The final summer season show has begun, bearing the name Baccano! (バッカーノ！) and airing on WOWOW, Thursdays at 24:30 JST, apparently comprising 13 episodes.
Just like Mushi-Uta, another WOWOW Thursday series, this anime is based on a set of novels, this time written by Narita Ryougo and currently up to 11 volumes that have sold in excess of 500,000 copies. The director is Oomori Takahiro, whose somewhat infamous work Koi Kaze may ring a bell. If not, at least you should be familiar with Jigoku Shoujo. Still, most of the Koi Kaze staff is back, including script writer Takagi Noboru, composer Yoshimori Makoto, and character designer Kishida Takahiro. Not that there’s necessarily any incest in Baccano!
After seeing the first episode, the plot is a big, complicated mess. We’re introduced to about 20 characters, all with crazy Engrish names, and their stories are spread out across a number of years, reaching as far back as the 1700’s. However, it seems most of it takes place in America during the Prohibition, around 1931. And what happens? Lots of violence and blood, pretty much, only not with very much consequence, because two hundred years earlier some alchemists came upon “the Booze of Immortality”, and it’s a fairly popular drink. The person seemingly chosen to be main character is a young man called Firo Prochainezo, who’s on the verge of being promoted to the very top of the Martillo family, a Mafia group allied with the Gandor family, who themselves are at war with the Lunulata family. This has quite a negative effect on Firo’s personal safety, and one of the enemy raids gets him shot in a bookstore, which more or less begins this adventure. In addition, there’s also a thieving couple, a newspaper duo, and a terrorist girl with a spear.
It’s useless to think about production values, because everything WOWOW broadcasts looks like garbage (unless it’s HD), but the poor studio animating it is Brain’s Base, and their earlier work Kamichu! was quite stunning. Music’s jazzy and seems a good fit for the show. The anime really shines when we get to the voice acting, and the cast is so long it’d take half a day to type up the “big names” involved, so let’s just say everyone you can think of has some part in Baccano!, and they’re a delight to hear.
I know the plot summary sounds weird, but the show still caught my interest. There’s obviously a wealth of character interaction to bring out, and I’m curious to see what comes of it all. The problem is if they really manage to tie all these people together into something coherent, and in only 13 episodes. Keeping track of everybody is just too much at the moment, but it should clear up once they get going. In any case, they’ve gone all out with the violence, so even if the plot seems tricky, you can always enjoy flying fingers and teeth.
Reminds me of: Full Metal Alchemist