Posted by psgels on 3 November 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, Baccano!


Anyone who tries the first episode of Baccano! will immediately notice one thing: the immensely huge cast of characters. I could be wrong, but this can very well be the 13-episoded series with the biggest amount of characters ever. While it’s incredibly hard to make a story with so many characters that stretches over three different timelines come together, the creators of Baccano! actually pull this off. And how!

Basically, Baccano! combines immortal alchemists with the American Mafia in 1930. It works quite well, because there are so many different characters, they just have to go beyond the clichés in order to prevent characters who look too much like each other. This results in the quirky thieves of Isaac and Miria, the psychotic Ladd and the charming Luck. While it’s of course impossible for the character to reach the same level of depth as, say, Toward the Terra, but the creators did manage to give every important character (if I had to guess, there’s about thirty of them) an identity, a clearly defined role, a small piece of development and an actual personality.

And I haven’t even started talking about the story yet. Basically, it goes from a completely incomprehensible first episode to a captivating mystery-series, where all the threads of the huge amount of side-stories end up resolved at the end of the final episode. It furthermore tells the story of three, sometimes even four, related timelines right through each other. Because of this, the creators are able to plan the climaxes really well, and they turn into one huge success, with a near-perfect combination between comedy, drama and action. I really mean it when I say that Baccano! has some of the best writing of the entire year.

In terms of production-values, this series also shines. Especially the character-designs: not only do the creators manage to give every one of the about thirty important characters a unique look, they manage to actually do this for even the unimportant and side-characters (if I had to guess, there are about eighty of them). The animation may not look crisp, but it’s detailed, never giving off a feeling of still-frame abuse. The soundtrack consists out of a bunch of catchy Jazz-tunes, which makes me wonder why not more anime turn to this, as it works great to give action-scenes a bit of a quirky touch.

Regarding the bad points, there aren’t really any true flaws about this series, apart from the sacrifices that had to be made for the good points. The first episode is basically one huge puzzle, and only later in the series will things start to make sense. The characters individually aren’t very special either. It’s only when they are combined with others that they become special and interesting.

Overall, there need to be more anime like Baccano! It’s not often when you run into a series that’s as well-written as this one. It’s a definite recommendation from me, provided that you can take a few gory scenes that pop up once in a while.

17 Responses

  1. I agree to everything you have pointed out ^_^

    It’s not often that we get to see an anime as amazing as this. Sadly it needed to be squeezed to 13 episodes though it can actually show much more.

    I’d like to thank you for blogging Baccano! *been reading your Baccano entries for a long time but have been lazy to comment* It’s really a huge mystery why very very few blog such an awesome series x_x Probably because many prefer the ones rich with moe and perverted stuff? -_-

    Baccano’s indeed a highly recommended series! ^_^ I think it might be more popular if there weren’t much gore, since many can’t bear them x_x But it’s still so damn awesome with all those gory stuff xD Hehe

  2. moshi says:

    buccano rulz :-)

  3. Archer says:

    i totally agree with you one this one for me this is one of my favorite anime of the year,i liked it from the first episode even if the second episode was the one that convinced me that Baccano will turn into a great series,to see Isaac and Miria appear more in that episode and in the later ones made them two of my favorite characters in this anime,but there are many other characters that i like,the story is very good and you can never really guess what will happen next and that is what i love about this show,also the music it fits perfectly and i cannot even complain about the animation i think even that was good,the only thing that might push people away is the gore but i think that is also a very important part of Baccano and they don’t use it without reason like in other anime i saw
    overall a great anime,i would definitely recommend it to others and your review is also very good i hope it will make other people watch this too

  4. Westlo says:

    It’s a shame how criminally under watched this series is. Thanks for the Baccano blogging and I’m looking forward to the dvd only episodes as well as the last 3 subbed of course.

  5. omo says:

    It needs to be marathoned. The narrative format doesn’t lend itself to serialization very well, which explains why it’s hardly followed.

  6. Windspirit says:

    OMG, just finished the series (13th episode came out today).

    I thank you so fucking much for blogging this series, it’s basically you’re first entry that made me look this series out and I don’t regret it at all. Actually, if it hadn’t been you, I probably would never have bothered watching this series because I wouldn’t have come to be interested in it, as this is series is, as said, criminally underwatched.

    I think this has the best storytelling of the year. Seriously, the story is just awesome and enjoyable, having elements of seriousness and humour, without it being a complete comedy. It’s very adult.

    We need more animes like Baccano, you bet. This is the kind of animes done with a purely artistic intention, without wanting it to especially sell, we’ve seen with Monster that this gets the creators to avoid every “über-cool commercial” elements in their shows, which make it utterly awesome.

    Thanks again for blogging this. Let’s hope we’ll see more stuff like this ! ;)

  7. KO-chan says:

    I just finished watching this.
    My friend just told me about it, because I don’t really watch that many anime right now. He was right.. It really was an awesome experience!

    Perhaps one of the reasons why this anime didn’t have so much of a following was that it is so hard to watch it piece by piece. This series needs to be ‘marathoned’ because the layout of events is extremely complex and therefore hard to remember quickly.

