Critic's Log - Earthdate: February 17, 2013. Review #36: Baccano!
Greetings, Ladies and Gentlemen. I have a little lecture before I begin? Would you like to know what makes a story memorable? Besides the settings, It's themes and characters. Themes are essential to a story especially with the characters, and the characters are important too because the average viewer or reader may identify with one or some of the other characters because of either similar characteristics, personality, or perhaps similar events. There are many novels and movies that have stood the test of time. Another important factor about characters would be personal character flaws. It is an effective idea since it would make the viewer or reader to understand with empathy and sympathize with the character in the story. There are often times when something is made for the sake of entertainment and stories sometimes can stand out in cases like this. Like us humans, we are not perfect, not everything is perfect. Some things do stand out as Masterpieces. What happens after people watch or read something, they either discuss whatever they saw or read, or they analyze it, or maybe even both. I do reviews because I am quite observant and because I have fun doing reviews. This time, I have a fun anime to review, so let's start this racket and get onboard!
A Critic Sits Down, Watches and Observes, then Analyzes and Reviews Baccano!
Here's how this ruckus starts, so listen up! Capiche? In 1931, Mafia groups are going around and whacking certain people. Let's not ask them about their business, shall we? The transcontinental train The Flying Pussyfoot is departing on her final trip, where something horrific happens and many passengers die. The White suits and the Black suits get onboard The Flying Pussyfoot, but that's not the only thing that happens. Maybe it started there. In 1930, some guy by the name of Dallas Genoard ends up missing and his younger sister Eve is searching for him, unaware that Dallas Genoard is in bigger trouble as well as causing trouble than she can imagine. Sometime around either of those time periods, the two bumbling thieves Isaac and Miria are commiting several heists. and in 1711, a group of alchemists are gathered aboard the ship Advenna, seeking to conjure up a demon who will grant them eternal life.
To those confused from that summary I just told you, allow me to make this clear. I told the summary like this for a good reason. Baccano! is told out of chronological order and was made that way intentionally, which makes this anime unique. The question is, where's the TARDIS when we need it? Just kidding. With the story being out of chronological order, this can make for a somewhat disorienting experience, but that is seriously put aside once we get further into the ride.
To be technical, this is a Brain's Base production and the attention to detail is exceptional comparing animes that are set in Western settings are not as well portrayed I guess, but the creative staff of the show sure did their research. The animation is pretty solid and is done very well in the show, there are a few hiccups along the way but the animation is full of chaotic fun.
When it comes to voice acting, This comes to no surprise that this show is extremely fitting if you're watching the dub. Before I get on that, I should give the Japanese cast some credit that they were fantastic in this show. The notable Seiyus in Baccano! are Masaya Onasaka, Kappei Yamaguchi, Keiji Fujiwara, Daisuke Sakaguchi, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Masakazu Morita, Kenta Miyake, Norio Wakamoto, Sho Hayami, and Takehito Koyasu. Now that I mentioned the Japanese cast, I'll now mention the dub. Tyler Walker deserves a huge amount of credit for having a bunch of Texans (Funimation is from Texas) sound like people from Chicago and New York and so forth. There were newbies at the time and they make a huge impression for me while watching the dub. J. Michael Tatum and Caitlin Glass are delightfully terrific as Isaac and Miria. Todd Haberkorn is damn cool as Firo. Sean Hannigan is great as Maiza. The Gandors are well voiced, R. Bruce Elliot is also great as Mr. Quates. Brina Palencia plays Ennis spot-on. Monica Rial plays Chane surprisingly well and rarely do I hear her play a character outside her usual roles. Colleen Clickenbeard and Joel McDonald are terrific as Nice Holystone and Jacuzzi Splot (as odd a name Jacuzzi has, Just go with it) Jad Saxton is great as Eve, and Ian Sinclair is also great as Dallas Genoard. Jerry Jewell is terrific in this show. Maxey Whitehead was terrific as Czeslaw, and Bryan Massey is a delight to listen to and he had way...WAY TOO MUCH FUN as Ladd Russo
To make the long topic short, the dub is excellent and well worth listening to. If you're a purist, consider watching the dub to this show. It does not disappoint. The Japanese version is awesome too.
The music by Makoto Yoshimori lives up to the show's title with its loud jazz and other beats. It really is a groovy soundtrack to listen to without the show and it compliments the show greatly. The opening kicks so much ass and thanks to little clips thrown in during the opening, it makes the opening nearly unskippable. I seriously love the opening in this show. The closing theme "Calling" is great too. I've said enough of the music in the show. It's simply...
What makes Baccano! such a ride are the characters. Isaac and Miria are really funny since Isaac is pretty much an idiot and so is Miria, they have some over-the-top funny moments in this show which I remember quite well. Firo's pretty cool and Maiza was interesting. The Gandor brothers are also alright. Szilard Quates and Ennis were interesting. Chane is... *awkward silence* very interesting . I like Nice's personality and I like Jacuzzi's whiny personality very well. Eve is alright, Dallas is an A+ Grade douchebag (Just go with it), Czeslaw is an interesting kid, and Ladd Russo (like his English voice actor) is a delight. Ladd really makes the show...at times...ENTERTAINING AS HELL! Don't believe me? Watch this then.
The only character I didn't care for all too much was Graham Spector. He was thrown in right on the last 3 episodes. Which he really throws a monkey wrench into all this ruckus. Graham Spector is a little underdeveloped but this addition doesn't really hurt the enjoyable ride. What makes the characters really stand out in this show is that the characters' motives aren't really all that great, such motives like theft, violence and so forth. Eve is the only character who's pretty much be a pretty little saint compared to the rest of the cast of characters. This tends to be overseen because these characters are fun to watch. My only nitpick for the show is that both the story and characters are smartly written, although out of order. The direction by Takahiro Omori is still unique but the characters do lack a little depth in the show. Does this greatly harm the show? No! In fact, it's fitting in the show. Why? Because for those that don't know Italian (or for those that didn't look up the title's meaning) Baccano! is Italian for "ruckus" or "racket", which the show damn well lives up to its name and speaks for itself that this anime is both a trainwreck in terms of placing the story out of order and being one hell of a trainride in the long run.
Baccano! is available from Funimation. The original light novels by Ryohgo Narita have not been released stateside, The manga called "Bacanno! 1931 The Grand Punk Railroad" written by Ryohgo Narita and illustrated by Ginyu Shijin also has not been released stateside.
With all that said, Baccano! made quite the ruckus with its scrambled storyline, enjoyable characters, groovy soundtrack, wonderful voice acting on both sides, and very good animation. This anime is quite the trainride that I think you might enjoy very much even though the story is derailed in terms of chronology. The show has recieved universal critical acclaim because of how unique it is. This is somewhat truly an anime equivalent to Pulp Fiction.
I give Baccano! a 9.6 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!
Feel free to comment below. What's next for Baccano!?