When searching out anime with violence and decent plots I stumbled upon Baccano, what has to be one of the most original concepts in anime. Set in 1930’s America on the train the Flying Pussyfoot (Hardy-har-har) it is replete with awesome characters, great dialogue, a neat plot, and a neat way of telling the story that doesn’t actually confuse as much as it should. The series ability to portray so many varied characters, give us a compelling plot, and have absolutely no part that makes me cringe or groan, makes this a true staple for all anime fans.
The story jumps around a lot, but it doesn’t take a lot of brain power to understand the plot despite this jumping. There are about fifteen characters that are focused on to some degree and each one somehow has backstory and somehow comes across as different from the next due to the excellent writing. The story centers around the Immortals, a group of people who made a pact with some sort of devilish entity to have eternal lives. This is while they are onboard a ship, presumably heading to the New World during the 1700’s. The story moves to the 1930’s and focuses mainly on a train ride that goes nuts. There are mafia on board, there are assassins, there are immortals. It’s a hell of a set up and makes for some awesome action. The idea of an anime centered around this time period in America is pretty fresh, and it is completely different from a lot of the typical anime fare. This is, of course, based off of a light novel series. The ideas are just so cool though and you want to see this keep going and going as the plot comes to a satisfying conclusion, but there is so much more that could be told.
The story is just fantastic and one of the main reasons to stay onboard (I made a joke!) for the whole series, including the OVA’s. The show is relatively short at sixteen episodes, but it delivers with more story than a hundred episodes of Naruto can provide, and more compelling characters than pretty much every cookie cutter shounen out there. And with so many stories to watch play out, it’s hard not to find one that interests you.
Quality animation, that’s for sure. The character models all look good and the backgrounds look especially good. New York, Chicago, and the train all have an old timey feel that really helps create a mood and ambiance. Not that the thirties feel is pitch perfect, but I don’t completely expect it to be. It still has a lot of good detail. Fluid fight scenes also help the score.
When talking about awesome anime intros, Bacanno’s can be right at the top of the list. An awesome opening song along with a great intro animation makes you just want to watch it more. The ending song is meh. The music during the show is awesome once again and really fits with the time period. The voice actors are all good and the sound effects are good as well. No complaints here.
Isaac and Miria are the stand-out characters, though Ladd Russo is also pretty spectacular. All the other characters are great, but some just stand out above others. Every character is connected, though you don’t see this sometimes until later on so at first it feels like the Tad Williams Otherworld series. The characters don’t all seem to be connected, but as it progresses we see the connection. None of the characters are really emotionally attachable, none are seen for a long enough portion for you to care that much, but they each have great back story and some will draw you in more than others. You get to choose between young lovers, idiot thieves, mafia, insane killers, torturers. All kinds of good people. They add copious amounts of humor, violence, depravity, and awesome to the series.
This is not a perfect anime, as I may be sounding like it is. Chicago apparently has a lot of signs in Japanese, American books are apparently read Japanese style (backwards), and Times Squares biggest sign apparently advertises cup noodles. I digress though. It’s a great anime, but I will state that it will appeal to a certain crowd over others. Some may not like the setting nor the plot which can be a bit convoluted at times. It’s A-OK. Reviews are opinions of the author, not opinions of everyone as a consensus. But this does have a lot of excellent qualities to it. There’s a lot of gore, a lot of violence, and a lot of fun characters to stick out the series with. I can’t really complain about a lot because it appeals to me greatly.
Baccano is a 9/10. That’s right. Another nine in a one week period. I need to watch something crappy and quit giving good reviews. Readers are probably bored with me.
Next Review: Black Lagoon