Baccano!

Genre: action/adventure; thriller; romance
Setting
: Prohibition Era (1930’s) / United States
Special Groups/Powers
: immortals, thieves, mafiosi, assassins, rebels, alchemists… etc.
Selling Point
: large character cast; fast, compelling pace

Baccano = Italian for “noise,” or as the anime producers interpret it, “stupid commotion.”

“Baccano!” is certainly commotion-worthy, but surprisingly, it doesn’t get much attention. And I don’t understand it! This anime is just absolutely FANTASTIC. I don’t mean that it’s flawless, but, wow, this show is too amazing for anyone to care. That is, if they’ve even heard of it…

On to the infomercial. “Baccano!” contains several, simultaneous plotlines and a huge web of character relationships. The story is set mostly during the 1930’s in America, but the three main plotlines run nonlinear within different years: 1930, 1931, and 1932. The adventure unfolds with the antics of an unusual thief duo (who show up everywhere), the initiation of a new mafioso, a dangerous train ride, and a sister’s search for her no-good brother.

It would take far too long to describe the intricacies of each plot, so I’ll move along. Some things to beware of in this anime are violence and blood. There are frequent fighting/killing/shooting scenes — not so much that it becomes grotesque and tasteless (reference: Elfen Lied) — but they do exist. I wouldn’t suggest letting young Hamtaro fans watch this, if you know what I mean, but for the average anime viewer, you’ll be fine. Hey, sometimes it’s fun to watch implosions of blood and guts, right?! …That aside, you’ll also experience a lot of initial confusion when watching the first episode, which seems like a crazy, tangled knot of characters and events. However, as the series goes on, the knot begins to unravel, and the show not only makes a lot more sense, but becomes extremely fascinating.

The highlights of this anime are the pacing and characters. As stated above, it’s fast-paced, confusing at first, yet captivating. The music is jazzy and upbeat, the animation is quick, and the action scenes are entertaining. The overall atmosphere of this show is rapid and exciting… a commotion of a show.

Now, the characters — oh, wow, the characters — are all very natural and human, despite their personal eccentricities and crazy lives (assassins, thieves, immortals, etc.). The cast as a whole is extremely likeable; you’ll finish the anime with not one, but at least five to ten favorite characters. Part of the reason is that there is a refreshing lack of stupid screaming superheroes (Naruto), clichéd ultra-pervs, and ridiculous moe/fanservice sluts. The relationships between the characters are also very unique, sometimes very touching, sometimes hilarious. Character interaction is very well played; it’s not just “YOO HAF DISGRACED MAH PEOPLE; WE SHALL NOW ENGAGE IN COMBAT,” or any such ridiculosity. The characters often meet or are related by coincidence, but this is pulled off well. And, finally, to spread the icing on the cake: there’s a very strong female cast, rather than the damsels-in-distress/wastes of space that you see in other anime. These girls are amazing.

No. All these characters are amazing.

<– end infomercial –>

…My, that rant was long. (*self-slap*) Anyway, in conclusion, this is a great series that needs way more recognition. I highly recommend it, though not for young children, considering the violent content. This, in my opinion, is one masterpiece of a tangled knot, with a shiny gem suspended in its center.

Rating of Truth: 96/100

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~ by sublunaryxsoul on August 27, 2008.

One Response to “Baccano!”

  1. Oooooh I would like to see this one !!!
    I just love storys where all the characters are connected by knots and that you don’t get anything unless you’ve seen a big part of it and think about it!
    Thanks for this review !! I will be keeping an eye on your site ;)

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