Review: Baccano!Posted: February 22, 2011
Animation Studio: Brains Base
Number of Episodes: 13 (plus 3 OVA epilogue episodes)
Length Per Episode: Approximately 24 minutes (29 minutes for the OVAs)
If I was smart, I would have reviewed this show before Durarara!!, because Baccano! is its spiritual prequel, but oh well.
Well, it’s been a while since my last substantial post, hasn’t it? College basically caught up with me and I had stupid amounts of work to do. It also didn’t help that I had plans for the weekend and therefore had little time to do said work. But it’s all good, because after tomorrow, I’ll be all caught up, and I hopefully won’t have to take such a long break from posting again.
But anyways, this post is about Baccano!, so lets get on with the show.
“Don’t let nobody tell you there’s no future in a life of crime, because some rackets can last forever. But we’ll get around to all that immortality jazz later. A mafia turf war is raging on the mean streets of the Big Apple, a place where regular joes bounce between backdoor booze joints and the breadline. But this caper ain’t about a simple gangland brawl. It’s about hoods who can’t seem to die proper after catching a bullet or five between the eyes. Sadistic hit men and the dames they love, mad bombers going boom, monsters going bump, and soul-sucking alchemists bootlegging an elixir of eternal life.
Just remember, Baccano! ain’t about beginnings and ends. It’s about the twists and turns, bub. Paths don’t cross in this story – They collide. Every Dick and Jane plays the lead and it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.”
Baccano! is a hard show to review, because giving any sort of general plot breakdown will have spoilers, and that ruins the whole fun of watching this show in the first place. I can’t even review the characters, because the characters are the plot.
Basically, I get to be vague as hell throughout this entire post while still needing to cover my opinions on the show. AWESOME.
Baccano! is a lot like Durarara!! in that it’s heavily, if not entirely, character-driven. It has the same “throw all the characters in your face at once, then have the watcher understand each one as you go along” mentality. Instead of reviewing each individual character, I’m going to do exactly what the show does. I’m going to show you all of the characters that the OP does, so you get the same effect. …Although some characters *cough* Isaac and Miria *cough* are in costume, so you can’t really get a good look at them.
EDIT: I have since removed the wall-o-pictures because the OP does the same job. They’re all still in the slideshow at the bottom, though.
Also, here’s the OP. This format is probably easier then scrolling like a lunatic, in hindsight. My bad.
Yeah. That’s a lot of characters. Wanna know something cool? There are actually even more characters than this.
Now, before your brain explodes, it’s actually quite easy to keep up with everything in the show. It may be due to the fact that everyone has Western names for the most part, but I feel it’s more like you get exposed to each character just the right amount to keep track of who is who and such.
While Baccano! is a lot like Durarara!! (duh, they’re spiritual prequel and sequel to each other), Baccano! is different in that the story is not told chronologically. It jumps back and forth between three timelines, which you can respectively acknowledge as the past, present, and future. Each take place about one year apart from each other.
The past (1930) mainly focuses on the mafia. It involves characters joining certain groups, some fights breaking out, etc. It also has a little bit of Isaac and Miria doing their comedic relief deal. This is also where the main focus on how the immortals in the cast came to be is.
The present (1931) focuses solely on the events of what happened on the intercontinental train, the Flying Pussyfoot. Before you start giggling like a schoolgirl who just heard a perverted word, this was no laughing matter. A lot of crazy shit happened on this train. Most of the action, suspense, and killings take place during this timeline. Pretty much every character (well, every main character that’s on the train) collides with each other at some point during this train ride, too.
The future (1932) is about Eve Genoard trying to find her brother, Dallas Genoard. This timeline is where you learn a lot of the epilogue facts about the other two previous timelines.
Baccano! will jump between these at will, however, it will always tell you the year when it switches. As long as you can keep track of which timeline is which, you’ll be perfectly fine.
Just as it says at the beginning of the review, Baccano! is all about the speedbumps along the way. All of the important events are times perfectly so that you know just enough about what’s going on for these events to be impactful to you.
The characters themselves are also great. From the murder-lunatic Ladd Russo to the crybaby Jacuzzi Splot, each character is interesting in their own way, and sometimes even get explanations as to why they act the way they do.
One of the things I like most about Baccano! is how it can have immortal mafia members, and yet still feel realistic. Even during the most crazy alchemic scenes, nothing really feels out of place with the show. It just feels right. It’s difficult to explain.
There’s also one thing about Baccano! that I never thought I’d say about an anime… Watch the dubs. I’m not pulling your leg, they’re done very well, and considering the story takes place in America, it makes sense for the characters to be speaking English. Plus, Funimation did a great job of adapting the script into a mafia-style of speech for those characters. Who ever heard of a mafia member speaking 21st century Japanese/English and using -sama or -san?
Ultimately, there’s one thing I can say to sum up Baccano! It’s pretty much the perfect show for someone to transition into anime. It’s heavily Western-influenced, while still having the air and looks of an anime show. You can’t really ask for more from a transition show. Well, other than it being good, obviously, and Baccano! easily pockets that one.
RATING: 10 out of 10.