters. That's also part of its strength, as everything is tied up amazingly by the end. Almost every single character feels like they get their time to shine. Still, because of the difficulty to get into it, I can't go giving the series a 10.
So, everything about this series was still amazing. Baccano has possibly the best comic relief characters ever made, and some of the most badass characters ever made as well. Each storyline is captivating (except maybe Eve's, but even that was still good) the art was very nice to look at and characters all looked unique, and its opening theme is one of the best in all anime.
Finally, Baccano gets better each time you re-watch it. I'm not even kidding. Each time you re-watch, you get a better idea of how earlier events in the anime line up, and you enjoy all the more. read more
Apr 11, 2012
The first episode contains scenes from the endings to each of the three stories. Later episodes jump back and forth, between, and even within the separate stories with little warning. All spiral together to create a surprising, original series that may leave many viewers confused as to what is happening. Even if you stay alert while watching Baccano!, this anime will likely require either a full or partial re-watching if you wish to clarify some story details/subtleties missed due to the skewed timeline.
On a positive note, despite the complex plot lines, the way the opening sequence puts names to the faces of all the characters is very helpful–considering the daunting cast list. The beginning cinematic is very reminiscent of Guy Ritchie’s Snatch. However, Baccano! takes the hard-boiled violence of the mafia film genre to new levels throughout this show. Gore alert: characters and scenery often get covered in blood due to the extreme violence that occurs. In one scene, a character “dances” in a flood of gore. Fortunately, the pacing between lighthearted and extreme moments in this anime prevent it from being utterly sickening. That, and knowing most characters are immortal and will recover later.
Aside from this, the strength of Baccano! is in its characters; original author Ryohgo Narita allowed them to run the show. For example, Isaac and Miria’s carefree enthusiasm and antics are a major contribution to the enjoyment of this series. Capturing them, and the rest of this unique, outlandish cast, was essential.
For a Japanese animation, the creators did their homework. Taking place in America, this production was impressively devoid of engrish. The Brooklyn accents of the English dub contribute well to the atmosphere of 1930’s mobster culture. Baccano! gushes with style–It’s powerful, but does not come off as heavy-handed. It was enjoyable to connect with a fresh gangster aesthetic.
Baccano! is recommended for those who have a penchant for mafia-centric films or like a lot of action and intrigue. Also, if you are sick of the “same old,” this show is a great boredom buster. Although this isn’t a horror, if you are squeamish with blood/gore, you may not enjoy this title. read more