Anime Review: Baccano! (What’s next?)


Produced by Brain's Base, Aniplex 2007. Licensed by Funimation 2008.

During the crime-ridden Prohibition era, a mafia turf war is raging on the mean streets of New York. An enormous cast of thieves, gangsters, bootleggers, and other elements of historical pulp fiction collide in a blur of style, intrigue, and violence. When an alchemist creates an elixir of life that can confer immortality, a life of crime may just last forever…


Adapted into a 13 episode series (16 total with bonus episodes) in 2007, Baccano! is a genre-busting anime that began as a series of light novels. There are three interchanging plot lines which dominate Baccano!, taking place in 1930, 1931, and 1932.

The first episode contains scenes from the endings to each of the three stories. Later episodes jump back and forth, between, and even within the separate stories with little warning. All spiral together to create a surprising, original series that may leave many viewers confused as to what is happening. Even if you stay alert while watching Baccano!, this anime will likely require either a full or partial re-watching if you wish to clarify some story details/subtleties missed due to the skewed timeline.

On a positive note, despite the complex plot lines, the way the opening sequence puts names to the faces of all the characters is very helpful–considering the daunting cast list. The beginning cinematic is very reminiscent of Guy Ritchie’s Snatch. However, Baccano! takes the hard-boiled violence of the mafia film genre to new levels throughout this show. Gore alert: characters and scenery often get covered in blood due to the extreme violence that occurs. In one scene, a character “dances” in a flood of gore. Fortunately, the pacing between lighthearted and extreme moments in this anime prevent it from being utterly sickening. That, and knowing most characters are immortal and will recover later.

Aside from this, the strength of Baccano! is in its characters; original author Ryohgo Narita allowed them to run the show. For example, Isaac and Miria’s carefree enthusiasm and antics are a major contribution to the enjoyment of this series. Capturing them, and the rest of this unique, outlandish cast, was essential.

For a Japanese animation, the creators did their homework. Taking place in America, this production was impressively devoid of engrish. The Brooklyn accents of the English dub contribute well to the atmosphere of 1930’s mobster culture. Baccano! gushes with style–It’s powerful, but does not come off as heavy-handed. It was enjoyable to connect with a fresh gangster aesthetic.

Baccano! is recommended for those who have a penchant for mafia-centric films or like a lot of action and intrigue. Also, if you are sick of the “same old,” this show is a great boredom buster. Although this isn’t a horror, if you are squeamish with blood/gore, you may not enjoy this title.

Baccano! is now available streaming through Funimation and Netflix with paid subscription.


About Anne's Anime Blog

I am an astronomical anime fan. I enjoy watching it, collecting figures & merchandise, assembling models, and attending conventions. California burrito glutton. Let's be friends:)

Posted on April 10, 2012, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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