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GolbeztheGreat

  • Joined Jan 14, 2019
  • 40 / M

Baccano!

May 21, 2019

Baccano! is one of those anime titles that seems a little confusing on the surface, mostly thanks to the overwhelming power of first impressions. That much is something I can definitely understand.

The final result, however, is an enjoyable set of interconnected stories where great characterization shines through the virtues of a solid script.

STORY: 9/10


The plot combines adventure, comedy, mystery, fantasy, action and horror in a very attractive package. Based on a light novel series, the American 1930s and a particular train serve as the primary backdrop for a narrative that manages to be both self-aware of its own nature and surprisingly cohesive, despite the intimidating size of its cast and what first appears to be something of a chronological mess.

Many initially unrelated events have either important or, at least, incidental connections, with alternatively humorous and tragic consequences. The antics of Isaac and Miria are consistently funny, providing a welcome change of pace from the world surrounding them, which can be dramatic and even explicitly violent without making the contrast seem uneven.

Clearly, there was a lot of thought put into the original script but the animated adaptation's use of time is not simply a gimmick. I even believe that quite a few in-jokes and revelations are, believe it or not, enhanced by this creative decision.

It would be very easy for this series to fall apart but there is definitely a method to the madness. When the tale finally ends, the viewer will likely walk away quite satisfied. Baccano! has plenty of memorable scenes and subplots, most of which are resolved in a very satisfying fashion. Those that aren't remain open as doors to further adventures which I'd certainly like to see.

ANIMATION: 8/10


Good animation is the norm with a few minor mistakes here and there. The character designs have a nice style and succeed in making most of the cast easily identifiable, one way or another, but it may take some time to tell certain characters apart whenever the quality briefly drops.

SOUND: 9/10

A strong set of opening and ending songs, including the animated sequences themselves, does a lot to set the tone. The rest of the Baccano! soundtrack is also quite moody and even refreshing, essentially representing a good range of emotions across the board. Probably one of my favorites.

CHARACTER: 10/10

Much of the beauty of Baccano! lies in its characters, who aren't just very colorful but also join together to weave a competent narrative that gradually reveals itself to the viewer. From comedic thieves to charismatic madmen to members of the mafia and dark conspirators, you wouldn't be exaggerating too much by stating that this series has it all.

Aside from Isaac and Miria, who are just a lot of fun to watch, I must say that Claire Stanfield is easily my personal choice for a highlight, taking the entire series into consideration and not just any particular arc, although almost any other pick would be equally justified.

This is truly an ensemble cast and perhaps one of the few cases in which its sheer size never really makes the whole building stumble. Each character has a convincing personality and their respective development arcs never really drag out too long. Screen time isn't a problem. I would still say that a couple of individuals benefit from being fleshed out during the DVD OVAs, but even in those cases the main TV series has already managed to make them interesting.

Enjoyment:

While it took me a long time to sit down and watch this series, the experience was almost entirely rewarding and Baccano! has become one of my current favorites. I cannot honestly speak for its replay value just yet, but during my first viewing it was practically impossible to stop. The quality of its characters and storytelling was one reason, but there were a number of exciting cliffhangers, resolved sooner or later though not always immediately, which came at just the right moments.

It is certainly a real shame that the rest of the novels haven't received animated adaptations because more Baccano! would be a pleasant surprise, just like the original was.

9/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
10/10 characters
9/10 overall
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