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Baccano!: Starter Set (with Volume One)Baccano!: Starter Set (with Volume One)
Anime DVD Review

Initially, you might think Baccano! has no plot, and initially, you'd be correct, but that's not necessarily a bad thing... Baccano! suffers from an overabundance of characters, who all initially seem to be doing their own thing, and it's all unrelated, and you have no freakin' clue what's going on. BUT DON'T SHUT IT OFF!!!

If you told Quentin Tarrintino to craft a movie about immortal alchemist Mafioso's in the 30's, this is probably what you'd get. A focal point? Who needs it? There are plenty of ways to tell a story, but chronological order is for wimps. Who needs a straightforward timeline when it's a heck of a lot more fun to bounce back and forth between 1930, 1931, and 1932? And, if you think you can't tell who's who and what's going on even though you were paying attention, then, well, you *were* paying attention...

Baccano!So you can make some sense of it, we'll clue you in: In 1711, a group of alchemists and travelers gain immortality by summoning the elixir of life. Two hundred years later, many of these individuals have scattered across the world in a range of occupations such as normal pedestrians, terrorists and members of the mafia. These forces along with many others are about to come together on the streets and in a train.

With eighteen different main characters playing on two massive stages, Baccano! accomplishes something I never thought possible. There is really no nexus to speak of here since practically all of the characters are of similar importance. The plot is told in about a dozen anachronistic and unrelated stories running at the same time.

Baccano!Baccano! uses the obfuscation to its advantage, giving you just enough to keep you hanging on, without revealing enough of it to make sense until the payoffs come near the end of the series and only THEN do things start to make sense.

The only bonding elements of the storyline are the various coincidental associations forged in a series of extraordinary events that come crashing down in the final episodes. The writers have done an *excellent* job of making the seemingly incongruous threads, timelines, characters, and the huge number of side-stories (that initially seemed like throw away material) all come together at the end and resolve everything. The creators are able to plan the climaxes really well with a near-perfect combination of comedy, drama and action.

Baccano!Raucous and fast-paced, Baccano! crackles with visceral energy and violently wild fun as it tosses up two fistfuls of puzzle pieces and dares us figure out this delightfully confusing tale of gangsters, trains, and immortality. Mixing ultra-violence with whimsy doesn't always make the right brew, but the director has achieved an on-target blend.

Baccano! is rated TV-MA, and they mean it. There's blood 'n guts aplenty, but what would you expect with gangsters in the 30's? It may leave your head spinning and give you the strangest desire to call everyone "dollface," but Baccano! is too much fun to ignore and absolutely worth the time. Overall, there needs to be more anime like Baccano!, although, with my head spinning this much, I think I'll need to invest in aspirin.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, May 2009

Below: Scenes from Baccano!








Baccano! Website Links:

Baccano! Official Homepage (Japanese)

WOWOW's Baccano! website (Japanese)

FUNimation's Official Baccano! Site (with first episode)

Baccano! review at Nihon Review

Baccano! (TV) entry at Anime News Network

Wikipedia entry for Baccano!

Baccano! entry at AnimeVice

Below: The Japanese trailer for Baccano!

Below: The Japanese opening for Baccano!

Below: A promotional illustration for Baccano!

A promotional illustration for Baccano!

Below: Japanese DVD covers for Baccano!

Japanese DVD cover for Baccano

Japanese DVD cover for Baccano

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