    I think what made this series a good watch is that it harnesses a lot of participation in the watcher’s part – like, you have to do more than watch what’s happening in a linear way. It stimulates you to get your brains up working and try forming the puzzle together yourself as the show reveals each piece to you.

    As you all said, I was floored by the writing in this one too. If the events weren’t laid out strategically in such a particular manner, this wouldn’t have been so effective. I wouldn’t think of them doing it in any way other than this.

    People should know more about it (well people who can tolerate blood/gore that is). So yeah, spread the Baccano (stupid ruckus) everyone! :3

  8. Radlum says:

    I loved this series; thanks a lot for your review, at first I wasn’t sure if I should watch this series, but reading the review made me take a good decision. Baccano is one of the best anime series I’ve ever seen and now I feel a little sad that it has ended.

  9. milo says:

    Hi, I’ve just finished this brilliant anime, I was wondering if you know of any others that has the same feel as this?

    Thank you.

  10. skyhack says:

    Almost skipped on this one, didn’t get it until the week before Funi licensed it.

    I’ll be buying the box set, which I’ve done for every series I’ve liked. (42 boxes bought after watching the fansub so far)

    Baccano rocks!

  11. Anthony says:

    This anime is the closest replica of suzumiya haruhi. Its uber hard to watch without actually piecing the episodes in your mind because its never even told in chronological order as mentioned in episode 1. but as the pieces falls together is amazing.

    All i can say about it is, its got no plot whatsoever just very deep character development for its huge cast and short 16 episodes and very well done story telling. the whole damn even practically focus on and even that just lasted for 1 night.

    its daring, but i wouldnt be surprised if people stopped watching after 1st episode.

  12. jho says:

    Absolutely amazing series, and definitely in my top 5-10 of all time. I just finally got the chance to watch it this past week, and I was just blown away. The DVD episodes were good too, but I can’t believe how well they put together the main story in just 13 episodes. WOW.

  13. Allibaba says:

    First 2 episode weren’t too interesting but it does pick up and then explodes into awesome around the time Vino REALLY shows up. I had a hunch that young conductor didn’t die, he was just too much of a pretty boy. Like Carol said, “is main character-ish.” Being voiced by Ichigo helps too.

  14. ShyBlue says:

    Oh my god, thank you so much for this review. If I hadn’t read it, I may have never even heard of Baccano! X3 I just finished it, and now, I’m half-crying because I feel so happy for Czes-kun and I’m half crying because it’s over. T_T

    Amazing. I doubt there will be a season two, but hey, we have Durarara. :D

  15. Jo says:

    Thank You for reviewing Baccano! and making me curious enough to watch it. You are now my hero.

  16. Janfred says:

    Thanks for blogging this ^^
    I’ll download it right away to check, if its really good :)

  17. Janfred says:

    I personally think this is overrated @_@
    It has a good ending yes.

    But I find too many characters that are unnecessary, they only made things complicated and they only made more unnecessary stories like the the woman of Huey, Huey himself, the kid with a mark on his face and subordinates, etc.

    I’m also interested to the story of Csez, which seems to have the best story of all the characters, though unfortunately, there is a very small screen time/ details about him.

    Oh well there a lot of things that I dont really like or understand in this anime, but at least it has a decent ending (“for some characters”).

    My personal rate this anime, 48/100 @_@

    (Maybe my rating is different because Ive watched it in 2013, and by this time, animes now have better graphics, plot, twist, etc. )

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  • swa
    (Friday, Feb 27. 2015 08:19 PM)
    Macross 7… poor you, I suppose you already watched it by now. Not my favorite Macross for sure.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:21 AM)
    All thats left now is macross 7.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:20 AM)
    However this one begged to go on for more than just five episodes, come on now and it had the franchises penchant for weak villains. It doesn’t get me as emotional as do you remember love does, the characters of Macross plus were more likeable. Still its a step above Macross II and I at least had fun with it on an action level.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:17 AM)
    Thats Macross zero completed then, it was great to see the background arc/plot for this franchise, the pace is tight and the action is arguably the most immersive, well done of the Macross universe along with Frontier.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:33 AM)
    While Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong were definitely sharp I felt that Kemonozume and Kaiba were more inventive.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:30 AM)
    Aye,it was the visual style of the film being so different from the norm that drew me in. Still out of Yuaasa’s stuff I found myself more taken with tatami galaxy.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:22 AM)
    I think creatively the anime industry has plateaued a bit by now, where we see more derivative stuff and there has a formed an almost universal “anime style” which hinders non-traditional voyeurism.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:18 AM)
    I love the tonal whiplash that the story goes thru and the then-impressive-and-new visuals. Both 4°C and Hifana take queues from the Kansai art and the underground graffiti styles that prospered in Japan after the 70’s. Parallel to the postmodern movement in the Western world, the new wave was more expressive than fine and you see its heavy influence on the manga and anime industry.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Bam: It is at the last stretch on the film where it is at its strongest visually in my opinion.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:10 AM)
    @Bam: For only 100 minutes it did a decent enough job on its protaganist in any case.

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