Baccano! – Anime Review

The Essentials

Name: Baccano
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Episodes: 13 + 3 OVAs
Released: July 26, 2007 – November 1, 2007
Based On: Baccano light novels by Ryohgo Narita
Director: Takahiro Omori
Produced By: Brains Base, MediaWorks
US Distribution By: Funimation

Major Japanese Cast

Isaac Dian: Masaya Onosaka
Miria Harvent: Sayaka Aoki
Firo Prochainezo: Hiroyuki Yoshino
Szilard Quates: Kinryuu Arimoto
Ennis: Sanae Kobayashi
Maiza Avaro: Mitsuru Miyamoto
Ladd Russo: Keiji Fujiwara
Lua Klein: Eri Yasui
Jacuzzi Splot: Daisuke Sakaguchi
Nice Holystone: Yu Kobayashi
Claire Stanfield: Masakazu Morita
Dallas Genoard: Atsushi Imaruoka
Eve Genoard: Marina Inoue
Chane Laforet: Ryou Hirohashi
Czeslaw Meyer: Akemi Kanda
Carol: Chiwa Saito

Major English Cast

N/A

Scores

Animation: 9/10 (x 4 = 36 pts)
Story: 8/10 (x 4 = 32 pts)
Music: 9/10 (x 4 = 36 pts)
Coherence/Story Arc: 9/10 (x 2 = 18 pts)
English Dubs: N/A
Gut Score: 8/10 (x 5 = 40 pts)

Total: 162/190 (85.3%)

Review

Baccano, at it’s simplest, boiled down form, is about the exploits and adventures of a set of alchemists in 1930s America who were able to summon a demon in the 18th century so that they could become immortal.

The story is largely told between two story lines taking place at two different times. The most visible storyline is about how, in late 1930, three different groups – the Russo group, the Lumeres, and Jacuzzi’s gang – all have different plans for the trans-continental train the Flying Pussyfoot in it’s run from Chicago to New York.

The Russo group, led by Ladd Russo, decides to kill many of the passengers on the train while holding the rest ransom in order to get a large ransom payment from the railroad company. The Lumeres decide to take the train passengers ransom so that they can demand the release of their group’s leader, Huey Laforet, from jail. Meanwhile, Jazuzzi and his gang plan on trying to rob some important cargo off of the train. The melee that ensues results in a lot of blood and a lot of fighting between the three groups, as well as the arrival of the Rail Tracer – a mythical monster which causes trains and the people on them to disappear.

The other story being told at the same time occurs earlier in 1930, and deals with the quest of one of the original immortals, Szilard Quates, to discover the formula for the elixir which allows immortality. However, while his researcher, Barnes, discovers the secret, his lab is destroyed in a fire, and he is able to salvage two bottles of the elixir. However, the elixir is soon stolen by a gang and starts rapidly changing hands.

Baccano certainly has an interesting and well written story, and it’s rare to see a story which has a good balance of action and story elements to it. However, my main problem with this story is how much it jumps around between the two stories, and to and from even other smaller sub-stories. While it is an interesting story-telling device, I think all the switching sometimes makes it unclear what is happening when and where and what is happening first and last and in between.

Despite this, I think it is still a pretty good watch, though I should note that it has a considerable amount of violence, and especially blood.

The animation quality is pretty good for this show, as is the music as they appear to do a pretty good representation of 1930s America, at least for one who doesn’t know any better like myself.

Overall, while how the story is told may be confusing, it’s still a good enough show to take a look at, if you don’t mind some blood.

First Watched: August 2007 – July 2008
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: Yes, if you don’t mind blood and violence

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